161 Best Songs Of All Time

Contents

John Legend – All of Me

John Legend is undoubtedly a legendary voice of R&B and will be recounted as one of the greatest. He possesses a buttery-smooth delivery that spans a massive octave range.

His song, All of Me, is one of the best songs to have come out in the last decade. The song’s prominent piano provides an intimate platform for Legend’s vocals to take center stage.

From the time that John Legend debuted the song on Oprah, it was clear that All of Me would be a smash hit. Since then, a number of remixes and cover songs have come out that have had their own respective successes.

Dr. Dre – Still D.R.E. ft. Snoop Dogg

Dr. Dre is an enigma in the world of rap and is legendary as both a performer and a producer. The Chronic became instant gold in 1992, but it was almost an entire decade before he released another solo album.

When he dropped Still D.R.E. in 1999, the world immediately knew that Dr. Dre’s heyday was only beginning. This song has one of the most famous piano lines laid down in the history of recorded music.

In many ways, Still D.R.E. is considered to have the classic 90s rap sound. Of course, this is because Dr. Dre was a producer on some of the biggest rap albums of that decade, so songs released around that time often had his influence.

Dua Lipa – New Rules

It isn’t uncommon for artists to perform and record songs written by professional songwriters. Some of the greatest songs to have ever been recorded have been done so under these conditions.

New Rules is an example, coming from Dua Lipa’s debut album and catapulting her to the top of the charts. Funnily enough, a number of artists declined to record the song before Dua Lipa took it for a spin.

How much regret for that decision do you think they hold today? Just look at the views, it's already one of the most popular songs of all time.

Abba – Dancing Queen

Disco and dancing go together like hotdogs and buns, and Abba’s Dancing Queen highlights this notion. It’s probably also why so many rock fans of the 1970s had a distinct aversion to the disco genre.

Dancing Queen is anthemic to its very core, with elaborate instrumentation that proves to be entirely infectious. There’s a reason why Dancing Queen is usually played in settings where people are cutting the rug with their moves.

Abba’s catalog is littered with smash hits, but none have come close to the cultural effect that Dancing Queen has had.

One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

One Direction has continually proved that the boy band movement is, in fact, not dead. Instead, One Direction builds on the successful formulas of the 1990s/2000s boy bands by infusing modern pop elements.

When they released What Makes You Beautiful in 2011, they were the UK’s biggest success since the late 1990s. Needless to say, the song was an instant classic, spawning dozens of covers by various artists.

What Makes You Beautiful was a massive debut for One Direction. The song’s success paved the way for One Direction to become one of the biggest names in the pop music industry.

Bill Withers – Ain't No Sunshine

1970s soul R&B music found a home in the spotlight with singer-songwriter, Bill Withers. Withers had a number of successful hits in the decade, but Ain’t No Sunshine remains a colossal landmark.

While the subject matter is fairly common, Withers delivers the song in a way many fail to emote. You really can feel the sense of loneliness that is inherent when listening to his powerful vocals.

Because of its relatability , and because it’s a fairly simple song compositionally, Ain’t No Sunshine is common repertoire among working musicians.

Psy – Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style might be one of the first songs to have ever gone viral over multiple social media platforms. It was also one of the first songs to illustrate that a video could receive over 1 billion plays.

Complemented with a signature dance in the music video, Gangnam Style essentially became the Macarena of the 2000s. You could not open a social media platform in 2012 without seeing somebody doing the Gangnam Style dance.

This is one of the few songs on this list that features lyrics in a different language. As such, it makes it worthwhile to memorize for anyone wanting to learn how to speak Korean.

Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes – (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life

Movies sometimes become a cultural phenomenon in themselves, especially when paired with a hit single or two on the soundtrack. This is especially true with movies from the 1980s, especially Dirty Dancing.

(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life became a smash hit single and played a prominent role in the film. In turn, both the film and the song gained became massive successes because of the popularity of the other.

It’s safe to say that (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life is also one of the best love songs ever written. You’ll occasionally hear this on wedding reception playlists, depending on the crowd.

Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes - (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life

Sam Smith – I'm Not The Only One

If you’ve ever been cheated on, you know that it’s a pain that can send your entire life into upheaval. Pop artist Sam Smith, who was a young songwriter at the time, captures this essence astonishingly well in the song, I’m Not The Only One.

Instead of being extremely depressing, the song takes more of a minimalist approach in its instrumentation. This provides a sense of moodiness, letting Sam Smith’s message hit the listener like a freight train.

While it wasn’t Sam Smith’s debut single, I’m Not The Only One did establish him as a key component of pop music’s landscape. It’s also a song that both the artist and the audience seemed to be in agreement with in terms of overall song enjoyment.

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

If you seek out the best songs of all time within the hard rock genre, you’d undoubtedly come across Queen Bohemian Rhapsody. The band produced a number of hits that could be considered the best of all time, especially Bohemian Rhapsody.

Thanks to its role in Wayne’s World, Bohemian Rhapsody has become a concrete song embedded within pop culture history. Just about anybody who hears the song is bound to join in with the song’s dramatic vocal sections.

Bohemian Rhapsody is equal parts a piano-driven ballad as well as something more similar to opera. Its comedic lyrical call-and-response vocal delivery is reminiscent of Rossini’s Largo Al Factotum in terms of ridiculousness.

Rihanna – Diamonds

Rihanna has been a frequent name at the top of the pop hits charts since the early 2000s, with plenty of number one hits. Her career has been quite illustrious with numerous accolades, with her 2012 track, Diamonds, being a standout single.

Diamonds became a career-defining moment as it signified Rihanna as one of the greatest-selling artists of all time. Let this sink in: the song reached the number 1 position in more countries than not.

The song was so popular that it was covered more times than any other song in the 2 years after its release. Josef Salvat’s version managed to go all the way to the #2 position in France and was featured in a commercial.

Journey – Don't Stop Believin’

Journey is one of those bands that really found success in the formula of power ballads. Just about any popular song from their catalog is enough to pump anybody up and join in with anthemic singing.

Take the song, Don’t Stop Believin’, for instance, which is chock full of energetic pulses and emotional relevance. Perhaps it's people’s ability to relate to the song that causes them to sing along every time, without fail.

This is one of those songs that typically gets played on the juke box at the end of a long, celebratory night. Considering how many people of all ages know every word of the song, it’s only fitting that it be named one of the best songs ever.

50 Cent – In Da Club

The early 2000s was one of the golden eras of hip-hop and rap music as we know it today. Some of the genre’s most successful albums were released during this period, including 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

Anyone who was alive during 2002 knows that it was his track, In Da Club, that made him an instant success. The song found its way into playlists in actual clubs, elementary school dances, and everything in between.

In Da Club is instantly recognizable from the minute the song begins. Its key melody features a series of 3 short stab phrases grouped in 2 notes.

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