161 Best Songs Of All Time

Earth, Wind & Fire – September

Earth, Wind & Fire is one of the most legendary R&B groups ever, with music that has become incredibly important. Their unique blending and bending of different genre elements have allowed them to remain relevant throughout time.

The track, September, might be one of the most iconic and recognizable, with lyrics that are insanely memorable. It also utilizes the songwriting technique where the chorus section's vocals feature the highest pitches in the song.

September is a song that has become a bit of a meme in recent years, mostly due to its opening line. The song is also regular rotation fodder for classic hits radio stations.

Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas Is You

Just about every successful artist has taken a stab at recording Christmas music. And yet, most of the holiday’s traditional songs were originally written and recorded during the 1940s and 1950s.

This would lead anybody to think that finding worldwide success in the niche would be relatively impossible due to over-saturation. Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You proves the opposite, being one of the holiday’s most-played songs.

What makes this song so outstanding is that it actually manages to land on the charts during every holiday season. There aren’t many songs that can make that claim.

Avicii – Wake Me Up

Avicii’s death by suicide in 2018 shook the foundation of electronic pop music fans all across the world. His career had a meteoric rise, with Wake Me Up being a worldwide success on every chart metric.

The song opens up like a rambling folk song before seamlessly introducing electronic pop elements. In the aftermath of his death, Wake Me Up has a sort of different light when one analyzes its lyrics.

What’s interesting is that Wake Me Up actually featured live instrumentation, which went against the grain of electronic music norms.

Eminem – Without Me

The Marshall Mathers LP was an album that continues to create ripples due to its groundbreaking success. Eminem was catapulted to the top, but he likely knew he had to top his performance with his next release.

When he released Without Me, it was a clear indication that Eminem was still at the top of his form. Of course, fans already knew this because the album was a victim of widespread music piracy.

Without Me established Eminem as a worldwide success, with the song reaching #1 in 15 different countries. In Australia in particular, Without Me was certified Platinum 12 times over.

Tina Turner – The Best

Tina Turner is another woman who has possessed one of the greatest singing voices in modern pop history. Her journey began with Ike Turner before eventually embarking on a fabulously successful solo career.

There are many Tina Turner songs that could rightfully end up on this list. However, The Best, which is actually a cover song, turned out to be one of her best hits.

In the wake of her death in 2023, The Best has taken on a completely different meaning for her biggest fans.

Tina Turner - The Best

Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles

Vanessa Carlton made her debut with her hit single, A Thousand Miles, in 2002. The song would end up spending nearly an entire year at the top of the charts.

With this track, Carlton would help lay the foundation for the next generation of women vocalists. It would also be Carlton’s biggest hit to date; her other songs weren't even close.

The song gained even more popularity when it was featured in the 2001 movie, Legally Blonde, as well as the 2004 movie, White Chicks.

The Beatles – Don't Let Me Down

The Beatles consisted of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. They were, and still are by many, widely considered to be one the greatest bands in all of modern music history. So much of what we know as pop music today has taken inspiration from the group’s massive catalog.

In some ways, it’s almost too difficult to say that any song by The Beatles is better than another. For example, Hey Jude could've easily been in this list too. However, Don’t Let Me Down has a chorus that everybody can relate to and sing along to.

The most iconic version of Don’t Let Me Down took place during a performance on the roof of the Ed Sullivan Theater. It also features Billy Preston on the keys.

4 Non Blondes – What's Up

The early 1990s were an interesting time to be a band releasing music for the greater masses. 4 Non Blondes hit upon sonic gold when they released What’s Up in 1993.

This track has an iconic melody combined with a memorable chorus that is entirely too hard to forget. In fact, What’s Up might be about as popular today as it was when it was originally released.

Now that 90s alternative has come back in vogue, What’s Up has become a sort of anthem for those who listen to the genre.

The Weeknd – Starboy ft. Daft Punk

The Weeknd might utilize a spelling error in his name, but make no mistake about it, he is pop royalty. His 2016 album, Starboy, is widely considered one of the best pop albums of the last decade.

The album features a number of different collaborations, specifically with Daft Punk on the title track. Almost anything that features Daft Punk is nearly guaranteed to be relevant years beyond its release.

In a way, getting Daft Punk to work on a song with you instantly grants you a certain amount of street cred. His career certainly became meteoric thereafter.

The Police – Every Breath You Take

The Police are one of the few bands that had hits in the 1970s but transitioned well to the 1980s. This shift in popular sounds, particularly from guitar-based to synthesizer-heavy musicality, proved to be fatal to many popular groups.

Every Breath You Take is perhaps the band’s standout track from the 1980s that transcends its time period; it's a very iconic song. It has a moody sensibility with lyrics that could either be from a stalker or somebody desperate.

Since its release, Every Breath You Take has crept its way into countless films and TV shows. Being their signature song, it has also been featured in the Guitar Hero video game series.

Beyoncé – Halo

Nobody could have guessed that Beyoncé would have such a huge career after Destiny’s Child. Beyoncé has risen the ranks to become just as legendary as the likes of Tina Turner and Whitney Houston.

Almost every release that Beyoncé has put out has featured a massive hit in some regard. For many, the song Halo is one of her best singles, utilizing a ballad form to soothe the listener’s soul.

Halo made some serious waves when it was released in 2009, earning Beyoncé a number of awards and nominations. It’s also one of her best-performing songs in terms of overall worldwide success, which has spawned numerous cover versions by other artists.

Blondie – Heart Of Glass

The new wave movement of the 1980s built upon the dance foundation that disco built a decade before. Blondie was just one of many bands that were at the forefront of this musical revolution.

Heart Of Glass might be Blondie’s biggest hit, featuring a tantalizing vocal melody over an infectious groove. Listening to this, you’d never guess that Blondie got their start in the grimy setting of CBGB.

If you’re putting together a playlist designed for dancing, Heart Of Glass deserves its rightful place. There’s a good chance you might have the song stuck on repeat.

Bruno Mars – The Lazy Song

Most people today probably associate Bruno Mars with his massive hit, Uptown Funk. However, it’s important to note that Bruno Mars was destined for success from his very first album release.

The Lazy Song comes from his debut album and combines acoustic reggae elements into a pop format. This really is the song that launched his career to the legendary trajectory it has since achieved.

Hindsight has allowed us to see that it’s tracks like The Lazy Song that provided subtle insights to the creative genius that Bruno Mars possesses.

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