Kool & The Gang – Celebration
A good party always needs a banging soundtrack, even if you don’t remember the party after it’s over. There are many popular tracks for such occasions, but none more fitting than Kool & The Gang’s Celebration.
Kool & The Gang was primarily known for funk, which played well in the disco era of the 1970s. Released in 1980, Celebration signified that Kool & The Gang were primed up for the new decade, being their biggest hit.
Celebration has an unforgettable chorus, which people of all ages (including toddlers) can catch on to. Because there’s always cause for celebration, this Kool & The Gang track will always remain relevant.
Justin Bieber – Sorry
There was a period during the 2010s when anyone who listened to music could not escape Justin Bieber’s shadow. The pop star had cult status, which solidified when he began to show up in the most unlikely of scenes.
Sorry is a track that comes from Bieber’s 4th album and personifies Bieber’s heightened career in 2015. Part of what made the song so insanely successful is that Skrillex served as one of the producers. Other songs on that album were also contenders for this list.
While Bieber might not be all the rage that he was during the 2010s, Sorry remains one of those songs that has transcended that time period.
Ok, so we’ve a lot more iconic songs to go. Hits by the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, The Beach Boys, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Jay Z, Daddy Yankee, Sam Cooke (and his hit A Change Is Gonna Come), Aretha Franklin, the Jackson 5 (Michael Jackson’s original music group) Frank Sinatra, Kendrick Lamar and more.
We even have a protest song. Click the below page number ‘2’ to see the rest of the list.
George Michael – Careless Whisper
George Michael’s rise to fame came by means of the UK boy band, Wham! However, George Michael has also had an insanely successful solo career, partially aided by his devilish good looks.
If you’re a saxophone player, Careless Whisper is one of those songs that you absolutely must learn how to play. The song’s saxophone intro is undoubtedly one of the most famous musical passages of all time.
Nicki Minaj – Anaconda
The saying that “sex sells” is likely one of the biggest culprits for Nicki Minaj’s extreme success with Anaconda. Both the album cover and the music video are almost too risqué for casual television audiences.
But that’s not meant to discount the musicality that is present in Anaconda. Some epic samples from Sir Mix-a-Lot’s biggest hit play an important role in the subject content of the track.
Run-DMC – Walk This Way ft. Aerosmith
Walk This Way began as a hit track from Aerosmith’s legendary album, Toys In The Attic. What Run-DMC did with the song became the first conscious blending of both rap and hip-hop music.
Not only did Walk This Way give instant credibility to hip-hop, but it also cut racial tensions with a knife. Plus, the song hits just as hard today in the 2020s as it did in 1986.
Coldplay – Hymn For The Weekend
Coldplay is considered one of the greatest acts of the current millennium and has accomplishments others could only dream of. As a band, they have gone through an interesting evolution of sound, establishing themselves as trendsetters in pop music.
2015’s Hymn For The Weekend is a great example of this evolution. The song is almost appropriate for dance clubs and even features Beyoncé as a guest vocalist.
Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello – Señorita
Consider for a moment how many songs are uploaded to the Spotify platform on a daily basis. Then, consider how much it would take for a song to be the most streamed song in Spotify’s history.
Señorita, a collaboration between Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, ranks within Spotify’s top 10 most streamed songs. It’s a track that people still have in their playlists, receiving heavy rotation on a daily basis.
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Love is a powerful thing, often prompting a limitless attitude toward the sacrifices one would give to their partner(s). This unconditional aspect of love has been one of the most popular subjects in written music (aside from broken hearts).
Love song Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is a duet between Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye, and one that stands the test of time. May all young hearts find a love that lasts as long as this song’s popularity.
Christina Perri – A Thousand Years
We’ve already touched on how songs and films can work to promote each other through individual successes. While more popular in the 1980s, this practice has been done well into the new century.
Who can forget the cultural phenomenon that the Twilight movie series would eventually become? Christina Perri’s track, A Thousand Years, became a smash hit, aided by its involvement in the Breaking Dawn sequel.
The Jacksons – Blame It On the Boogie
You are probably well aware that before hits like Billie Jean, Thriller, Smooth Criminal and Beat It, Michael Jackson’s career began with his family group The Jacksons. Just before embarking on his solo career, The Jacksons hit it big with this signature song, Blame It On The Boogie.
This is a feel-good track fitting for any lighthearted party, or perhaps, for starting the day on the correct foot. Interestingly enough, the song was actually written in hopes that Stevie Wonder would perform it.
Katy Perry – Dark Horse ft. Juicy J
Katy Perry has dominated the music scene, with the first woman to have 5 simultaneous chart-topping singles. She’s even had 2 music videos reach over 1 billion plays, with her track Dark Horse being one of them.
Dark Horse’s music video is set in ancient Egypt, with Katy Perry donned in a costume reminiscent of Cleopatra. The collaboration with Juicy J infuses a hint of rap into the cinematic downtempo pop feel.
Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come
Despite the popularity of black soul artists of the 1960s, a clear racial divide was still, unfortunately, present. Sam Cooke is one of the greatest soul singers ever, and even he experienced racism and a mysterious murder.
A Change Is Gonna Come is a track packing a potent punch, highlighting the racial injustices present in the US. It is often seen as being a musical counterpart to the Civil Rights Movement.
Outkast – Hey Ya!
Outkast is one of the few groups that really put Atlanta on the map as a noteworthy rap scene. They had some phenomenal releases in the 1990s, but the early 2000s is when they caught their mainstream stride.
Hey Ya! is one of the many tracks that Outkast found extreme success with throughout 2003. For 2 decades, this song has been frequently featured in movies, commercials, and televised sporting events.