Below is a list of the best songs of all time! That may sound like a bold statement, but using our in-house formula, industry figures have gathered the most popular music that’s ever been recorded. Be sure to save & come back to this iconic song list over time; we have a selection of new and old hits you’ll want on repeat.
Eagles – Hotel California
Hotel California might be one of the greatest rock songs ever written. With a long iconic intro and hugely powerful opening vocals, this song literally has everything.
The Eagles have had an excessive number of chart-topping hits, but Hotel California, released on the album of the same name ‘Hotel California', is one of the most recognizable. It’s for this reason that this track continues to receive such heavy rotation on radio station playlists.
Of course, who can deny that one of Hotel California’s most outstanding features is its iconic guitar solo section? The passage features layers of guitar orchestration that come together to bring the song into a climactic point.
Taylor Swift – Blank Space
Taylor Swift is one of the most recent artists to have gained massive worldwide fame. What sets her apart is the fact that she has held her position of dominance for over a decade.
Swift fans (aka Swifties) would probably consider any of her songs to be some of the best songs of all time. However, if you’re new to Swift’s catalog, Blank Space is an ideal place to start.
Interestingly enough, Blank Space has helped other musicians gain fame. Both Ryan Adams and the band ‘I Prevail' have covered the song with extreme success.
a-ha – Take On Me
The 1980s were a bit of an unusual time in the musical landscape, with pop music taking on electronic aspects. This aspect gave much of the decade’s music a sort of futuristic sound, with the synthesizer taking center stage.
Take On Me is a 1980s pop song that has stood the test of time, complete with 1980s music aesthetic. Plus, the song’s chorus is insanely catchy and sure to stick in your head.
You’re going to want to make sure to add this to your 1980s playlist, as it would be incomplete without!
Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
Ed Sheeran is undoubtedly one of the biggest pop stars in the current generation of musicians. Almost every song he’s released has been a force to be reckoned with in chart domination.
Thinking Out Loud is a track that many Sheeran fans feel never gets old. It has a chill beat that lets Sheeran’s iconic voice take center stage, gripping the ears from the start.
In fact, Thinking Out Loud captured audiences so well that it spent an entire year in UK’s Top 40 charts.
Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive
The era of disco is highlighted by a number of massive hits, which include the track, I Will Survive. Any human who has undergone the challenges of life can relate to the timeless message in the song’s lyrics.
The simple music video actually enhances the song. What’s even more impressive is that Gaynor actually recorded her signature vocals while wearing a back brace. Would you be able to sing with such emotional intensity if your back was out of commission?
Despite its powerful lyrics, I Will Survive is a song that was seemingly made for the dance floor. It isn’t uncommon for a DJ to feature this song any time there’s an occasion where people are encouraged to move their feet.
Post Malone, Swae Lee – Sunflower
Post Malone has been an unlikely success in the pop world, largely due to his physical appearance. At every turn, Post Malone seems to be able to surprise you with just about anything he does.
When he teamed up with Swae Lee, the result was absolutely gigantic. Featured in Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse, Sunflower transcends the film and has become an iconic track in its own right. You can still see the Spidey-related graphics in the music video, however.
Sunflower would eventually spend over half of an entire year in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and was nominated for 2 Grammy Awards.
Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Women in the music industry are not always given the fair shake that they deserve when compared to their male contemporaries. Yet, each decade of pop music has produced some timeless classics written and sung by women.
Girls Just Want To Have Fun has become a sort of anthem that only Cyndi Lauper could have released. This 1980s hit remains just as catchy and popular as it was when Lauper first released the song.
Girls Just Want To Have Fun serves as an anthem of sorts, for both entertainment and social movements.
Drake – Hotline Bling
Drake will probably be considered one of the kings of pop and hip hop music when historians study 2010-2020 music. He started so many trends that continue to be emulated today.
Hotline Bling is a song that is ridiculously catchy, but has a music video that is just as iconic. The popular Drake “not this/that instead” internet meme actually comes from Hotline Bling’s music video.
If Drake’s popularity were to wane, Hotline Bling will likely be the song his career would be remembered by.
Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
Whitney Houston will forever be considered one of the greatest women vocalists in modern music history. Her voice is absolutely towering, reflecting the odds she has continually overcome in her personal life.
I Will Always Love You, actually written by Dolly Parton, remains one of the most successful pop singles ever released. The soft ballad highlights her vocal prowess, making it a popular choice for slow dances during memorable occasions.
Today, I Will Always Love You is not only perfect for emoting heartfelt feelings for another, but serves as a reminder that Houston’s love for her fans exists beyond her death. A truly iconic song.
Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Throughout history, there are certain songs that act as a sort of genre-defining moment. The opening chord of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit marks the moment that grunge was born.
Written by Kurt Cobain, this song shifted the entire landscape of what was popular in mainstream music channels. In turn, numerous great bands were given chances by major record labels that they might not otherwise have gotten.
Smells Like Teen Spirit is a popular first song that many attempt to learn when they’ve purchased their first electric guitar. It’s also been featured in multiple iterations of the Guitar Hero video game series.
Bee Gees – Stayin' Alive
Disco might just be funk music sped up to ridiculous speeds, but it’s also chock full of insane vocal harmonies. The Bee Gees are perhaps the best example of this, with their sound synonymous with the genre.
Stayin’ Alive has managed to live on well beyond the heyday of disco, partly due to its memorable chorus. Plus, the song is actually a template for correctly performing CPR and maintaining a heartbeat.
Let’s face it, in a generation where dancing isn’t as popular as it used to be, it’s hard not to move to Stayin’ Alive. Plus, any time it’s featured in a film, the scene is almost instantly iconic because of it.
Adele – Rolling in the Deep
For being in her mid 30’s, Adele has had a career that others could have only dreamed of. In addition to writing some of the best modern pop songs ever recorded, she’s also one of the greatest vocalists.
Rolling in the Deep is a track that comes from 21, Adele’s 2nd album. This single, along with subsequent others, led Adele to being a familiar name at the top of the charts.
Almost every aspect of this song has been held to critical acclaim, which is one of the main reasons why it is so frequently included top songs lists.
Guns N' Roses – Sweet Child O' Mine
The landscape of rock music in the late 1980s generally featured spandex pants, massive hair, and pyrotechnics. Guns N’ Roses might have fit the bill, but they didn’t have the cheesiness that other hair metal bands possessed.
Sweet Child O’ Mine is just one song from the Guns N’ Roses catalog that remains incredibly popular today. The song’s guitar intro is a common passage that many beginner guitarists learn early in their journey.
What makes Sweet Child O’ Mine have so much replay value is the fact that its exposition takes the listener on a journey. It parallels the dramatics often heard from bands like Queen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.