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What Songs Would You Nominate for the Greatest Songs of All Time? And Why?

So, probably everyone knows by now that Rolling Stone Magazine updated its list of 500 Best Songs of All Time. If you haven't read through it yet, here is the link:

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/best-songs-of-all-time-1224767/kanye-west-stronger-12...

 

The list is definitely more diverse than ever before. Some 254 songs are new to the list. The 60's and 70's still dominate the list, but not as much as the 2004 list. You will also find 50's and pre-50's classics on the list. You will likely find many surprises.

 

The Beatles still lead the way with 12 songs. Behind them would be Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones as artists with the most songs. (Sorry, I didn't count them). Prince is the dominate artist from the 80's, with a sprinkling of U2. The 90's onwards is a hodge-podge of mostly artists and songs that i don't know or never heard. 

 

But this isn't to rant about what was and wasn't chosen by RS. This is about the songs that YOU would nominate if we were making our own list of greatest songs of all time. You can nominate as many songs as you like. And if you don't mind, please briefly tell us why you chose it. And yes, you can nominate the same song as someone else, or just hit the reply to that song and add your own comments. However you choose to do it okay. You don't have to list them in any particular order unless that's the way you want to roll.

 

I hope this will be a fun topic and folks out there will join in with their songs and comments. 

My first nominee is:  Imagine, by John Lennon, 1971

 

What makes it great?

First and foremost: Beautiful melodic vocals by John

It has a message: Popularized as an anthem for peace, it maintains relevance even today (sadly)

Longevity: The song has been covered more than 200 times by artists from various genres, since 2005 has been played every New Year's Eve at Times Square to ring out the old year

Has won numerous honors throughout the music industry 

That's just a few reasons why I think it's great.

FYI . . . It came in at #19 on RS List

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Honored Social Butterfly

Here are the Bob Dylan songs that made the new RS list:

 

4.     Like A Rolling Stone  1965  (was #1 in 2004)

67.   Tangled Up In Blue  1975

83.   Desolation Row  1965

100. Blowin' In The Wind  1963 (nominated by @BobH07 )

164. Mr Tambourine Man  1965 (the first folk-rock hit as performed by The Byrds)

187. Subterranean Homesick Blues  1965

317. Visions Of Johanna  1966

 

@BobH07 also nominated The Times They Are A-Changin'  1964

This song was #59 on the 2004 list! 

 

I would've added Positively 4th Street, 1965. Dylan didn't mince any words expressing his anger and outrage at whomever his intended target(s) was/were. There has been much debate over the years, but it's generally believed to have been directed at his critics, or a compilation of people, as he worked the folk music scene in Greenwich Village on 4th Street where he lived at the time.

 

Any other Dylan songs to add?

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
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Can’t believe Positively 4th Street didn’t

make the list! It’s the best “spewing

hate” song I’ve ever heard!!

Also where is Lay lady Lay? Who made 

this list lol

Honored Social Butterfly

Gimme Shelter, 1969,  Stones

As a lover of all things Stones, it was very

hard for me to choose a song for this topic.

However, this song, to me, speaks to all the

things going on in the world today. Pretty

amazing considering it was recorded in 1969.

It starts with a great guitar solo by Keith, then

Mick joins in with his lead vocals. Merry

Clayton provides incredible guest vocals

and Mick does a harmonica solo. It’s very

cleverly done and the song is still relevant 

today. It is one of my top five fav songs

of theirs 🎼💜

Honored Social Butterfly

The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan had 7 songs each. First, The Stones:

 

15.  Gimme Shelter  1969

31.  (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction  1965

86.  Tumbling Dice  1972

106. Sympathy For The Devil  1968

144. Jumpin' Jack Flash 1968

193. Wild Horses  1971 (one of my favorites)

213. Paint It Black  1966

 

I like all of these choices but would also have included: 

You Can't Always Get What You Want  1969

 

In 2004, the song was #100. Today, it's not even on the list!!  HUH??? 😮  😕  

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Honored Social Butterfly

In case anyone is wondering how songs by The Beatles were ranked but didn't want to plow through 500 songs, I've done it for you. Here is how it turned out - - -

 

#7     Strawberry Fields, 1967

#15   I Want To Hold Your Hand, 1963 (their first #1 in the US)

#24  A Day In The Life, 1967

#72   Yesterday, 1965 (the most covered song in rock history, 72?  🤔)

#89   Hey Jude, 1968

#98   In My Life, 1965 (personal favorite, my #2)

#110  Something, 1969

#121  Let It Be, 1970 (personal favorite, my #1)

#135  She Loves You, 1964 (their first #1 in the UK)

#243  Eleanor Rigby, 1966

#280  Penny Lane, 1967

#447  Help! 1965

 

I'll be looking up some of the other songs that we've listed when I have time, as well as some of our favorite artists that I see you all posting. Requests welcomed. Stay tuned!

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Regular Contributor

agree with you on the "In My Life", my all-time favorite Fab 4 song...

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Love Of My Life - Queen 1975


This song is a beautiful, heartfelt ballad from their album, A Night At The Opera (considered one of the best of all time). It's well written and beautifully performed, but that alone isn't what makes it a great song. 

 

Queen did not think of it as anything special until they worked it into their live shows and found the audience singing along with them. They knew all of the words. Freddie would often stop and let the audience sing it back to him. I think that he was very touched by that. 

 

After Freddie passed, Brian May worked out a solo version with his 12-string acoustic guitar, accompanied by a video of Freddie on piano. He too would stop and just let the audience sing. It became a tribute to the wonderful Freddie Mercury which he still performs. That's what makes this one of the best songs ever, IMO. 

 

I would be remiss not to mention the elephant in the room from the same album: Bohemian Rhapsody. It is considered one of the greatest songs in rock history, and was ranked #17 on the RS list. This song would be in my top 10, or maybe top 5 even. 

 

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Honored Social Butterfly

Nights In White Satin introduced us to the innovative style of the Moody Blues. It began an amazing legacy.

Honored Social Butterfly

Unchained Melody, 1965, Righteous Brothers

I have loved the Righteous Brothers since I

was a little girl and my Mom used to play their records every day. This song embodies

everything that a love song should be IMO

and has reduced me to tears many a time.
Using it in “Ghost” was genius. 
It is my fav

song of theirs 🎼💜

Honored Social Butterfly

I agree that it's a great song but it only featured one " brother ", Bobby Hatfield. His vocal performance on this song is amazing.

Personally, I prefer You've Lost That Loving Feeling. The contrast between Bobby's high notes and Bill Medley's bass is why this song continues to endure.

Honored Social Butterfly

I like both of them! 😎 Great songs! Early 60’s, listening to the radio doing my homework . . .

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Honored Social Butterfly

Bridge over troubled water, 1970, S&G

This is another song that brings me to tears

every time I hear it. From the first time I heard

it, I loved it. Loved Garfunkel’s voice and the 

message the song conveys. I have often felt

weary&small with tears in my eyes as the first

verse says. It is, IMO, their masterpiece and 

my favorite song of theirs 🎼💜

Honored Social Butterfly

Totally agree! 😎 It made the list but I don’t recall the position. 
Sound Of Silence also made the list. Those are nice bookends, the beginning and end, and my two favorite songs of theirs.

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Honored Social Butterfly

If I Can Dream  -  Elvis (1968)

 

There are so many worthy songs by Elvis to pick from, but this one really stands out to me. It was written specifically for Elvis and his '68 TV special. The producers were looking for a song to close the show other than a Christmas song (as preferred by Col Tom Parker).

 

The song was based on the "I Have A Dream" speech by Dr Martin Luther King, who had been assassinated just months earlier, along with Sen Bobby Kennedy. Elvis greatly admired both men. The tragedies greatly disturbed him. Elvis sang the song with such great passion, it left people in tears. It still affects me that way. Not only the way he sang it, but the fact that he left us much too soon. 😢

 

What makes this song great is how personal it was to the singer, and the passion with which he sang it. It spent 3 months on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaked at #12, and soon went gold with over 500,000 in sales. The story behind the song is on the Graceland blog found here:  https://www.graceland.com/blog/posts/elvis-presleys-if-i-can-dream/

 

I believe there were two Elvis songs on the RS list, and this wasn't one of them. (Only two songs by The King of RnR? Seriously??) Okay, a little rant worthy, me thinks. 

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Honored Social Butterfly

Totally agree with you. There are only a

few songs out there that make me cry 

EVERY time I hear them. This is one of

them. IMO it is the Kings finest work.

The songs meaning still resonates

today 🎼💜

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Wish you were here, 1975, Pink Floyd

It’s incredibly cool all the elements that 

make up this song. (Wikipedia explains)

It was always considered as a direct tribute 

to Syd Barrett but that story has been

disputed within the band. David Gilmour

states “because of it’s resonance and the

emotional weight it carries, it is one of

our best songs.” I have an emotional

connection because of the heart wrenching 

and emotional lyrics. I have to agree

with Gilmour- it is my favorite song of theirs

🎼💜

Honored Social Butterfly

Yes! Not just the song, but IMO, it’s one of the best albums of all time. 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Honored Social Butterfly

Wind Of Change  -  Scorpions  (1991)

 

This song was an international hit, especially in Russia, and throughout Europe, as the Cold War came to an end. It also reached #2 in the US. With over 14 million in estimated sales worldwide, it is among the best selling singles of all time.

 

Songwriter, Klaus Meine, said that he drew inspiration from the Russian people when the band played at the Moscow Music Peace Festival in 1989. The band even recorded a version in Russian. It was also adopted by their home country, Germany, in celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was more than a hit, it was an anthem of peace to a long troubled world.

 

Now the fun part: In December 2020, a rumor triggered an investigation by a guy doing a podcast, claiming that the CIA had secretly written the song and gave it to the band to inspire change. Meine was interviewed by radio host Eddie Trunk in NY, telling him that it wasn't true, but was entertaining and might make a great movie! The podcast then triggered a TV series currently being developed by Hulu! (Can't wait for that one!)

 

How many records have done that? But you won't find it on a RS list, or probably any other American critic's list, but it's one of the greatest songs of all time, in the whole world. Sometimes you have to get out a little, America!

 

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Honored Social Butterfly

Stairway to Heaven, 1971, Led Zeppelin

This song embodies everything a rock song

should have imo. I love the different highs

and lows of the song and the lyrics are just

possibly the most clever of any song

recorded. It is in my top 5 of best rock

songs all time 🎼💜

Regular Contributor

can't argue with that

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I looked at the Rolling Stone top 50 and I think we could have come up with a better list.

(Sorry, didn't mean to rant)

Honored Social Butterfly

Yeah, me too! I was very disappointed to see so many current songs that haven’t proven anything. But when you look at who voted, it doesn’t surprise me. Rather than rant, I thought, let’s do our own! 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
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Agreed. Many great songs, some that don’t belong in the top 50, some I’ve

never heard of. Good thing I don’t

work for RS! Lol

Honored Social Butterfly

I think that RS is going after a younger audience. I hardly find anything of interest there anymore. 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
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I Want To Hold Your Hand - The Beatles 

 

This is the song that brought Beatlemania to the USA. It changed not only music, but left an indelible impression on pop culture forever!

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Honored Social Butterfly

Dreams, 1977, Fleetwood Mac

The band were going through emotional

upheavals while recording the Iconic

Rumours album. I can relate to having

personal turmoil in my life. Stevie wrote

this song in about 10 minutes but had

to sell the band on it. Lindsey had to

put a lot of construction around it to

make it work. This song showcases

Stevies beautiful voice at its best.

Dreams sold over 1 million copies in

the US and was the bands only #1 single

in the country. One of my top 3 fav songs

of theirs 🎼💜

 

Super Contributor

I have oodles for the list. But to pick one, I would have to say: 

 

The Sound of Silence, by Simon & Garfunkel 60's ( 64 or 65 )

 

Not only for the voices and music, but the words are just as relevant today as then.

Especially:

 

"People talking without speaking
 People hearing without listening"

Honored Social Butterfly

Yes! That’s one of my favorite songs. 😎 
BTW you can nominate as many songs as you like. I’m going to edit the rules for people who want to list several songs at one time. This is for fun!

 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
Honored Social Butterfly

I'm breaking the rule:

 

Blowing In The Wind & Times They Are A-Changin:  Dylan

 

Two songs that affected a whole generation. Nuff said!!

Honored Social Butterfly

Agree. And both have been covered by many artists over the years. Blowing In The Wind was very popular when I was in school and we sang it a lot, but had no clue what it was really about. We simply thought of it as an anti-war song, which it was, but Dylan’s lyrics went much deeper than that. 

"Rock 'n' roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them." Pete Townshend
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