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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:
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
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?
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 🎼💜
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??? 😮 😕
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!
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.
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 🎼💜
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.
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 🎼💜
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.
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.
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
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!
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 🎼💜
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!
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!
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 🎼💜
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.
"People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening"
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!
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.