The 50 Most Iconic Songs Of All Time* Revealed | (2023)

*According to science.

Science has the final say on many things, but being so open to interpretation and taste, music certainly isn't one of them.


The 50 Most Iconic Songs Of All Time* Revealed | (1)

Nonetheless, a University of London computer scientist sought a formula to identify the greatest songs of all time and, in his highly scientific experiment, arrived at a definitive list of the top 50.

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According to the Daily Mail, DR. Mick Grierson examined a wide range of songs that have appeared on the “Greatest Songs of All Time” lists in newspapers, on music channels such as VH1 and in legendary music publications such as Q, NME and Rolling Stone. Indie, disco, anthems and rock, they're all there.

On behalf of automaker Fiat, who wanted to identify a song they could use to promote the FIAT 500, he also used analysis software to find out exactly what made those songs iconic.


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This involved considering factors such as beats per minute, chord variety, lyrical and eh content, sonic diversity and sonic variation before arriving at the list you can see below.


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We will certainly not argue with number one.

After all, science doesn't have bad taste in music.

The 50 most iconic songs of all time

  1. Smells like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
  2. Imagina - John Lennon
  3. Like - U2
  4. Billie Jean-Michael Jackson
  5. Bohemian Rhapsody - Rainha
  6. Hey Jude - Os Beatles
  7. Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
  8. I Can't Get Satisfaction - Rolling Stones
  9. God Save The Queen - Sex Pistols
  10. Sweet Kid O'Mine - Guns N' Roses
  11. Call of London - The Clash
  12. Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks
  13. Hotel California - Die Adler
  14. His song - Elton John
  15. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
  16. The Twist - Chubby Checker
  17. Live forever - Oasis
  18. I will always love you - Whitney Houston
  19. Life on Mars? -David Bowie
  20. Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley
  21. Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland
  22. What Happens - Marvin Gaye
  23. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen
  24. Be My Baby - The Ronettes
  25. Creep - Radiohead
  26. Bridge over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel
  27. Respeito - Aretha Franklin
  28. Family Affair - Sly and the Family Stone
  29. Dancing Queen - ABBA
  30. Good Vibrations - Die Beach Boys
  31. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
  32. Yesterday - The Beatles
  33. Jonny B Good - Chuck Berry
  34. No Woman, No Crying - Bob Marley
  35. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
  36. Every breath you take - The police
  37. A Day in the Life - The Beatles
  38. Stay With Me - Ben E King
  39. Daddy has a brand new handbag - James Brown
  40. Gimme Shelter - Die Rolling Stones
  41. What I said - Ray Charles
  42. Sultans Of Swing - Dire Straits
  43. God only knows - The Beach Boys
  44. You've lost that feeling of love - The Righteous Brothers
  45. My Generation - The Who
  46. Dancing in the Street - Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
  47. When doves cry - prince
  48. A Change Will Happen - Sam Cooke
  49. River Deep Mountain High - Ike und Tina Turner
  50. The best of my love - The emotions

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What is the #1 most popular song of all time? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

What are the 5 most famous songs? ›

This list includes the greatest songs ever and features legendary songs from Zeppelin, Queen, The Beatles, Floyd and more.
  • 1 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen. ...
  • 2 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin. ...
  • 3 Imagine - John Lennon. ...
  • 4 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana. ...
  • 5 One - Metallica. ...
  • 6 Hotel California - Eagles. ...
  • 7 Hey Jude - The Beatles.

What's the most listened to song ever? ›

The most-streamed song in Spotify history is credited to… The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights." The song, which was released in November 2019, has been streamed over 3 billion times on the platform! This is a huge thing.

What are the top 10 most played songs? ›

The 10 Most-Streamed Songs Of All Time On Spotify
1Blinding LightsThe Weeknd
2Shape of YouEd Sheeran
3Dance MonkeyTones and I
4Someone You LovedLewis Capaldi
6 more rows
Jan 31, 2023

Who is No 1 song in the world? ›

Beyonce, “Break My Soul”

Which is the most popular song in the world? ›

"Blinding Lights" by Toronto-born artist The Weeknd is the most streamed song on Spotify with over 3.4 billion streams.

Who has the most top 40 hits of all time? ›

Artists with Most Top 100 US Hits
  • Elvis Presley. 1st Appearance: “Hard Headed Woman” (Peak: No. ...
  • James Brown. 1st Appearance: “Try Me” (Peak: No. ...
  • Aretha Franklin. 1st Appearance: “Won't Be Long” (Peak: No. ...
  • Ray Charles. 1st Appearance: “Rockhouse (Part 2)” (Peak: No. ...
  • The Beatles. ...
  • Elton John. ...
  • Stevie Wonder. ...
  • The Rolling Stones.

What is the most popular song in the US? ›

US Singles Top 100
  • (1) Flowers. Miley Cyrus. ...
  • (2) Kill Bill. SZA. ...
  • (4) Boy's A Liar, Pt. Pinkpantheress and Ice Spice. ...
  • (3) Creepin' Metro Boomin featuring The Weeknd and 21 Savage. ...
  • (5) Last Night. Morgan Wallen. ...
  • (7) Die For You. The Weeknd. ...
  • (6) Unholy. Sam Smith and Kim Petras. ...
  • (8) Anti-hero. Taylor Swift.

What is #1 song right now? ›

iTunes Top Pop Songs

The current number one pop song on iTunes right now is Flowers by Miley Cyrus.

Who has the most top 10 hits of all time? ›

With 40 top 10 hits in the Hot 100 over her career, Swift surpassed Madonna as the woman with the most top 10s in the chart's history. (Madonna has 38 top 10 singles.) Swift is only surpassed by Drake, who counts 59 top 10 hits.

Who has more #1 hits than the Beatles? ›

No artist has sold more albums than The Beatles, and no group or solo performer has posted more No. 1 hits than the Fab Four, either. Going just by the music the band made from 1963-70, The Beatles can claim 20 Billboard No.

Who has the most #1 Billboard hits? ›

The Beatles haven't released a new studio album since 1970's Let It Be, but the foursome certainly made their mark in music history — decades later, the group still holds the record for the most No. 1 songs in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, with a total of 20 chart-toppers.

Who sold most albums ever? ›

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales. Second is Garth Brooks with over 157 million units sales, followed by Elvis Presley with 139 million units.

What is the number one oldies song of all time? ›

1. "Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland. This song came to popularity as the most famous track from The Wizard of Oz.

What song best represents the 50s? ›

  1. Elvis Presley, “Don't Be Cruel”
  2. Bill Haley & His Comets, “Rock Around The Clock” ...
  3. Gogi Grant, “The Wayward Wind” ...
  4. Sheb Wooley, “The Purple People Eater” ...
  5. Mitch Miller, “The Yellow Rose Of Texas” ...
  6. Elvis Presley, “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” ...
  7. Frank Sinatra, “Learnin' The Blues” ...
  8. Johnny Horton, “The Battle Of New Orleans” ...
Jun 24, 2014

What is 50 Cent best selling song? ›

  • Disco Inferno. 50 Cent. ...
  • How We Do. The Game Featuring 50 Cent. ...
  • Just A Lil Bit. 50 Cent. 03.26.05. ...
  • P.I.M.P. 50 Cent. 05.31.03. ...
  • Magic Stick. Lil' Kim Featuring 50 Cent. 04.26.03. ...
  • 21 Questions. 50 Cent Featuring Nate Dogg. 03.22.03. ...
  • Hate It Or Love It. The Game Featuring 50 Cent. 02.12.05. ...
  • Candy Shop. 50 Cent Featuring Olivia. 02.05.05.

What was the longest number 1 hit song in the 80s? ›

Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" remained the longest at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during the 1980s (10 weeks).

What was the first song to hit number 1? ›

The first number-one song of the Billboard Hot 100 was "Poor Little Fool" by Ricky Nelson, on August 4, 1958.

What was the first number one song? ›

Al Martino – Here In My Heart (1952) – was also the first ever Number 1 single!

What is 60s biggest hit? ›

Top Billboard Hot 100 hits of the 1960s
  • “ The Twist,” Chubby Checker. ...
  • “ Hey Jude,” The Beatles. ...
  • “ The Theme From 'A Summer Place,'” Percy Faith And His Orchestra. ...
  • “ Tossin' And Turnin,'” Bobby Lewis. ...
  • “ I Want To Hold Your Hand,” The Beatles. ...
  • “ I'm A Believer,” The Monkees. ...
  • “ ...
May 4, 2017

What was the #1 song in 1950? ›

Goodnight Irene

What was the most popular music in the USA in the 50s? ›

Rock and roll dominated popular music in the mid 1950s and late 1950s, and quickly spread to much of the rest of the world. Its immediate origins lay in a mixing together of various black musical genres of the time, including rhythm and blues and gospel music; with country and western and Pop.

Has 50 Cent had a number 1? ›

50 Cent signed to Shady Records in 2002 and released his debut studio album, Get Rich or Die Tryin', on February 6, 2003. The album peaked at number one in the US Billboard 200 and performed well in international markets.

Who sold more 50 Cent or Kanye West? ›

Of course, we all know the results: West's Graduation won with a staggering 957,000 units sold, while 50 Cent topped out at 691,000 units. The effects of this epic matchup, however, have reverberated to this day, as hip-hop music made a hard left and hasn't returned since.

What is the number 1 selling hip-hop album of all time? ›

1 Eminem, The Eminem Show (2002)

In 2022, the project was certified 12x platinum by the RIAA with global sales of 27 million copies. It's also worth noting that the album reached number one in 18 other nations. Sometimes the negative connotations of hip-hop have been more influential than the music itself.

What is the number one song in America? ›

The number one song on iTunes right now is Last Night by Morgan Wallen. Related Charts: Apple Music Top Streaming Songs, iTunes Top 200 Songs, Top New Songs March 2023, Top 100 Albums, and Top 40 Music Videos.


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