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Rolling Stone releases the 500 Best Songs of All Time (updated list)

Ozzy Onya A2Z

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For the first time in 17 years, we’ve completely remade our list of the best songs ever. More than 250 artists, writers, and industry figures helped us choose a brand-new list full of historic favorites, world-changing anthems, and new classics.

In 2004, Rolling Stone published its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It’s one of the most widely read stories in our history, viewed hundreds of millions of times on this site. But a lot has changed since 2004; back then the iPod was relatively new, and Billie Eilish was three years old. So we’ve decided to give the list a total reboot. To create the new version of the RS 500 we convened a poll of more than 250 artists, musicians, and producers — from Angelique Kidjo to Zedd, Sam Smith to Megan Thee Stallion, M. Ward to Bill Ward — as well as figures from the music industry and leading critics and journalists. They each sent in a ranked list of their top 50 songs, and we tabulated the results.

OLD TOP 10

1. Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone (1965)

2. The Rolling Stone — (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1965)

3. John Lennon — Imagine (1971)

4. Marvin Gaye — What’s Going On (1971)

5. Aretha Franklin — Respect (1967)

6. The Beach Boys — Good Vibrations (1966)

7. Chuck Berry — Johnny B. Goode (1958)

8. The Beatles — Hey Jude (1968)

9. Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

10. Ray Charles — What’d I Say (1959)


NEW TOP 10

1. Aretha Franklin — Respect (1967)

2. Public Enemy — Fight The Power (1989)

3. Sam Cooke — A Change Is Gonna Come (1964)

4. Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone (1965)

5. Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

6. Marvin Gaye — What’s Going On (1971)

7. The Beatles — Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)

8. Missy Elliott — Get Ur Freak On (2001)

9. Fleetwood Mac — Dreams (1977)

10. OutKast — Hey Ya! (2003)


There is some shake up in there but I cannot get with Missy Elliot and OutKast being in the top 10 best songs of all time.
 
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8. Missy Elliott — Get Ur Freak On (2001)

 
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Tschumi

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Original list was on every IPod i ever owned.. expanded 6 horizons more than any other... Can't say i agree with the "more recent" songs that have made the top 10... I'll leave it at that
 

bender

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Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos >>>>> Fight The Power
 

Allforce

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That Outkast track isn't even their 10th best song...

I'm all for the hip-hop inclusion here but Missy Elliot is like Girls Gym Teacher music then and now.

PE is great but come on, the first list was a song EVERYONE could sing no matter the age. Nobody is humming "Fight The Power" while they do the dishes...
 

Maiden Voyage

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OLD TOP 10

1. Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone (1965)

2. The Rolling Stone — (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1965)

3. John Lennon — Imagine (1971)

4. Marvin Gaye — What’s Going On (1971)

5. Aretha Franklin — Respect (1967)

6. The Beach Boys — Good Vibrations (1966)

7. Chuck Berry — Johnny B. Goode (1958)

8. The Beatles — Hey Jude (1968)

9. Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

10. Ray Charles — What’d I Say (1959)


NEW TOP 10

1. Aretha Franklin — Respect (1967)

2. Public Enemy — Fight The Power (1989)

3. Sam Cooke — A Change Is Gonna Come (1964)

4. Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone (1965)

5. Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

6. Marvin Gaye — What’s Going On (1971)

7. The Beatles — Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)

8. Missy Elliott — Get Ur Freak On (2001)

9. Fleetwood Mac — Dreams (1977)

10. OutKast — Hey Ya! (2003)


There is some shake up in there but I cannot get with Missy Elliot and OutKast being in the top 10 best songs of all time.
No issues with the new No 1, but they need to be less obvious about going for woke point. The point is to treat the work on equal merit. I have no qualms w/ Public Enemy or Sam Cooke, but it's obvious what they are doing. Chuck Berry, Bill Withers, Al Greene, Louis Armstrong could all easily be in the top 5.
 

SJRB

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These lists are always nothing more than a cheap way to generate massive amounts of clicks and engagement.

"Best of" lists on subjective topics are a waste of everybody's time.
 

Kreen101

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Like I pointed out on another forum, and almost got banned for saying so, this is obviously a woke, political list: the decision was made to give pride of place to black and female artists, and socially-conscious songs. I'm not even sure it would be possible for an outlet like Rolling Stone, considering its base and target audience, to come out with a list where numbers 1-2-3 are the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Elvis. They'd be inundated with tweets like, "what, so black people can't play music?".
 

AJUMP23

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I know people love Imagine, but that song isn't even in the top 1000. Both these list are bad and RS should feel bad for putting it out.
 
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zombrex

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The worst thing about these lists are how English centric they are.
Japan 80's and late 70's has some of the best produced songs of all time.
 
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AJUMP23

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The worst thing about these lists are how English centric they are.
Japan 80's and late 70's has some of the best produced songs of all time.
It is an English focused magazine. I don't even know one Japanese song from the 80s, so you would have to educate me to bring me around. I don't think you can tell American rock and roll people the best 100 songs are Japanese tunes.


hold on podcast GIF by Earwolf
 

Woffls

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wowww fucken nope.

original list was normie af but at least the songs are half decent

edit:
House of the Rising Sun at 471? get outta town
 
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Men_in_Boxes

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Get Your Freak On by Missy Elliott 101 and Get Your Freak On by Missy Elliott 102 are demanding courses at Juilliard, or so I hear.
 
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TheMan

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I imagine a lot of critiques will fall along the lines of the list being too boomer-centric, but I suppose those songs have stood the test of time?

I dunno. I can respect the impact these artists had but musical taste is so subjective that these lists are meaningless. There is no “best” song

That said, claiming that Get Ur Freak On is a top 10 song OF ALL TIME is baffling. Which I guess drives home my point of musical taste being too subjective to rank like this
 
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Evil Calvin

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That is a shit list. A little SJW going on. I would not pick Strawberry Fields Forever in the top 10 let alone best Beatles song. Outkast Hey Ya is a good song but NOT top 10. Missy Elliot? Really?
 
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InfiniteCombo

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The new top 10 (and likely the list as a whole) is clearly a revision to reflect the political climate of 2021.

As such, it's an exceptionally short sighted revision. While social/cultural/political impact is a metric that goes into the ranking of a song, it is just that: one out of several metrics. And not even the most important one.

Public Enemy, Missy Elliott (😂😂), Sam Cooke, and OutKast are badly misplaced. Even if you're going for the overt, in-your-face politically based ranking, I can name 10 Marvin Gaye and 10 Stevie Wonder songs that are better than the ones by those artists.

EDIT: And several Nina Simone songs. And pretty much almost any socially/politically conscious Motown song from the late 60s/early 70s, and ....
 
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BigBooper

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If they'd have picke B.O.B. for Outkast I could did it being high up, probably not top ten. But Missy Elliot...does anyone still listen to that?
 

InfiniteCombo

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If they'd have picke B.O.B. for Outkast I could did it being high up, probably not top ten. But Missy Elliot...does anyone still listen to that?
I agree with this, B.O.B. is pretty awesome. The whole thing flows great, and the guitar break/solo in the middle of a hip hop song is A+.
 
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tkscz

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Get your freak on, Hey Ya and Fight the Power? Really? I get why they chose Fight the Power, but Tupac's Changes, is a far better song. Hey Ya and Get your freak on aren't even the best songs those two have done.

Mrs. Jackson is so much better than Hey Ya, hell, Whole World is so much better than Hey Ya. Hey Ya is a basic bitch wedding song.

Same with Get your freak on. Can't Stand the Rain and Sock it to me were miles better than that song.
 
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Tschumi

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I just mean.. so few mainstream songs these days are sufficiently high minded... I dunno, fleet foxes come to mind, but they're derivative in their way... I think Tool for one have made at least, at least 3 songs that are better, more important, probably more popular than Missy Elliot... mogwai should get on the list with Mogwai Fear Satan ... I hope Windowlicker is still there..

As for hey ya, that was like #500 in the last list, from memory.. excuse me but i haven't seen it growing in stature, or anything like that, in the interim...

I agree that BLM, so if they're saying the growing awareness is highlighting black music i can totally understand... That is a measurable reality... But shit even Kanye West has done more important songs than hey ya...
 

QuantumZebra

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The only list that matters to you, is your list.

With that said... Hey Ya? Seriously? Outkast is an amazing group and they went with Hey Ya?
Outkast deserves to be up there but definitely not for Hey Ya.

I'd say B.O.B. or Rosa Parks. Both also way more fitting for the current political climate.

That selection alone makes me think these folks didn't actually listen to the artists' catalogues.
 
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OLD TOP 10

1. Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone (1965)

2. The Rolling Stone — (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1965)

3. John Lennon — Imagine (1971)

4. Marvin Gaye — What’s Going On (1971)

5. Aretha Franklin — Respect (1967)

6. The Beach Boys — Good Vibrations (1966)

7. Chuck Berry — Johnny B. Goode (1958)

8. The Beatles — Hey Jude (1968)

9. Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

10. Ray Charles — What’d I Say (1959)


NEW TOP 10

1. Aretha Franklin — Respect (1967)

2. Public Enemy — Fight The Power (1989)

3. Sam Cooke — A Change Is Gonna Come (1964)

4. Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone (1965)

5. Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

6. Marvin Gaye — What’s Going On (1971)

7. The Beatles — Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)

8. Missy Elliott — Get Ur Freak On (2001)

9. Fleetwood Mac — Dreams (1977)

10. OutKast — Hey Ya! (2003)


There is some shake up in there but I cannot get with Missy Elliot and OutKast being in the top 10 best songs of all time.

Missy Elliott over Kate Bush? And a million other songstresses?

I once pulled a girl to Hey Ya! So total respect to Andre and co.

Very Americacentric list, throwing in all the obvious non US infulences. Beatles? Yawn

You want a magnificent women rapper of colour? Look beyond the 51 states.
No House? No Trance? No Grandmaster Flash? Fucking lazy Hipsters.

Any top 10 without Kate Bush Woman's Work isnt worth considering. But by all means Get Year Freak On. Fucking hell. No wonder suicide is at an all time high.

 
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strange headache

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we convened a poll of more than 250 artists, musicians, and producers — from Angelique Kidjo to Zedd, Sam Smith to Megan Thee Stallion, M. Ward to Bill Ward — as well as figures from the music industry and leading critics and journalists. They each sent in a ranked list of their top 50 songs, and we tabulated the results.

Well no wonder this new list sucks!
 

Vagswarm

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This is what it would look like if IGN had a music list. They had to put all the new age trash in there to appeal to the current market. It's pretty bad that they put a legendary masterpiece behind some garbage. Bohemian Rhapsody behind Crazy In Love? Stairway To Heaven is way too high. Get Ur Freak On is in no way the 8th best song of all time.

Total waste. 0/10 wouldn't recommend.
 

Ozzy Onya A2Z

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Going with their flow of an updated and "more open" list in what world does something like Get Ur Freak On beat out -

Run DMC & Aerosmith with Walk This Way? A better song and far more culturally important and therefore deserving of a place in the history of best songs over Freak On.


How does OutKast or Missy beat out Metallica smashing the cold war era to 1+ Million live in concert. Music of this nature wasn't even present over there for decades and holy shit the world over will remember that song forever.