Whether you are relaxing, partying, happy, or sad music is a must. But do you just listen to any songs? We don’t, rather we try to find something according to our mood. However, if we crave the best songs, we try to find out the popular songs from popular singers. And of course, when you are not sure what to listen to, we go for the popular songs as well. But it is hard to determine an absolute playlist. So, here we are with the 20 most popular songs of all time that you should listen to when you crave the best.
20 Most Popular Songs of All Time
Making a list of the most popular songs of all time was not an easy task. It was a very daunting experience since there are hundreds of thousands of great and popular songs in the English language. But we have picked the most popular by comparing various sources.
20. Crazy in Love — Beyoncé and Jay Z
Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s 2003 duet track became one of the best tracks of the decade and since then it has been one of the most popular songs of all time. The Spotify platform even ranked it as the most famous music in the world based on the number of downloads. It has sold over 8 million singles, at a time when the internet and piracy were already within everyone’s reach. On the musical side, the glamorous couple adopts a mixture of hip-hop and soul to accompany passionate words of love.
19. Your Song — Elton John
Sir Elton John is one of the best-known names in the world. This British singer has given us many hit songs. However, his “Your Song” has created history and now it is one of the most popular songs of all time. It was written by Elton John himself with Bernie Taupin in 1970, with a piano sequence accompanied by acoustic guitar and a rhythm part. The song was honored in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 since the song became “historical or qualitative significance”.
18. What’d I Say — Ray Charles
This song was composed and written in 1959, “What’d I Say” is the track that earned Ray Charles the nickname The Genius and his first gold record. The song is considered a benchmark in rock & roll and has influenced many English bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The title is even listed in the National Registry of Recordings collection at the Library of Congress.
17. London Calling — The Clash
London Calling was a mythical hit of the punk rock genre in the late 70s, a period marked by the rise to power of Margaret Thatcher, nicknamed the Iron Lady. Because of its beautiful lyrics and musical gene, it became one of the most popular songs and still is. The song denounces the social divide at that time in England. It allowed the group to finally be recognized on the international scene. London Calling got the 15th position in the ranking of the best songs of all time according to The Rolling Stone magazine. It was also ranked 6th greatest British hit of all time by XFM radio.
16. Wish You Were Here — Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd is one of the most influential artists of all time in music. And his legendary song “Wish You Were Here” is one of the most popular songs of all time. Released in 1975 to pay homage to Syd Barret, the group’s former leader, Wish You Were There is Pink Floyd’s best-known track to the general public. It is one of the greatest hits of the 70s, and like all classics, it has been reinterpreted by many artists.
15. God Save The Queen — The Sex Pistols
God Save The Queen is a song that created a lot of controversies. When it was released in 1977 by the Sex Pistols, it became an instant hit. Normally, it became number one on the charts, but the British Phonographic Institute did everything to prevent it. On the full anniversary of the accession to the throne of the British sovereign, the London punk band criticizes the allegiance of its compatriots to their queen. Despite all this, God Save The Queen ranks among the greatest songs of all time and ranks among the pioneers in the punk rock genre.
14. Clocks — Coldplay
Coldplay is one of the greatest rock bands of all time. And “Clocks” is by far Coldplay’s best-known music, earning them a Grammy Award in 2003. The track came close to perfection with Chris Martin on the keyboard and Jonny Buckland on guitar, with some very touching lyrics to boot. Like a chemical reaction in Martin’s words. As a result, Clocks is one of the best rock songs and most popular songs of all time around the world.
13. What’s Going On — Marvin Gaye
What’s going on in both the title of Marvin Gaye’s album and that of the blues artist’s flagship song. It ranks fourth among the best hits of all time according to Rolling Stone. It is also the best-selling hit from the Motown label, even if the producer Berry Gordy initially refused to distribute it, judging the title to be too committed at the time. Indeed, the song also talks about peace in the middle of the Cold War. The singer composed his best-known song, following the disappearance of singer Tammy Terrell, his duet partner.
12. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction — The Rolling Stones
Impossible not to mention the Rolling Stones when we are also going to speak of the Beatles. Indeed, the two English rock bands have left their mark on an entire generation around the world. And (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction is the best-known hit among all the other Rolling Stones songs. It’s still performed by the rock band when they’re on tour. Some fans of the band claim that it was while he was sleeping that Keith Richards composed the lyrics for the song. However, the lyricist denied the urban legend in his autobiography, referring to Mick Jagger poolside in Clearwater.
11. One — U2
During the 90s, the single “One” sold over 18 million copies worldwide. And it is still considered to be one of the most famous songs of the century. When we think of the Irish alternative rock band, we think of the song written by Bono. The tube is still interpreted by the group on each tour in the four corners of the globe. It has several interpretations, one of which in particular evokes a tense relationship between a homosexual HIV-positive man and his father. Several famous artists have already covered One such as American R&B singer Mary J. Blige.
10. Imagine — John Lennon
During an era marked by the Vietnam War, former Beatles frontman John Lennon released the song “Imagine”. A song that calls for peace and tolerance amid the cold war in the world. This is why the song received a Grammy Award in 1999 for its historical and qualitative significance, according to the terms of the jury at the time. Shortly before his death, the former Beatles revealed that most of the famous hit’s lyrics and content were composed by his wife Yoko Ono.
9. Stairway to Heaven — Led Zeppelin
The track Stairway To Heaven by the English group Led Zeppelin is one of the best hard rock references of all time. In 2000, the American television channel VH1 ranked the song in 3rd position among the best hits of all time, while The Rolling Stone put it in 31st place. Stairway To Heaven is one of the mythical hits of rock metal and was the most broadcast song on American airwaves several decades after its release. The hit also created controversy because of its lyrics which were misinterpreted by some religious communities.
8. Johnny B. Goode — Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry is one of the icons of rock & roll and has influenced many artists, including the Beatles. Johnny B. Goode is undoubtedly what propelled him to the front of the stage. The lyrics evoke a young man of modest origin gifted with the guitar in American society in full social division. The musician encourages the young boy in his social ascent. The song Johnny B Goode is part of the references and has been covered by many artists such as The Rolling Stones and Elton John. The Rolling Stones magazine ranked it in 7th position in 2004 among the best hits of all time.
7. Bohemian Rhapsody — Queen
Queen is neither the first nor the last English rock band to feature in this ranking. Bohemian Rhapsody has sold over 15 million albums worldwide, making Queen one of the greatest of all time. An exceptional hit, both on the musical side and the lyrical side showing the exceptional vocal performances of the vocalist. The band used an operatic style which is mixed with a hard rock while including a cappella. On the vocal side, Freddy Mercury evokes a person who swims against the tide and does not bend so much to the rules of society.
6. Hey Jude — The Beatles
The track Hey Jude from the album of the same name is an emblematic title of the English rock band. It is the most popular song of the band and one of the most popular songs of all time in the world. The Beatles, the musicians from the city of Liverpool released Hey Jude in 1968. Officially, the title was intended to give moral support to Julian Lennon (the son of John) because of the divorce of his parents. However, John Lennon later said the song was about his future wife Yoko Ono. It was therefore intended to comfort the leader of the group in full divorce. In any case, the song is one of the best songs of all time according to The Rolling Stone Magazine and NEM.
5. Billie Jean — Michael Jackson
It’s hard not to talk about Michael Jackson when talking about the best-known songs in the world. The King of Pop, as he was nicknamed at the time, released several global hits, including Billie Jean. This song was released in the early 80s. And after its release, it became an instant commercial success. Indeed, it is his best-selling single across the globe with more than 10 million copies. The album Thriller which contains the song is also the best-selling album in the world so far. All Michael Jackson fans remember the famous music video for the song, with dance steps following the light on the floor.
4. Like a Rolling Stone — Bob Dylan
According to The Rolling Stones magazine and some other sources, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” is the greatest hit of all time. The song helped launch the career of the American folk artist who was both a poet and a singer. In today’s world Like a Rolling Stone is considered cult music that has changed the way how artists think and many people around the world.
3. Smells Like Teen Spirit — Nirvana
According to British magazine NME, Nirvana’s Smells Like a Teen Spirit is the best song of all time. A hit that revealed the musical and composer talents of Kurt Cobain. Teenagers of the 90s surely remember the grunge movement popularized by the group Nirvana. The craziest thing is that the artist was inspired by graffiti created by Kathleen Anna mentioning “Kurt smells Like Teen Spirits”. A song that was initially intended for a connoisseur audience has become known music all over the world.
2. A Change is Gonna Come — Sam Cook
“A Change is Gonna Come” is one of the most popular songs of all time by the popular American artist Sam Cook. He is also the first soul singer in America who created many masterpieces like this one. A Change is Gonna Come was recorded in 1964 at Rene Hall and later it become an instant hit. The song got released 3 weeks after he was shot in Los Angeles. Moreover, the song depicts his arrest in 1963 and his son’s death.
1. Respect — Aretha Franklin
“Respect” by Aretha Franking might be one of the most popular songs of all time. In the 1960s, she was an icon of African-American political advocacy. She was even among the most influential women of the 20th century. Besides, Aretha is still considered the highest-ranked singer in the American music industry. The queen of soul covered the Otis Reading track and added her personal touch. This helped build her reputation in the music world, but also as an activist. The singer even earned a national medal during Bill Clinton’s tenure and a Medal of Freedom during the George Bush era.