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Top 100 Songs Ever: 50-1

on September 21, 2012, 7:11am
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CoS Top 100 artwork

screen shot 2012 09 19 at 10.55.05 pm e1348113677572 Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 1

Click here to see songs 100-51.


pavementsummerbabe Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 1

50. Pavement – “Summer Babe (Winter Version)”

Slanted and Enchanted, 1992

Pavement were never dressed for success. On Slanted and Enchanted, they sounded like they haven’t done laundry in years. Even now it’s hard to tell whether ”Summer Babe (Winter Version)” is a ne’er-do-well savant stroke of genius or a calculated masterpiece disguised in ripped acid-washed jeans. But it’s proof that three slack mothefuckers (later joined by Bob Nastanovich and Mark Ibold) who can sorta play their instruments can also write a perfect summer love song. From Gary Young’s calamity on the set, to Spiral Stairs’ slippy bass riff (played on a guitar run through a bass amp), to S.M.’s overdriven and disconnected solo, “Summer Babe” balances the angular music with a simple song about an estival love in Stockton, CA. Malkmus will wait and wait and wait and wait and wait for that girl with the shiny robes who “stirs her cocktails with a plastic tipped cigar.” More small moments that just add up to so much: Young’s idiotic ideas on how to kick it up a notch on the drums at the end, Malkmus’ laugh on “drop off” in the third verse, and the everybody-now tender climax of “you’re my summer babe.” But success it should have come. -Jeremy D. Larson

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metallica one Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 149. Metallica – “One”

…And Justice for All, 1989

Metallica usually put the “b” back in subtle in their early work (“Alcohollica” was their nickname and Metal Up Your Ass was the slated title of their first release, for two) but when your subject matter is the deaf, blind, and mute quadruple-amputee soldier from the 1939 novel Johnny Got His Gun, you got a little more room to run with your metaphors — lyrical or otherwise. Its many sections build off each other, adding more gain and panic with each minute. Hammet even foreshadows his premiere tapping solo with an I-guess-you-could-call-it gentle tapping solo earlier in the song, and that double bass drum riff that Lars Ulrich plays at the top of the final section wasn’t an intentional echoing of the war going on inside of the soldier’s head, but it’s forever a machine gun now. For the handful of you who haven’t seen VH1′s Behind the Music on Metallica, the times following former bassist Cliff Burton’s death were tumultuous at best, masochistic at worst. The guys purportedly sabotaged the production on …And Justice for All, but its damaged sound fit the damaged band that was making it. “One” apes the compositional forms of former songs like “Fade to Black” and “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” and borrows from fine literature just like “Call of Ktulu” did, but the unfortunate circumstances around the album and song made for the most fortunate results. -Jeremy D. Larson

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can tago mago Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 148. Can – “Halleluwah”

Tago Mago, 1971

Like one of those Phoenixes, Can ascended from the ashes of post-World War II Germany in the ’70s with melodies embodying ambience, sprawling experimentation, and tribal-infused psychedelia. Comprised of the finest classically-trained jazz musicians — Irmin Schmidt and Holger Czukay trained under avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen — the band formed when Schmidt heard The Velvet Underground on a trip to New York. The frenzied improvisation of “Halleluwah” melts wailing guitar-lines, Jaki Liebezeit’s proto-krautrock  percussion, and vocalist Damo Suzuki’s diaphragm-crunching yelps, murmuring in a dialect that combines Japanese, German, and melodic nonsense. Not quite an angelic praise, Can’s 18-minute piece de résistance is both a demonic and sultry plea, howling for rebirth. -Paula Mejia

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beach boys good vibrations Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 147. The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”

“Good Vibrations”, 1966

Brian Wilson’s mad genius made him the Orson Welles of music, which makes “Good Vibrations” his Citizen Kane. Appending upon Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound production techniques, the song’s composition is a 90-hour patchwork of evocative recordings boiled down to a potent three and half minutes of melodic charm. It’s extraordinary the sessions did not result in a cacophonous mess considering the sheer volume of chaotic noise exploding both inside the studio and Wilson’s fragile mind. But despite all the bedlam, the complexity of “Good Vibrations” somehow stands as one of the catchiest tunes of all time. The Beatles admit to pulling inspiration from this “pocket symphony,” while contemporary artists like Animal Collective, The Decemberists, and even Girl Talk owe thanks to its sonic mashups, myriad remixes, and ecclectic instrumentation (a Tannerin and a cello never sounded sweeter together). Experimentations and excitations make music fun, but perseverance, foresight, and a touch of insanity keep it timeless. -Dan Pfleegor

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madonna like a virgin Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 146. Madonna – “Like a Virgin”

Like a Virgin, 1984

Madonna’s rise to superstardom was predicated upon a core dichotomy at the center of her public persona: She’s both an innocent, vulnerable girl and a sexual, confident woman. “Like A Virgin”, the title track from her second album and her first number one single, cemented this dichotomy. The song is probably not as musically dynamic as, say, anything by contemporaries Cyndi Lauper or Eurythmics, but Madge silenced critics who had marked her debut album a fluke success by injecting a liberal dose of sexuality into the burgeoning MTV culture of pop music. She creates a semiotic tangle by juxtaposing sultry “whoas” on the song’s bridge with her Lolita-esque “hey!” on the chorus; ditto for her black ’80s punk outfit and the white wedding dress. The video’s symbolism — lions, tunnels, masks — provided scholars with enough ammo to make Madonna an icon of post-modern feminism, or post-capitalist consumer culture, or sexual decadence in the face of neo-conservatism. Either way, without “Like a Virgin”, the superstar par excellence of the last 30 years would have just remained a hit. -Jake Cohen

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nwa straight outta compton Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 145. N.W.A. – “Fuck Tha Police”

Straight Outta Compton, 1988

According to an FBI bulletin sent to Priority Records in August 1989, N.W.A.’s greatest song “encourages violence against, and disrespect for, the law-enforcement officer.” Uh, was there ever any doubt? “Fuck tha Police” brought N.W.A. head-on with two issues its members had doubtless seen over and again in their native Compton: racial profiling and police brutality. Over funky samples of James Brown, Roy Ayers, Marva Whitney, and others, MCs Ice Cube, Ren, and Eazy-E took shots at cops with lines like “Searchin’ my car, lookin’ for the product/ Thinkin’ every nigga is sellin’ narcotics.” A statement this forthright couldn’t help but be, well, arresting – and nobody ever said Compton’s most willful did this one to make friends with the boys in blue. -Mike Madden

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lcd all my friends Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 144. LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”

Sound of Silver, 2007

Not all of us are terrified of becoming culturally irrelevant. Most people don’t give it a second thought. James Murphy, on the other hand, feared it and his self-conscious, inverted, sardonic anxiety was epitomized in 2002′s groundbreaking single “Losing My Edge”. But it wasn’t until LCD Soundsystem dropped the funky basslines and hypnotic piano of 2007′s “All My Friends” that he really struck big and chord with the masses. In less than eight minutes, Murphy gracefully touched upon themes of abandonment, failure, nostalgia, loss, and redemptive yearnings. Again and again, Murphy cries out in dire pain, “Where are your friends tonight?” Each time it hits us harder and harder, thanks to the surging percussion that lifts every beat. As the sustain fades away on the last chord,  Murphy is right there beside you calming your restless heart, and walks away leaving an echo of some imagined midlife crisis. Relevancy? Dude, this track got millions to care about your coffee shop.  -Michael Zonenashvili

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david bowie space oddity Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 143. David Bowie – “Space Oddity”

David Bowie, 1969

“Space Oddity” is about finding yourself in whatever galaxy you may reside in. It starts with a few subtle strokes on an acoutstic guitar, before Bowie “commences countdown” and orates the narrative journey of Major Tom. If understood as more of a cerebral fantasy, “Space Oddity” focuses on one’s search of independence through the courage to be alone, as constructed through the ideologue of Major Tom. Outside of that fantasy, however, it embodies the unique, if not strange, trajectory of Bowie’s influential career as an artist.  -Summer Dunsmore

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billie jean Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 142. Michael Jackson – “Billie Jean”

Thriller, 1982

“It has more hooks in it than anything I’ve ever heard,” said mega-producer/record exec Antonio “LA” Reid. “You could separate it into 12 different musical pieces and I think you’d have 12 different hits.” That’s all very true, but the power of “Billie Jean” reaches far beyond sheer hooks. The video, famed for those squares of road lighting up under Jackson’s flittering feet, is often cited with breaking the race barrier of MTV in the early 80s, when it became the first clip from a black artist to garner heavy rotation. When he sang the hit in 1983 at the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever TV special, Jackson premiered his now-iconic moonwalk, a move that went on to define his performances and redefine what your uncle would try to do at weddings. Spending seven weeks atop the U.S. charts, “Billie Jean” was Jackson’s most successful single; with its historical significance, both to Jackson the performer and music as a whole, its eminence is indelible, a mark pop music will wear proudly and gratefully for decades to come. -Ben Kaye

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al green al green lets stay together front  Top 100 Songs Ever: 50 141. Al Green – “Let’s Stay Together”

“Let’s Stay Together”, 1971

Following a string of minor hits covering artists like Junior Parker and the Temptations, “Let’s Stay Together” would be the first song to highlight Al Green’s shift from blues-tinged R&B to sweet falsetto. With the song’s main theme written by bandleader and producer Willie Mitchell and Booker T. & the MGs drummer Al Jackson, Jr., “Let’s Stay Together” centers around a rolling drum beat characteristic of flowing piano chord changes. Once Green heard the demo, he penned the lyrics in under half an hour. However, he wasn’t too thrilled about his vocals on record. Convinced they had a hit, Mitchell’s objective ears and skills as a producer eventually outweighed any of the troubled singer’s doubts and insecurities and the two released the song. Within weeks of its release “Let’s Stay Together” became Green’s first #1 single, opening a floodgate of subsequent hits that would eventually define Green as the sound of early ’70s soul. -Len Comaratta

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September 21, 2012 at 1:36 am

hardly any metal, 1 jazz song, no tupac, country or classical

Andy Johnson
September 21, 2012 at 2:19 am

maybe that’s because there are so few good metal singles that have stood the test of time? lack of country and disgraced R&B singers is a legit oversight though

September 21, 2012 at 3:14 am

this isn’t necessarily a singles list and there’s tons of metal that has stood the test of time besides Metallica and Sabbath. this is better than most lists though but a lot of these modern rock and rap songs could easily be traded out.

John Bowler
September 21, 2012 at 2:03 am

A startoff parragraph on SMILE and not one mention of Pet Sounds? Am I missing something here?

September 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm

um… #1…

John Bowler
September 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Did you even read the review of “God Only Knows”?

I am not Chico Maki
September 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm

It was edited out in favor of the Thundercats reference.

Andy Johnson
September 21, 2012 at 2:18 am


September 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Probably pissing on someone somewhere

September 21, 2012 at 2:47 am

Beautiful list…narrowing it to 100 creates an inevitable and endless list of “what about this song…” reminders (I mean, only 2 Beatles songs, seriously?), but the fact that this isn’t just a greatest hits compilation of all the usual renowned songs in pop history makes it a refreshing and exciting read. The commentary for each listing amped up my respect for and desire to seek out each song yet again. And on a personal note, hell yeah to the top-10 ranking of “Sister Ray”. An epic for all time

September 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm

These selections are pretty much garbage though and are ordered in a “god know’s why” fashion.

Lee Harvey
September 21, 2012 at 3:00 am

Kudos for trying, but lists like this are just about impossible. Some of these choices are highly suspect. Others are jaw-droppingly ridiculous. And many are inspired. In the end, this is unsatisfying, though.

September 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm

They get a fucking F for this miserable failure of a list.

September 21, 2012 at 10:16 am

The 1 radiohead song on list is Idioteque? Ehh, not their best. This list is just kinda meh

September 21, 2012 at 10:52 am

Haha… what a cute shitty list.

Eric Nelson
September 21, 2012 at 11:50 am

Very entertaining readying the list but these things are truly impossible…no bohemian rhapsody, freebird, layla, anything off of abbey road or ok computer….No tupac…some great surprises though be my little babys what a great song that i forgot about.

September 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

“Man In The Mirror” is not even the best song on Bad, never mind the #4 song of all time.

February 6, 2013 at 5:12 am

actual yes it is, the words used and the music behind it are perfect, and yeah it is the best song on the album you clearly dont know much about music and the meaning and understand of why songs are writen, im my oppinion it is one of the best songs ever writen, micheal jackson was the best singer on the planet cause im sure none of us know anybody that can sing to his ability.

April 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Are you kidding me? U2 doesnt have a song in your top 50…was having I was having a BEAUTIFUL DAY until i read this mentally ill list!

September 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm

you can’t be telling me “get ur freak on” by missy elliot is a better song than paranoid android.

September 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Here’s a fun fact: music is subjective.

Dan R
September 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm

For those that oppose this list (and I have some quesitons too), I feel that what COS did was to comprise a list of groundbreaking songs. While not necessarily the greatest songs ever (some not even the best by that artist), they were songs that sparked a movement, captured a moment in time, or were simply the first of their kind. You really pick that up when you read the accompanying “review”

September 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Disagree. If this list was really trying to do what you say it did, it would include Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, and at least one song by Ray Charles.

I respect some of the decisions on this list as it includes a lot of my favorite performers, but I probably would many of them in different spots.

September 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Right about the metal. Slayer? Pantera?..beach boys number one? really?

Corey Bell
September 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm

why is there no Jeff Buckley on this list? for shame.

September 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Agree with juicy considering the only curse word he really uses in it is “nigga.” solid list agree with the comment someone wrote on paranoid android being a million times better than get your freak on.

Also prince’s “do me baby” should be on this list just based on the 2 minute moaning solo

September 24, 2012 at 3:04 am


Evan Lee
September 22, 2012 at 11:07 am

this list is on some ignorant ish- on top of being culled from pretty much only singles, it more or less completely ignores entire genres of music (country, jazz im looking at you). If you want to make the argument that this is about the most influential songs, this pretty much should be all chuck berry, muddy waters, elvis, mozart, buddy guy and bach. For real.

September 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Pink Floyd had an album on the top 100 charts for 17 and a half goddamn years.
You put a crappy song by Pavement up there but no Floyd? Whoever this
Hipster is who wrote the article should have his Starbucks card and his
MacBook taken away from him so he can’t do anymore damage.

September 25, 2012 at 6:28 pm

comfortably numb……all time fave!!!!

October 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Floyd is one of my all-time favorite bands but Pavement deserves to be up there…..if you apply album sales to greatness then technically The Eagles or Spice Girls should be #1. Everytime I sit around I find I’m shot

December 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm

That says more about its commercial success than its critical success. Adele’s 21 just entered the small group of albums to sell over 10 million copies in the US alone, but does that make it one of the greatest albums of all time? No.

I don’t like this list either, but the fact that Pink Floyd sold a ton of records doesn’t mean they belong on this list.

Phil Miglioratti
September 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm

God Only Knows as #1 greatest song~ Bravo! … But how could Good Vibrstions be #47? Maybe #4 or even #7 but the greatest single will be listened to long after at least 80 of the songs listed here long silent.

John Nesiba
September 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Good one COS, This top 100 list is ridiculous. When are you dropping the real list on us? Did the writers have a sleep over and cuddle to god only knows waiting until the day their parents won’t enforce their curfew.

September 24, 2012 at 8:30 am

This quite possibly may be the worse list ever. No, change that. It is the worst list ever.
Man in the Mirror, Like a Virgin. Enough said.

September 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Lame list, y’know. Beach Boys first? Hundreds of songs better than “God Only Knows”… “Good vibrations” is better than that…

September 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Good Vibrations better than God Only Knows? hahahahahhahahahha no

September 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm

eh, yes! But agreed, it’s the only one better than ‘GOK’. They could have been top 1 and 2 of the list, but GV wins it.

September 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm

“God only knows” is truly a timeless classic deserving of the top spot.

September 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm

This is really more a list of the “Top 100 Songs of the Past 50 Years”, not Top 100 Songs EVER. Nothing on here predates 1960, which is somewhat sad.

I don’t disagree with the selections, but maybe their placement, as “Once in a Lifetime” is just way too strange for me to make any top 5 other than “Most Repetitive Use of the Phrase ‘Same As It Ever Was’”.

No list with the title “Top 100 Songs Ever” should lack Ray Charles. That’s just science. Nice effort, though.

Tara Jones
September 24, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I didn’t like a lot of the music on your list, but I love The Beach Boys and I am so happy God Only Knows came in first. I love that song even though Good Vibrations should of been right there with it. Any Beach Boy song is great so thank you for putting them at the top of your list. I love you Brian!

September 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Not a bad list, but I’m incredibly annoyed that you put a god damn Beach Boys song at number 1. Jesus.

September 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm

It’s All Over, Chained to A Memory, Love Hurts haven’t U overlooked The Everly Brothers.
And where is The King? OK Brian Wilson is good enough to fill the whole list with his songs.

September 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm

If I was to make a list like this, almost all of it would be Beach Boys songs. They have made 100+ symphonies to God through the 60′s and the 70′s, Pet Sounds and Smile just being parts of the story (surely the best parts!). Their music has such soul crunching contrast as themes vary from love and joy of living to helplesness in front of all that is painful. And the way those themes are brought out.. there’s just nothing that compares with it. God only knows how low my spirit would be without the Beach Boys.

September 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Ethnocentric much ? “Top 100 english-speaking songs ever” might be a little more accurate title…

September 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

This is probably the best list of this sort I’ve ever seen. “Once In a Lifetime” was a very random choice that made me head scream “EFFING BRILLIANT!!!” when I saw it. Well done. Also, having “Idioteque” in the top ten was great…..just throw in “Tumbling Dice”, “The Card Cheat”, and “Brain Damage”, and it’s perfect.

Eric Boelman
September 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm

I’m not gonna even get into specifics. This is with out a doubt, the most retarded list I’ve ever wasted my time reading.

September 24, 2012 at 10:51 pm

What a fucking joke. Seriously.

September 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm

What an absurd list. Sister Ray, Idioteque, Hey? Not even top ten songs for any of these artists. WTF are you thinking? And, seriously, don’t get me started on one of the worst MJ songs in the top 4. Really a fucking joke from start to finish.

Dylan Hydes
September 25, 2012 at 2:11 am

What an absurd list. We are to seriously believe that “Tomorrow Never Knows” is the second-greatest Beatlesong of all time? I get that music lists are subjective in the extreme, but I get the feeling this guy isn’t even trying. Every time I thought for a minute it was a serious list, I’d come across bubble gum like “Like a Virgin.” Ridiculous. How about an honest headline? “My 40 favorite songs ever.”

September 25, 2012 at 4:28 am

Absolute shit…I blame myself for losing 5 precious minutes of my life to read that notorius big, michael jackson and others like that wrote something worth entering a top 100 chart…are you completely drunk or what? And what about the beatles…ever topping the chart with the silly songs everyone knows…how boring…It’s clear that a top 100 list or whatever is pointless, ’cause it depends on what the compiler uses to listen to…and this one might ignore the existence of John Martyn, or Mark Lanegan, or a bob dylan’s song out of “like a rolling stone”….shit, really shit…God strike me if I ever read something like a top 100 list once again…

September 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

This list has Sonic Youth and Pavement. You can nullify the rest of it based solely on those two inclusions. what a fucking joke.

September 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm

the guy who made this list… he talks about MJ being out of touch, but he should take a look at himself before opening his mouth.

September 25, 2012 at 5:22 pm

This was the Dumbest FUC^&*(@#$% list EVER put together !!!!!!!!!!!

December 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm

No songs from Toto or Queen, and only one Led Zepplin song.

September 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I don’t agree with a lot of songs in this list of 100, but I certainly agree about “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. This song is still fresh and timeless today. I will say that we knew this was a great song back in 1966. It was unlike anything before it and the instrumentation and “fugue” ending was brilliant. It was featured in a 1967 special hosted by Leonard Bernstein, who wisely defended rock music, which was being mocked and trashed by many in the music community. He thought there was much more to rock music and this was a prime example. Other songs he featured were “Society’s Child” by Janis Ian and “My World is Empty Without You” by the Supremes, as I recall. Those were the days when rock songs were each totally different than ones before or since. Today, it’s pretty routine and remash. I hope we get back to rock music being bold and unique like it was in the 60s. It was always something new and different… and as we have found out, potentially immortal.

what 56
September 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I was going to comment but this list is so stupid, its not worth the effort.

September 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm

absolute (although the author must have been drinking that vodka) CRAPOLA !!! ‘God Only Knows’?? yuppers, how this mediocre song was rated number one…???? this ‘list’ is an insult to better artists and more deserving tunes. disgraceful !!!!!

September 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Don’t know about the rest of your choices but “God Only Knows” wins my vote for #1 as well.

Keri Metcalf
September 25, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Not sure I can a list seriously that doesn’t have Eleanor Rigby, Yesterday, Hey Jude, Let it Be, or Waterloo Sunset. Just one of them would have done, at least.

September 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Not a single song by Simon & Garfunkel. But hey, you made up for that with Notorious BIG. Congrats. Just wondering why anyone would bother to actually PUBLISH this nonsense.

September 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I don’t see how they could call these the “Top 100 Songs Ever” since they are limited to rock and rap, with limited contributions from country (1 Johnny Cash,-and it wasn’t written by a country artist) and a couple of folk -mainly Bob Dylan. It also seems like a lot of them are b-siders. I have never heard of most of them.

September 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm

On great lists Bohemian Rhapsody is usually #1 or #2. It’s not even on this list. Bohemian Rhapsody relates to a lot of young men who kill and is tormented by his act but finally accepts his punishment. This song is art & genius. A song written by one person, rock legend Freddie Mercury.

Viktor Drago
September 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm

like a virgin? gimme a effing break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cyndi Lauper with Girls just wanna have shoulda made it before this SHTTY song

September 26, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Man in the Mirror and Tomorrow Never Knows? Please! No “Hey Jude” or “Yesterday”? If you’re going to put “Tomorrow Never Knows”, then you might as well put “Revolution #9″ on it as well! Pathetic list

September 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm

This list is about as credible as the replacement referees have been in the NFL this season. There are maybe about 5 songs that I agree with. I mean “Tomorrow Never Knows” is even not the 23rd best Beatles song let alone the 23rd best song of all time. “American Pie” ,”Dream On”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Stairway to Heaven”, “Hey Jude” don’t even crack the top 100.

The Dude
September 27, 2012 at 12:32 am

I’m probably going to take heat for this but heres my Completely Subjective Top 30:
1. Day in The Life – Beatles
2. Shine on you Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd
3. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
4. Moonlight Sonata – Beethoven
5. Comfortably Numb- Pink Floyd
6. Arabian Dance -Tchaikovsky
7. Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
8. Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones
9. Space Oddity – David Bowie
10. Hotel California – The Eagles
11. Enjoy The Silence – Depeche Mode
12. In the Light – Led Zeppelin
13. Black – Pearl Jam
14. Losing My Religion – R.E.M
15. Patience – Guns & Roses
16. 5th Symphony- Beethoven
17. Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynard
18. Fade to Black – Metallica
19.Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
20. Time to Say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli
21. My Generation – The Who
22. Tender – Blur
23. Riders of the Storm – The Doors
24. Imagine – John Lennon
25. Chloe/ Tiny Dancer – Mother Love Bone
26. Good Vibrations – Beach Boys
27. Within You Without You – The Beatles
28. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
29. Beyond The Wheel – Soundgarden
30. Champagne Supernova – Oasis

October 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Re-read your 20-30 selections. You may find you’ve gone completely insane.

September 27, 2012 at 8:50 am

Some of these comments are retarded! there’s a lot here I’d bin and replace with the likes of Elvis, Eddie Cochran, Paul Simon, Otis Redding, Joni Mitchell, Queen, Coldplay, Laura Marling, Barenakedladies to name a few but ask 100 people and they’d give you 100 more names. But credit CoS – brave try and informative write-ups if a bit long-winded towards the top of the list.

October 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm

You should have stopped three artists from the end of that list.

September 27, 2012 at 11:33 am

Where’s Gangnam Style?!! lol.

September 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm

If you take all the rap SHIT out, you could add 30 more songs!!! Rap should have it’s own top 100 list. The worst noise ever made!!
What a joke! Who ever made this list should be fired immediately!!

the apple
October 1, 2012 at 7:29 am

Couldn’t find one decent pick, t’was all awkward canonized western pop. For shame!

Brian Wilson
October 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm

‘God only knows’ better than ‘Good Vibrations’ no no no no I dont even know where to begin. . .

October 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I’m sorry, I must be mistaken, I thought I saw a song by The Knife in the top 20. I also must be mistaken about the selections at numbers 1 & 4, as they’re clearly impossible.

October 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Music is subjective, but dang if you’re gonna go with Madonna at least choose Like A Prayer or Papa Don’t Preach, those tracks are actually legit as far as M goes.

Suzy Suzy
October 14, 2012 at 4:15 am

Obviously music taste is subjective, but I don’t understand what makes the Beach Boys song Nr 1. It’s not even their best song, let alone the best song of all times. (It’s actually a pretty dull song, IMO.)

And I cannot take a list seriously which places I Want You Back by the Jackson 5 so much higher than Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. In fact, Billie Jean should have been the highest ranking Jackson song. It’s 42nd while I Want You Back 15th and Man In The Mirror 4th? WTF? But then Jeremy D. Larson could not have mocked Jackson’s songwriting abilities by harping on how Jackson did not write Man In The Mirror. He did not, so what? He wrote plenty of other songs, including Billie Jean which as a song is way superior to Man In The Mirror.

I also did not understand Larson’s remark about Jackson “tricking” his fans into thinking he wrote Man In The Mirror? What does Larson base this claim on? The Bad album credits are very clear about who wrote Man In The Mirror, so I cannot see any “tricking” of anyone into thinking anything there.

October 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

D. Larson is an idiot

October 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

Billie Jean #42, this list is a joke.

Lucian Pruitt
October 15, 2012 at 12:09 am

I don’t believe in censorship but everyone would be better off if this list was removed from site. If you want to make a list of top songs have each author post their own list with their name on it. I doubt that every writer of this site truly liked this list.

October 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm

What a shame. Did these nothumen not know the best song ever is. Bohemian Rhapsody and far beyond compare with the shit they think is music

jorge vinat
December 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm

There’s some really bad picks on this list, this list is much better;

February 1, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Good and enjoyable list. Absolutely no reason why Sonic Youth and Pavement shouldnt be on it- both great tracks- and Idioteque IS my fav Radiohead track, no need to get in a tizzy just cos it aint yours.

mandolin picks
February 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm

It is a good list. Making lists like this isn’t easy because it is purely subjective. The real reason for these types of lists is to show appreciation to the music void of any biases towards any one artist. Music should be enjoyed and not be a reason for fighting. While some might not agree with the op, I on the other hand appreciate good music and have seen a lot of good ones on the list. I can never really come up with my own list because of the broad genre of music I listen to, but I am still thankful that you decided to share your list with us!

February 1, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Good playlist sure ! This playlist is online at so enjoy !!!

Koh Smoger
February 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Imagine is not even on the list. Are you kidding me? Only 2 Beatles songs as-well.

Koh Smoger
March 31, 2014 at 3:38 pm

This list is total crap, subjective or not people are going to say what there going to say. Stairway to heaven, imagine, bohemian rhapsody did not make this list. your sense of judgement is off.