Rolling Stone Revises List of Best Songs Ever

Aretha is at No. 1
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2021 2:17 PM CDT
Rolling Stone Revises List of Best Songs Ever
In this Feb. 5, 2006, file photo, Aretha Franklin performs the national anthem before the Super Bowl in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

A lot has changed since Rolling Stone published its "500 Greatest Songs" list in 2004, "when the iPod was relatively new and Billie Eilish was three years old," the magazine notes. So, with that in mind, "we've decided to give the list a total reboot," the editors announced Wednesday. The magazine administered a survey to upward of 250 artists, musicians, producers, music critics and reporters, and other bigwigs in the music industry, asking them to rank their top 50. The result? The reboot features "more hip-hop, modern country, indie rock, Latin pop, reggae, and R&B," in addition to tried-and-true rock and soul. Pushback on the revamped ranking, as with nearly any subjective ranking, is expected. "Let the controversy begin!" tweeted Andy Kroll, the DC bureau chief for Rolling Stone. Here, the top 10 songs on the list:

  1. "Respect," Aretha Franklin
  2. "Fight the Power," Public Enemy
  3. "A Change Is Gonna Come," Sam Cooke
  4. "Like a Rolling Stone," Bob Dylan
  5. "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana
  6. "What's Going On," Marvin Gaye
  7. "Strawberry Fields Forever," Beatles
  8. "Get Ur Freak On," Missy Elliott
  9. "Dreams," Fleetwood Mac
  10. "Hey Ya!," Outkast
Check out the other 490 tunes that made the cut for the Rolling Stone list. (More songs stories.)

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