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Some Great Songs of The Last 150 Years

Updated on May 12, 2016

When you were sweet sixteen

1. When you were sweet sixteen

This sweet piece was composed by James Thornton and copyrighted in 1898. Thornton was born in England. Apart from being a composer, he wrote lyrics and acted in plays. He died in Austria in 1938.

The whiffenpoof song

2. The whiffenpoof song

The composer's name of this famous song is questionable but the music and lyrics are credited to Meade Minnigerode. Some people credit it to a Harvard student, who had composed it before coming to Harvard.

While strolling through the park one day

3. While strolling through the park one day

This romantic piece was composed by Ed. Haley in 1884. Initially its title was The Fountain in the Park. No one knew who was Ed Haley and no one still knows, but his song became so famous it has survived more than one and a half century.

4. White Christmas

4. White Christmas

The composer was Irving Berling. It was copyrighted in 1942. White Christmas won the Oscar for the best movie song in 1942.

5. Wunderbar – Kiss me kate

Wunderbar was released in 1948. This song was the favorite of the composer Cole Porter. Later newer versions of this song were composed.

6. Yanky Doodle

This song is so famous it is one of the famous nursery rhymes all over the world. It is a funny and light patriotic song. It is believed that the earliest words of Yankee Doodle were written shortly after the capture of Louisburg on Cape.

You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It)

7. You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It)

The tune was composed by James V. Monaco, and the lyrics written by Joe McCarthy. The song is about 100 years old.

Monaco was born in Italy and migrated to America when he was six. He learned piano and composed music. He died in Beverly hills in 1945. McCarthy died in New York City in 1945.

8. Wiegenlied

It is one of the greatest composition ever. Its composer was Johannes Brahms. In English it is known as Lullaby. Even Celine Dion has sung it. It is so sweet a song, one can never get satiated with it. Here is the Celine Dion version.


9. Whispering

John Schonberger composed it in 1920. By then experimentation in classical music was at its peek, and John Schonberger was known for his improvisations. Schonberger was born in Philadelphia in 1892, and lived in North Hollywood for most of his life.


10. Margie

Margie’s music was composed by Con Conrad and J. Robinson in 1920. In fact Con Conrad was a pseudonym; his real name was Conrad K. Dober. Con was born in 1891 in the New York City.

Arkansas Traveler

11. Arkansas Traveler

No one knows who composed it but it was very popular in its time. Many people claimed its composition but all the claims are dubious. It is considered to be derived from three popular songs, but that too is questionable.


12. Armide

It was composed by the great composer Christopher Willibald Von Gluck. Armide is actually an opera which he prepared for the Parisian Stage. It was first performed on 23 September 1777 in Paris. Armide was a favorite of Gluck’s own compositions.

13. As Time Goes By

Herman Hupfeld wrote and composed this immortal song in 1932. Hupfeld (1894-1951) was born and died in New Jersy. The song became profoundly popular after a part of it was included in the super-hit film Casablanca.

As Time Goes By

Let it be

14. Let it be

This song was released one month after the Beatles broke-up. In the magazine Rolling Stone, the song was ranked 86th in the all time best albums. It was released in 1970.

Another brick in the wall

15. Another Brick in The Wall

It is difficult to choose one song of Pink Floyd; I have chosen this song as most of the people whom I asked their favorite Pink Floyd song, they right away uttered “another brick in the wall”. The song was written by Roger Waters and released in 1979. The song has a strong message against the harsh education system, which was particularly stringent in Britain.

Stairway to heaven

16. Stairway to heaven

The creator of this great song was the famous band Led zeppelin. The song’s first stanza is:

“There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold

And she's buying a stairway to heaven.

When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed

With a word she can get what she came for.

Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.”

Some call it the greatest song ever written, but I don’t buy it; it is impossible to tag something the best in art.

The song is about searching the meaning of life. A lady thinks that heaven is real and she is stashing up money to buy a stairway to heaven. The song begins with a sweet acoustic guitar in adagio and the flute joins it. The song beats and rhythm progresses to crescendo just before the end of the song. The rising tempo signifies the tension that builds up in finding the answer. The lady is mistaken that the life’s meaning is going to heaven.

The song was composed by the famous English band Led Zepplin and released in 1971.

The Sound of Silence

17. The Sound of Silence

Simon and Garfunkel created this song; it was released in 1966. Here is a part of the song’s lyrics:

“Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left it's seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

The song is about the loss of tranquillity in a materialistic world. All around, there are neon lights, in homes there is TV, we read the tabloid magazines, and amidst all these disturbances we don’t hear the sound of silence – that is the voice of our inner spirit.

Hotel California

18. Hotel California

Hotel California is a masterpiece. It is the type of song that even if listened again and again, it never loses its refreshing quality. The song was released in 1977 by the band Eagles. Hotel California is one of those songs the lyrics of which has been interpreted many times and many diverse meaning came out of it. Some say it is just a horror story; some say Hotel California is like materialistic life. Some stretches this interpretation to the hedonistic culture of California. Its cities are dazzling, it provides great opportunities to become rich. It is also famous for glamourous heroines and models of Hollywood.

Whatever be the interpretation, it is one of the greatest songs ever. Both its tune and the lyrics are sublime.

The Eagles band members were Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner.

The Rolling Stone magazine has placed Hotel California at 37th place in its list of 500 greatest songs of all time. The song is so enchanting it creates a spell on the listener. can check out any time you like but you can never leave.

Which is your favourite Beatles' song

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