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Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time

Updated on July 31, 2013

Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time was first published by Rolling Stone magazine published in 2004 and was updated in 2010. It was chosen based on votes by musicians, critics, and industry figures. Instead of focusing on the quality and lyrics of the songs, the list credits songs based on their success and impact upon the world. It is argued that in some cases songs were included for the sake of the artist, rather than for the song itself. As with numerous such lists, the choices are a source of debate for many.

The list is composed largely of American and British artists: out of the 500 songs, 357 are from the US and 117 from the UK; the third most represented country is Canada with 10 entries, then Ireland with 8. The list includes just one song not in English (La Bamba by Ritchie Valens) and only three songs from the 21st century. The oldest song on the list is Muddy Waters' "Rollin' Stone" from 1948 (ranked #459). The only other song from the 1940s is Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" from 1949 (#111). The most recent is OutKast's 2003 hit "Hey Ya!" (#180) - the other songs from the current millennium being "Lose Yourself" and "Stan" by Eminem. With 23 songs on the list, The Beatles are the most represented musical act. John Lennon is the only artist to place multiple songs in the top 10 (as a member of the Beatles and as an individual). The Beatles are followed by The Rolling Stones (14 entries); Bob Dylan, who also topped the list with "Like a Rolling Stone" (12 entries); Elvis Presley (11 entries); The Beach Boys and Jimi Hendrix (seven entries each) and Chuck Berry, U2, James Brown, Prince, Led Zeppelin and Sly & The Family Stone (six entries each).

The Top 100 in 4 Minutes

Do you think the list is a good reflection of the greatest songs of all time.

See results

Rolling Stone Magazine's Top 500

This is the special edition of the issue of the magazine in which the list was originally printed.

1. Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan

Like a Rolling Stone was released in 1965.

2. Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones

3. Imagine - John Lennon

4. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye

5. Respect - Aretha Franklin

6. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys

7. Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry

This video includes John Lennon, what could be better than 2 rock legends?

8. Hey Jude - The Beatles

9. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

10. What'd I Say - Ray Charles

11. My Generation - The Who

12. A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke

13. Yesterday - The Beatles

14. Blowin' in the Wind - Bob Dylan

I don't know bob, the wind never said anything to me. Why don't we just go with 42?

15. London Calling -The Clash

16. I Want to Hold Your Hand -The Beatles

17. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix

18. Maybellene - Chuck Berry

19. Hound Dog - Elvis Presley

20. Let It Be -The Beatles

21. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen

22. Be My Baby -The Ronettes

23. In My Life - The Beatles

24. People Get Ready - The Impressions

25. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys

26. A Day in the Life -The Beatles

27. Layla - Derek and the Dominos

The number of people who don't know this song disturbs me greatly.

28. (Sittin on) the Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding

29. Help! - The Beatles

30. I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash

31. Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin

32. Sympathy for the Devil - The Rolling Stones

33. River Deep & Mountain High - Ike and Tina Turner

34. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - The Righteous Brothers

35. Light My Fire - The Doors

36. One - U2

37. No Woman, No Cry - Bob Marley and the Wailers

38. Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones

39. That'll Be the Day - Buddy Holly and the Crickets

40. Dancing in the Street - Martha and the Vandellas

41. The Weight - The Band

42. Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks

43. Tutti-Frutti - Little Richard

44. Georgia on My Mind - Ray Charles

45. Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley

46. Heroes - David Bowie

47. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel

48. All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix

49. Hotel California - The Eagles

50. The Tracks of My Tears - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

61. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On - Jerry Lee Lewis

62. Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley

63. For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield

64. She Loves You - The Beatles

65. Sunshine of Your Love - Cream

66. Redemption Song - Bob Marley

67. Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley

68. Tangled Up In Blue - Bob Dylan

69. Crying - Roy Orbison

70. Walk On By - Dionne Warwick

71. California Girls - The Beach Boys

72. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, Pt.1 - James Brown

73. Summertime Blues - Cochran Eddie

74. Superstition - Stevie Wonder

75. Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

76. Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles

77. Mystery Train - Elvis Presley

78. I Feel Good - James Brown

79. Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds

80. I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye

81. Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino

82. You Really Got Me - The Kinks

83. Norwegian Wood - The Beatles

84. Every Breath You Take - The Police

85. Crazy - Patsy Cline

86. Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen

87. Ring Of Fire - Johnny Cash

88. My Girl - The Temptations

89. California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas

90. In The Still Of The Night - The Five Satins

91. Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley

92. Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramones

93. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2

94. Good Golly Miss Molly - Little Richard

95. Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins

96. Great Balls Of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis

97. Roll Over Beethoven - Chuck Berry

98. Love And Happiness - Al Green

99. Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival

100. You Can't Always Get What You Want - Rolling Stones

91. Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley

92. Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramones

93. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2

94. Good Golly Miss Molly - Little Richard

95. Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins

96. Great Balls Of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis

97. Roll Over Beethoven - Chuck Berry

98. Love And Happiness - Al Green

99. Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival

100. You Can't Always Get What You Want - Rolling Stones

The Top 100 Songs

Well, that's the top 100. I'll be continuing 200 - 300 on another lens I think the lens is getting a bit long. I'll post a link once I get the list going. I hope you've enjoyed watching these videos I know I have (mostly).

Is the list good? What would you have done different?

Are there any songs you think should be in the top 100 that aren't.

Leave a Comment.

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    • profile image

      Donna Cook 

      4 years ago

      Terrific lens! I was a teenager in the 60's and remember so many of these songs when they were first released. I even remember when Rolling Stone was first published in 1967. Back then it was considered so underground and cool. Wish it were still.

    • Adventuretravels profile image


      4 years ago from UK

      I like the artists you've picked. I can't think of one that I would have added. Well done a great lens - lots of hard work. I've just been watching The Rolling Stones on TV a repeat of last year's Glastonbury Festival - wow wee!! Happy New Year.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      A list with 500 songs in a specific order would be a pretty difficult thing to have a consensus about. Some of these songs are truly great, although plenty are in my opinion rather lousy. I have a lot of favorite songs not on here, and I'm sure that's the case with everyone.

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great songs here!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      It really all boils down to opinion. You have some great songs here.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What an ambitious project for Rolling Stone to undertake. No complaints from me about there selections for the top 100. This was a great idea for a lens.

    • kimark421 profile image


      6 years ago

      I think everyone has their own top 100 or 500. It's a good list, but I would definitely make changes according to my own personal tastes. Great job!!

    • Rangoon House profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      A huge, magnificent list covering all genres and generations!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Cool. I don't agree with all of the picks but it's still a fairly good list.

    • TenPoundTenor profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Great lens! Keep up the good work.


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