50 Iconic Songs Of All Time—According to Science

November 23, 2022

If you're a music fan, you've probably had this conversation before: "What are the greatest songs of all time?" It's a question that's been debated for decades, and there are as many answers as there are people who love music. But now, a computer scientist from Goldsmiths University has tried to answer it once and for all.

According to Daily Mail, Dr Grierson looked at the songs that appeared on "all-time top" lists compiled by well-known music publications including Rolling Stone, VH-1, NME, and Q magazine. With the help of analytical software, he examined the factors that go into making a song iconic, including the beats per minute, lyrical content, chord variety and many more. The study was conducted in 2015.

According to science, these are the top 50 best songs of all time. The results may surprise you: some of your favorites are on here—and some of them might even be new to you!

The Top 50 most iconic songs of all time

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana (1991)
  2. Imagine - John Lennon (1971)
  3. One - U2 (1992)
  4. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson (1982)
  5. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen (1975)
  6. Hey Jude - The Beatles (1968)
  7. Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan (1967)
  8. I Can't Get No Satisfaction - Rolling Stones (1965)
  9. God Save The Queen - Sex Pistols (1977)
  10. Sweet Child O'Mine - Guns N' Roses (1987)
  11. London Calling - The Clash (1979)
  12. Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks (1967)
  13. Hotel California - The Eagles (1976)
  14. Your Song - Elton John (1970)
  15. Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin (1971)
  16. The Twist - Chubby Checker (1960)
  17. Live Forever - Oasis (1994)
  18. I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston (1974)
  19. Life On Mars? - David Bowie (1971)
  20. Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley (1956)
  21. Over The Rainbow - Judy Garland (1939)
  22. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye (1971)
  23. Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen (1975)
  24. Be My Baby - The Ronettes (1963)
  25. Creep - Radiohead (1992)
  26. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel (1974)
  27. Respect - Aretha Franklin (1965)
  28. Family Affair - Sly And The Family Stone (1971)
  29. Dancing Queen - ABBA (1976)
  30. Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys (1966)
  31. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix (1967)
  32. Yesterday - The Beatles (1965)
  33. Johnny B Goode - Chuck Berry (1958)
  34. No Woman No Cry - Bob Marley (1975)
  35. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley (1994)
  36. Every Breath You Take - The Police (1983)
  37. A Day In The Life - The Beatles (1967)
  38. Stand By Me - Ben E King (1962)
  39. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag - James Brown (1965)
  40. Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones (1969)
  41. What'd I Say - Ray Charles (1959)
  42. Sultans Of Swing - Dire Straits (1978)
  43. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys (1966)
  44. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin’ - The Righteous Brothers (1964)
  45. My Generation - The Who (1965)
  46. Dancing In The Street - Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (1965)
  47. When Doves Cry - Prince (1984)
  48. A Change Is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke (1964)
  49. River Deep Mountain High - Ike and Tina Turner (1966)
  50. Best Of My Love - The Emotions (1977)

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