The Full List: Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Songs of All-Time (2021 Updated)

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Since you’re here, you’re very-likely aware that Rolling Stone magazine recently released an updated version of their popular, controversial and infamous “Top 500 Songs of All-Time” list that first irritated the internet waaaaay back in 2004.

Referring to it as the “definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time,” that first list caused a lot of buzz and heated discussions in and out of the music industry. Oh, all the arguments that must have been happening on MySpace in 2004.

Now approaching two decades after the first list, the music mag re-released an updated list of “historic favorites, world-changing anthems, and new classics” with the help of over 200 artists, writers, and industry figures.

The 2021 list has much more flavor

It’s been 17 years since that original list. MySpace is no longer around to post your opinions on whether Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’ is better than the 452nd best song ever, you’ll have to do that on Instagram now.

And not only are we now discussing music on different social media platforms, the version 2.0 looks completely different too; with the panel of critics swapping out more than 50% of the songs that appeared on that original 2004 list. A gut renovation of that initial list.

This year’s list is much more diverse with a large chunk of the newer entries coming from the hip-hop, R&B, and Latin pop genres.

Okay enough talking. You came here to see the full list, so here’s Rolling Stone’s 2021 full list of the 500 greatest songs ever, starting from #500 all the way to #1.

Full List: Rolling Stone's 500 Best Songs
Rank Song Artist Year
500 Stronger Kanye West 2007
499 Baby Love The Supremes 1964
498 Pancho and Lefty Townes Van Zandt 1972
497 Truth Hurts Lizzo 2017
496 Without You Nilsson 1971
495 You’re So Vain Carly Simon 1972
494 Time After Time Cyndi Lauper 1983
493 Where Is My Mind The Pixies 1988
492 So What Miles Davis 1959
491 Welcome to the Jungle Guns ‘n’ Roses 1987
490 Old Town Road Lil Nas X 2019
489 Cannonball The Breeders 1993
488 House of Balloons The Weeknd 2011
487 Cranes in the Sky Solange 2016
486 A Milli Lil Wayne 2009
485 212 Azealia Banks 2011
484 Buddy Holly Weezer 1994
483 I Can’t Help Myself Four Tops 1965
482 Bad Romance Lady Gaga 2009
481 Cross Road Blues Robert Johnson 1937
480 Just a Friend Biz Markie 1989
479 Oye Como Va Santana 1970
478 Back That Azz Up Juvenile 1998
477 Our Lips Are Sealed The Go-Gos 1981
476 Sunday Morning Coming Down Kris Kristofferson 1970
475 Rhythm Nation Janet Jackson 1989
474 Move On Up Curtis Mayfield 1970
473 Stand By Your Man Tammy Wynette 1968
472 Solsbury Hill Peter Gabriel 1977
471 The House of the Rising Sun The Animals 1964
470 Midnight Train to Georgia Gladys Knight and the Pips 1973
469 Goodbye Earl Dixie Chicks 2000
468 Fade Into You Mazzy Star 1993
467 Come As You Are Nirvana 1991
466 Never Too Much Luther Vandross 1981
465 Get Lucky Daft Punk 2013
464 Help Me Joni Mitchell 1974
463 Boom Boom John Lee Hooker 1962
462 Into the Mystic Van Morrison 1970
461 Crying Roy Orbison 1962
460 Ku Klux Klan Steel Pulse 1978
459 No Ordinary Love Sade 1992
458 Loser Beck 1993
457 Livin’ on a Prayer Bon Jovi 1986
456 Summertime Sadness Lana Del Rey 2012
455 White Rabbit Jefferson Airplane 1967
454 Bam Bam Sister Nancy 1982
453 The Rain Missy Elliot 1997
452 Africa Toto 1982
451 Bad and Boujee Migos 2016
450 Powderfinger Neil Young 1979
449 Don’t Fear the Reaper Blue Oyster Cult 1976
448 Tyrone Erykah Badu 1997
447 Help! The Beatles 1965
446 Rosalita Bruce Springsteen 1973
445 Cosmic Dancer T. Rex 1971
444 In Da Club 50 Cent 2003
443 Sugar, We’re Going Down Fall Out Boy 2005
442 Ace of Spades Motorhead 1980
441 The House That Built Me Miranda Lambert 2010
440 If I Ain’t Got You Alicia Keys 2003
439 La Vida Es un Carnaval Celia Cruz 1998
438 Savage (Remix) Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyonce 2020
437 Passionate Kisses Lucinda Williams 1988
436 Call Me Maybe Carly Rae Jepsen 2012
435 Limelight Rush 1981
434 Sheena Is a Punk Rocker Ramones 1977
433 West End Girls Pet Shop Boys 1984
432 Summertime Blues Eddie Cochran 1958
431 Adore Prince 1987
430 They Reminiscence Over You Peter Rock and CL Smooth 1992
429 Under Pressure Queen and David Bowie 1981
428 Sign of the Times Harry Styles 2017
427 Rapper’s Delight Sugarhill Gang 1979
426 Super Bass Nicki Minaj 2010
425 Mannish Boy Muddy Waters 1955
424 No Diggity Blackstreet 1996
423 Criminal Fiona Apple 1996
422 Flava in Your Ear Craig Mack 1994
421 How Soon Is Now The Smiths 1984
420 California Dreamin’ Mamas and the Papas 1965
419 Fantasy Mariah Carey 1995
418 Green Onions Booker T 1962
417 Uptown Funk Mark Ronson 2015
416 Alive Pearl Jam 1991
415 Enjoy the Silence Depeche Mode 1990
414 Dreaming Blondie 1979
413 Gloria Them 1965
412 Buffalo Stance Neneh Cherry 1988
411 Heavy Metal Drummer Wilco 2002
410 Whipping Post Allman Brother’s Band 1969
409 Everlong Foo Fighters 1997
408 Father and Son Cat Stevens 1970
407 Free Bird Skynyrd 1973
406 Sucker MC’s Run-DMC 1984
405 Amor Prohibido Selena 1994
404 Rock and Roll All Nite Kiss 1974
403 Ain’t Nobody Rufus and Chaka Khan 1983
402 Lovely Day Bill Withers 1977
401 Go Your Own Way Fleetwood Mac 1977
400 Station to Station David Bowie 1976
399 You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) Sylvester 1978
398 Hungry Like the Wolf Duran Duran 1982
397 Bring the Noise Public Enemy 1987
396 Alison Elvis Costello 1977
395 Planet Rock Afrika Bambaataa 1982
394 Grace Jeff Buckley 1994
393 Say It Loud James Brown 1968
392 Fix You Coldplay 2005
391 Springsteen Eric Church 2011
390 Enter Sandman Metallica 1991
389 Brass in Pocket Pretenders 1879
388 Party Up (Up in Here) DMX 1999
387 Personality Crisis The New York Dolls 1973
386 Lola The Kinks 1970
385 I’m Coming Out Diana Ross 1980
384 I Like It Cardi B 2018
383 Redbone Childish Gambino 2016
382 Paper Bag Fiona Apple 1999
381 Typical Girls The Slits 1979
380 Radiation Vibe Fountains of Wayne 1996
379 Untitled (How Does It Feel) D’Angelo 2000
378 Mr. Brightside The Killers 2003
377 Pictures of You The Cure 1989
376 Mama Tried Merle Haggard 1968
375 Up On the Roof Drifters 1964
374 Be Thankful for What You Got William DeVaughn 1974
373 Hotline Bling Drake 2015
372 I Can’t Make You Love Me Bonnie Raitt 1991
371 Bennie and the Jets Elton John 1973
370 Peggy Sue Buddy Holly 1958
369 Just What I Needed The Cars 1978
368 Black Hole Sun Soundgarden 1994
367 Thinkin’ About You Frank Ocean 2012
366 Da Doo Run Run The Crystals 1962
365 God Save the Queen The Sex Pistols 1977
364 Box of Rain Grateful Dead 1970
363 Could You Be Loved Bob Marley 1980
362 Merry Go Round Kacey Musgraves 2013
361 The Harder They Come Jimmy Cliff 1972
360 Little Red Corvette Prince 1982
359 Killing Me Softly with His Song The Fugees 1996
358 Because the Night Patti Smith 1978
357 Blank Space Taylor Swift 2014
356 Surrender Cheap Trick 1978
355 Don’t Leave Me This Way Thelma Houston 1976
354 Rock With You Michael Jackson 1979
353 Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) The Eurythmics 1983
352 It Was a Good Day Ice Cube 1992
351 Ponta De Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma) Jorge Ben 1976
350 Angel in Montgomery John Prine 1971
349 Time of the Season Zombies 1968
348 Virginia Plain Roxy Music 1972
347 Heartbreak Hotel Elvis 1956
346 Dynamite BTS 2020
345 It’s Too Late Carole King 1971
344 Iron Man Black Sabbath 1971
343 What a Fool Believes The Doobie Brothers 1979
342 Promised Land Chuck Berry 1964
341 I’m a Believer Monkees 1966
340 (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais The Clash 1978
339 1999 Prince 1982
338 Paranoid Black Sabbath 1970
337 Believe Cher 1998
336 She’s Gone Hall and Oates 1973
335 Move Your Body (The House Music Anthem) Marshall Jefferson 1986
334 Ripple Grateful Dead 1970
333 Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone The Temptations 1972
332 Umbrella Rihanna 2007
331 Please Mr. Postman The Marvelettes 1961
330 Big Poppa The Notorious B.I.G. 1994
329 Safaera Bad Bunny 2020
328 Under the Bridge Red Hot Chili Peppers 1991
327 Real Love Mary J. Blige 1992
326 Portions for Foxes Rilo Kiley 2004
325 Lust for Life Iggy Pop 1977
324 Scenes from an Italian Restaurant Billy Joel 1977
323 All I Have to Do Is Dream Everly Brothers 1958
322 After the Gold Rush Neil Young 1970
321 I Still Haven’t Found U2 1987
320 California Love 2Pac 1995
319 Everybody Wants to Rule the World Tears for Fears 1985
318 Hound Dog Big Mama Thornton 1953
317 Visions of Johanna Bob Dylan 1966
316 Leader of the Pack Shangri-Las 1964
315 Part 1 – Acknowledgement John Coltrane 1965
314 I Wanna Be Your Dog The Stooges 1969
313 The Tears of a Clown Smokey Robinson and the Miracles 1967
312 Walk on By Isaac Hayes 1969
311 Hotel California Eagles 1977
310 Light My Fire The Doors 1967
309 Ain’t No Sunshine Bill Withers 1971
308 Divorce Song Liz Phair 1993
307 Crazy Gnarls Barkley 2006
306 Chain of Fools Aretha Franklin 1967
305 Every Breath You Take The Police 1983
304 Trans-Europe Express Kraftwerk 1977
303 No Scrubs TLC 1999
302 Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd 1975
301 Night Moves Bob Seger 1978
300 Rock Lobster B-52s 1978
299 I Put a Spell on You Jay Hawkins 1956
298 Jungleland Bruce Springsteen 1975
297 Wouldn’t It Be Nice Beach Boys 1966
296 Rebel Girl Bikini Kill 1996
295 Won’t Get Fooled Again The Who 1971
294 Sweet Jane Velvet Underground 1970
293 School’s Out Alice Cooper 1973
292 Can I Kick it A Tribe Called Quest 1990
291 In the Air Tonight Phil Collins 1981
290 Yeah Usher 2004
289 Atlantic City Bruce Springsteen 1982
288 That’s the Joint The Funky Four Plus One 1980
287 You Shook Me All Night Long AC/DC 1980
286 Dancing Queen ABBA 1976
285 Say My Name Destiny’s Child 1999
284 Suzanne Leonard Cohen 1967
283 Georgia On My Mind Ray Charles 1960
282 Never Tear Us Apart INXS 1988
281 Grindin Clipse 2002
280 Penny Lane The Beatles 1967
279 Karma Police Radiohead 1997
278 Pressure Drop Toots and the Maytals 1970
277 Bo Diddley Bo Diddley 1955
276 Ever Fallen in Love Buzzcocks 1977
275 Sail Away Randy Newman 1972
274 Love and Happiness Al Green 1972
273 Killing Me Softly With His Song Roberta Flack 1973
272 The Boys are Back in Town Thin Lizzy 1976
271 A Whiter Shade of Pale Procol Harum 1967
270 Closer Nine Inch Nails 1994
269 Unchained Melody The Righteous Brothers 1965
268 Shout (Parts 1 and 2) The Isley Brothers 1959
267 Take Care Drake 2011
266 King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown Augustus Pablo 1974
265 Left of the Dial The Replacements 1985
264 Let’s Get It On Marvin Gaye 1973
263 Coat of Many Colors Dolly Parton 1971
262 American Tune Paul Simon 1973
261 Pusherman Curtis Mayfield 1972
260 Get Up Stand Up The Wailers 1973
259 Heart of Gold Neil Young 1972
258 The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Gil-Scott Heron 1971
257 Heat Wave Martha and the Vandellas 1963
256 Master of Puppets Metallica 1986
255 Coal Miner’s Daughter Loretta Lynn 1970
254 Stop! In the Name of Love The Supremes 1965
253 Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain Willie Nelson 1975
252 Flash Light Parliament 1977
251 I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor 1978
250 Purple Haze Jimi Hendrix 1967
249 Bad Reputation Joan Jett 1980
248 Straight Outta Compton N.W.A. 1988
247 River Joni Mitchell 1971
246 Ooh La La Faces 1973
245 Sabotage Beastie Boys 1994
244 Summer Babe (Winter Version) Pavement 1992
243 Eleanor Rigby The Beatles 1966
242 Great Balls of Fire Jerry Lee Lewis 1957
241 The Humpty Dance The Digital Underground 1990
240 I Want It That Way Backstreet Boys 1999
239 September Gurls Big Star 1974
238 Are You That Somebody Aaliyah 1998
237 Your Cheatin’ Heart Hank Williams 1953
236 Lean on Me Bill Withers 1972
235 Blue Monday New Order 1983
234 You Keep Me Hangin’ On Supremes 1966
233 Groove Is in the Heart Deee-Lite 1990
232 My Generation The Who 1965
231 I Wanna Dance with Somebody Whitney Houston 1987
230 Mr. Tambourine Man The Byrds 1965
229 This Land is Your Land Woody Guthrie 1951
228 Single Ladies Beyonce 2008
227 Fortunate Son CCR 1969
226 There Is a Light That Never Goes Out The Smiths 1986
225 Both Sides Now Joni Mitchell 1969
224 Layla Derek and the Dominoes 1970
223 Stan Eminem 2000
222 Suite: Judy Blue Eyes Crosby, Stills & Nash 1969
221 River Deep – Mountain High Ike and Tina Turner 1966
220 Bizarre Love Triangle New Order 1986
219 Free Fallin’ Tom Petty 1989
218 In the Midnight Hour Wilson Pickett 1965
217 Edge of Seventeen Stevie Nicks 1981
216 Jailhouse Rock Elvis 1957
215 Shook Ones (Pt. II) Mobb Deep 1995
214 Deacon Blues Steely Dan 1977
213 Paint It Black The Rolling Stones 1966
212 More Than a Feeling Boston 1976
211 With or Without You U2 1987
210 One Nation Under a Groove Funkadelic 1978
209 Boys of Summer Don Henley 1984
208 Doll Parts Hole 1994
207 Killing in the Name Rage Against the Machine 1992
206 Wichita Lineman Glen Campbell 1968
205 …Baby One More Time Britney Spears 1998
204 Young Americans David Bowie 1975
203 Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours Stevie Wonder 1970
202 Your Song Elton John 1970
201 Ring of Fire Johnny Cash 1963
200 Changes David Bowie 1971
199 Dream On Aerosmith 1973
198 Sexual Healing Marvin Gaye 1982
197 I Can’t Stand the Rain Ann Peebles 1973
196 Sex Machine James Brown 1970
195 Crazy Patsy Cline 1961
194 Rid of Me PJ Harvey 1993
193 Wild Horses Rolling Stones 1971
192 Mind Playing Tricks on Me Geto Boys 1991
191 Ode to Billie Joe Bobby Gentry 1967
190 Fuck the Police N.W.A. 1988
189 Space Oddity David Bowie 1969
188 Little Wing Jimi Hendrix 1967
187 Subterranean Homesick Blues Bob Dylan 1965
186 I’ll Take You There Staple Singers 1972
185 Beat It Michael Jackson 1982
184 Nothing Compares to U Sinead O’Connor 1990
183 You Are the Sunshine of My Life Stevie Wonder 1972
182 The Sounds of Silence Simon and Garfunkel 1964
181 Eight Miles High The Byrds 1966
180 Walk on the Wild Side Lou Reed 1972
179 Comfortably Numb Pink Floyd 1979
178 Bad Guy Billie Eilish 2019
177 Jump Van Halen 1983
176 You Really Got Me The Kinks 1964
175 I Only Have Eyes for You Flamingos 1959
174 Radio Free Europe R.E.M. 1983
173 Marquee Moon Television 1977
172 Mississippi Goddam Nina Simone 1964
171 What a Wonderful World Louis Armstrong 1967
170 In the Still of the Nite Five Satins 1956
169 American Girl Tom Petty 1976
168 ‘Son of a Preacher Man Dusty Springfield 1968
167 Lose Yourself Eminem 2002
166 All the Young Dudes Mott the Hoople 1972
165 I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry Hank Williams 1949
164 Mr. Tambourine Man Bob Dylan 1965
163 Landslide Fleetwood Mac 1975
162 Pink Moon Nick Drake 1972
161 Into the Groove Madonna 1985
160 Nightswimming R.E.M. 1992
159 Baba O’Riley The Who 1971
158 Cissy Strut Meters 1969
157 Teenage Riot Sonic Youth 1988
156 Louie Louie The Kinsgmen 1963
155 Last Nite The Strokes 2001
154 Spoonful Howlin’ Wolf 1960
153 Super Freak James Brown 1981
152 Proud Mary CCR 1969
151 Will You Love Me Tomorrow Shirelles 1960
150 Basket Case Green Day 1994
149 Rocket Man Elton John 1972
148 Kashmir Led Zeppelin 1975
147 Blueberry Hill Fats Domino 1956
146 Fire and Rain James Taylor 1970
145 Ms. Jackson Outkast 2000
144 Jumpin’ Jack Flash Rolling Stones 1968
143 London Calling The Clash 1980
142 He Stopped Loving Her Today George Jones 1980
141 Maggie May Rod Stewart 1971
140 No Woman No Cry Bob Marley 1975
139 Vogue Madonna 1990
138 Heart of Glass Blondie 1979
137 Thank U, Next Arianna Grande 2019
136 Try a Little Tenderness Otis Redding 1966
135 She Loves You The Beatles 1964
134 What’s Love Got to Do With It Tina Turner 1984
133 Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey 1981
132 Paid in Full Eric B. and Rakim 1987
131 Stand by Me Ben E. King 1961
130 Dancing in the Street Martha and the Vandellas 1964
129 Hold On We’re Going Home Drake 2013
128 Whole Lotta Love Led Zeppelin 1969
127 Waterfalls TLC 1995
126 Freedom! ‘90’ George Michael 1990
125 Anarchy in the U.K. The Sex Pistols 1977
124 That’ll Be the Day Buddy Holly 1957
123 This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody) Talking Heads 1983
122 People Get Ready Impressions 1965
121 Let It Be The Beatles 1970
120 Oh Bondage! Up Yours! X-Ray Spex 1977
119 I Heard It Through the Grapevine Marvin Gaye 1968
118 Creep Radiohead 1992
117 I Say a Little Prayer Aretha Franklin 1968
116 It Takes Two Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock 1988
115 At Last Etta James 1960
114 Toxic Britney Spears 2003
113 Higher Ground Stevie Wonder 1973
112 Losing My Religion REM 1991
111 Thunder Road Bruce Springsteen 1975
110 Something The Beatles 1969
109 Everyday People Sly and the Family Stone 1968
108 Just Like Heaven The Cure 1987
107 C.R.E.A.M. Wu-Tang Clan 1994
106 Sympathy for the Devil The Rolling Stones 1968
105 Life on Mars? David Bowie 1971
104 I Want You Back Jackson 5 1969
103 You Oughta Know Alanis Morisette 1995
102 Maybelline Chuck Berry 1955
101 Maps Yeah Yeah Yeahs 2003
100 Blowin’ in the Wind Bob Dylan 1963
99 ‘Stayin’ Alive Bee Gees 1977
98 In My Life The Beatles 1965
97 Gloria Patti Smith 1975
96 99 Problems Jay-Z 2003
95 Wonderwall Oasis 1995
94 I Will Always Love You Whitney Houston 1992
93 Since U Been Gone Kelly Clarkson 2004
92 Good Golly Miss Molly Little Richard 1958
91 Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You) UKG 2007
90 You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman Aretha Franklin 1967
89 Hey Jude The Beatles 1968
88 Sweet Child O’ Mine Guns ‘N’ Roses 1987
87 All My Friends LCD Soundsystem 2007
86 Tumbling Dice The Rolling Stones 1972
85 Kiss Prince 1986
84 Let’s Stay Together Al Green 1971
83 Desolation Row Bob Dylan 1965
82 Rolling in the Deep Adele 2011
81 I’m Waiting for the Man Velvet Underground 1967
80 What’d I Say Ray Charles 1957
79 Back to Black Amy Winehouse 2006
78 Reach Out (I’ll Be There) The Four Tops 1967
77 Roadrunner Modern Lovers 1976
76 I Walk the Line Johnny Cash 1956
75 Common People Pulp 1996
74 Hallelujah Leonard Cohen 1984
73 Formation Beyonce 2016
72 Yesterday The Beatles 1965
71 Fast Car Tracy Chapman 1988
70 Suspicious Minds Elvis 1969
69 All Too Well Taylor Swift 2013
68 Good Times Chic 1979
67 Tangled Up in Blue Bob Dylan 1975
66 Bridge Over Troubled Water Simon and Garfunkel 1970
65 September Earth, Wind & Fire 1978
64 Blitzkrieg Bop The Ramones 1976
63 Jolene Dolly Parton 1974
62 One U2 1992
61 Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin 1971
60 Running Up That Hill Kate Bush 1985
59 The Message Grandmaster Flash 1982
58 The Weight The Band 1968
57 Family Affair Sly and the Family Stone 1971
56 Work It Missy Elliott 2000
55 Like a Prayer Madonna 1989
54 The Tracks of My Tears The Miracles 1965
53 Good Vibrations The Beach Boys 1966
52 I Feel Love Donna Summer 1977
51 Walk on By Dionne Warwick 1964
50 Gasolina Daddy Yankee 2010
49 Doo Wop (That Thing) Lauryn Hill 1998
48 Idioteque Radiohead 2000
47 Tiny Dancer Elton John 1972
46 Paper Planes M.I.A. 2008
45 Alright Kendrick Lamar 2015
44 Billie Jean Michael Jackson 1982
43 My Girl Temptations 1965
42 Redemption Song Bob Marley 1980
41 Love Will Tear Us Apart Joy Division 1980
40 All Along the Watchtower Jimi Hendrix 1968
39 B.O.B. Outkast 2000
38 (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay Otis Redding 1967
37 When Doves Cry Prince 1984
36 Seven Nation Army White Stripes 2003
35 Tutti Frutti Little Richard 1955
34 Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag James Brown 1966
33 Johnny B. Goode Chuck Berry 1958
32 Juicy Notorious B.I.G. 1994
31 Satisfaction Rolling Stones 1965
30 Royals Lorde 2011
29 Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang Dr. Dre 1992
28 Once in a Lifetime Talking Heads 1980
27 Born to Run Bruce Springsteen 1975
26 A Case of You Joni Mitchell 1971
25 Runaway Kanye West 2010
24 A Day in the Life The Beatles 1967
23 ’Heroes’ David Bowie 1977
22 Be My Baby Ronettes 1963
21 Strange Fruit Billie Holiday 1939
20 Dancing on My Own Robyn 2010
19 Imagine John Lennon 1971
18 Purple Rain Prince 1984
17 Bohemian Rhapsody Queen 1975
16 Crazy in Love Beyonce 2003
15 I Want to Hold Your Hand The Beatles 1963
14 Waterloo Sunset The Kinks 1967
13 Gimme Shelter Stones 1969
12 Superstition Stevie Wonder 1972
11 God Only Knows Beach Boys 1966
10 ‘Hey Ya! Outkast 2003
9 Dreams Fleetwood Mac 1977
8 Get Ur Freak On Missy Elliott 2001
7 Strawberry Fields Forever The Beatles 1967
6 What’s Goin’ On? Marvin Gaye 1971
5 Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana 1991
4 Like a Rolling Stone Bob Dylan 1965
3 A Change is Gonna Come Sam Cooke 1964
2 Fight the Power Public Enemy 1989
1 Respect Aretha Franklin 1967

You can sort the above list by rank, song, artist or year if you want to slice and dice these greatest songs. We’ve also created a Spotify playlist of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time where you can play each and every song in the order of Rolling Stone’s ranking.

All in all, the playlist will take you a less than a day and half to listen through – or if you don’t have any meetings this week, you can get through the 35 hours and 11 minutes during the workweek and still take off early on Friday.

Deeper understanding of hip-hop

Though it wasn’t a surprise to see newer songs make the list, it’s interesting to see some newer songs that were released by 2004 jump up to the top 50 like “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G which was released in 1994, wasn’t included in the 2004 list, but now ranks as the 32nd greatest song of all-time.

The reasoning? Music tastes change over time. Specifically genres that music critics aren’t used to listening to, much less consider for these types of list or awards, had an enormous impact on how the new Rolling Stone list was constructed.

With time comes acceptance of a music genre. With time comes more respect for that type of music. More times means a deeper understanding of what makes for a legendary song in a specific music genre and that’s why we’re seeing a much more varied offering in the this year’s list.

Whether one agrees with whether Beyonce’s “Formation” (#73) is better than Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line” (#76) is matter of preference, taste and exposure, but we’re all better for having a larger catalog of types of music to choose from.

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  1. avatar
    Richard T. says:

    The fact that Missy Elliot has 3 songs on the list, two of which in the top 100, while great artists like Queen, Kanye West, AC/DC, Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Nirvana, Public Enemy, Dire Straits, and the Talking Heads only have 1-2 songs really speaks volumes to how great this list is.

    1. avatar
      Gene Boggess says:

      About 100 out of the 500 songs in this list are good choices. However: I am 72 years old and started collecting rock records in 1960, when I was 12 years old. I now own 770+ vinyl records, 110+ cassette tapes, and 620+ CDs; my latest purchase is “Kingfish,” by Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – the first track is killer. If you figure there is an average of 10 to 12 songs per record/tape/CD, then there are at least 14,800 songs in my collection. Some of these songs are duplicates of one another, so let’s figure 12,000 different songs. Out of these 12,000 songs I’ll bet I could find 400 that could easily replace 400 out of the Rolling Stone list. For example: “867-5309,” by Tommy Tutone – great guitar riff for the intro, fun subject matter, superb guitar break in the middle, and listen to those little drum taps at exactly the right time. Is it Beethoven’s 9th? No, but that’s not what we listen to pop music for – and 867-5309 is a really fun example of really good rock; it belongs in the list.

    2. avatar
      Carsokk says:

      And, I might add, that while Missy Elliot has 3 songs, Shakira has ZERO songs. “Hips Don’t Lie” (1) made Shakira the first artist in the history of Billboard charts to have earned the coveted number one spots on both its Top 40 Mainstream and Latin Chart in the same week. (2) broke the record for the most radio plays in a single week–besides also being the fastest selling digital download song in the United States, and (3) Hips Don’t Lie reached the number one spot on charts in at least 55 countries. And then there’s the song “Whenever, Wherever.”..

  2. avatar
    James Paul Aquino says:

    the lists from 2010 is so trash because American Pie, Here Comes The Sun, and Take Me Home Country Roads was not on the list but i’m not expecting this updated lists much trashier than the previous one

  3. avatar
    William says:

    This is much worse than the 2004 list. A lot of great 70s music got slighted or ignored. Pink Floyd has only 2 songs on the list and “Yes” and “ELO” have none? “Baker Street” and “American Pie” don’t make it on the list? “Hotel California” is only #311 but Robyn’s “Dancing on my Own” is #20? “Dreams” wasn’t even on the 2004 list and now is #9?

  4. avatar
    Gene Boggess says:

    There is a problem with Rolling Stone’s 2021 rankings. I have a book, “Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” published in 2010. Let’s compare song rankings in that book compare to the song rankings in the current list:
    2010 2021
    Like a Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan) 1 4
    Satisfaction (Rolling Stones) 2 31
    Imagine (John Lennon) 3 19
    What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye) 4 6
    Respect (Aretha Franklin) 5 1
    So here is the problem: “Respect” is ranked as the #1 Song in the 2021 list, ABOVE the other 4 songs listed above, but it was ranked as the #5 song in 2010, BELOW the same 4 songs. And “Satisfaction” was ranked as #31 in the 2021 list, but it was ranked #2 in the 2010 list, ABOVE “Imagine,” “What’s Going On,” and “Respect.”
    Note that I am not complaining that a particular song has dropped in the rankings; as new good songs are recorded and released, older songs may have to drop in the listings to accommodate the newer songs. No, I’m complaining that song A used to be ranked higher than song B but is now ranked lower than song B.
    The songs haven’t changed. I listened to all 5 of these songs yesterday, and they sounded the same as they always have. So, if “Respect” has risen from #5 to #1, and “Satisfaction” has dropped from #2 to #31, it’s not because “Satisfaction” has somehow changed and become worse than “Respect,” it’s because either (1) the people who generate these rankings have changed the criteria they use to evaluate the songs, or (2) different people (with different criteria) are evaluating the songs. In either case, that renders these rankings meaningless. You might as well publish your own list – it would be just as valid as this one.

    1. avatar
      Steve Klein says:

      Based on what I read in Rolling Stone’s introduction to the new list, it’s option #2: different people with different criteria evaluating the songs. Ultimately, these lists are meaningless. They are useful as a source to get ideas about what music to listen to you haven’t paid attention to before, but if you are like me you will probably be underwhelmed by most of the new entries.

      What could be cool as an intellectual exercise would be to synthesize a series of Top 500s and re-rank songs based on their average rankings, the way some sites make a “poll of polls” to see how candidates are doing on average. Doing that would weed out the questionable songs and minimize the swings in appreciation for specific songs (like Satisfaction).

      If someone would do that, I bet you would see the cream rising to the top: the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dylan, Marvin Gaye and Aretha, just like the 2010 poll reflected.

  5. avatar
    J Hagen says:

    The updated list was generated by little sn*t-nosed millennials who are devoid of taste. Just two Petty songs and not even close to his best? Dire Straits has none and Madonna has three? At least they got Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O’Reilly in there—but not high enough.

    The best song from beginning and end–hands down—Whiter Shade of Pale.

  6. avatar
    Andy says:

    I was initially disappointed by some of the changes, but after really looking at it, I think it’s better. How were “I Say a Little Prayer for You” and “Natural Woman” not on the list the first time? Seeing older songs like “Jungleland”, “River”, and “Heat Wave” make the list is also great. “Bombs Over Baghdad”, “Single Ladies”, “Nightswimming”, “Criminal”, “Mr. Brightside”, and “No Diggity” are good examples of more contemporary songs making the list. When I take a step back and really look at the list, what’s REALLY missing? Songs that the original voters wanted to keep on for posterity, that’s what. “Mack the Knife”, “Be Bop a Lua”, “Wild Thing”, “Money (That’s What I Want)”? I mean they’re fine, but are they great? Not saying that every song on here is great, they definitely aren’t, but I like the diversity and I like more representation from the 1970s. To me, in a lot of ways, this list is much more interesting and a little bit better.

  7. avatar
    Gene Boggess says:

    There is a whole genre of rock songs which is almost completely ignored by the Rolling Stone list, and the few songs from this genre which are mentioned are ranked inappropriately low, given their overall popularity. Let’s take a look at songs belonging to the genre referred to as “Southern Rock.” As I recall, these songs were all over the airwaves in the 1970’s. A ranked list of 200 songs in this genre may be found in Counting Down Southern Rock, by C. Eric Bannister.
    The song which was which Bannister ranks as #1 in Counting Down Southern Rock was Free Bird, by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Rolling stone lists Free Bird as the #407 song, which I feel is far too low. No other Skynyrd song even makes the RS list.
    No song by The Marshall Tucker Band is mentioned by RS. Their song Can’t You See was rated the #2 Southern Rock song in Banister’s book.
    Ramblin’ Man by the Allman Brothers Band was listed as the #3 song by Bannister. It was not mentioned by RS.
    The # 4 song as listed by Eric Bannister was Sweet Home Alabama, by Lynyrd Skynyrd; it does not appear on the RS list.
    Bannister’s #5 song was Green Grass and High Tides, by the Outlaws. No song by The Outlaws was listed by RS.
    The Allman Brothers Whipping Post was ranked #410 by RS; that song was ranked #6 in Bannister’s book. No other Allman Brothers songs are mentioned in the RS list.
    The #7 song on Bannister’s list was Take the Highway (another song by the Marshall Tucker band); the RS list does not include any songs by that group.
    Bannister lists Keep on Smilin’, by Wet Willie, at the #8 position. Rolling Stone does not list any songs by Wet Willie.
    Train, Train by Blackfoot was listed as the #9 song in Bannister’s book. The Rolling Stone list does not include any songs by Blackfoot.
    The # 10 song on Bannister’s list is The South’s Gonna Do it Again, by the Charlie Daniels Band. The RS list does not include any songs by this group.
    So, out of the top 10 Southern Rock songs, RS list only 2, way down in positions 407 and 410. This genre pretty much dominated the airwaves in the 70’s, and produced tons of very good songs. If RS is going to list Jimi Hendrix’s version of All Along the Watchtower at # 40 (a truly great song given too low a ranking by RS, in my opinion), then Lynyyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird should be # 41 and the Allman Brothers’ Whipping Post should be # 42. All 3 songs are full of heroic guitar pyrotechnics and drive, and the Syknyrds and Allmans actually wrote their songs.

  8. avatar
    Evan Max Ellis says:

    This list should have been titled “Rolling Stone’s Woke list of 500 Songs”. I am a fan of all genres of music, but diversity is not always synonymous with being the best. I like that a broader range of music was captured. However, it is ironic that 74 artists on the list received multiple mentions and others were excluded, such as: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Don McLean, David Ruffin, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Yes, Steve Winwood, Jackson Browne, Jackie Wilson, Cream, Frank Zappa, The Drifters, The Yardbirds, Harry Nilsson, Neil Diamond, and Booker T & the MGs. The last 9 listed above all were included in Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists or Songwriters. Someone would be hard pressed to come up with a reasonable rationale to explain how Brittany Spears has 3 songs on the list and Jackson Browne has none. I realize RS wanted to be inclusive, but you probably should not exclude genius just to reach that objective.

      1. avatar
        Fredrick Don Royster says:

        “everything I hate is woke” lol
        Woke is just a right wing snarl word now, Its meaningless
        This is still a very WHITE ROCK list. Electronic Dance Music is all but ignored. Pet Shop Boys and New Order are as close as you get.

        No Born Slippy by Underworld, No Faithless Insomnia, No Orbital Halcyon + On + On, no Everything But The Girl Missing

        Max Martin is a song writing genius, he is a modern Phil Spector. He, Timabland, and Pharrell pretty much defined late 20th century/early 21st Century popular music. So the Britney Songs are deserved

  9. avatar
    Chris says:

    Some ofnthese are so stupid! Missy elliot in the top 10??? Who the hell came up with this list. These rap songs such as, “back that ass up,” should not be in the top 500 songs.

  10. avatar
    Harley Charlie says:

    Pink Floyds album dark side of the moon still a number one seller and no songs on this list ?
    Prince come on man hes not even in the same league !
    Notorious Big ? Rap not even music !!!

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