It breaks one’s heart omitting so many songs from a tiny top ten list of all times. This list is a journey of sixty years from the nineteen fifties to the present. Each song perhaps has been the favourite of a decade. In the fifties it was Chubby Checker and in the sixties perhaps all the songs of the Beatles. Unfortunately we can take only take one from each artiste or we would be doing injustice to the other great singers and groups of all time.
1. Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock
The song was released on September 24, 1957. The song was written Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It was released along with the movie of the same name. The song was a number one hit in both the USA and the UK. The song because of its sales equal to four million copies is ranked as double platinum. It is known as one of the songs that shaped Rock and Roll.
2. Chubby Checker – Twist
Chubby Checker introduced his version of the Twist on the Clay Cole Show. The recording of the song was a super hit for the singer. It started a new dance system called the Twist which became popular all over the world. The song was released in July 1960. The song topped the Billboard twice. It has been said that before the Twist was introduced by Chubby Checker adults refrained from dancing on the floor to music loved by teenagers. The song changed all that; everyone was dancing, all over the world to it.
3. Beatles — Yesterday
This song was recorded for the Beatles Album Help in 1965. The song has a record 1600 versions. The song has been credited to the team of Lennon and McCartney although it was only written by Paul McCartney.. It has been voted the best song of the twentieth century. It has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of fame. Actually the song had been finished in a preliminary version but it was never considered for the next two albums released Beatles for Sale and A Hard Day’s Night.
4. Rolling Stones — Satisfaction
This song was released in 1965 by the English band, The Rolling Stones. The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. This song gave the Rolling Stones their first hit in the Unites States of America in the form of a number one. It became a number one in the UK later in the year.
5. Simon & Garfunkel — Bridge over troubled water
This was released on January 26, 1970 and was soon the Billboard number one hit. It won the Grammy for the Best Album and the song of the year in 1971. The album was a great testimony to the partnership of this singing duo. They produced many memorable songs together after this before branching off into solo careers.
6. Bob Dylan — Knockin’ on Heaven’s door
This song was released on July 13, 1973. The song was sung and written by Bob Dylan. This was performed for the soundtrack of the movie Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. It has been voted one of the 500 greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. Many people have sung this song including Eric Clapton, Guns n Roses, The Grateful Dead, U2, Avril Lavigne and Babyface. Actually there are almost a hundred singers who have sung this song. It has been used as background music in many movies including Lethal Weapon.
7. Pink Floyd – Another brick in the wall
This song was released on the 30th of November 1979. It has been written by Pink Floyd’s Bassist Roger Waters. It is part of the rock opera The Wall. The single has sold more than four million copies. The album tells the story of Pink. This song though anti establishment especially the education system won Roger Waters the Award for ‘Best Original Song’ from the British Academy.
8. Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
This song was released on January 2, 1983 and was written by Michael Jackson himself. This was a part of the album Thriller which had a massive success. Billie Jean topped the charts in the USA and the UK. Thriller eventually became the best selling album of all time winning two Grammy Awards and one American Music Award. His producer Quincy Jones did not want Billie Jean on Thriller
9. U2 – I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
This song was released in May 1987. The lyrics were written by Bono. The song represents a spiritual quest and it has a hypnotic effect on listeners. This is one of the rare songs which the critics like as well as the general public. This song also reflects Bono’s love for Gospel music.
10. USA for Africa – We are the World
This is a charity single sung by all the top singers of the US to gather funds for African Famine relief in 1985. It is one of the few singles which has sold over 10 million copies. The song was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie. The recording session brought together the greatest singing stars. The song won three Grammy Awards and one American Music Award. The song was sung again as ‘We are the world for Haiti’ it was released on February 12, 2010. The original idea for the 1985 was from Harry Belafonte. Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson’s producer was the man in charge of the production of this multi star cast song. The singers included, Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Smokey Robinson, Cyndi Lauper and Stevie Wonder. The other singers include Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Willie Nelson, Dionne Warwick, Al Jarreau, Steve Perry and Darryl Hall. There is Huey Lewis and Kim Carnes too. The list does not end here it has Dan Akroyd in the chorus together with Lindsay Buckingham, Harry Belafonte, Mario Cipollina, Johnny Colla, Bill Gibson, Sean Hopper, La Toya Jackson and Bob Geldof. It also had Bette Midler, John Oates, the Pointer sisters and Waylon Jennings who walked out in a huff over some lines in the song. The song was a number one hit all over the world.