The 50 Absolute Best Songs in History

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10. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
> Artist: The Rolling Stones
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: June 12, 1965
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 14
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Perhaps the most recognizable opening of any rock song ever, and the song every garage band ever learned, this was the Rolling Stones’ first of eight U.S. chart-toppers in July of 1965. Keith Richards crafted the signature guitar riff after waking up in a hotel following a concert the Stones performed in Florida. He created the distorted guitar sound through Gibson Fuzz Box.

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9. Good Vibrations
> Artist: The Beach Boys
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: October 22, 1966
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 14
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The Beach Boys’ groundbreaking psychedelic ode to the groovy era was a product of Brian Wilson’s quest to get every writing and instrumental nuance perfect. The song was a critical and commercial success, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December of 1966.

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8. Light My Fire
> Artist: The Doors
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: June 3, 1967
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 23
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L.A.’s bad boys of rock scored their first No. 1 and their biggest hit in 1967, as “Light My Fire” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. The band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show that September and were asked to change the lyric “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher” because of the producers thought it was a reference to drugs. Lead singer Jim Morrison refused and sang the original lyrics, and the band was banned from the show. José Feliciano’s cover version won two Grammy awards.

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7. Hey Ya!
> Artist: Outkast
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: October 18, 2003
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 32
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The Atlanta-based hip-hop duo reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the second of their three chart-toppers. The duo released a Beatlemania-type video for the song, only instead of the setting of the Ed Sullivan Show in America, the hysteria is in England.

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6. Crazy
> Artist: Patsy Cline
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: October 23, 1961
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 11
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Patsy Cline scored her best-performing hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with this Willie Nelson-penned ballad that peaked at No. 9. Cline reportedly recorded her vocals in just one take — a testament to the talents of the singer who died at just 30 years of age.

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5. Only The Lonely (Know How I Feel)
> Artist: Roy Orbison
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: June 6, 1960
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 30
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The seminal Roy Orbison song written by Orbison and Joe Melson actually was offered to Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers, the latter of whom suggested Orbison should release it himself. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the U.K. pop charts.

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4. The Sound of Silence
> Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Nov. 20, 1965
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 14
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“The Sound of Silence,” the title track from the Simon & Garfunkel album, was the duo’s first No. 1 hit, climbing to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on Jan. 1, 1966. The song has been covered extensively, from metal band Disturbed’s haunting and highly successful version to Anna Kendrick’s rendition in the movie “Trolls.”

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3. Imagine
> Artist: John Lennon
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: October 23, 1971
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 9
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“Imagine,” an idealistic appeal for peace and understanding, is the song most associated with John Lennon’s solo career after the Beatles. “Imagine” has been played before the ball drops at Times Square on New Year’s and during the closing of several Olympic Games.

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2. Smells Like Teen Spirit
> Artist: Nirvana
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Dec. 7, 1991
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 20
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Considered an anti-anthem by some pop culture observers, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” made a rising Pacific Northwest band named Nirvana famous and embodied the grunge movement of the early 1990s. The song reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January of 1992. According to an analysis at the University of London, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is the most iconic song of all time.

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1. Hey Jude
> Artist: The Beatles
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Sept. 14, 1968
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 19
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Paul McCartney wrote the song to comfort John Lennon’s young son Julian, who was trying to cope with his parents’s divorce. The song was the first single released on the Beatles own Apple label and went for an unheard of 7 minutes and 11 seconds. It featured a full orchestra and a memorable singalong chorus at the end. “Hey Jude” spent nine weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, longer than any Beatles single.