Photo Illustration by Sean McCabe. Photographs used within illustration by Jack Robinson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images, 3; Paul Natkin/WireImage; Val Wilmer/Redferns/Getty Images; Theo Wargo/Getty Images; Jack Mitchell/Getty Images; C Flanigan/Getty Images; Scott Dudelson/Getty Images; Gie Knaeps/Getty Images; Emma McIntyre/Getty Images; Steven Nunez; STILLZ
For the first time in 17 years, we’ve completely remade our list of the best songs ever. More than 250 artists, writers, and industry figures helped us choose a brand-new list full of historic favorites, world-changing anthems, and new classics
In 2004, Rolling Stone published its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It’s one of the most widely read stories in our history, viewed hundreds of millions of times on this site. But a lot has changed since 2004; back then the iPod was relatively new, and Billie Eilish was three years old. So we’ve decided to give the list a total reboot. To create the new version of the RS 500 we convened a poll of more than 250 artists, musicians, and producers — from Angelique Kidjo to Zedd, Sam Smith to Megan Thee Stallion, M. Ward to Bill Ward — as well as figures from the music industry and leading critics and journalists. They each sent in a ranked list of their top 50 songs, and we tabulated the results.
Nearly 4,000 songs received votes. Where the 2004 version of the list was dominated by early rock and soul, the new edition contains more hip-hop, modern country, indie rock, Latin pop, reggae, and R&B. More than half the songs here — 254 in all — weren’t present on the old list, including a third of the Top 100. The result is a more expansive, inclusive vision of pop, music that keeps rewriting its history with every beat.
Jonathan Bernstein, Jon Blistein, David Browne, Jayson Buford, Nick Catucci, Mankaprr Conteh, Bill Crandall, Jon Dolan, Gavin Edwards, Jenny Eliscu, Brenna Ehrlich, Jon Freeman, David Fricke, Andy Greene, Joe Gross, Kory Grow, Keith Harris, Will Hermes, Brian Hiatt, Christian Hoard, Joseph Hudak, Jeff Ihaza, Rob Kemp, Greg Kot, Elias Leight, Rob Levine, Alan Light, Julyssa Lopez, Angie Martoccio, Michaelangelo Matos, Tom Moon, Tom Nawrocki, Jon Pareles, Parke Puterbaugh, Mosi Reeves, Jody Rosen, Robert Santelli, Austin Scaggs, Claire Shaffer, Bud Scoppa, Rob Sheffield, Hank Shteamer, LC Smith, Brittany Spanos, Rob Tannenbaum, Simon Vozick-Levinson, Barry Walters, Alison Weinflash, Douglas Wolk
In This Article: direct, long reads, RS500Songs
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