Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" was the cover story of a special issue of Rolling Stone, issue number 963, published December 9, 2004, a year after the magazine published its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".
- "Like a Rolling Stone" by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was chosen as number one. The single was released on July 20, 1965.
- The list is mostly composed of North American and British artists and is largely post-mid-20th century. Of the 500 songs, 352 are from the United States and 119 from the United Kingdom; they are followed by Ireland with 12 entries (of which 8 were composed by U2), Canada with 10, Jamaica with 7 (most of them by Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Toots & the Maytals), Australia with two (AC/DC) and a lone song from Sweden (by ABBA).
- The list includes just one song entirely not in English: "La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens (345).
- Few songs written prior to the 1950s are featured; examples of those that are include Robert Johnson's 1936 "Crossroads", here cited in its Cream version, and Hank Williams' 1949 "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". "The House of the Rising Sun", here cited in the version by the Animals, was recorded at least as early as 1934. Muddy Waters' 1950 "Rollin' Stone" is based on an earlier song dating to the 1920s.
- There is one instrumental featured on the list: "Green Onions" by Booker T and the MG's (ranked 181).
- The number of songs from each of the decades represented in the 2004 version is as follows:
|Decade||Number of songs||Percentage|
- With 23 songs on the list, the Beatles are the most-represented musical act, plus listed as solo artists with songs by George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon. However, John Lennon is the only artist to appear twice in the top 10, as a member of the Beatles and as a solo artist. The Beatles are followed by the Rolling Stones (14); Bob Dylan (13); Elvis Presley (11); U2 (8); the Beach Boys, the Jimi Hendrix Experience (7); Led Zeppelin, Prince, Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, Chuck Berry (6); Elton John, Ray Charles, the Clash, the Drifters, Buddy Holly, the Who (5).
- The artists who do not appear on the top 100 artists list with the most songs featured in the list are The Animals, Blondie and The Isley Brothers, each landing three of their songs on the list.
- Three songs appear on the list twice, being performed by different artists: "Mr. Tambourine Man" performed by Bob Dylan and the Byrds (the former at #107, the latter at #79); "Blue Suede Shoes" by Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins (Perkins' version at #95, Presley's at #430); and "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith and Run-DMC (the original 1975 recording at #346, the 1986 cover at #293).
- The shortest tracks are "Great Balls of Fire" (#96) by Jerry Lee Lewis and "Rave On" (#154) by Buddy Holly, both with a duration of 1:50. Summertime Blues is 1:53.
- The longest tracks are the live recording of "Whipping Post" by the Allman Brothers Band at 22:40, "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang at 14:35, "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" by the Temptations at 12:02, "The End" by the Doors at 11:41, "Desolation Row" by Bob Dylan at 11:21, and "Marquee Moon" by Television at 10:47.
- "Love" is the most frequent word used in the songs' lyrics, with more than 1000 occurrences.
In May 2010, Rolling Stone compiled an updated list which was published in a special issue and in digital form for iPod and iPad applications. The list differs from the 2004 version, with all of the new additions being songs from the 2000s with the exception of "Juicy" by the Notorious B.I.G. which was released in 1994. A total of 26 new songs were added; the entire top 25 remained unchanged, but many songs further down the list saw their rankings change as a result of new songs being added, causing consecutive shifts among the originally listed songs. The only new entry in the top 100 was Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" at number 100.
The number of songs from each decade in this updated version is as follows:
|Decade||Number of songs||Percentage|
U2 and Jay-Z both have two songs added to the list; however, Jay-Z is also featured in an additional two other new songs on the list, "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé, and "Umbrella" by Rihanna. The only artist to have two songs dropped from the list is The Crystals, with their "Da Doo Ron Ron" entry at No. 114 being the highest-ranked song to have been dropped.
- List of songs considered the best
- The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, also from Rolling Stone magazine
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's selection of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll
- "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". 2004-12-09. Archived from the original on 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
- "Pete Seeger - American Favorite Ballads" (PDF). Volume 2 (pages 11–12). Smithsonian Folkways. 2009. pp. 27–28. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- Palmer, Robert (1993). Blues Masters Volume 8: Mississippi Delta Blues (liner notes). Rhino Records. p. 8. R2 71130.
- "Sex and drugs and Rock'n'roll: Analysing the lyrics of the Rolling Stone 500 greatest songs of all time". 2014-05-09. Retrieved 2014-07-21.
- "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" by Rolling Stone magazine (updated version of the list)
- "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" 2004 version of the list by archive.org
- "Dylan track voted 'greatest song'". BBC News. 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
- "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2010 Edition) with lists of additions and dropouts". Lastfm. Archived from the original on July 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-30.