Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

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RS 500 Front Cover.jpg

"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" was the cover story of a special issue of Rolling Stone, issue number 963, published in December 2004, a year after the magazine published its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[1]


Decade Number of songs Percentage
1940s 1 0.2%
1950s 72 14.4%
1960s 203 40.8%
1970s 142 28.2%
1980s 57 11.4%
1990s 22 4.4%
2000s 3 0.6%

2010 update[edit]

In May 2010, Rolling Stone compiled an update, published in a special issue and in digital form for the iPod and iPad. The list differs from the 2004 version, with 26 songs added, all of which are songs from the 2000s except "Juicy" by The Notorious B.I.G., released in 1994. The top 25 remained unchanged, but many songs further down the list were given different rankings as a result of the inclusion of new songs, causing consecutive shifts among the songs listed in 2004. The highest-ranked new entry was Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" (number 100).

The number of songs from each decade in the updated version is as follows:

Decade Number of songs Percentage
1940s 1 0.2%
1950s 70 14%
1960s 195 39%
1970s 131 26.2%
1980s 55 11%
1990s 22 4.4%
2000s 26 5.2%

Two songs by U2 and two by Jay-Z were added to the list. Jay-Z is also featured in 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; their "Da Doo Ron Ron" (previously number 114) was the highest-ranked song to have been dropped.


The main criticism to the list is that, while claiming to be a selection of the best songs of all time, it appears to be strongly biased towards American and British music—and the 20th Century.[5] The entire list contains only songs written in English language, with the sole exception of La Bamba (345th), sung in Spanish by American Ritchie Valens. Furthermore, among the 500 songs listed, 357 belong to American artists and 117 to British artists. The third most represented nation is Canada, with 10 songs. Fourth is the Republic of Ireland, with 8 songs, followed by Jamaica (7 songs; 4 of them by Bob Marley), Australia (3 songs; 2 by AC/DC), and Sweden (1 song; Dancing Queen by ABBA).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". 2004-12-09. Archived from the original on 2008-06-22. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  2. ^ "Pete Seeger – American Favorite Ballads" (PDF). Volume 2, pp. 11–12. Smithsonian Folkways. 2009. pp. 27–28. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  3. ^ Palmer, Robert (1993). Blues Masters Volume 8: Mississippi Delta Blues. Liner notes. Rhino Records. p. 8. R2 71130. 
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ La Repubblica, Musica, gli autori che hanno fatto la storia, la top 100 di Rolling Stone

External links[edit]