The 10 Most Popular Songs of All-Time

Curious what the 10 most popular songs of all time are? We all have that one song, or more than one for that matter, that we will always love or that is stuck in our mind, regardless of how many times we listen to it or how long it has been since we first heard it. Wondering which are the most popular songs of all time? Well, we have compiled a list which attempts to pinpoint the 10 greatest songs in history.

But how can one judge a single song’s popularity? With a music album, you can simply check sales figures, but you cannot exactly buy a song (at least before the advent of iTunes and similar services), so this particular indicator becomes irrelevant in this case. Rolling Stone, probably the biggest and most famous magazine in the music industry, attempted to come up with a list containing the 500 greatest songs in history, for which it used the input of more than 170 musicians, industry personnel, and critics. Out of this very comprehensive countdown, we have chosen to present you with the top 10.

800px-Joan_Baez_Bob_DylanPublic Domain Image: Public Domain

You may not agree with all the choices in our countdown as music, after all, is a matter of personal taste, but you cannot deny that each and every one of the songs featured in the top ten have represented, and continue to, milestones in the music industry. We have also compiled the following lists that you may find relevant:

1. 10 most romantic songs of all time

2. 11 most annoying songs of all time

3. 11 most popular kids songs of all time

4. 11 most popular disney songs of all time

5. 10 best party songs of all time

6. 11 best workout songs of all time

7. 10 most popular rock songs of all time

8. 10 most popular jazz songs of all time

9. 10 most popular Youtube songs of all time

10. Most controversial songs of all time

On the following pages you can check out the ten most popular songs of all time.

No. 10: Ray Charles – What’d I Say

Writer: Ray Charles

Recorded: February 1959

Released: July 1959

Genre: Rhythm & Blues

Length: 6:30

Label: Atlantic

Producer: Jerry Wexler

No. 9: Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Writers: Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl

Recorded: May 1991

Released: September 1991

Genre: Grunge, Alternative Rock

Length: 5:01 – album version. 4:30 – single version

Label: DGC

Producer: Butch Vig

See the rest of the most popular songs of all-time:

No. 8: The Beatles – Hey Jude

Writers: John Lennon, Paul McCartney

Recorded: 31 July – 2 August 1968

Released: August 1968

Genre: Pop, Rock

Length: 7:11

Label: Apple

Producer: George Martin

No. 7: Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode

Writer: Chuck Berry

Recorded: January 1958

Released: March 1958

Genre: Rock & Roll

Length: 2:40

Label: Chess

Producer: “Bongo” Kraus

No. 6: The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations

Writers: Mike Love, Brian Wilson

Recorded: February – September 1966

Released: October 1966

Genre: Pop

Length: 3:39

Label: Capitol

Producer: Brian Wilson

No. 5: Aretha Franklin – Respect

Writer: Otis Redding

Recorded: July 1965

Released: August 1965

Genre: Rhythm & Blues

Length: 2:08

Label: Volt/Atco

Producer: Steve Cropper

No. 4: Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

Writers: Marvin Gaye, Al Cleveland, Renaldo Benson

Recorded: June 1970

Released: January 1971

Genre: Soul

Length: 3:40

Label: Tamla

Producer: Marvin Gaye

No. 3: John Lennon – Imagine

Writer: John Lennon

Recorded: May – June 1971

Released: January 1971

Genre: Rock

Length: 3:03

Label: Apple

Producers: John Lennon, Phil Spector, Yoko Ono

No. 2: The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Writer: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

Recorded: May 1965

Released: June 1965

Genre: Hard rock

Length: 3:44

Label: London

Producer: Andrew Loog Oldham

No. 1: Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone

Writer: Bob Dylan

Recorded: June 1965

Released: July 1965

Genre: Rock

Length: 6:13

Label: Columbia

Producer: Tom Wilson

Update: This article was originally published in July 2013 and updated on May 4th 2018.