Top 10 Songs of All Time

Griffin Snyder, Writer

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Below is my very professional opinion on the greatest songs ever written. I will judge based on overall critical acclaim, lyrics, sound, memorability and uniqueness.

 

10: Let it Be – The Beatles

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The Beatles’ best song, Let it Be is an emotional song inspired by the death of Paul McCartney’s mother, which explores how sometimes we just need to leave things as they are and allow events to transpire. A classic use of rock piano played by McCartney along with his lyrics, with some great guitar from George Harrison coming in later, the melody doesn’t drastically change that much over the song, but it instead revs up and goes becomes more powerful as the song moves on. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xDzVZcqtYI)

9: Mrs Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel

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Simon and Garfunkel’s upbeat, nostalgic track that helped bring folk rock into the mainstream because it was the theme of the incredibly popular, decade-defining film The Graduate, Mrs Robinson is easily one of the most memorable and ecstatic songs of all time. The song begins about a woman who is described as perfectly pure and the embodiment of America, but it then moves on to reminisce about the past and how things have changed and are changing. One of the greatest and most culturally significant songs of all time. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C1BCAgu2I8)

8: Mr Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan’s best song, Mr Tambourine man is probably the greatest folk song of all time with an emotional and sad melody talking about dreams and that sadness of said dreams never being realized. Some excellent guitar, classic harmonica, and always impeccable lyricism makes Mr Tambourine Man an unforgettable masterpiece. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeP4FFr88SQ)

7: Heroes – David Bowie

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Bowie’s greatest song, Heroes is an uplifting song about man’s desire to have anything that he wants and how even though such things are fleeting, they are very important. Bowie’s singing adds a layer of emotion seldom seen in any song before or since along with a rising exciting melody detailing his desires to be something. A song that anyone can relate to and a general sound that provokes pure emotion, Heroes is a must-listen. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXgkuM2NhYI)

6: Stand By Me – Ben E King

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The greatest soul song of all time, Stand by Me is  a masterpiece about friendship (although a very common song topic, this classic does it best). Reflecting on a friend he once had, Ben E King created a powerful and emotional masterpiece that used a overdone topic and created a song for the ages. The classic back-beat of the song stays consistent throughout the entire piece as King’s vocals evoke every possible emotion in the listener, from happiness to sadness. An unforgettable classic. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwZNL7QVJjE)

5: Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones

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A powerful and somewhat apocalyptic feeling masterpiece, Gimme Shelter is the Stones’ masterpiece with it functioning both as a cry against the injustices of the world through its lyrics and sounding like something one would hear at the end of the world with the haunting melody. With Keith Richards playing a psychedelic riff on blues guitar and then moving on to the powerful lyrics of Jagger and a choir singer, the song is one of the most unique tracks ever made. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm6a3QZeWyo)

4: Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

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The outstanding Pop-Rock hit from folk singer Van Morrison, Brown Eyed Girl is a sad song about lost loves and good times gone by that will make anybody feel something. The kind of song that will always make you emotional, the song has a kind of strange main beat however, as it sounds very tropical, which is not what you would expect a melancholic song like this to sound like, but the juxtaposition works wonders for the emotional punch of this perfect song. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfmkgQRmmeE)

3: Light My Fire – The Doors

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The greatest psychedelic rock song of all time, Light my fire defines the youthful rebellion and inventiveness of psychedelic music. With controversial lyrics “girl we couldn’t get much higher” only appearing briefly at the beginning and end, most of the song is excellent keyboard riffs for 5 minutes straight by the amazing Ray Manzarek. There isn’t much too say except that everything in this song is revolutionary and outstanding. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEXlWgMOtqc)

2: All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

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Originally written by the greatest lyricist of all time, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix’s cover of the song changed it from a solid poetic folk song to a decade defining psychedelic rock song that completely embodied the genre with its powerful hard rock distorted guitar and Hendrix’s echoing and powerful voice. The greatest cover of all time and a pure masterpiece.

1: American Pie – Don McLean

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The greatest song of all time is Don McLean’s 1972 folk rock classic that defined the 1970’s and music as a whole. The song is sad ballad detailing the rise and fall of early rock and roll in the 50’s and early 60’s and how that affected McLean’s life because of his deep connection to said events. With some of the most poetic and beutiful lyrics ever written along with a simple yet unforgettable melody that never leaves you, American Pie is the greatest song ever written. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4q_MZ7CRvI)