100 Greatest Songs Ever


2 Jun 2008, 8:51

OK, this is my attempt at making a greatest songs list. Obviously, these are limited to songs that I own. There are two sections, the "50 greatest" and my "50 favourite" songs. There are some shocking omissions, but among them are NOT: Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley and The Who, ALL OF WHOM I HAVE PURPOSEFULLY EXCLUDED FOR BEING OVER-RATED.

Now that I have alienated most of my readers, let's begin.


1. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
2. The Happening - Pixies
3. Pennyroyal Tea - Nirvana
4. Beginning To See The Light (live version) - The Velvet Underground
5. Across the Universe - The Beatles
6. Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
7. Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
8. 'Cross the Breeze - Sonic Youth
9. Shadowplay - Joy Division
10. Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands - Bob Dylan
11. Where You'll Find Me Now - Neutral Milk Hotel
12. Baby Baby - The Vibrators
13. Girl/Boy Song - Aphex Twin
14. Favorite Thing - The Replacements
15. Old Age - Hole
16. Where Is My Mind? - The Pixies
17. Distopian Dream Girl - Built to Spill
18. Golden Brown - The Stranglers
19. In the Mouth a Desert - Pavement
20. Reel Around the Fountain - The Smiths
21. No More Sorry - My Bloody Valentine
22. Submission - The Sex Pistols
23. Tractor Rape Chain - Guided by Voices
24. Bucket - Neutral Milk Hotel
25. Long, Long, Long - The Beatles
26. Abigail, Belle of Kilronan - The Magnetic Fields
27. Mannequin - Wire
28. Love Buzz - Nirvana
29. Dead Finks Don't Talk - Brian Eno
30. Straw Dogs - Stiff Little Fingers
31. Tom Courtenay (acoustic version) - Yo La Tengo
32. Not Too Soon - Throwing Muses
33. Blueprint - Fugazi
34. Another Girl, Another Planet - The Only Ones
35. To Hell With Good Intentions - mclusky
36. Midnight in a Perfect World - DJ Shadow
37. I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab for Cutie
38. Perfect Day - Lou Reed
39. A Message to Pretty - Love
40. Without Rings - Neil Young
41. Monkey Trick - The Jesus Lizard
42. Hypnotize - Notorious BIG
43. Harmony in My Head - Buzzcocks
44. Gonebones - Subtle
45. Jesus, Etc. - Wilco
46. World's Greatest Concertos - Frog Eyes
47. Bad Penny - Big Black
48. Ask Me Anything - The Strokes
49. You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire - Queens of the Stone Age
50. Mine's Not a High Horse - The Shins


1. Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
2. Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles
3. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
4. Heroin - The Velvet Underground
5. Range Life - Pavement
6. Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley
7. Victoria - The Kinks
8. Teenage Riot - Sonic Youth
9. Jolene - Dolly Parton
10. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix
11. How Soon Is Now? - The Smiths
12. The Passenger - Iggy Pop
13. Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones
14. A Day in the Life - The Beatles
15. Break on Through - The Doors
16. I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash
17. Sister Ray - The Velvet Underground
18. Digital - Joy Division
19. The Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel
20. Marquee Moon - Television
21. White Rabbit - The Jefferson Airplane
22. Downtown Train - Tom Waits
23. Oh Comely - Neutral Milk Hotel
24. Venus in Furs - The Velvet Underground
25. Slim Slow Slider - Van Morrison
26. Interstellar Overdrive - Pink Floyd
27. Hail Mary - Tupac
28. Crying - Roy Orbison
29. Sound and Vision - David Bowie
30. Hurt - Nine Inch Nails
31. Every Breath You Take - The Police
32. The Castle - Love
33. Chartered Trips - Husker Du
34. To Here Knows When - My Bloody Valentine
35. In Every Dream Home a Heartache - Roxy Music
36. House of the Rising Sun - The Animals
37. Clubbed to Death - Rob Dougan
38. Sweet Child o' Mine - Guns N' Roses
39. Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam - The Vaselines
40. Paranoid - Black Sabbath
41. Misirlou - Dick Dale
42. Like Herod - Mogwai
43. Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
44. Right Here, Right Now - Fatboy Slim
45. Don't Look Back into the Sun - The Libertines
46. Breathe The Prodigy
47. Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
48. Heart of Glass - Blondie
49. Corona - Minutemen
50. Speed - Atari Teenage Riot

51. Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynryd (had to get a mention somewhere)

Well, that was as many as I could think up in under an hour. Neutral Milk Hotel is my favourite band, and I consider The Velvet Underground to be the greatest band - they didn't influence other bands the most, but they influenced the bands who mattered to me the most.


  • PatrickFMLP

    Led Zeppelin aren't overrated, they deserve the credit they get. Radiohead are though. Besides that, great list. Should do one of my own.

    2 Jun 2008, 9:55
  • little_buddha39

    Led Zeppelin are constantly cited as "The Greatest Band", and STH as "The Greatest Song", so yes, they are over-rated. I still own Led Zeppelins 2, 3, 4, and a Houses Of The Holy/Physical Graffiti double-album, so believe me I appreciate Led Zep, but this list was chosen on soul. Led Zeppelin is the sound of some fantastic instrumentalists and a great singer trying to sound as good as they can; Jimmy Page achieved this by stealing licks, Plant by being generally OTT: believe me, they don't have soul.

    2 Jun 2008, 10:19
  • zrsullivan

    Almost devoid of the Great American Song Book (Ellington, Porter, Gershwin, Rogers & Hart {or Hammerstein}, Arlen, Berlin, Mercer, Kern)? How about Jazz, Blues, Concert, Gospel, Bluegrass, or Rhythm & Blues? Chosen on 'Soul', huh. Your list turns my guts.

    3 Jun 2008, 0:36
  • total__trash

    lol @ zrsullivan Great list, it's always good to see appreciation for NMH's non-aeroplane tracks.

    3 Jun 2008, 4:00
  • little_buddha39

    Hello zrsullivan, I have an ignorant's love of jazz, visiting jazz clubs in Soho every year around my birthday - I could have put a lot of jazz on this list, Charlie Parker's "Bird Of Paradise", Miles Davis/Gil Evan's "Maids Of Cadiz", what I can understand of Coltrane, etc. ... but if you're going down that route, why not Mozart/Bellini/Schubert? There is no "soul music" on this list - I would've put the Slits' cover of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" on, but not the original - because this is a modern music list, modelled on the Pitchfork/Rolling Stones ones. You can't seriously compare John Lee Hooker, Edith Piaf, Beethoven etc. with the Beatles - the mentalities are too different.

    3 Jun 2008, 12:10
  • robarnott

    I too am disheartened by a lack of diversity in these lists- particularly the non-appearance of seminal trance acts such as Scooter. Is 'Move your ass!' not the equal of 'Like a rolling stone'? Seriously though, I'll be checking out some of the tracks (particularly from the first list). And I might make a crappy list of my own.

    3 Jun 2008, 20:55
  • jtn191

    nice lists, but what's the difference in your criteria between lists? is 'greatest' based on the time period and the song's impact/influence?

    4 Jun 2008, 0:09
  • BlackSanta

    I was sold at Interstellar Overdrive :P

    5 Jun 2008, 5:08
  • little_buddha39

    jtn191 - This list was a little tongue-in-cheek, as I find it ridiculous how a magazine like NME can suddenly pronounce "these are the greatest bands of the 90s". Music is so completely subjective, perhaps more so than any other art form. The 50 "greatest" songs are the ones that influenced the sounds of the bands I like the most. If it was the most "influential", as these lists claim to be, then this list would be all about Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Buddy Holly and co. ...

    5 Jun 2008, 10:20
  • little_buddha39

    Black Santa - your name shows you have fantastic taste in bad films ... I'm a Troma fan, myself, but the blaxploitation classics are among the best ... if you haven't already done so, check out "The Madcap Laughs" for definitive proof of Barrett's genius.

    5 Jun 2008, 10:25
  • little_buddha39

    Alright, Rob ... Here is the official soundtrack to my blog. Could you get any more diverse? Could you? Oblivians – Bad Man dEUS – For the roses Blind Melon – Change X-Ray Spex – Oh Bondage! Up Yours! John Cale – Heartbreak Hotel The Auteurs – Rubettes Free Loan Investments – Hard To Smile Screeching Weasel – Tightrope Bonnie Prince Billy – I Am A Cinematographer PiL – This Is Not A Love Song The Blow – Parentheses Voxtrot – Soft & Warm PJ Harvey – Shame Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – From Her To Eternity The Olivia Tremor Control – Holiday Surprise The Go-Betweens – Cattle & Cane Asian Kung-Fu Generation - Haruka Kanata The Pillows – Hybrid Rainbow Tanya Donnelly – Bright Light Hole – Celebrity Skin Church – The Unguarded Moment Shit & Shine – Ladybird Wire – Read And Burn The Grip Weeds – Strange Bird The Gories – Thunderbird ESQ

    5 Jun 2008, 11:08
  • pierramadre

    ha, radiohead are overrated, but the pixies are second behind neutral milk hotel? joy division too! how ghastly

    7 Jun 2008, 18:33
  • IdleThoughts

    Interesting list. It is amazing though how all the musical snobs come out of the wood-work. If you enjoy... then who cares. As you said, this is all so subjective anyway!

    12 Jun 2008, 4:21
  • MykeMinor

    what a shitty list. hell, it's like 98% limited to strictly rock based music. how boring. I like this comment: "zrsullivan said: More Correctly: Greatest Songs of Modern Pop/Rock/Top Forty Radio Almost devoid of the Great American Song Book (Ellington, Porter, Gershwin, Rogers & Hart {or Hammerstein}, Arlen, Berlin, Mercer, Kern)? How about Jazz, Blues, Concert, Gospel, Bluegrass, or Rhythm & Blues? Chosen on 'Soul', huh. Your list turns my guts." Although I'd change "Greatest" to "My Favorite", ie "My Favorite Songs of Modern Pop/Rock/Top Forty Radio"

    15 Jul 2008, 3:56
  • Trinitui

    Any list with Sister Ray in the top 20 is worth paying attention to.

    29 Ago 2008, 20:47
  • little_buddha39

    In defence of this list, I never pretended it was definitive. If it was really the "greatest" of all time, it would be mostly classical music. You can't say it "needs work" as these were some of my favourite songs, and the songs that were most influential on my taste in music. If someone read this list and tracked down a new artist they can enjoy, then it has succeeded.

    29 Ago 2008, 21:17
  • MoogleFan

    Solid list you've got there, lots of my personal favourite bands+songs as well, and nice job dividing it between favourite and greatest; I'll have to give this a go sometime soon. :D

    27 Sep 2008, 4:43
  • Kurdt89

    yeah great list :)

    2 Ene 2009, 1:05
  • novaconcept

    oh my tities

    13 May 2011, 7:40
  • filippeeters

    One of the best lists I've ever seen. Applaus!

    27 Ago 2011, 9:57
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