The Best Show Ever?: Weekdays 2pm – 6pm

The Best Show Ever?: Weekdays 2pm – 6pm

The Best Show Ever?: Weekdays 2pm – 6pm

Aretha Franklin onstage performing at 'VH1 Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin' held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Tuesday, April 10, 2001.

I recently wrote a piece with the 10 greatest albums of all time. This time I decided to tackle an even tougher task, which is the 10 greatest songs of all time.

Related: The Top 10 Greatest Albums Of All Time

What Makes a Great Song?

It is difficult to describe what a great song is, but you know it where you hear it. Some people focus on lyrics more. Others focus on the music. The best songs must be excellent at both.

I went through many hours of music listening, as I tried to get a list that started at 250 down to 10. There were some very difficult omissions. When you are taking the entire history of music and trying to whittle it down to just 10 songs, there are many challenges.

Artists Left Off The 10 Greatest Songs Of All Time

BURBANK, CA - SEPTEMBER 3:  Queens of the Stone Age appear on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" at the NBC Studios on September 3, 2003 in Burbank, California.
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

There are no Jay-Z or Queen of the Stone Age songs, even though the former is the greatest rapper of all time, and the latter is the greatest rock band of all time. There are no songs from The Rolling Stones, Madonna, The Eagles, or Bruce Springsteen songs.

All these artists were considered, but none of their songs were able to make the cut. In theory one-hit wonders were eligible for this list. Some were considered, but none made the list ultimately. Some of the songs on the list have been performed by more than one artist, but the best rendition was chosen.

I give credit to both the singer of the song and the songwriter. There were no extra points given for both writing and performing a song, only how it sounds sonically. When you listen to a song you aren’t usually actively thinking about the writer as you shouldn’t.

There are no “new” songs on the list. Songs must last to be truly great. I know there will be many to disagree with portions of this list, which is expected, but I think you should also do your own list to see just how difficult it is.  

Here Are The 10 Greatest Songs Of All Time

  • 10. God Only Knows. Performer The Beach Boys. Songwriters Brian Wilson & Tony Asher

    God Only Knows is one of the songs that changed popular music. It is hard to believe that these same guys perform Kokomo, which is one of the 10 worst songs of all time. The best line in the song is, “the world could show nothing to me, so what good would living do me”. That is game.

  • 9. Stairway to Heaven. Performer Led Zeppelin. Songwriters Jimmy Page & Robert Plant

    This is basically 3 songs in one, and each part is masterfully done. It first appears to be a ballad. As the tempo picks up around the 5-minute mark you realize you are on a wild ride. Then by the end you are losing your mind. The list would be incomplete without this song on it.


  • 8. What’s Going On. Performer Marvin Gaye. Songwriters Marvin Gaye, Renaldo Benson, & Al Cleveland

    I feel bad having this masterclass at 8th overall. Marvin Gaye’s voice is one of the greatest of all time, and it shines the brightest here. The song addresses poverty, police brutality, war and other topics in just under 4 minutes. Add in beautiful instrumentation and you get one of the best songs ever.

  • 7. Man in the Mirror. Performer Michael Jackson. Songwriters Glen Ballard & Siedah Garrett

    It is hard to pick the best Michael Jackson song, but I managed. The king of pop decided to get deep on this track from the Bad album. It has a tremendous message while being equally as catchy. I considered 8 MJ tracks, but this one won out.

  • 6. Strawberry Fields Forever. Performer The Beatles. Songwriters John Lennon & Paul McCartney

    Clearly the Beatles have a lot of amazing tracks to choose from. After going through literally 40 of their songs I got their best one. Come Together was 2nd in my mind, and almost made the list. The song is sonically their most interesting as well.

  • 5. A House Is Not a Home. Performer Luther Vandross. Songwriter Burt Bacharach

    Burt Bacharach is underrated. He is acknowledged as an all-time great songwriter, but I don’t think we talk about just how great. Luther’s version is the best version. It is 7 minutes of amazing.

  • 4. A Change Is Gonna Come. Performer Sam Cooke. Songwriter Sam Cooke

    The music at the beginning of the song sets it up perfectly. “I was born by the river, in a little tent. Oh, and just like the river, I’ve been running ever since”. That is how the song starts and instantly you can tell you are hearing a classic. Cooke was just 32 years old when the song was released, but the maturity in his voice is of a man far older.

  • 3. Living For the City. Performer Stevie Wonder. Songwriter Stevie Wonder

    I am not a get off my lawn person when it comes to today’s music. I believe that music changes over time, and most times gets better. There are not enough songs with meanings like this one though. Stevie plays multiple characters in this one and lays out a great story. “As” also almost made the list.

  • 2. I Say a Little Prayer. Performer Aretha Franklin. Songwriter Burt Bacharach

    Burt is back on the list for a 2nd time. While Dionne Warwick does a tremendous job with her rendition, Aretha takes the song to a higher level. The song manages to be positive and haunting at the same time.

  • 1. When Doves Cry. Performer Prince. Songwriter Prince

    The greatest song of all time is performed by the greatest musician of all time. The song is flawless. The music is perfect. The lyrics are perfect. The song is also extremely catchy. If I could listen to just 1 song the rest of my life, it would be this one.

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