The Top 20 All Time Songs (as determined by Billboard Magazine)

20. “I’ll Make Love To You” by Boyz II Men: The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks during the fall of 1994. It was one of those Smooth R&B ballads inspired by the likes of Marvin Gaye’s “Lets Get It On” or “Sexual Healing.” This song written by Kenneth “Babyface”Edmonds would become one of Boyz II Men’s signature songs if not THE signature song for the vocal group.

19. “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams: Written for the movie “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” with Michael Kamen writing the movie score. Yet the movie needed a song that was out of its time…way AFTER its time. Enter Bryan Adams and Robert John “Mutt” Lange who wrote the lyrics while Kamen wrote the music and you had your movie tie in it song. ‘I Do It’ was a true international #1 taking the top in America (Seven weeks at #1 on the Hot 100), Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. In the UK; “I Do It For You” spent sixteen weeks at the top of their respect pop chart. The single sold 15 million copies and making it the most successful song in Adams career. While it did win a Grammy for a “Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television,” Disney’s ‘magic’ prevented it from winning an Oscar for Best Song. Can you say, “Beauty and the Beast?” I do mean the song from the namesake movie that Disney did based on the fairy tale. Also, that respected song might have won an Oscar but nowhere is it found in Billboards’ Top 20 or even the overall 100 of all time.

18. “You Were Meant for Me” by Jewel: Jewel’s album “Pieces of You” was released in early 1995, but it took over a year for her to score a smash hit. This Folk Pop hit would become her bestselling song of her career. The song deals with a failed relationship but she just can’t really move on. During its original chart run it peaked at #2 being held back the spot by two other singles from Hip-Hop acts (“Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” by Puff Daddy &Mase& “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G.). This song would help “Pieces of You” sell 12 million copies and making among the top bestselling debut albums of all time.

17. “Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Allright)” by Rod Stewart: “Maggie May” might still be his best known and signature song but according to this survey, this is his highest rated song. “Tonight’s The Night” was inspired by America’s song “Today’s The Day” which America was working on at the time and would be released as a single in 1976; but not before Stewart released his composition “Tonight’s The Night” and making it a #1 smash in North America.

16. “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie & Diana Ross: Billboard has declared this song as done by Motown icons Lionel Richie and Diana Ross the greatest song duet of all time. The song was written by Richie for a movie that had the namesake but that respected movie about teenage love was panned by the critics and these days it’s been mostly forgotten. But the song inspired by the movie is long remembered. Later being covered by Luther Vandross/Mariah Carey (and peaking at #2 on the Hot 100), Kenny Rogers and re-recorded by Riche only this time Shaina Twain is Richie’s duet partner. But none of the above can top the 81 recording of Richie/Ross. This song gave Richie the courage to break away from the Commodores and really make a name for himself as a solo artist.

15. “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes: The song was written by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon as an “R&B Lite” styled song with pedal style guitar and horns. When Carnes finally cracked and recorded this song; Carnes and her producer Val Garay did a synthesizer based arrangement (using a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 on the recording) with a sound that was emerging, cutting edge and fresh at the time. It spent nine weeks at the top of the Hot 100, only getting bumped by “Stars On 45” and their Beatles medley for only one week after five weeks at the top, before taking the top spot back for four more weeks before it began its trend down. Still it would be the Number One single of 1981. “Bette Davis Eyes” would win Grammys for Song of The Year and Record of The Year in 1982.

14. “Yeah!” by Usher Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris: For 12 weeks in 2004, this Crunk&b tune by Usher would top the Hot 100 and would be the number one song of 2004. What is Crunk&b? Well it was coined by rapper and producer Lil Jon. Crunk is a sub-genre of Hip-Hop music coming from the south that used keyboard synths, drum machines, heavy bassline and vocal shouts usually in a call and response manner. Usher’s Contemporary R&B style was fused with the Crunk genre and one of Usher’s popular party anthem was created in the process.

13. “Unbreak My Heart” by Toni Braxton: Braxton did not want to record this Diane Warren penned song, but her boss L.A. Reed (Braxton was signed to his record imprint LaFace Records at the time) convinced her otherwise. ‘Heart’ would be Barxton’s biggest single in her career and would top the Hot 100 for 11 weeks starting in December 1996 until February 1997. The music video tells a tragic twist to this sad ballad. Her lover’s life was taken by a careless driver who either was fleeing a crime scene or just felt the need for speed. Simon Cowell’s Classical Crossover group Ill Divo covered this song for their debut 2004 self-titled debut album that was sung in Spanish.

12. “Uptown Funk!” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars: The DJ has become just as much a musician than the singer, group of singers and instrumentals and arrangers. Prior to this single, Ronson was best known as one of the producers of Amy Winehouse’s final studio album “Fade To Black.”Ronson was having a jam session with Bruno Mars in Mars’s studio in Los Angeles. Mars was drumming, Jeff Bhasker laid out the synth, Mark Ronson had the bass line and Philip Lawrence wrote the first verse and “Uptown Funk!” was in the process of being born. The song would also be recorded in studios in Toronto, London, Vancouver, Memphis, and New York City. Its a throwback to the Minneapolis Sound of the 1980’s popularized by Prince, Morris Day & The Time, and producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. “Uptown Funk” would top of the Hot 100 in the Winter and early Spring of 2015. Also having Bruno Mars on lead vocals would help the impact of the single as well. While Ronson has not recorded anything lately as a solo artist he is still a sought-out producer. Ronson was executive producer of Lady Gaga’s recent album “Joanne” and was co-producer the brand-new album from stoner rockers “Queens of the Stone Age” titled “Villians.”

11. “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey: If there was ever a comeback hit for Mariah, this song was IT! After her movie and soundtrack album “Glitter” were both commercial and critical failures many critics felt that she was finished. However, she signed a deal with Island Records for $25 Million and was on the upswing with her first album for Island “Charmbracelet.” It was her second album with Island that was the payoff for Mariah’s comeback. That album was “The Emancipation of Mimi” which featured Mariah’s all-time power ballad. The song was built on a simple piano arrangement and understated backbeat. Mariah, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal, and Johntá Austin wrote the bulk of song. The song also uses lines from Bobby Womack’s “If You Think You’re Lonely” and The Deele’s “Two Occasions” and the songwriters of those respected songs get credit for “Belong” as well. The music video was the second of a two-part mini story that started with her first single from ‘Mimi’ “It’s Like That.”

10. “Hey Jude” by The Beatles: The first single for the Beatles own record company Apple Records, was written for Julian Lennon (who would have his own career in music though not as big as his father) who was stressed out over his parents pending divorce (his mother was Cynthia Lennon). At first it was going to be called “Hey Jules” but Paul McCartney felt that Jude sounded better. The song itself tells the stressed-out Julian to “take a sad song, and make it better…”and take a chance on love. The song starts with just a piano and more instruments joining in as the song progress and ending with a four-minute coda that could serve as an ending to just about any Beatles album of the day…but it didn’t. “Hey Jude” spent nine weeks at Number One on Billboard’s Hot 100, longer than ever of their other singles ever would.

9. “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone: Coloratura sopranoKvitkaCisyk recorded the song for the namesake movie and the people behind that respected movie made it look like that Didi Conn was singing the song. The same instrumental backing (both versions of the song were produced by writer of ‘Life’ Joe Brooks) was used for Debbie Boone when she recorded her version of the song. ‘Life’ spend ten weeks at number in the fall of 1977. To this day, this simple love song that is locked in a 1970’s musical nature like utopia of sorts still holds up.

8. “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John: During the 1970’s the Nashville scene felt threatened by this English-Australian singer. There was no need to worry, by 1979 she made the transition from Country Pop to straight forward pop. In 1981, she released her “Physical” album which also featured the title cut. While they built a fitness club visual theme around the song that added to the cheese factor of the song. “Getting Physical” was really a euphemism for wanting the relationship to go sexual…this is made quite clear at the end of the song when Newton-John sings “Animal, I Want to get Animal. Let’s Get into Animal.” Can you say Physical Relationship kids? Sure, you can. Sticking to the health club theme was milked for all that it was worth…not bad for 10 weeks at the top of the Pop chart.

7. “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” by Los Del Rio: Antonio Romero Monge and Rafael RuízPerdigones are the longtime members of the duo Los Del Rio, who group origins are from the country of Spain in Europe. LDR have been active since 1963, and are still active today. The origins of “Macarena” go back to 1992 when LDR first recorded the song in full Spanish language glory. The song was a hit in Spain, Mexico, and Columbia. It also caught on with the Latino communities of New York City and Miami. Mike Triay, and Carlos de Yarza aka The Bayside Boys created a remix of the song with English lyrics sung by Carla Vanessa at the request of colleagueJohnny Caride who was a radio personality at Miami’s heritage Pop station WPOW aka Power 96 during the mid-1990’s. The remix of “Macarena” really caught on when the brand-new version of WKTU in New York City (which recently sign on in the NYC market) added it to their playlist. In spite of “Macarena” going to #1 for 14 weeks on the Hot 100, Los Del Rio was not interested in meeting the Bayside Boys who helped them gain their 15 minutes of international fame. Seems like LDR is quite content on being big fish in their native country.

6. “I Gotta Felling” by The Black Eyed Peas: This follow-up to the their Electro noise single “Boom Boom Pow” (#1 Hot 100 track of 2009) is more of your Dance-Pop song. It’s your typical clubling and having a night on the town song, or just a great tune for the TV Broadcast Network CBS (which they used to promote their 2009 fall lineup of returning show) to tout their success and reclaiming their status as the Tiffany network and encouraging you to spend every night give or take with their hit shows rather than hitting the clubs and bars. Even the character Dr. Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) was singing it on an episode of CBS’s hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”

5. “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett &GoonRock: Does anyone remember the Kia commercials with the dancing hamsters? Virgin Airlines in America also used this electro dance party tune as well. 130 beats per minute in F minor. It was it was your get up and dance anthem of 2011.

4. “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes: Trish Yearwood’s version was featured on the “Con Air” movie soundtrack and a #2 hit on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, but Rimes version appealed to pop music radio and record buyers overall. She would peak at #2 on the Hot 100 butit’s amazing how it still holds up in 2017. Good thing that Diane Warren promised a then 14-year-old Rimes this song no matter what. It might have not been as popular without the girl that finally allowed Bill Mack’s “Blue” (written for Patsy Cline but died before she could record it) to finally be heard by Country Music fans.

3. “Mack The Knife” by Bobby Darin: This is the oldest recorded song on the overall survey. Darin’s version of ‘Mackie’ was recorded around December 1958 and released as a single in August 1958. The origins of ‘Mack’ go back as far as the late 1920’s. Darin who just had a hit with the straight rock and roll song “Splish Splash” would present his true talents by fusing the Big Band with Rock and Roll. Darin made ‘Mackie’ one of his signatures, along with his follow-up single. His take on the French standard “Beyond The Sea.”

2. “Smooth” by Santana feat. Rob Thomas: The second time that Carlos Santana sold out was a bigger payoff than the first time he did in the early 1980’s with the hits “Winning” and “Hold On.” His 1999 “Supernatural” album marked his second sell out period, and the first single from that album would become Santana’s biggest hit overall of his career. The Latin rock style was not compatible with the Alt Rock-Pop style of Rob Thomas and his band Matchbox Twenty, but was quite compatible with Latin rock guitarist Carlos Santana. He would ride this wave of fame into the late mid 2000’s, but it would have not happened without “Smooth” which would be the final Number one of 1999 as well as the final number one of the 1900’s.

1. “The Twist” by Chubby Checker: When you think of the Twist, you think of Chubby Checker. This song made it to #1 not once but twice. First in 1960 and two years later in 1962. Not even the sequel song “Let’s Twist Again” (released in 1961) could equal or better this first song. Long before La Freak, Macarena, or The Hussle or any other dance craze that could not make it to number one. You had “The Twist” which not only made it to number one twice, but is still the all-time Number One song according to Billboard Magazine.
To check out the complete Top 100 All Time Songs, click here:

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