Wednesday, December 1, 1993

Critic Picks: Paul Williams - Top 100 Rock Songs

Paul Williams:

Rock and Roll: The 100 Best Singles

Paul Williams, the founder of American rock music magazine Crawdaddy!, picks what he considers the 100 best singles of rock and roll. Instead of being ranked, the songs are presented in chronological order.

Click here to see other lists from publications and/or organizations.

  1. Robert Johnson “Terraplane Blues” (1936)
  2. Muddy Waters “Rollin’ Stone” (1950)
  3. Little Richard “Tutti Frutti” (1955)
  4. Elvis Presley “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956)
  5. Little Willie John “Fever” (1956)
  6. The Five Satins “In the Still of the Nite (I’ll Remember)” (1956)
  7. Bo Diddley “Mona” (1957)
  8. Jerry Lee Lewis “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (1957)
  9. Buddy Holly & the Crickets “Peggy Sue” (1957)
  10. Danny & the Juniors “At the Hop” (1957)

  11. Chuck Berry “Johnny B. Goode” (1958)
  12. The Everly Brothers “All I Have to Do Is Dream” (1958)
  13. The Bell Notes “I’ve Had It” (1959)
  14. Johnny & the Hurricanes “Crossfire” (1959)
  15. Chuck Berry “Memphis, Tennessee” (1959)
  16. Del Shannon “Runaway” (1961)
  17. Ben E. King “Stand by Me” (1961)
  18. The Miracles “I’ll Try Something New” (1962)
  19. The Duprees “You Belong to Me” (1962)
  20. The Beatles “Please Please Me” (1963)

  21. The Jaynetts “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses” (1963)
  22. The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” (1963)
  23. The Beach Boys “Fun, Fun, Fun” (1964)
  24. The Beach Boys “I Get Around” / “Don’t Worry Baby” (1964)
  25. Martha & the Vandellas “Dancing in the Street” (1964)
  26. The Kinks “You Really Got Me” (1964)
  27. Them “Gloria” / “Baby Please Don’t Go” (1964)
  28. Sam Cooke “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1964)
  29. The Who “I Can’t Explain” (1965)
  30. The Rolling Stones “The Last Time” (1965)

  31. Bob Dylan “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (1965)
  32. The Beatles “Ticket to Ride” (1965)
  33. The Byrds “Mr. Tambourine Man” (1965)
  34. The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1965)
  35. Wilson Picket “In the Midnight Hour” (1965)
  36. Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965)
  37. The Beatles “Day Tripper” (1965)
  38. The Miracles “Going to a Go-Go” (1965)
  39. Shades of Blue “Oh How Happy” (1966)
  40. Ike & Tina Turner “River Deep, Mountain High” (1966)

  41. The Four Tops “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” (1966)
  42. Eddie Floyd “Knock on Wood” (1966)
  43. The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” (1966)
  44. Spencer Davis Group “Gimme Some Lovin’” (1966)
  45. Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth” (1967)
  46. Aretha Franklin “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You” (1967)
  47. The Miracles “The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage” (1967)
  48. The Kinks “Waterloo Sunset” (1967)
  49. The Doors “The Crystal Ship” (1967)
  50. The Beach Boys “Heroes and Villains” (1967)

  51. Van Morrison “Brown-Eyed Girl” (1967)
  52. Jackie Wilson “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher” (1967)
  53. The Who “I Can See for Miles” (1967)
  54. Otis Redding “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” (1968)
  55. The Who “Magic Bus” (1968)
  56. The Jimi Hendrix Experience “All Along the Watchtower” (1968)
  57. The Grateful Dead “Dark Star” (1968)
  58. The Beatles “Hey Jude” (1968)
  59. Marvin Gaye I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968)
  60. The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Women” / “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (1969)

  61. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Green River” (1969)
  62. The Velvet Underground “Foggy Notion” (1969)
  63. Sly & the Family Stone “Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin” (1969)
  64. James Brown “Get Up, I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine” (1970)
  65. Joe Simon “Drowning in the Sea of Love” (1971)
  66. The Rolling Stones “All Down the Line” (1972)
  67. Bob Dylan “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (1973)
  68. Bachman-Turner Overdrive “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” (1974)
  69. Bob Marley & the Wailers “No Woman, No Cry” (1974)
  70. Bob Dylan “Hurricane” (1975)

  71. Patti Smith “Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)” (1976)
  72. Sex Pistols “Anarchy in the U.K.” (1976)
  73. Television “Marquee Moon” (1977)
  74. James Taylor “Handy Man” (1977)
  75. The Modern Lovers “Roadrunner” (1977)
  76. Sex Pistols “Holidays in the Sun” (1977)
  77. Queen “We Will Rock You” / “We Are the Champions” (1977)
  78. The Only Ones “Another Girl, Another Planet” (1978)
  79. Talking Heads “Take Me to the River” (1978)
  80. Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing” (1978)

  81. Anita Ward “Ring My Bell” (1979)
  82. Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” (1980)
  83. Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980)
  84. Yoko Ono “Walking on Thin Ice” (1981)
  85. R.E.M. “Radio Free Europe” (1981)
  86. Prince “When You Were Mine” (1981)
  87. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five “The Message” (1982)
  88. Modern English “I Melt with You” (1983)
  89. U2 “New Year’s Day” (1983)

  90. George Clinton “Atomic Dog” (1983)
  91. Pretenders “Middle of the Road’ (1983)
  92. Prince “When Doves Cry” (1984)
  93. U2 “Pride (In the Name of Love)” (1984)
  94. Tears for Fears “Shout” (1984)
  95. Tramaine “Fall Down” (1985)
  96. Peter Gabriel “Sledgehammer” (19866)
  97. R.E.M. “The One I Love” (1987)
  98. The Waterboys “Fisherman’s Blues” (1988)
  99. Neil Young “Rockin’ in the Free World” (1989)
  100. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

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First posted 4/1/2021.