Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
500 (+) Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll
In 2004, James Henke, chief curator for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with the help of music writers and critics, selected 500 songs (not only rock songs) that they believe have been most influential in shaping rock and roll. The list is alphabetical by artist.
Several sources indicate that the original list from 2004 was expanded at some point to 660 songs, but none of those sources seem to indicate exactly when this was done. The revised list added songs up through 2006. Surprisingly, a search on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t even turn up the original list. However, a list of the original 500 and the 160 added songs can be found here. Those songs which were added later are marked with an asterisk (*).
At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 14, 2018, six songs were recognized as singles which shaped rock and roll but are not recorded by artists currently in the Hall. It was reported by Billboard magazine as a new induction category, but there is no mention of it on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website and no indication that it was done again in 2019. The six songs are “Rocket 88” by Jackie Breston and his Delta Cats (1951), “Rumble” by Link Wray and his Ray Men’s (1958), “The Twist” by Chubby Checker (1960), “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen (1963), “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procolu Harum (1967), and “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf (1968). They are noted below with a carat (^).
First posted 11/9/2004; last updated 11/12/2023.