Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Toby Creswell: Top 1001 Songs

First posted 3/18/2021.

Toby Creswell:

1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time

Toby Creswell is an Australian music journalist who was the editor of the Australian edition of Rolling Stone (1985-1992) and the founding editor of Juice. In 2005, he published the book 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. While the years covered by the book are impressive (1924-2004), the list suffers from the usual problem of focusing primarily on music from the latter half of the 20th century. There are only 26 songs from the pre-rock era (before 1954).

More maddening, however, is the construction of the book. There isn’t any. The songs are not in any kind of order – ranked, listed chronologically, or alphabetically by song title or act name. Creswell tries to justify the lack of any ranking by saying in the introduction: “There is no greatest song of all time…There is no #1. There is no canon. Some of the songs are better than others.”

Let me stop right there. In his own words, he says “some of the songs are better than others,” which supports the idea that there is, in fact, a greatest song of all time. It’s just that Creswell is either 1) too lazy to rank the songs, or 2) too afraid of the backlash that inevitably comes from those who disagree with the rankings. With that said, Dave’s Music Database believes strongly that some songs are better than others and that there is a greatest song of all time. Therefore, this list ranks the top songs featured in Creswell’s book by their overall Dave’s Music Database status.

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

DMDB Top 1%:

1. The Beatles “Hey Jude” (1968)
2. The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1965)
3. Bill Haley & the Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (1954)
4. The Police “Every Breath You Take” (1983)
5. Michael Jackson “Billie Jean” (1982)
6. Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975)
7. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
8. John Lennon “Imagine” (1971)
9. The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (1963)
10. Simon & Garfunkel “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1970)

11. Aretha Franklin “Respect” (1967)
12. Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968)
13. The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” (1966)
14. Eagles “Hotel California” (1976)
15. Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” (1977)
16. Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965)
17. Judy Garland “Over the Rainbow” (1939)
18. Otis Redding “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” (1968)
19. Bobby Darin “Mack the Knife” (1956)
20. Elvis Presley “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956)

21. SinĂ©ad O’Connor “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990)
22. OutKast “Hey Ya!” (2003)
23. Elvis Presley “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956)
24. Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” (1971)
25. Elvis Presley “Hound Dog” (1956)
26. The Animals “The House of the Rising Sun” (1964)
27. Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (1988)
28. Derek & the Dominos “Layla” (1971)
29. Ben E. King “Stand by Me” (1961)
30. Roy Orbison “(Oh) Pretty Woman” (1964)

31. The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (1965)
32. Elvis Presley “Jailhouse Rock” (1957)
33. Abba “Dancing Queen” (1976)
34. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “I Love Rock and Roll” (1981)
35. Chuck Berry “Johnny B. Goode” (1958)
36. Prince “When Doves Cry” (1984)
37. Procol Harum “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (1967)
38. R.E.M. “Losing My Religion” (1991)
39. Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On” (1971)
40. The Doors “Light My Fire” (1967)

41. The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” (1963)
42. BeyoncĂ© with Jay-Z “Crazy in Love” (2003)
43. Rod Stewart “Maggie May” (1971)
44. The Who “My Generation” (1966)
45. Elton John “Your Song” (1970)
46. Elvis Presley “Suspicious Minds” (1969)
47. The Ronettes “Be My Baby” (1963)
48. Elvis Presley “All Shook Up“ (1957)
49. Ray Charles “What’d I Say” (1959)
50. The Kinks “You Really Got Me” (1964)

51. The Monkees “I’m a Believer” (1966)
52. The Beatles “She Loves You” (1963)
53. U2 “With Or Without You” (1987)
54. The Human League “Don’t You Want Me?” (1981)
55. Chic “Le Freak” (1978)
56. Britney Spears “Baby One More Time” (1998)
57. Madonna “Like a Prayer” (1989)
58. The Beach Boys “God Only Knows” (1966)
59. Simon and Garfunkel “The Sounds of Silence” (1965)
60. Al Green “Let’s Stay Together” (1971)

61. Coolio with L.V. “Gangsta’s Paradise” (1995)
62. Oasis “Wonderwall” (1995)
63. U2 “One” (1992)
64. Roberta Flack “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (1973)
65. Blondie “Heart of Glass” (1978)
66. Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980)
67. The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever” (1967)
68. The Beatles “A Day in the Life” (1967)
69. Del Shannon “Runaway” (1961)
70. Elvis Presley “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” (1960)

71. The Jackson 5 “I Want You Back” (1969)
72. Simon & Garfunkel “Mrs. Robinson” (1968)
73. Soft Cell “Tainted Love” (1981)
74. The Verve “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (1997)
75. The Byrds “Mr. Tambourine Man” (1968)
76. Jerry Lee Lewis “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (1957)
77. Steppenwolf “Born to Be Wild” (1968)
78. Carl Perkins “Blue Suede Shoes” (1956)
79. Roberta Flack “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (1969)
80. Patsy Cline “Crazy” (1961)

81. Village People “Y.M.C.A.” (1978)
82. The Mamas & the Papas “California Dreamin’” (1966)
83. Van Halen “Jump” (1984)
84. Queen “Another One Bites the Dust” (1980)
85. The Clash “London Calling” (1979)
86. Little Richard “Tutti Frutti” (1955)
87. Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth” (1967)
88. Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” (1956)
89. The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Purple Haze” (1967)
90. Madonna “Like a Virgin” (1984)

91. Bob Marley & the Wailers “No Woman, No Cry” (1974)
92. Radiohead “Creep” (1993)
93. Billie Holiday “Strange Fruit” (1939)
94. David Bowie “Space Oddity” (1969)
95. The Miracles “The Tracks of My Tears” (1965)
96. The Knack “My Sharona” (1979)
97. Led Zeppelin “Whole Lotta Love” (1969)
98. Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This” (1983)
99. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five “The Message” (1982)
100. The Beatles with Billy Preston “Get Back” (1969)

101. AC/DC “You Shook Me All Night Long” (1980)
102. Marvin Gaye “Let’s Get It On” (1973)
103. The Shirelles “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (1960)
104. Ritchie Valens “La Bamba” (1958)
105. The Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” (1968)
106. Paul Whiteman with George Gershwin “Rhapsody in Blue” (1924)
107. Henry Mancini with Audrey Hepburn “Moon River” (1961)
108. Buddy Holly & the Crickets “Peggy Sue” (1957)
109. Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing” (1978)
110. Madonna “Music” (2000)

111. New Order “Blue Monday” (1983)
112. Sex Pistols “Anarchy in the U.K.” (1976)
113. TLC “Waterfalls” (1995)
114. The Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964)
115. Johnny Cash “I Walk the Line” (1956)
116. The Supremes “Stop! In the Name of Love” (1965)
117. Alanis Morissette “You Oughta Know” (1995)
118. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Under the Bridge” (1992)
119. The Who “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (1971)
120. Fleetwood Mac “Go Your Own Way” (1977)

121. Frankie Goes to Hollywood “Relax” (1983)
122. Eminem with Dido “Stan” (2000)
123. Duke Ellington “Take the ‘A’ Train” (1941)
124. Isaac Hayes “Theme from Shaft” (1971)
125. Beck “Loser” (1993)
126. Little Eva Little Eva “The Loco-Motion” (1962)
127. David Bowie “Heroes” (1977)
128. Lou Reed “Walk on the Wild Side” (1972)
129. Harry James Orchestra with Frank Sinatra “All or Nothing at All” (1939)
130. Chuck Berry “Maybellene” (1955)

131. The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” (2003)
132. Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit” (1967)
133. Cyndi Lauper “Time After Time” (1984)
134. Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (1985)
135. The Everly Brothers “Bye Bye Love” (1957)
136. Woody Guthrie “This Land Is Your Land” (1944)
137. Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” (1985)
138. James Brown “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” (1965)
139. Ike & Tina Turner “River Deep, Mountain High” (1966)
140. Coldplay “Clocks” (2002)

141. Gladys Knight & the Pips “Midnight Train to Georgia” (1973)
142. The Beatles “in My Life” (1965)
143. Chic “Good Times” (1979)
144. Frank Sinatra “My Way” (1969)
145. Sheryl Crow “All I Wanna Do” (1993)
146. Peter Gabriel “Sledgehammer” (1986)
147. Sly & The Family Stone “Everyday People” (1968)
148. R.E.M. “Everybody Hurts” (1992)
149. Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb” (1979)
150. Bruce Springsteen “Born in the U.S.A.” (1984)

151. Wilson Picket “In the Midnight Hour” (1965)
152. The Kinks “Lola” (1970)
153. The Rolling Stones “Angie” (1973)
154. The Kinks “Waterloo Sunset” (1967)
155. Deep Purple “Smoke on the Water” (1973)
156. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott “Get Ur Freak On” (2001)
157. Oasis “Live Forever” (1994)
158. Metallica “Enter Sandman” (1991)
159. The Who “Baba O’Riley” (1971)
160. Free “All Right Now” (1970)

161. Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime” (1981)
162. Hank Williams “Your Cheatin’ Heart” (1953)
163. Pretenders “Brass in Pocket” (1979)
164. U2 “Pride (In the Name of Love)” (1984)
165. Culture Club “Karma Chameleon” (1983)
166. OutKast “Ms. Jackson” (2000)
167. Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps “Be-Bop-A-Lula” (1956)
168. 10cc “I’m Not in Love” (1975)
169. Dion “Runaround Sue” (1961)
170. David Bowie “Changes” (1972)

171. Roy Orbison “Only the Lonely” (1960)
172. Madonna “Into the Groove” (1985)
173. Bo Diddley “Bo Diddley” (1955)
174. The Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter” (1969)
175. Marty Robbins “El Paso” (1959)
176. Louis Armstrong “West End Blues” (1928)
177. Pulp “Common People” (1995)
178. Black Eyed Peas with Justin Timberlake “Where Is the Love?” (2003)
179. The Rolling Stones “Start Me Up” (1981)
180. Cream “Sunshine of Your Love” (1967)

181. Coldplay “Yellow” (2000)
182. Elton John “Bennie and the Jets” (1973)
183. The Beatles “I Feel Fine” (1964)
184. Count Basie “One O’Clock Jump” (1937)
185. The Troggs “Wild Thing” (1966)
186. The Beatles “Come Together” (1969)
187. The Band “The Weight” (1968)
188. Jackie Wilson “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher” (1967)
189. Dave Brubeck Quartet “Take Five” (1959)
190. Roger Miller “King of the Road” (1965)

191. INXS “Need You Tonight” (1987)
192. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Fortunate Son” (1969)
193. Aretha Franklin “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” (1967)
194. Crowded House “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (1987)
195. Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls” (1985)
196. Bob Dylan “The Times They Are A-Changin’” (1964)
197. The Impressions “People Get Ready” (1965)
198. The Beatles “Ticket to Ride” (1965)
199. Bruce Springsteen “Thunder Road” (1975) 200. Madonna “Ray of Light” (1998)

201. Bob Dylan “Tangled Up in Blue” (1975)
202. Bobbie Gentry “Ode to Billie Joe” (1967)


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