Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999: The 10th Anniversary

Dave’s Music Database:

The Top 100 Songs of
the Rock Era, 1954-1999
(The 10th Anniversary)

In April 2011, I published my first Dave’s Music Database book – The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999. In celebration of the 10th anniversary, I am prepping a new edition of the book. In addition to integrating more lists, this edition reflects the effect of streaming and online video on even the pre-digital era. Newer sales data and more charts have been incorporated. Awards given to songs have been updated. 17 new songs make appearances on the list. You can see both the new list and the original list below. Click on song titles to access their DMDB pages.

Also, check out the two companion books to this one: The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era, 1890-1953 and The Top 100 Songs of the Digital Era, 2000-2019.


The Top Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999: The 10th Anniversary Edition

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. Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (1992)
5. The Police “Every Breath You Take” (1983)
6. Michael Jackson “Billie Jean” (1983)
7. Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975)
8. John Lennon “Imagine” (1971)
9. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
10. The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (1963)

11. Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968)
12. Simon & Garfunkel “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1970)
13. Aretha Franklin “Respect” (1967)
14. The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” (1966)
15. The Beatles “Yesterday” (1965)
16. Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965)
17. The Eagles “Hotel California” (1976)
18. Bryan Adams “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” (1991)
19. Otis Redding “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” (1968)
20. The Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” (1977)

21. Elton John “Candle in the Wind 1997 (Goodbye England’s Rose)” (1997)
22. Elvis Presley “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956)
23. Bobby Darin “Mack the Knife” (1959)
24. Sinéad O’Connor “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990)
25. Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” (1971)
26. The Animals “The House of the Rising Sun” (1964)
27. Don McLean “American Pie” (1971)
28. The Beatles “Let It Be” (1970)
29. Elvis Presley “Hound Dog” (1956)
30. Elvis Presley “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956)

31. Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (1988)
32. Ben E. King “Stand by Me” (1961)
33. Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” (1997)
34. Derek & the Dominos “Layla” (1970)
35. The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (1964)
36. Roy Orbison “(Oh) Pretty Woman” (1964)
37. Stevie Wonder “Superstition” (1972)
38. R.E.M. “Losing My Religion” (1991)
39. Elvis Presley “Jailhouse Rock” (1957)
40. Procol Harum “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (1967)

41. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “I Love Rock and Roll” (1981)
42. Bruce Springsteen “Born to Run” (1975)
43. Abba “Dancing Queen” (1976)
44. Prince “When Doves Cry” (1984)
45. Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive” (1978)
46. The Doors “Light My Fire” (1967)
47. Chuck Berry “Johnny B. Goode” (1958)
48. Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On” (1971)
49. Ray Charles “Georgia on My Mind” (1960)
50. The Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody” (1965)

51. Chubby Checker “The Twist” (1960)
52. The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” (1963)
53. Pink Floyd “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” (1979)
54. Rod Stewart “Maggie May” (1971)
55. The Temptations “My Girl” (1965)
56. Louis Armstrong “What a Wonderful World” (1967)
57. Elton John “Your Song” (1970)
58. U.S.A. for Africa “We Are the World” (1985)
59. The Who “My Generation” (1965)
60. The Ronettes “Be My Baby” (1963)

61. Lionel Richie & Diana Ross “Endless Love” (1981)
62. The Jimi Hendrix Experience “All Along the Watchtower” (1968)
63. Van Morrison “Brown-Eyed Girl” (1967)
64. The Beatles “She Loves You” (1963)
65. U2 “With or Without You” (1987)
66. The Monkees “I’m a Believer” (1966)
67. The Kinks “You Really Got Me” (1964)
68. Elvis Presley “All Shook Up” (1957)
69. Elvis Presley “Suspicious Minds” (1969)
70. Ray Charles “What’d I Say” (1959)

71. The Beach Boys “God Only Knows” (1966)
72. The Everly Brothers “All I Have to Do Is Dream” (1958)
73. Los Del Rio “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” (1995)
74. Ray Charles “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (1962)
75. Santana with Rob Thomas “Smooth” (1999)
76. Michael Jackson “Beat It” (1982)
77. U2 “One” (1991)
78. Kim Carnes “Bette Davis Eyes” (1981)
79. Simon & Garfunkel “The Sounds of Silence” (1965)
80. The Human League “Don’t You Want Me?” (1981)

81. Buddy Holly & the Crickets “That’ll Be the Day” (1957)
82. Elvis Presley “It’s Now or Never” (1960)
83. The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever” (1967)
84. Chic “Le Freak” (1978)
85. Al Green “Let’s Stay Together” (1971)
86. Britney Spears “Baby One More Time” (1998)
87. Percy Sledge “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1966)
88. The Four Tops “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” (1966)
89. The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Women” (1969)
90. Martha & the Vandellas “Dancing in the Street” (1964)

91. Blondie “Heart of Glass” (1979)
92. George Harrison “My Sweet Lord” (1970)
93. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Proud Mary” (1969)
94. Survivor “Eye of the Tiger” (1982)
95. Madonna “Like a Prayer” (1989)
96. Elvis Presley “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” (1960)
97. Debby Boone “You Light Up My Life” (1977)
98. Bon Jovi “Livin’ on a Prayer” (1986)
99. Boyz II Men “I’ll Make Love to You” (1994)
100. Coolio with L.V. “Gangsta’s Paradise” (1995)


Dave’s Music Database:

The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999 (The Original 2011 Edition)

Also available through DavesMusicDatabase.com as a standard book or ebook.


Dave’s Music Database presents this list as it appears in the book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999, published April 1, 2011. The concept behind the book was to come up with a definitive list by consolidating hundreds of other best-of lists along with chart stats, sales figures, and awards. Read more about how the book was created here.

Click on song titles to access their DMDB pages. Check out the Dave’s Music Database Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era playlist on YouTube. You may also be interested in the two companion books to this one: The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era, 1890-1953 and The Top 100 Songs of the Digital Era, 2000-2019.


1. The Beatles “Hey Jude” (1968)
2. The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1965)
3. The Police “Every Breath You Take” (1983)
4. Bill Haley & the Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (1954)
5. Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968)
6. John Lennon “Imagine” (1971)
7. Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (1992)
8. Simon & Garfunkel “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1970)
9. The Eagles “Hotel California” (1976)
10. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

11. The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” (1966)
12. Otis Redding “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” (1968)
13. Aretha Franklin “Respect” (1967)
14. The Beatles “Yesterday” (1965)
15. Michael Jackson “Billie Jean” (1983)
16. The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (1963)
17. Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975)
18. Elton John “Candle in the Wind 1997 (Goodbye England’s Rose)” (1997)
19. Roy Orbison “(Oh) Pretty Woman” (1964)
20. Elvis Presley “Don’t Be Cruel” (1956)

21. Don McLean “American Pie” (1971)
22. Derek & the Dominos “Layla” (1970)
23. Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965)
24. The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (1964)
25. Elvis Presley “Hound Dog” (1956)
26. Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” (1971)
27. The Beatles “Let It Be” (1970)
28. The Animals “The House of the Rising Sun” (1964)
29. Ben E. King “Stand by Me” (1961)
30. The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” (1963)

31. Procol Harum “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (1967)
32. Bobby Darin “Mack the Knife” (1959)
33. R.E.M. “Losing My Religion” (1991)
34. Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” (1997)
35. The Doors “Light My Fire” (1967)
36. Elvis Presley “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956)
37. Percy Sledge “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1966)
38. Bryan Adams “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” (1991)
39. Van Morrison “Brown-Eyed Girl” (1967)
40. The Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody” (1965)

41. Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On” (1971)
42. Chuck Berry “Johnny B. Goode” (1958)
43. The Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” (1977)
44. The Temptations “My Girl” (1965)
45. Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (1988)
46. Prince “When Doves Cry” (1984)
47. Stevie Wonder “Superstition” (1972)
48. U.S.A. for Africa “We Are the World” (1985)
49. The Kinks “You Really Got Me” (1964)
50. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “I Love Rock and Roll” (1981)

51. Elvis Presley “Jailhouse Rock” (1957)
52. Bruce Springsteen “Born to Run” (1975)
53. Rod Stewart “Maggie May” (1971)
54. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Proud Mary” (1969)
55. Chubby Checker “The Twist” (1960)
56. The Four Tops “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” (1966)
57. Sinéad O’Connor “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990)
58. Roberta Flack “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (1973)
59. Abba “Dancing Queen” (1976)
60. The Jimi Hendrix Experience “All Along the Watchtower” (1968)

61. The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Women” (1969)
62. Elton John “Your Song” (1970)
63. Ray Charles “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (1962)
64. The Who “My Generation” (1965)
65. Steppenwolf “Born to Be Wild” (1968)
66. U2 “With or Without You” (1987)
67. Michael Jackson “Beat It” (1982)
68. Al Green “Let’s Stay Together” (1971)
69. Simon & Garfunkel “Mrs. Robinson” (1968)
70. Patsy Cline “Crazy” (1961)

71. Pink Floyd “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” (1979)
72. Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive” (1978)
73. Lionel Richie & Diana Ross “Endless Love” (1981)
74. The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever” (1967)
75. Martha & the Vandellas “Dancing in the Street” (1964)
76. The Penguins “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” (1954)
77. Elvis Presley “Suspicious Minds” (1969)
78. Willie Nelson “Always on My Mind” (1982)
79. The Beatles “She Loves You” (1963)
80. The Ronettes “Be My Baby” (1963)

81. Kim Carnes “Bette Davis Eyes” (1981)
82. Del Shannon “Runaway” 1961)
83. The Mamas & the Papas “California Dreamin’” (1966)
84. Buddy Holly & the Crickets “That’ll Be the Day” (1957)
85. Carl Perkins “Blue Suede Shoes” (1956)
86. Fats Domino “Blueberry Hill” (1956)
87. Ray Charles “Georgia on My Mind” (1960)
88. Elvis Presley “It’s Now or Never” (1960)
89. Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980)
90. Louis Armstrong “What a Wonderful World” (1967)

91. The Everly Brothers “All I Have to Do Is Dream” (1958)
92. The Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin” (1967)
93. Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” (1956)
94. Jerry Lee Lewis “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (1957)
95. The Monkees “I’m a Believer” (1966)
96. The Fifth Dimension “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (1969)
97. The Human League “Don’t You Want Me?” (1981)
98. Barbra Streisand “The Way We Were” (1973)
99. George Harrison “My Sweet Lord” (1970)
100. Jerry Lee Lewis “Great Balls of Fire” (1957)


Resources and Related Links:

First posted 7/10/2011; updated 5/13/2021.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Dave,

    congratulations on the wonderful and incredible site, with so much information, lists, charts, etc.
    i love your website.
    I love lists, charts, timeline music, history music, etc.

    I want to build a collection and do a study based on 5 charts: US, UK, EUROPE, CANADIAN, AUSTRALIAN, and make an analogy between them and also compare with what happened in Brazil, although we never had an official chart here.
    your data will help me a lot.

    thank you so much.
    if you have any site tips referring to the mentioned charts you could indicate me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Antonio. I'm glad this site is helpful. You can find sources for most of the chart data I reference here: https://davesmusicdatabase.blogspot.com/p/links.html#charts

      I specifically recommend the Record Research books or Billboard.com for following U.S. charts. In regards to the UK, theofficialcharts.com is the best source online and the Virgin Book of British Hit Singles is the best way to go in book form. I have yet to find any defintive sources for European, Canadian, and Australian charts.

      Delete