|First posted 4/4/2012; last updated 6/27/2021.|
Dave’s Music Database – Songs:
The Top 1 and 2%
This is the granddaddy of song lists. It has been created by aggregating hundreds of best-of song lists alongside chart figures, radio and video airplay, sales data, and various honors and awards. While individual lists have idiosyncrasies because of the publiciations or institutions behind them, this list aims to represent as many genres and eras as possible in the history of recorded music.
To call this “the top songs of all time” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s primarily a list of the top songs in the history of recorded music: from 1890 to the present. Still, that’s a much wider swath than most supposedly “best of all time” lists cover.
Songs are listed in chronological order; dates in parentheses are for the song’s first chart appearance unless noted otherwise. Click on a song title to see its DMDB page with more details such as general information about the song, videos, lyrics, links to buy songs, chart stats, sales figures, and awards.
Note: this was originally a top 1000 list, but has been expanded to two categories – the top 1% and top 2% – each with more than 1000 songs. Originally these were listed as two separate posts, but now they’ve been consolidated into one page. Each year from 1890 to present has been listed with the top 1% songs first and then the top 2% songs after that. Prior to 1890 and the pre-recorded music era, songs are listed by songwriters (m=music, w=words) and publishing years.
You can navigate quickly to different points on this list by clicking on any of the below: