These are mostly websites for popular music magazines that focus on rock & pop music.
Many of these are NOT links to the official sites. For some reason, they often do a poor job of archiving past winners.
Academy of Country Music Awards
Awards for Entertainer of the Year, Song of the Year, Single of the Year, etc. Embarrassingly, there is no obvious link to find past award winners. You’re better off checking out Wikipedia if you’re looking for past winners.
- American Music Awards
Awards are determined by polling music buyers. Nominations are based on sales and airplay, regardless of how old the album/song is. Categories include favorite band, female artist, or male artist in various genres (country, R&B, adult contemporary, Latin, pop/rock, alternative). Above link is the official one, but it appears to be down outside of awards season. Wikipedia offers a much better source.
- ASCAP Golden Note Award
Given to songwriters, composers, and artists who have achieved career milestones. Ridiculously, there is no available list of all winners. They can be found using the search engine at ASCAP’s site. See more about ASCAP under AIRPLAY links.
The leading chart magazine in the music industry publishes a yearly issue including the top artists, songs, and albums in all the different genre charts covered in the magazine. Charts are based on Nielsen data for sales and airplay. Awards were televised from 1990 to 2007. Year-end charts for 2002 to present are archived at Billboard.biz.
- Billboard’s Hot 100 Songs of the Year (1958-2007)
This is a list of each of Billboard’s annual Song of the Year winners. It is organized chronologically and includes a paragraph and video clip for each song.
- Billboard Century Award
From 1992 to 2006, Billboard magazine gave out an annual award for career achievement.
- BMI Awards
These awards for most-performed song of the year are given annually in various categories, including pop, country, and urban. There are also Icon awards given to performers. Astonishingly, there appears to be no database at the BMI site to search for these awards, nor is there one anywhere else. To find the annual winners takes some very tedious googling, year by year, award by award.
- Blues Hall of Fame
In addition to inducting artists, the Blues Hall of Fame inducts important blues albums each year.
- Brit Awards
These are the annual pop music awards for the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), given from 1983 to present. Awards include best Brish and international male solo artist, female solo artist, group, and album. An award is also given for best British single. The official site (above) does not appear to have past awards archived. A full list of each year’s winners is available at Wikipedia. There are also separate awards for classical music, given from 2000 to present, for best British artist, female artist, male artist, and album.
- Country Music Association Awards
This site includes an awards database and a link to the Country Hall of Fame. Since 1967, the Country Music Association (CMA) has presented awards for Single of the Year and Song of the Year. The former is awarded to the performer; the latter goes to the songwriter(s). Still, it’s easier to find award winners on Wikipedia.
- Country Music Television (CMT)
Fan-voted country music video awards as given out since 2002. Awards duo, group, male, female, collaborative, and video of the year. Link above is official website. Go to Wikipedia.
- DMDB Album of the Year
This page has, among other album of the year awards, the best album of each year from 1945 to present as determined by Dave’s Music Database.
- Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
One award given annually by the Library of Congress to celebrate “the work of an artist whose career reflects lifetime achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of expression and cultural understanding.” Award first given in 2007 – so far Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, and Paul McCartney have been honored.
- Grammy Awards/National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS)
Established in 1957, NARAS is an organization of more than 14,000 musicians, producers and other recording professionals dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural codition for music and its makers. The industry leader in music awards. Awards given annually in multiple genres and various categories including songs and albums.
- Grammy Hall of Fame
More than 300 albums have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
- The Grammys: The Ultimate Unofficial Guide to Music’s Highest Honor. New York, NY: Penguin Books. Written by Thomas O’Neil (1999)
All Grammy winners and nominees from the first ceremony in 1958 up to 1997 are listed along with commentary on each year’s awards. Winners in various categories are noted in this book, including Record of the Year, which goes to the performer, and then awards that go to the songwriter for Song of the Year, Best Rhythm & Blues (R&B) Song, Best Country Song, and Best Rock Song. In addition, songs that made this book that won Grammys in the male, female, and group/duo categories for vocal performance in pop, R&B, country, and rock.
- Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
Starting in 1962, the Grammys have given out this award to performers (and non-performers through 1972) who “have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.”
- Grammy Trustees Award
Starting in 1967, the Grammys presented this “to individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, to the field of recording.” Through 1983, the award was given to performers and non-performers, but since then only to non-performers.
- Gramophones - classical
- Hollywood Walk of Fame
More than 2400 stars from the motion picture, television, recording, and radio industries have been honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an actual stretch of 2.4 miles down the Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. The first star was laid in 1960. Above Wikipedia page lists all the stars in all four categories. A more awkward searchable database is available at the actual Hollywood Walk of Fame site.
- Juno Awards
Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys. Includes awards such as single, album, and artist of the year. Above is official website. Go to Wikipedia for an easier to find list of awards and winners.
- Kennedy Center Honors
General entertainment lifetime achievement awards.
- Melody Maker Album of the Year
The DMDB awards page includes multiple Album of the Year winners, including Melody Maker magazine’s albums of the year from 1978-2000.
- Mercury Prize
Given to the best British or Irish album of the year since 1992. Above link is for the official site. Go to Wikipedia for a better list of previous winners.
- Mojo Album of the Year
The DMDB awards page includes multiple Album of the Year winners, including Mojo magazine’s albums of the year from 1950 to present. Lists from 1994 on are based on actual year-end lists. Albums from 1950-1993 are based on yearly album ranked highest on composite list.
- MTV - videos
- Music Videos
- National Endowment for the Arts: National Medal of Arts
This is “the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government.” It is “awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.” Given since 1985.
- NRR National Recording Registry
Sound recordings, including albums and songs, named by Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Recordings must be at least ten years old. Nominations came from members of the public and the National Recording Preservation Board.
- NME Album of the Year
The DMDB awards page includes multiple Album of the Year winners, including NME magazine’s albums of the year from 1950 to present. Lists from 1974 on are based on actual year-end lists. Albums from 1963-1973 are based on yearly album ranked highest on composite list.
- Oscars/Academy Awards
While these are the premiere movie awards, they do give out an award for Best Original Song in a Movie. The official Oscar site does not appear to have a searchable database to find these awards, but you can find a list of the song winners at Wikipedia.
- Pulitzer Prize: Special Awards and Citations
Newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer made provisions in his will for the establishment of the Pulitizer Prize, to be awarded for excellence in journalism, drama, and education. The award has since been expanded to other subjects, including music. The Special Awards and Citations have been given to individuals, including musicians such as Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, and John Coltrane.
- Q Album of the Year
The DMDB awards page includes multiple Album of the Year winners, including Q magazine’s albums of the year from 1950 to present. Lists from 1999 on are based on actual year-end lists. Albums from 1965 to 1998 are based on yearly album ranked highest on composite list.
- Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) – see “Sales”
- Rolling Stone Album of the Year
The DMDB awards page includes multiple Album of the Year winners, including Rolling Stone magazine’s albums of the year from 1965 to present. Lists from 1978 on are based on actual year-end lists. Albums from 1965 to 1977 are based on yearly album ranked highest on composite list.
- Songwriters Hall of Fame – Towering Song Award
The Towering Song Award honors outstanding songs by writers who may not have an extensive catalog of hits and who have not been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Examples include “As Time Goes By,” “The Christmas Song,” “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Happy Birthday.”
- Soul Train Awards
Once again, the official site is inexplicably poor. To find awards for best single for each year from 1987-2007 for male, female or group, go to Wikipedia. Special awards given out to performers have included the Heritage Award (1987-1997) and Quincy Jones Award for Career Achievement (1998-2007).
- Spin Album of the Year
The DMDB awards page includes multiple Album of the Year winners, including Spin magazine’s albums of the year from 1965 to present. Lists from 1990 on are based on actual year-end lists. Albums from 1965 to 1977 are based on yearly album ranked highest on composite list.
- Tonys - theatre/musicals
- Village Voice Album of the Year
These are the top albums for each year from 1971-2009.
- Dave Whitaker’s Albums of the Year
The DMDB awards page includes my personal favorite album from each year from 1963 to present.
- World Music Awards
The World Music Awards is an international awards show founded in 1989 to honor recording artists based on worldwide sales provided by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). The Legend Award is presented “to a top recording artist in recognition of their global success and outstanding contribution to the music industry.” The Diamond Award was created in 2001 to honor artists who have sold more than 100 million albums in their careers.
- #1 songs and albums in UK and US
Site created and maintained by Sharon Rebecca Persky. Lists reach back to 1890, but, at last check, the site hadn’t been updated since 2007.
- George Albert – see Cash Box
- ARC Weekly Top 40
This pop chart has been in existence since 1980 and became associated with Rock On The Net in 1997. The ARC is based on weekly sales, radio airplay, and video play.
- AVrev.com’s Top 10 Rock Bands of All Time. By Charles Andrews, Howard Schilling, Jack Sonni, and Ken Lopez.
Five judges ranked 100 bands in various areas including U.S. sales, songs and songwriting, technical ability, innovation, live performance, and consistency vs. longevity. While the article indicates Top 10, the top 100 are listed. Some of the “bands” included are generally considered more solo artists (Bruce Springsteen, Prince), but are included because of their backing bands.
The definitive weekly US singles & albums charts
This is Billboard’s online archive chart database for ALL Billboard charts. Vast amount of information, but can be tedious to search. Available to members only.
- Billboard magazine. (December 25, 1999/January 1, 2000 double issue). New York, NY.
Double issue that explores 1999’s year in music charts and looks back at the biggest hits of the decade in the various chart formats such as pop, rock, R&B, adult contemporary, country, alternative, gospel, and Latin music.
- “All Time Top 100.” – see “Lists (Songs – All Time)”
Billboard magazine’s 1000 No. 1s
Check out all the songs to top the Billboard Hot 100 from its inception in August 1958 to the 1000th #1 in March 2011.
- Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY; Billboard Books. (2003)
Insight into every song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart from the beginning of the rock era (Bill Haley’s 1955 #1 song “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock”) to 2003’s “This Is the Night” by Clay Aiken. 5th edition appears to be the most current.
- Fred Bronson (2007). Hottest Hot 100 Hits (4th edition). New York, NY; Billboard Books.
This book goes a step farther than Bronson’s Number One Hits book. Songs are ranked so that we can see the biggest hits of each year, each decade, and of the entire rock era. Also included are various categories, such as the biggest hits by particular artists, writers, producers, and labels.
- Cashbox magazine
Similar to Billboard magazine, Cash Box has charted the most popular hits in the U.S. While their charts have gone back as far as 1942, this online database starts with 1950 and ends with 1996, when the charts ceased. However, these are just reprints of the original charts and there is no searchable function to find a specific act, song, or peak position. Check out Pat Downey’s book for that.
- Cash Box Pop Hits 1952-1996 By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
Record Research primarily focuses on the Billboard charts, but this book keys in on one of their main competitors, Cash Box, who compiled pop charts very similar to the Billboard Hot 100. This book, like other Record Research books, compiles every song to hit the Cash Box charts from 1952 to 1996, listing them alphabetically by artist.
- Cash Box: Pop Singles Charts 1950-1993 (1994). Written by Pat Downey, George Albert, and Frank Hoffman. Libraries Unlimited, Inc.: Englewood, Colorado.
Like Billboard, Cash Box has charted the U.S. pop hits for decades. However, Cash Box is solely sales-based while Billboard combines airplay and sales. This book doesn’t cover all the Cash Box years, eliminating the charts from 1942-1950 as unreliable and stopping before the charts ceased in 1996. However, this is a worthy companion to Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, which covers the Billboard pop charts. Like that book, this indicates each charted song’s date of initial release, record label, and peak position. Songs are organized by recording acts. A more updated edition would be nice, but seems unlikely given the cessation of the chart and that this book’s low demand has rendered it out of print.
- Cash Box’s “The 100 Biggest Top 100 Hits” – see “Lists (Songs – Best of All Time)
Excellent database of the British song and album charts. Offers more complete information than EveryHit.com, including week-by-week chart data and covers of albums and singles, but is more awkward for searching.
- Pat Downey – see Cash Box
This online easy-to-search database lets users search by artist, song, or album any songs, albums, or EPs to hit the top 40 of the UK charts from 1952 to 2010. Don’t know if site has been updated beyond that.
- Edward Foote Gardner (2000). Popular Songs of the Twentieth Century: Volume I – Chart Detail & Encyclopedia 1900-1949. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House.
In an attempt to compile multiple surveys from the era, this book offers charts for the first half of the century. The focus is on the songs themselves and not the specific charted versions of a song.
- Guinness World Records British Hit Singles (2001). Edited by David Roberts. London, Great Britain; Guinness World Records Ltd.
Compiles all songs to hit the British charts from November 14, 1952 to December 30, 2000. Organized alphabetically by the name of recording acts, under which their hit songs, peak positions, and debut weeks are listed.
- Hit Records 1954-1982 (2012). Sheridan Books, Inc.: Ann Arbor, MI.
Joel Whitburn of Record Research compiles chart data for this U.S. pop singles chart helmed by Music Vendor (1954-1964) and then Record World (1964-1982).
- Frank Hoffman – see Cash Box
- Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh. (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press.
The British equivalent of Fred Bronson’s analysis of every song to hit #1 from 1952-2005. Appears to be only edition.
- Spencer Leigh – see Jon Kutner
- Mediabase Music
- Music VF (2009)
Database of chart hits in US (based on major Billboard charts) and UK (based on the Official UK Charts Company). Howard Drake has the site’s copyright.
Multiple links to charts and lists.
- The Official UK Charts Company
The definitive weekly UK singles & albums charts
Lists all UK #1 songs from 7 January 1950 to 5 November 2011. Especially notable for 1950-52, which were based only on sheet music sales and aren’t included in the Official UK Charts list of #1 songs.
- Radio & Records 1973-2009 By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
Record Research primarily focuses on the Billboard charts, but this book keys in on Radio & Records, who compiled pop charts very similar to the Billboard Hot 100. This book, like other Record Research books, compiles every song to hit the Radio & Records charts from 1973 to 2009, listing them alphabetically by artist.
- David Roberts – see Guinness
- Record Research
Joel Whitburn books on the Billboard charts.
- Record Research (1999). A Century of Pop Music. By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
This massive undertaking chronicles the top 40 songs for each year of the 20th century. It also lists the biggest hits and artists of each decade. The lists are determined by ranking songs first by peak position (with #1 songs ranked by most weeks at the top). Tie breakers are decided, depending on the year, by weeks in the top 3, top 5, top 10, and weeks on the chart.
- Record Research (2017). Hot Country Songs 1944-2016. By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
This is an alphabetical listing, by artist, of every record to chart on Billboard magazine’s country song charts.
- PM Record Research (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
Listings of every major charted song in the first half of the 20th century. Each song is accompanied by the date of initial release, record label, and peak position. Songs are organized by recording acts, who have short biographies as well.
- Record Research (2021). Rock Tracks 1981-2020. By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
This book covers every song to chart on Billboard magazine’s “Album Rock Tracks” chart from its debut in 1981 through present and every song that hit the same magazine’s “Modern Rock Tracks” chart from its beginning in 1988 to present.
- Record Research (2006). Top Adult Songs 1961-2006. By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
This is an alphabetical listing, by artist, of every record to chart on Billboard magazine’s Easy Listening/Adult Contemporary charts and Adult Top 40 charts.
- Record Research (2017). Top Pop Albums 1955-2016 By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
This is an alphabetical listing, by artist, of every album to reach Billboard magazine’s Top 200 Albums chart from 1955 to 2016.
- Record Research (2019). Top Pop Singles 1955-2018 By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
This book is a companion to Pop Memories 1890-1954. It is organized in the same fashion as its predecessor and covers the rock era. As with most of the first book, the chart histories are taken from Billboard magazine, the industry leader in music charts.
- Record Research (2017). Top R&B Singles: 1942-2016. By Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
Every song to hit the R&B charts in period covered. Organized by artist with each song listed along with information such as its original chart date and peak position.
- Virgin Books (2010). The Virgin Book of British Hit Singles. The UK Official Charts Company.
This replaces not only the Guinness book mentioned earlier, but the Warwick et al book below – at least for charts on songs. This book covers the UK charts from 1952 to 2010. It is confusingly titled Volume 2 when it would be more appropriate to call it a second edition.
- Neil Warwick, John Kutner, and Tony Brown (2004). The Complete Book of the British Charts: Singles and Albums (3rd edition). London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press
This renders Roberts’ Guinness book unnecessary, as it is an updated version of that book, listing all songs to hit the British charts from 1952 to 2003. This book goes a step farther, however, also listing all albums to hit the British charts. Organized alphabetically by the name of the act, then all charted songs are listed chronologically followed by all albums listed chronologically. Appears to be most recent edition.
- Joel Whitburn – see Record Research
- Your Hit Parade
This web site listed every song that made the Hit Parade (a weekly television show) from 1935-1955, lists their peak positions (1-3), total numbers at peak position, and total weeks on the Hit Parade.
These are sites that have archived multiple best-of lists.
- Amazon.com: Essential Artists
Consists of two lists: one of popular music’s essential artists and another of classical composers. Links take you to short bios and more links to works by the artist/composer.
- ARC Greatest Artists of Rock and Roll (2000)
Can no longer find online.
- ARC Weekly Top 40’s Top Artists (2000)
Can no longer find online.
- Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, 1958-2008 (2008)
This list was created in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100.
- Blender Top 50 Rock Geniuses (Jan/Feb 2003 issue)
Paragraph-long commentaries on each of the 50 ranked selections.
- BlogCritics.org’s The Ten Best Rock Bands Ever by Eric Olsen (3/29/04)
Top ten list with commentary on each band. Seems to have been written for MSNBC.
- Dave’s Music Databse The Top 100 Acts According to the DMDB (9/29/10)
Multiple lists are consolidated to make this aggregate list exclusively from Dave’s Music Database.
- Digital Dream Door 300 Greatest Popular Music Artists (list begun 1/16/06). Edited by Chris F.
“Criteria: These…artists were ranked for their popularity, influence, and impact in popular music.” Ranked list with no commentary.
- Digital Dream Door 100 Most Influential Rock ‘N’ Roll Artists (5/8/09). Edited by Sampson.
Critera: “Factored by the following: cultural influence, musical influence and performing influence. Artists from other musical genres outside rock ‘n’ roll are not included on this list.
- Digital Dream Door Most Influential Non-Performers
This is a top-ten ranked list which appears as a sidenote to the “100 Most Influential Rock ‘N’ Roll Artists” page above.
- Roger Hall. Top 100 Songs of the Century (2001)
This is referenced under “Lists (Songs – Best of All-Time)” but is here also because Hall named a singer for each decade in the original post. Unfortunately, that link is now dead and this information does not appear to be at the new site. Here’s who he selected: Billy Murray (1900-09), Al Jolson (1910-19), Gene Austin (1920-29), Fred Astaire (1930-38), Bing Crosby (1939-49), Frank Sinatra (1950-59), The Beatles (1960-69), Barbra Streisand (1970-79), Michael Jackson (1980-89), and Celine Dion (1990-99).
- Joanne Huffa 500 Rock Bands (2009). Quantum Books: London.
Despite the title, this list focuses on individuals and bands. While many of the usual suspects are present and highly ranked (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, etc.), there are others one might expect in the top 100 (Prince, Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, Eagles, Genesis) that aren’t while some unusual choices are ranked in the top 100 (Sleater-Kinney, Guitar Wolf, Pantera). The list also strays from the definition of group to include individuals at times (Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley). Not well edited, either – for example, Kraftwerk and Lynyrd Skynyrd are misspelled and #’s 133-135 and 184 are absent!
- Legends of American Music stamp series (1993-1999)
This series of stamps started in 1993, with 18 stamps in three categories: rock & roll/rhythm & blues, country & western, and Broadway musicals. In 1994, five popular singers and eight jazz/blues singers were recognized. 1995 honored eleven jazz musicians. 1996 was dedicated to four big band leaders and four songwriters. Four opera singers and eight classical composers/conductors were introduced in 1997. Four gospel singers and four folk musicians joined in 1998. The final series in 1999 added Broadway songwriters and Hollywood composers. There were 74 individuals honored throughout the series.
- Life magazine: 50 Years of Rock and Roll (3/11/02)
Includes a list of the top 100 acts of the rock era.
- Mojo: Hall of Fame 100 (Nov. 2003 issue)
In celebration of the magazine’s 10th anniversary, they published this list, which focused on 100 acts. Commentary on each act is in regards to a “world-changing moment,” or a significant event in the act’s history that had an effect on the development of rock and roll. Also included are album recommendations.
- Mojo: Icons – The Greatest Music Stars of All Time (special edition: 11/04)
Link is actually to a site in which users can vote on the various acts in the list, but the ranking still remains the same as the original Mojo publication and appears to include the magazine’s original comments and essential recordings.
- NME (New Musical Express) magazine Greatest Artists of All Time (4/20/02 issue)
Ranked list of the 50 acts that made the biggest impact over the NME’s first 50 years.
- MSNBC – see BlogCritics.org
- Pop Music Stars Top 100, 1890-2006 (2006)
The all-time pop music stars, based on their performance in the pop music charts.
- Q magazine: The 100 Greatest Stars of the 20th Century (8/99)
Ranked list of the top 100. Focused on individuals; associated groups parenthetically referenced.
- Radio Gold Top 20 Best Groups
Top 20 ranked list. No commentary. Looks to be an individual list.
- Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Artists of the Century (1999?)
Top 50 ranked list based on album sales through the 20th century as reported by the RIAA.
- Rolling Stone magazine: The Immortals: The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time (4/15/04)
Have to go through list one page at a time (one artist per page), but good commentary on each.
- Piero Scaruffi’s Greatest Rock Bands of All Times (1999)
An individual’s odd list with 97 bands listed. The top 13 are ranked. No commentary.
- Songwriters Hall of Fame – Songwriters Friends
This is not an award given by the Songwriter Hall, just a list of significant performers who have been instrumental in furthering the work of songwriters.
- Spin magazine: 50 Greatest Bands of All Time (2/02)
Ranked top 50 list with classic albums listed.
- Strajnic: Top 100 Artists (year?)
Top 100 list based on best-album list points. No longer online.
- Time magazine: 100 Most Important People of the Century (6/8/98)
5 categories: leaders/revolutionaries, artists/entertainers, builders/titans, scientists/thinkers, and heroes/icons. Included artist/entertainer icons are Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Frank Sinatra, and Igor Stravinksy.
- TSORT: Top Album Artists of All Time (year?)
Top 1000 list based on album points, which come from an aggregate of multiple lists.
- TSORT: Top Song Artists of All Time (2010)
Top 1000 list based on song points, which come from an aggregate of multiple lists.
- Variety magazine: Icons of the Century (year?)
Unranked list of icons in multiple areas.
- VH1: 100 Greatest Artists of Rock and Roll (1998)
VH-1 asked current top music artists to name their choices for the greatest artists in rock and roll. Results presented in a 100 to #1 countdown format on the network.
- VH1: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time (Sept. 6-10, 2010)
Top 100 countdown conducted in same manner as 1998 list above. Despite title, this is a very rock-era focused list.
- Vinyl Surrender: All-Time Artists (year?)
No clear indication of how list is generated, but it appears to be from user votes.
- PM Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Published by Record Research: Menomonee Falls, WI.
Page 623 has a list of the top 100 Artists of the pre-rock era, according to charts gathered for this book.
These are lists created by Dave’s Music Database and posted on the website, blog, or Facebook page. Generally the lists are created by aggregating multiple lists focused on the specific category and factoring in the albums’ status in the overall DMDB database as well.
A lot of these links are for individuals and small groups who review albums and have created their own websites (much like the DMDB). For more “professional” reviews, check out the links for general info and buying music.
- AARP (3/23/2012). 16 Songs Everyone Over 50 Should Own
Picks from author Jacquelyn Mitchard.
- About.com (2000?). 100 Pop Songs of All-Time
Link broken. Unsure of list details, but covers songs from 1957-2000.
- About.com (2007?). Top 40 Pop Songs. By Bill Lamb.
Details unknown but covers songs from 1939-2007.
- Acclaimed Music Top Songs of All Time
Henrik Franzon maintains this site which accumulates multiple best-of lists. This is his comprehensive best-of song list. As of 2021, there were 10,000 songs on the list.
- All Star Jukebox
Site is for a San Francisco-based dance band for hire. Did feature lists for the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s+, and standards. Lists have either been moved may not be on website anymore.
- Amusement & Music Operators Association in America (AMOA) (1989). American Top 40 Jukebox Singles
Ranked list only. No commentary. Released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the jukebox concept.
- ASCAP – see lists under “Airplay” section.
- ASCAP (1964). “All Time Hit Parade”
As found in Don Tyler’s book Hit Parade 1920-1955. Only 16 songs.
- The Attack Zone (2004). 100 Greatest Songs of All Time
Site no longer active.
Ranking of the top 1000 songs, according to the Australian charts, since 1989. Also includes a best-of album list, page for #1 hits, and weekly Australian charts.
- BBC Radio 2 (2004). Sold on Song Top 100
No details online about how this list was created. Brief commentary on songs.
- BBC Radio 2 (1999). 100 Favourite Songs of the Century
Paul Gambaccini invited listener and the music industry to submit choices and the results were broadcast on BBC2 over Easter weekend 1999.
- BBC Radio 1 (12/98). Best Tracks Ever
Voted on by the public. Broadcast on BBC Radio 1 over the Christmas period in 1998.
Site indicates one can vote, but it isn’t clear how. Copyright date on site is listed as 2004-2014, suggesting site hasn’t been maintained.
- Billboard (2/16/2021). Beyond ‘Blinding Lights,’ 25 Classic No. 1 Hits That Didn’t Land Grammy Record of the Year Nods. By Paul Grein.
- Billboard (8/2/2018). All-Time Hot 100
A celebration of the chart’s biggest hits from August 1958 through 2018.
- Billboard – also see Fred Bronson
- Blender (10/2005). The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born
Ranked list with focus on songs from 1980-2005.
- BlogCritics.org (3/29/2004). Greatest Rock Songs by Eric Olsen
Top ten list with brief commentary on each song. Seems to have been written for MSNBC, but that link only offers a list of the The Ten Best Rock Bands Ever.
- Jonathan Bogart – see Don’t Stay Up Too Late
- Broadcast Data Systems
Used by Billboard magazine in tracking the weekly radio airplay of popular songs.
- Broadcast Music, Incorporated (BMI) “Top 100 Songs of the Century.” – see “Airplay”
- Fred Bronson (2007). Hottest Hot 100 Hits (4th edition). New York, NY; Billboard Books.
Also included under “Charts” section, but listed here because of its top 3000 songs of all-time list.
- Bill Caccia (2001). The Best of the Millenium.
Caccia posted a list of 500 songs to vote for, to name the song of the Millennium. Broken link.
- Cheap Cannuck – see Associated Content
- Brad Carl (2015). 50 Songs from the 70s & 80s That Still Hold Up. BradCarl.com
Former radio personality Brad Carl picks 50 songs and adds commentary. List is unranked, so link goes to a DMDB page where songs are ranked based on overall DMDB status.
- Cash Box (10/6/08). The 100 Biggest Top 100 Hits.
Covers the history of the Cash Box Top 100 pop singles chart from 9/13/58 to the magazine’s last issue on 11/16/96. Cash Box archivist Randy Price developed the point system for determining the chart’s biggest hits over its full history. Link goes to DMDB page.
- CBC Radio One (2004). Top 2000
Canadian radio program hosted by Jian Ghomeshi. Listener votes and celebrity guest nominations determined the 50 most essential songs in pop music history. Ranked list; no commentary.
- CFMI Vancouver (1984). 500
Radio station countdown. Only top 40 listed.
- CFOX (2008). Top 40 Ways to Rock
Radio station countdown. Location of station unknown. Only top 40 listed.
- Robert Christgau (1980). A Basic Record Library: The Fifties and Sixties.
Noted critic picks 25 albums from the ‘50s and 75 from the ‘60s as well as 25 noted singles from the ‘50s. Taken from his book Record Guide: Rock Albums of the ‘70s.
- CISL AM 650 (2006). Big 500 Countdown
Radio station countdown. Location of station and details of how list was created are unknown.
- CJVI (1988). Top 900 as played on the Thanksgiving Weekend 1988
Radio station countdown. Location of station unknown. Only top 40 listed.
- Doug Clark – see McFeedia.com
- Cleveland.com (5/19/2019). 250 Greatest Rock & Roll Songs by Troy L. Smith
Page says only songs by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were eligible for the list and that “we ranked the songs based on quality, success, impact and critical acclaim, as well as the Rock Hall’s own critier of influence and significance.” Sounds like pretty vague criteria and there’s no explanation of who “we” is.
- Ace Collins (1996). The Stories Behind Country Music’s All-Time Greatest 100 Songs. New York, NY; The Berkley Publishing Group.
- Consequence of Sound (2012). 100 Greatest Songs of All Time
Determined by magazine staff. Link goes to DMDB page where list is recreated.
- Consequence of Sound (9/20/2016). The 100 Best One-Hit Wonder Songs
Ranked list with commentary. Picked by CoS staff.
- Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY.
Definitely more personal list with lots of obscure titles instead of a lot of the traditional list makers. Most annoyingly, the songs are neither organized in any kind of rank order or chronological order. They don’t appear to be in any order at all. Link goes to a DMDB page which ranks the songs by overall DMDB status and lists the 200+ songs which made the top 1%.
- The Daily Mail (9/23/2015). Nirvana's Smells like Teen Spirit is the most iconic song EVER: Computer scientist reveals the track ticks all the boxes needed to be a hit.
50 songs ranked based on criteria of what qualities a song needs to be a hit.
- Lucas Davenport (12/1/2010). Best Songs of the Rock Era. FromJohnSanford.org
Website is for a John Sanford novel Broken Prey. Origin of list is unclear, but it appears to be a list of favorite road trip songs of a character in the book. List is unranked and includes no commentary.
- Dave’s Faves – see Dave Whitaker
- TheDelite.com (1/22/2020). The Best Songs of All Time – According to Critics and Fans by Claire Gillespie
Despite the article’s title, there is no reference to any kind of fans voting for these songs or some kind of aggregate of critical sources. This appears to simply be 50 choices made by the author. The ranked list includes a paragraph or two of commentary on each song.
- Digital Dream Door (4/5/2020). Top 500 Songs: 1891-2019.
One of the best sites for best-of lists. This DMDB exclusive list aggregates more than 40 of their lists.
- DiscJockeys.com (6/09). Top 200 Songs
Ranked list. No details about how it was compiled.
- DJ Shows
This unranked list included 279 titles. Website now appears to be defunct.
- Don’t Stay Up Too Late
Music blog maintained by Jonathan Bogart. Features the following lists with commentary:
- EditorChoice.com (4/10/2019). Some of the Best Songs Ever Written – Finally Ranked
A ranked list of 49 songs with commentary. Requires reader to click through slides for each song.
- Eric Enders (2005). 100 Greatest Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-present
An individual list. Actually has 105 songs ranked. No commentary.
- Euro200.net (2016). All Time Pop Classics Chart
20,000 songs ranked on what appears to be annual basis, seemingly since 2000. It isn’t clear how charts are put together, but it is based out of Netherlands and references other European charts.
- Peter Evans & Peter Lavender (1999). Great Songs of the 20th Century: 1900-1950.
The music and lyrics for more than 80 songs. Arranged for piano, voice, and guitar.
- EveryHit.com (2006). All-Time ‘Best Ever’ Singles
An average of six lists from Virgin Radio, Q Magazine (2006), Radio 2 (2004), Guinness (2002), Radio 1 (1998), and Mojo magazine (1997).
- FoldedSpace.org 20 Great Songs from 1901-1920
Unranked list. Website appears to now be defunct.
- Edward Foote Gardner (2014). Top 100 Songs
This DMDB-created list is based on Gardner’s book Popular Songs of the Twentieth Century, 1900-1949.
- Guardian/The Observer (6/3/2012). Top 102 Songs
Exclusive DMDB list which aggregates 4 lists from the UK newspapers Guardian and The Observer.
- Guinness World Records (2000). – see Top of the Pops
- Guinness World Records (2002, 15th edition). British Hit Singles Top 100 Singles
This edition of the long-running series of books on the British charts includes a readers’ poll, generated by over 31,000 votes, of the top 100 singles of all-time, in celebration of the UK charts’ 50th anniversary.
- Jimmy Guterman (1992). The Best Rock ‘n’ Roll Records of All Time. “The Twenty Best Rock and Roll Singles.” Citadel Press Book: New York, NY. Page 205.
The book focuses on albums, but Guterman does offer this ranked list of songs without commentary.
- Roger Hall (2001). Top 100 Songs of the Century.
Hall, a musicologist and radio producer, selected songs from 1861 to 1961 based on originality, importance, and popularity that were English, non-instrumental, and from a variety of genres including classical, folk, jazz, pop, theater, movie, country, and rock. Songs were listed chronologically based on when they were published. Also listed were the songs’ writers. Hall also has a list for the top 50 songs of 1759-1859.
- Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. London, England: Blandford Books.
This book tells the tales behind a hundred songs. The book unnecessarily divides songs into categories: Love Songs (since when is “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” a love song?), People and Places, Rock Classics, and Signs of the Times.
- Michael Heatley (1993). The Ultimate Rock Encyclopedia. U.K. Top 100 Rock Singles 1955-1993.
List created by song’s peak position on the U.K. charts, weeks in the top 10 and top 20. Reissues are added together.
- Michael Heatley (1993). The Ultimate Rock Encyclopedia U.S. Top 100 Rock Singles 1955-1993.
List created by song’s peak position on the U.S. charts, weeks in the top 10 and top 20. Reissues are added together.
- Ronald Herder (collected and edited by) (1998). 500 Best-Loved Song Lyrics. Dover Publications, Inc: Mineola, NY.
Book offers no insight or history of chosen songs, just the lyrics. However, it covers 1891-1970 which is a much wider date range than most lists.
- Hit Records 1954-1982 (2012). Sheridan Books, Inc.: Ann Arbor, MI. “The Top 100 Hits 1954-1982” Pages 403-4.
Joel Whitburn of Record Research compiles chart data for this U.S. pop singles chart helmed by Music Vendor (1954-1964) and then Record World (1964-1982). Top 100 list is based on most weeks at #1, then weeks in the top 10, top 40, and the chart overall.
- Peter Holmes – see The Sun-Herald
- Honor Roll of Hits (2015). Pages 1150-2 of Top Pop Singles 1955-2015 by Joel Whitburn. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
300 songs are noted and ranked for awards and list appearances: ASCAP, BMI, Country Music Association Awards, Grammys, the Grammy Hall of Fame, Kennedy Center Honors, National Recording Registry, NPR, Oscars, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, RIAA/NEA, and Rolling Stone. Link goes to a DMDB page.
- TheHyperTexts.com The Best Songs Ever: The Greatest Songs of All Time
This is a personal list created by Michael R. Burch of 25 songs (more when you include ties and honorable mentions). There’s no indication of when the list was created, but the site looks pretty dated.
- Insider.com (8/28/2019). 102 Songs Everyone Should Listen to In Their Lifetime. By Jacob Shamsian.
Unranked list created by, it says, taking “songs with the highest ratings, biggest sales, most awards, and top ranks on radio charts and included them alongside of Insider’s favorite picks.”
- InsiderMonkey.com (5/4/2018). The 10 Most Popular Songs of All-Time. By David Nixon.
The author says “we” compiled this list, but there’s no indication of how this ranked list without commentary was put together, which is especially annoying considering several paragraphs discussing how one can evaluate songs. There’s seem to be a dismissal of liss such as Rolling Stone’s 500 songs without explaining why and then the absurd claim that one couldn’t buy songs before iTunes existed.
- InStash.com (2017). 100 Greatest Songs of All Time
This ranked list appears to longer be on the original site, but has been reposted at AcclaimedMusic.net.
- iTunes (2010). Top 20 Most Downloaded Songs of All Time
This list was posted on PopVortex.com. There are no sales figures for songs or commentary.
- David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Rememberd Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
Songs are listed by title with writers listed next. A brief blurb about the song may contain information about hit versions of the song, its chart run, or how many copies it sold. The link goes to a DMDB page which ranks the top 500 songs in the book with the artist of the highest-ranked version listed.
- John Javna – see Bob Shannon
- David Lee Joyner (2008). American Popular Music. McGraw-Hill Education.
Book includes an unranked list of 123 songs.
- JukeBoxHits.com (2015). Top 200 Most Requested Songs
Ranked list with explanation that it is “based on millions of requests made through the DJ Intelligence® music request system at weddings & parties in 2015.”
- JukeBoxMusicDJ.com (year?). All-Time Most Requested
Unranked list of 54 songs with no commentary. Site is for DJs for hire.
- Kelowna Sun FM (Labor Day 2008). Top 500
Link only shows top 40. Radio station’s location and means of determining chart unknown.
- King 689 (2/3/2009). The Best Songs of the Century
No indication how songs are determined, but what was at least a four-part series was posted on YouTube with each video running 10-15 minutes and offering samples of songs. A fourth part which covered 1960-1979 has been removed. One would assume there was also a fifth part to cover 1979-1999. The link above appears to be an early version and includes the full playlist which seems to have been expanded later into the links below.
- Roger D. Kinkle (1974). The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz, 1900-1950. New York: Arlington House.
Includes list of the most recorded songs from 1900-1950 taken from Charles Hamm’s Yesterdays: Popular Song in America, page 487.
- Steve Knight (2007) “The Top 25 Rock Songs of All-Time are…”
Looks like just another blogger’s opinions. Details are sketchy on his credentials and background, but it appears he was a former radio DJ.
- K-Tel (4/27/2016). Top 100 Songs
This DMDB exclusive list ranks the top 100 songs featured on K-Tel compilations.
- The Larry Page (5/04). The 100 Greatest Singles of the Rock and Roll Era
This is a personal ranked list with no commentary.
- LastMinuteMusicians.com (2020). Top 100 Most Popular Cover Songs from 2500+ Set Lists
This unranked list was created by looking at more than 2500 set lists from wedding and party bands. It is divided into a list of the 60 most popular pop/rock songs and 40 of the most popular jazz, big band, and classical songs. The latter includes song titles only and not specific artists.
- Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. (2001)
List of 100 of the most influential songs of the 20th century. Unlike most lists, this one is organized with a balance of songs covering each decade and the list is organized chronologically.
- Life Magazine (12/1/1992: Volume 15, Number 13). 40 Years of Rock & Roll.” Jason McManus (editor). New York, NY; Time Inc. Magazines.
This special issue was devoted to the history of rock & roll. 200 songs are highlighted – five from each year from 1952 to 1991. Link goes to a list recreated at the DMDB.
- LiveAbout.com (1/15/2021). 100 of the Best Pop Songs of All Time. By Bill Lamb.
Ranked list includes commentary. The article starts with an explanation that scientists at the University of London identified phrasing, chorus, and strong vocals as the elements most likely to grab listeners’ attention, but then says musical tastes are subjective as are ‘best-of’ lists before saying that “didn’t stop us from making one.” “Us” assumingly refers to the staff at LiveAbout.com.
- Magic 108 FM (1987). Top Hits of All Time
Seattle radio station countdown. Details of how list was created unknown. Only 40 listed.
- Magic 882 (2012). The 4BH 1000 Best Songs of All Time Countdown
Australian radio station countdown.
- Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library.
Marsh looks at the history of rock and roll music and its close ties to soul music by compiling this list of 1001 of the greatest singles of the rock era. He contends that he focused on singles instead of albums because "no one goes around humming albums." Interesting historical note: this was the source that sparked DMDB creator Dave Whitaker’s love of best-of music lists. Link goes to a DMDB page listing all 1001 songs plus another 101 songs added to the 1998 edition of the book.
- Julius Mattfield (1971). Variety Music Cavalcade. Prentice-Hall, Inc: Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
- MBG (2007?). Top 100 Hits, 1969-2007
This site is devoted to a weekly chart of popular hits, but there is no indication of how the information is gathered. The particular link sited here also appears to be dead.
- D.J. McAdam (2009). 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time
An individual ranked list. No commentary on individual songs, but reader comments are included at the end of the list.
- Neil McCormick – see Telegraph
- McFeedia.com (2/25/08). Popular Music in the First Half of the 20th Century, by Doug Clark.
Article which references multiple songs, but does not include any best-of list.
- Media Traffic – Global Track Chart (12/18/2010). All Time Track Chart
Chart based on United World Chart.
- Mic (12/25/2013). 30 Songs That Changed the Course of Musical History
Ranked list with commentary. The list includes some expected choices like Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” and the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” but on a list with only 30 songs, one has to question selections like Franz Ferdinand’s “This Fire” and Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day.”
- Mind Your Dollars (2/12/2020). The Greatest Songs Ever Recorded
An apparently money management website picked 40 songs. Link goes to DMDB page with commentary about the list.
- Mojo (2/2009). Top 100 Songs.
Exculsive DMDB list aggregates 15 Mojo lists.
- Max Morath (2002). The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Popular Standards. New York, NY; Penguin Putnam Inc.
Chapter 6 offers up a list of song standards with a few paragraphs about each.
- mp3.com (10/5/2020). The Fans and Critics Have Spoken: Here Are the Greatest Songs of All Time
Ranked list of 50 songs. Link has already been removed.
- MSNBC – see BlogCritics.org
- Music Imprint (date?). Top Songs of All Time
Top 100 list. Unsure of date or method of creation.
- MusicNowDJ.com (date?). Mobilebeat’s Top 200 Party Hits
Unranked list of 200+ songs listed alphabetically by song title.
- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) – see RIAA
- National Public Radio (NPR) (1999). The Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century
NPR staff, critics, and scholars generated an initial list of 300 works from which NPR listeners and a panel of musicians then voted for the final 100 from October 7-17, 1999. The list is mostly songs but includes some albums as well. Link goes to a DMDB page with only the songs in the top 100 ranked.
- New Musical Express (NME) Magazine (6/30/2015). Top 100 Songs of All Time
This exclusive DMDB list aggregates 18 lists from UK magazine NME.
- No Direction Home (2010).
Unranked list of 56 songs. Blog appears to be removed.
- Observer s – see Guardian
- OldiesMusic.com (2009). Labor Day 500
List only. Determined by voters, but no details offered as to how that is done. List has been done on a nearly annual basis since 1997.
- Eric Olsen – see ASCAP
- Oz Net (1/04). Top 1000 Australian Airplay Songs
Ranked list. Only top 40 listed in above link.
This site is “dedicated to the acquisition and rescue of the historical musical manuscripts that are part of the popular music scene in America.” Co-presidents Robert Maine and Richard A. Reublin have collected over 5000 pieces of sheet music, proclaiming their site to house the “largest private collection showcased on the web.” The music spans from 1865 to the 1950s, but the largest quantity are from the 1910s and ‘20s. The online magazine offers a wealth of information about particular songs, but there does not appear to be any way to search the site to find a particular song.
- Pause & Play (year?). Vault of Fame – The Songs
Unranked list of more than 500 songs which are said to “have been inducted into an ongoing Pause & Play time capsule.” No date or method for determining songs is explained. May just be someone’s personal list (Gerry Galipault is the founder of the site). As of 4/10/2010, it covered 568 songs from 1952-2006. Page now appears to be gone.
- Phonographic Performance Ltd. (2009). Britain’s 75 Most Heard Song List
Ranked list as posted on AmericanSongwriter.com.
- Pop Music Hits – Top 100 – 1890-2006 (2006?).
Based on a point system assigned to factors such as weeks at #1, peak positions, and weeks on the chart, this is a ranked list based on Joel Whitburn’s Pop Memories 1890-1954 and Top Pop Singles 1955-2006 books.
- Q Magazine (4/14/2011). Top 100 Songs of All Time.
This DMDB exclusive list aggregates 7 lists from the British music magazine.
- Radio 2 (2010). Top 2000
Dutch radio program broadcast annually (since 1999) between Christmas and New Year’s. Countodown of the most popular songs of all time as determined by the show’s audience via internet voting. No commentary.
- Radio Eins (1998). Millennium Music Mix: All Time Top 100 LPs and Singles
All time top 100 albums and singles as voted on by music journalists from Berlin. Ranked lists. No commentary.
- Radio Gold (year?). Top 20 Rock and Roll
Greek-based site. Don’t know year this chart was created or methodology.
- Theodore Raph (1964). The Songs We Sang: A Treasury of American Popular Music. A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc.: New York.
- Rate Your Music (2010). Top Singles of All Time
List goes to 5000 songs. Appears to be mostly based on users’ ratings of songs.
- Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) (3/7/2001). Top 365 Songs of the Century
The RIAA and National Education Association (NEA) teamed to create this list. The project is, as the NEA web site says, “a nationwide education initiative intended to promote a better understanding of America’s musical and cultural heritage in our schools.” Ballots were sent all across the country to local, state and federal elected officials, the music industry, teachers, members of the media and students. Songs were chosen from a list of over 1100 recordings. Link goes to a DMDB page which focuses exclusively on the songs on the list.
- RimChiGuy.com The Old Songs (1900-1929)
- Red Robinson (1991). Top 16 Juke Box Favourites.
Don’t know details of list’s origins. Counted down by Red Robinson.
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2004). 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 was alphabetical by artist. At some point, the list was expanded to 660 songs. Links to a DMDB page covering all 660 songs.
- Rock on the Net/ARC Weekly Top 40 (2021). The Top Pop Songs of All Time
The ARC Weekly Top 40, begun in 1980, is RockOnTheNet.com’s official pop song chart. This particular ranked list covers songs from 1955 to present, but only 27 songs from pre-2000. Appears to be regularly updated.
- Rolling Stone Magazine (12/14/2010). Top 100 Songs of All Time
This exclusive Dave’s Music Database list is an aggregate of 8 lists from American music magazine Rolling Stone from 1988 to 2013.
- Rulers of the World Rulers of Rock ‘n’ Roll
Wooden ruler with 33 “Rulers of Rock ‘n’ Roll” songs listed on it.
- Thomas Ryan (1994). American Hit Radio: A History of Popular Singles from 1955 to the Present. Prima Lifestyles.
Covers nearly 500 songs.
- Bob Shannon and John Javna (1986). Behind the Hits: Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. New York, NY; Warner Books, Inc.
This book doesn’t suggest that these are necessarily the biggest and most important songs in pop and rock, but simply offers up the interesting back stories to songs that in some cases were major hits and in other cases just made for good stories.
Excellent website for getting into back stories on songs.
Link is for the home page. Use search bar to find specific song title.
- Sony Ericsson (9/29/05). World’s Favourite Songs Announced
Link is for an XFM page reporting the above list. They only indicate the top 10 of 100 songs. Poll conducted by the makers of Sony Ericsson mobile phones to promote their new Walkman phone. Compiled votes from 700,000 fans.
- Spin (1989). 100 Greatest Singles of All Time
Don’t know details about how this ranked list was compiled, but this American music magazine focuses on more alternative music. Links to DMDB page.
- Spinditty.com (7/9/2020). The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time by EricMack1
Ranked list with limited commentary.
- Studio Brussels (2008). Listeners’ Poll
A rare international look at the top 100 songs of all time. Largely a mix of classic rock and alternative rock. Poll has been done annually since 1987.
- Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland.
Detailed commentaries and histories on more than 1000 songs from Steve Sullivan, who the DMDB considers the premiere authority on music from the pre-rock era. Grouped in ten “playlists.” Link is to DMDB page ranking the top 100 songs from 1897 to 1956 based on an aggregate of songs from this set of books plus two other lists created by Steve Sullivan.
- The Sun-Herald (2/4/2003). The 100 Best Songs of All Time. By Peter Holmes.
Holmes’ personal list of songs. Includes one-sentence commentaries on songs, if that.
- Telegraph (3/12/2009). 100 Greatest Songs of All Time. By Neil McCormick.
UK-based online news. Web site explanation: “The Telegraph’s rock critic picks his 100 greatest songs of all time and links to all 100 on a Spotify playlist.” One-sentence blurb about each entry.
- Telia.com (year?). The 500 Best Songs of the Millennium
Poll by Stefan Kodrnja of 3766. No longer online.
- Telus.net (year?). Top 40 Singles 1920 – March 1956.
Ranked list without commentary. Based on weeks song spent at #1 on Billboard.
- Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. By Johnny Black, et al. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA.
Commentary on 800 songs from 1954-2006. List goes to a DMDB page ranking the top 100 songs from the book based on their overall status in Dave’s Music Database.
- Time (10/21/2011). All-TIME 100 Songs
U.S. news and entertainment magazine published its list of what they called “the most extraordinary English-language popular recordings since the beginning of TIME magazine in 1923.” Their list was unranked, but this link goes to a DMDB page where they have been ranked based on overall DMDB status.
- Top Hits Online (2009). Top 100 Songs of All Time (THO 1993-2009)
Online music chart. Best of the chart’s lifetime.
- Top of the Pops (10/6/2000). All Time Top 40
List was compiled for the Guinness Book of Hit Singles for BBC2’s Top of the Pops Plus. Ranking is not explained but appears to be based on a point system rewarding longevity on the charts. For example, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”, which only peaked at #5, is ranked third on this list – thanks to a record 124 weeks on the singles chart.
- TheTop100SongsofAllTime.com The Top 250 Songs of All Time from 1890-2010.
This site uses Billboard chart data to create lists for the best songs from different decades (1890-2009). The premiere list, however, is their all-time list covering from 1890 to 2010.
- Top Songs.Net (2000).
This is a compilation of the 5000 top songs of the rock era, available for purchase on the internet in list format or as a database.
- TSORT (4/3/2020). Top 200 Songs: 1900-2020
Link goes to DMDB page of top 200 songs, but TSORT has a top 1000 list on its site, which aggregates best-of lists and has over 147,000 songs in its database. Much better representation of all eras than most lists.
- TuneMagic.net (2009). Vote Top 77
Looks to be an annual countdown list associated with a radio station (WABC) and determined by listener votes.
- Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. William Morrow & Company, Inc.: New York, NY.
A couple of paragraphs each on roughly 1000 songs. Divided into eras: the jazz age, the depression years, the swing era, and the sing era. Includes some biographical sketches for some significant musicians of the era.
- UKMix.org Best Charting Singles of All Time
Top 100 ranked list based on songs’ chart performance in the UK. No longer online.
- UKMix.org (2014). Top 200 Best Selling Singles of All Time
Despite the title of the article, the list only includes 148 songs. Posted on a discussion forum. One poster put up the 2002 list vs. the 2014 list and also included the UK sales figures reported with each list.
- UK Official Charts Company (2012). The Nation’s Favourite Number One Single
A 3-part TV series celebrated the 60th anniversary of the UK charts by unveiling the top 60 songs in the history of the chart from 1952 to 2012. Strangely, this link goes to a forum on Prince.
- The Ultimate Rock Encyclopedia – see Michael Heatley
- Variety (8/1/2014). Golden 100 Songs
Original list simply offered an alphabetical listing by song titles with no specific artist. Link goes to a DMDB page where songs are ranked by overall status in the DMDB and the artist with the top-ranked version is listed.
- VH1 (12/13/10). Top 100 Songs
This exclusive DMDB list is an aggregate of 7 lists created by the music video channel.
- Village Voice (4/7/11). The Top 100 Songs, 1974-2010
In much the same fashion as the DMDB has done, music historian Steve Sullivan has compiled the Village Voice’s pop critics’ annual picks for best song into a consolidated list.
- Vinyl Surrender (2010). All-Time Top 100
Voter-based list. One can vote a song up or down in points, making for a very fluid list.
- Virgin Radio (2006). Top 100 Songs
This exclusive DMDB list aggregates three lists from Virgin radio.
- WCBS New York (year?). All-Time Top 1001 Songs
Ranked list from New York radio station. Unknown year or methodology for creation of chart.
- WFIL Philadelphia (1984). Top 560 of All Time
Ranked list from Philadelphia radio station. Voted on by radio listeners.
- Dave Whitaker (3/10/2021). Dave’s Faves: My Top 100 Songs
Personal favorites of Dave Whitaker, the creator of Dave’s Music Database. Ranked list with links to more detailed song pages within the DMDB.
- Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Record Research, Inc.: Menomonee Falls, WI.
Annual ranking of songs (1900-1999) based on peak performance on the Billboard charts.
- Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.
Listings of every major charted song in the first half of the 20th century. Each song is accompanied by the date of initial release, record label, and peak position. Songs are organized by recording acts, who have short biographies as well. The book also includes the “Billboard DJ Poll 1953” (p. 639) and the “Bilboard 1956 Disc Jockey Poll: All-Time Favorite Records” (p. 638). These were top 30 lists based on nationwide surveys of disc jockeys done by Billboard. The 1953 poll lists songs and writers, but not artists. The 1956 poll lists songs with recording artists. Another list, “The 100 Most-Recorded Songs 1890-1954” (pp. 632-3) looks at which songs have been recorded by the most artists.
- Paul Williams (1993). Rock and Roll: The 100 Best Singles. New York, NY; Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc.
Paul assembles this list with the criteria that the songs must have been released as singles and have to truly qualify as rock and roll. He organizes the list chronologically instead of ranking the 100 songs. Link goes to a DMDB page.
- The Wire (June 1992, issue 100). The Most Important Records Ever Made.
The magazine describes their aim as follows: “To mark our milestone we've chosen the most significant records made in the 20th Century – in a chart which sets down all the finest most marvelous and most great moments on record as they happened.” Multiple writers. Mostly album list, but includes 14 songs.
- WNBC New York (11/25/76). All Time Top 500
Compiled from listener votes and local record sales. Link only shows top 100.
- WTMD (2/7/07). 897 Greatest Songs of All Time Countdown
Baltimore, Maryland radio station countdown.
- Wurlitzer (year?) “Top 10 All-Time Jukebox Hit Singles” and “The 40 Greatest Jukebox Hits of All Time)”
These are two lists totaling 50 songs. The first list is ranked and the second is not. There is no indication of how or when these lists were generated, but they cover songs from 1954-1987. No commentary on songs.
- WXPN 88.5 FM Philadelphia (2009). Best 885 Songs of All Time
Rradio station countdown compiled from listener votes.
- XFM (9/1/2009). Top 100 Songs All Time
List created by British radio XFM with Los Angeles’ KROQ and Australia’s Triple J.
- XFM (10/14/2010). Top 100 Songs All Time
This London-based radio station presented its list of the top 1000 songs, but it was unranked. Link goes to a DMDB page in which the top 100 songs have been ranked according to overall DMDB status.
- Silvan Spektor (8/15/2011). “The Best Songs of the 20th Century”
Non-ranked, chronological YouTube presentation in three parts. No commentary.
- TG About.com Top 20 Rock Songs of the ‘00s (2009).
Focus on rock music. Brief commentaries from Tim Grierson.
- AB’00 About.com Top 100 Pop Songs of the 2000s (2009).
A ranking of the top 100 songs from 2000-2009 with brief commentary by Bill Lamb.
- Acclaimed Music (2009).
Site accumulates and consolidates multiple best-of lists. Administered by Henrik Franzon.
- Alternative Press. 100 Best Singles of the Decade (11/18/09).
This link is for Danielle Jurski’s repost of the original article to her Thru the Speakers blog.
- AOLradioblog.com Top Alternative Songs of the Decade – 2000s (2010).
Top 100 list, as picked by AOL radio listeners. Commentary by Sara D. Anderson.
- MX Atlanta Metromix Best songs of the decade (11/24/09).
The top 100 tunes of the ‘00s. Commentary by various writers.
- Billboard Best of the 2000s: Hot 100 Songs (2009).
The year-end Hot 100 songs list based on the Billboard charts.
- BX The Boom Box (11/24/09).
A top ten list of best rap/hip-hop songs of the decade from what appears to be a general entertainment site.
- TheBoot.com Best Songs of the 2000’s (11/24/09).
Top 10 list of the decade’s best country songs. Commentary by the Boot staff.
- CBC CBC News The 10 defining singles and albums of this decade (11/6/09).
This unranked list highlights 10 of the decade’s most defining songs. Commentary by Sarah Liss.
- Country Music Television Top 40 Videos of the Decade (2000-2010) (11/21/10).
- CS Consequence of Sound CoS Top 50 Songs of the Decade (2010).
New York and Chicago based online music publication.
- DD Daily Deuce Top Songs of the Aughts (11/26/09).
Top 20 list, with commentary, from a blogger known only as Broggara.
- Dave’s Music Database My Top 100 Songs of 2000-2009 (1/1/10).
Personal list of favorite 100 songs of the decade from DMDB creator Dave Whitaker. Can also be found on DMDB Facebook page
- Delicious and Nutritious Top 20 Songs of the Decade-2000s! (10/5/09).
Top 20 list, with commentary, from an unidentified blogger.
- DN Detroit News. The Top 10 songs of the ‘00s grapevine (12/26/09).
Top 10 list from Adam Graham, Detroit News Pop Music writer. One-sentence commentaries.
- DK DK Presents. 20 Songs for the 00’s (12/30/09).
Top 20, unranked list. Personal blog with brief commentaries, but no indication of who “DK Presents” is.
- Dollop of Solipsism The Noughty Songs (1/1/10).
Unranked top 10 list with brief commentaries. Personal blog posted by William Under.
- DS Don’t Stay Up Too Late 100 Songs of the 2000s (10/31/09).
Personal blog with commentaries from Jonathan Bogart. DMDB choice for best music blog writing.
- The Grain Tunes of the Decade (6/29/09 to 12/31/09).
Unranked list of the top 50 songs of the decade. Commentary by unidentified blogger.
- Edna Gundersen – see USA Today
- In Denver Times Top 10 songs of the Oh-Oh’s (12/16/09).
Top 10 list posted with commentary by Josh Mahler. DMDB’s favorite nickname for the 2000-2009 decade.
- ID Idolator.com NPR’s Songs of the Decade, from Boy Bands to ‘Single Ladies (11/23/09).
Commentary by Becky Bain.
- KNDD’s Top 107 Songs of the Millenium (12/06)
Location of radio station and means for compiling list unknown.
- Tom Lane. Top Singles of the 00’s (12/31/09).
Ranked list only, no commentary. Personal blog.
- The Larry Page Top 200 Singles of the 2000s (2009?).
List only from personal website. Poster identified only as “Larry.”
- LB The Library of Babel Best of the Decade – Songs (12/12/09).
List of top 50 songs with one-sentence commentaries on top 10. Personal blog; poster only identified as “Tristan.”
- LR Low Resolution Retrospecticus: 100 Favorite Songs of the Decade (1/4/10).
List of top 100 songs with commentary. Personal blog of Joe Reid.
- MN McNutt Against the Music McNutt Against the Decade…The Singles (2009?).
Personal blog from Ryan McNutt listing best 100 songs of the decade and offering commentary on the top 50.
- Music VF Singles/ Songs Top 500 (2009).
Ranking of the top 500 songs of the decade based on chart performances from major U.S. charts and the Official UK Charts Company. Howard Drake has the site’s copyright.
- My Kind of Country Decade in Review: Occasional Hope’s Top 50 Singles (12/29/09).
Top 50 country songs as posted by Occasional Hope. Includes commentaries.
- NME New Musical Express (NME) magazine. 100 Tracks of the Decade (2009?).
List with commentaries, as compiled and written by various NME critics.
- Noise Addicts 20 Best Music Singles of Decade (12/22/09).
Top 20 list with commentary by Heather Fuhrer. Site identified as an online music and audio magazine.
- NPR’09 National Public Radio (11/16/2009). The Decade in Music: ‘00s (11/16/09).
Radio show hosted by Carrie Brownstein. Commentary on website written by various authors. Every weekday from Nov. 9 to 20, 2009, NPR’s “Song of the Day” focused on a song to represent each year of the 2000-2009 decade.
- OC Weekly The Top 10 Songs of the Decade: Ten for the Aughts (12/30/09).
Top 10 list posted by Wade Tatangelo. Includes commentary.
- Open Room The Songs the (sic) Captured the Last Ten Years (11/17/09).
List simply picks one song to represent each year of the decade. No commentaries. Posted by Chris Pearson.
- Perth Now Songs of the Noughties (11/27/09).
Online newspaper offers up top 50 with commentary from Jay Hanna and David Craddock.
- Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ Most Played and Used Song of the Noughties (1/1/00).
Top 50 list of most-played songs in the UK from 2000-2009. Also in “Airplay” section.
- PF Pitchfork.com The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s (8/19/09).
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pop Music: Radiohead tops a fractious music scene (12/27/09).
Not a best-of-the-decade song list, but highlights of many aspects of music from the decade with a blurb on best singles that listed 11 songs. Written by Scott Mervis.
- Pompey Doom Crew Top 25 Singles of the Decade (12/2/09).
List only of 25 best. Compiled by unidentified blogger.
- PD Popdose.com The Best Songs of the Decade (11/24/09).
Nice mix of indie fair and popular hits. Commentary by Popdose staff.
- PE PopEater.com The Top Pop Songs of the Decade – 2000s (11/24/09).
Only a top 10 list, but with brief commentaries on each song and some video links.
- The Pop Eye Sonic Thursday: My Favorite Songs of the Decade (12/31/09).
Top 50 list only from blogger identified only as “BeckEye.”
- Pop Tarts Suck Toasted Best Songs of the Decade (2009?).
Top 10 list posted by unidentified blogger. Includes commentary.
- Pretty Much Amazing Best Songs of the Decade (2000-2009) (1/5/10).
Top 75 list from unidentified blogger. No commentary.
- Rate Your Music Top Singles of the 2000s (2009).
Top 1000 songs of the decade, as determined by user ratings. Best site around when it comes to songs and albums rated by users.
- Rock on the Net The ARC Weekly Top 40 Archives: Top 100 Songs of the 2000s (2009).
Top 100 list as determined by songs chart performances on the ARC. Unsure of chart’s origin, but website says it has been around since 1980.
- Rolling Stone Songs of the Decade (12/9/09).
Top 100 list with commentary.
- Rolling Stone The Decade-End Readers’ Poll (12/8/09).
List only of top 14 songs of the decade as picked by readers.
- RS’09 SingleoftheDecade.com (2009?).
Voter-based list with multiple ties. Includes all songs receiving votes from 71 (the most) to 1. No more details offered.
- SongoftheDecade.com Top 100 chart countdown (2009?).
Top 100 voter-based list as presented by Absolute Radio. No commentary on songs.
- SN Spinner Best Songs of the 2000s (2009).
Top 50 list with commentary from the Spinner staff.
- SP Starpulse The Ten Greatest Songs of the Decade (12/15/09).
Top 10 list, with commentary, from Starpulse contributing writer Andrew Payne.
- SV TheStreetSavvy.com Top Ten Singles of the Noughties (12/29/09).
Only a top 10 and looks like someone’s personal blog, but it does have ten pretty definitive songs of the decade.
- SY StylusDecade.com Top Singles (2009?).
Top 100 list. Commentary from various writers.
- Swear I’m Not Paul List: Top 15 Pop Songs of the 00s (9/4/09).
Top 15 list with commentary from blogger identified only as Ronan.
- Telegraph 100 songs that defined the Noughties (9/18/09).
UK-based site with list of top 100, with one-sentence commentary on 100-11 and paragraph commentaries on 1-10. By Neil McCormick.
- AL Top10000s.blogspot.com Top 100 Songs of the ‘00s (12/28/09).
Top 100 list with commentary from Paul Allen. Other contributers are identified, but this appears to be Allen’s personal blog.
- TwinsKilling.blogspot.com The Best Ultra Mainstream Songs of the 2000s (12/3/09).
Personal blog from Josh Epstein picking, and commenting on, top 10 pop songs of the decade.
- USA Today. What musical artists are winning in this digital decade? Written by Edna Gundersen. (12/7/09).
Includes a list of the top 10 digital songs of the decade, according to Nielsen SoundScan and the top 7 most played radio songs, according to Nielsen BDS.
- The Villanovan Top 10 songs of the decade (2009?).
Online newspaper posting of top 10 list, as posted, and commented on, by Jeff Yerger.
- WX WalrusComix.com WC’s Top 100 Songs of the Last Decade (12/28/09).
Top 100 list as posted, and commented on, by unidentified blogger.
- WhatIsGroove.blogspot.com Best of the 2000s: Songs (12/17/09).
Personal blog from Ely Delman, picking the top 20 songs. Commentary on top 7.
- XFM Song of the Decade (10/2/2009).
Top 100 list of best songs of decade as voted on by XFM listeners. Over 14,000 votes received. One-sentence commentaries.
There are various organizations which track public performances of songs (primarily via radio) such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. Links to those sites are included below, as well as lists of the most-played songs of all-time, according to various sources.This list has been moved here.
When he wrote White Christmas, Irving Berlin stated -"Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I've ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody's ever written!" Guess he was right--sales-wise anyway!ReplyDelete
When he wrote White Christmas, Irving Berlin stated -"Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I've ever written — heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody's ever written!" Guess he was right--sales-wise anyway!ReplyDelete