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The 100 best songs since the beginning of 'Time'

Thursday - 10/27/2011, 7:19am  ET

Nathan Hager,

WASHINGTON -- It's a rather audacious task to name the best song of your lifetime, much less the 100 best songs.

But Time magazine has gone and done just that, choosing what it considers the 100 best English-language pop recordings of its lifetime, since it began publication in 1923.

It's an undertaking that, by definition, is sure to spark debate.

Some may ask, for example, why Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was chosen, while no other song or band from the grunge era is represented on the list.

"I Want to Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles, "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones, and "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys are among Time's favorites from the 1960s, but were those the best songs by those bands?

The list is also heavy on hip hop and R&B in the 2000s and 2010s. Only one rock song, Arcade Fire's "Wake Up," makes Time's list in those decades. Will production-heavy hip hop and electronica be the defining sounds of this early 21st century?

Check out the full list at the Time website, or below, and add to the debate.


  • Janelle Monae: Tightrope


  • Missy Elliott: Get Ur Freak On
  • Outkast: Hey Ya!
  • Jay-Z: 99 Problems
  • Arcade Fire: Wake Up
  • Kanye West: Gold Digger
  • Lil Wayne: Georgia...Bush
  • LCD Soundsystem: All My Friends
  • Beyonce: Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)
  • Lady Gaga: Bad Romance


  • Sinead O'Connor: Nothing Compares 2 U
  • Pet Shop Boys: Being Boring
  • Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • Richard Thompson: 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
  • Wu-Tang Clan: C.R.E.A.M.
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Scenario
  • The Notorious B.I.G.: Juicy
  • 2Pac: California Love
  • Pulp: Common People
  • Radiohead: Paranoid Android
  • Lucinda Williams: Pineola


  • Joy Division: Love Will Tear Us Apart
  • George Jones: He Stopped Loving Her Today
  • Michael Jackson: Billie Jean
  • New Order: Blue Monday
  • Prince: Kiss
  • Metallica: Master of Puppets
  • R.E.M.: It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
  • Public Enemy: Fight the Power
  • Madonna: Borderline


  • The Melodians: Rivers of Babylon
  • James Brown: Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine
  • Led Zeppelin: Immigrant Song
  • Black Sabbath: Iron Man
  • Joni Mitchell: A Case of You
  • The Who: Baba O'Riley
  • Stevie Wonder: Superstition
  • Dolly Parton: Jolene
  • Big Star: September Gurls
  • Bonnie Raitt: Angel from Montgomery
  • Fela Kuti: Zombie
  • Bruce Springsteen: Thunder Road
  • Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Donna Summer: I Feel Love
  • The Bee Gees: Stayin' Alive
  • David Bowie: Heroes
  • The Ramones: I Wanna Be Sedated
  • Fleetwood Mac: Dreams
  • Peter Tosh: Equal Rights
  • Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove
  • The Velvet Underground: Rock & Roll
  • Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter


  • Bob Dylan: Subterranean Homesick Blues
  • Patsy Cline: Crazy
  • Roy Orbison: Crying
  • The Ronettes: Be My Baby
  • The Beatles: I Want to Hold Your Hand
  • Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto: The Girl from Ipanema
  • The Supremes: Where Did Our Love Go?
  • The Beach Boys: God Only Knows
  • Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)
  • Marvin Gaye: I Heard It Through the Grapevine
  • The Band: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  • Big Mama Thornton: Ball N' Chain
  • The Jackson Five: I Want You Back
  • The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter
  • Crosby, Stills and Nash: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
  • Otis Redding: I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)


  • Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison Blues
  • Les Paul: How High the Moon
  • Kitty Wells: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
  • Elvis Presley: Jailhouse Rock
  • Odetta Holmes: Take This Hammer
  • Little Richard: Tutti Frutti
  • Frank Sinatra: I've Got You Under My Skin
  • Buddy Holly: That'll Be the Day
  • Chuck Berry: Johnny B. Goode
  • Ray Charles: What'd I Say


  • Woody Guthrie: This Land Is Your Land
  • Lena Horne: Stormy Weather
  • The Andrews Sisters: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
  • Spike Jones: Der Fuehrer's Face
  • Bing Crosby: White Christmas
  • Betty Hutton: It Had to Be You
  • Mahalia Jackson: Move On Up a Little Higher
  • Hank Williams: Cold, Cold Heart
  • Ella Fitzgerald: Baby It's Cold Outside
  • Doris Day: Sentimental Journey


  • Ethel Merman: I Got Rhythm
  • Cab Calloway: Minnie the Moocher
  • Duke Ellington: It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
  • Louis Armstrong: Star Dust
  • Fred Astaire: Cheek to Cheek
  • Ray Heatherton: Where or When
  • Judy Garland: Over the Rainbow
  • Billie Holiday: Strange Fruit


  • Al Jolson: My Mammy
  • Bessie Smith: St. Louis Blues
  • Paul Robeson: Ol' Man River
  • The Carter Family: Wildwood Flower

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