If I’ve learnt anything in my life, it’s that you don’t need to write a good song for it to become a hit.
I decided to rank the Billboard Top 100 All-Time Greatest Hits (as of January 2023, when I began this colossal undertaking) based on my personal tastes – this will definitely annoy a few people!
Before we begin with this colossal undertaking, here are a few of my related blog posts:
100 – All About That Bass (Meghan Trainor)
The worst song on this Top 100 is Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”, and it’s not even close.
It’s an obnoxious stance on body-positivity, and all of the melodies and musical ideas are overflowing with clichés and cheese.
99 – Girls Like You (Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B)
Coming in at a close second-to-last is “Girls Like You”, a boring pop tune by the ever-declining Maroon 5.
98 – The Battle Of New Orleans (Johnny Horton)
This Grammy award-winning song hasn’t aged well.
97 – Tossin’ And Turnin’ (Bobby Lewis)
96 – Because I Love You (The Postman Song) (Stevie B)
Why a song dedicated to postmen, of all things?
95 – Endless Love (Diana Ross & Lionel Richie)
Good lord, they couldn’t have made a cheesier ballad if they tried.
94 – Mood (24kGoldn feat. iann dior)
For the next three songs, I’m going to dunk on some recent rap songs. They aren’t my style, and I could never get into them.
“Mood” is the worst of the trio, but I can’t really pinpoint why.
93 – Rockstar (Post Malone feat. 21 Savage)
A huge hit at the time, but I didn’t like it.
92 – God’s Plan (Drake)
Another huge rap hit, and probably the best of this “Meh” rap trio if I had to pick.
91 – Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright) (Rod Stewart)
I appreciate Rod Stewart more and more as I get older, but this song ain’t it.
90 – Lady (Kenny Rodgers)
Not my thing.
89 – Ebony And Ivory (Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder)
I love Paul McCartney. I love Stevie Wonder. “Ebony And Ivory” is a pitiful excuse for a collaboration, and it hardly displays their talents.
88 – Tik Tok (Ke$ha)
I hated this song when it came out, and I dislike it still. If I’m being fair, though, it had hit potential.
87 – It’s All In The Game (Tommy Edwards)
The dictionary definition of “OK”.
86 – The Twist (Chubby Checker)
The second-greatest hit of all time (according to Billboard), “The Twist” is a fun song with a simple premise. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get much more in depth than that.
85 – Old Town Road (Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus)
It really annoyed me how “Old Town Road” stayed on the charts for weeks and weeks, as I feel it’s nowhere near Lil Nas X’s best track.
84 – Boom Boom Pow (The Black Eyed Peas)
The Black Eyed Peas have a discography that blends together, and “Boom Boom Pow” sounds just like any of their other hits.
83 – Rush Rush (Paula Abdul)
A relic of its time, I can’t see many people still putting on “Rush Rush” for fun.
82 – We Belong Together (Mariah Carey)
I’m not a Mariah Carey fan, and this song really annoys me, but it would be unfair to put this any lower.
81 – Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree (Dawn feat. Tony Orlando)
One of the cheesiest 70’s hits you can imagine.
80 – Whoomp! (There It Is) (Tag Team)
An attempt was made at making a feel-good hit, but I think it falls a little flat.
79 – Mack The Knife (Bobby Darin)
I have no idea why, but “Mack The Knife” is Billboard’s fourth-greatest hit of all time. It’s got a nice swing, but that’s about it.
78 – Let Me Love You (Mario)
Generic 2000’s RnB.
77 – Circles (Post Malone)
Not my favourite music genre, but “Circles” has a decent melody and groove.
76 – Foolish Games / You Were Meant For Me (Jewel)
A sort of pop / country fusion ballad, neither “Foolish Games” nor “You Were Meant For Me” really grip me.
75 – That’s What Friends Are For (Dionne Warwick & Friends)
Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder couldn’t save “That’s What Friends Are For” from sounding generic.
74 – Centerfold (The J. Geils Band)
When I think of a typical early 80’s hit, “Centerfold” is what comes to mind.
73 – Say Say Say (Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson)
I used to really like this song, but the novelty of “Say Say Say” has worn off. At least McCartney and Jackson give it their all.
72 – I Gotta Feeling (The Black Eyed Peas)
A super cheesy club / dance track that was everywhere in the late 00’s, but on some days I can really vibe with “I Gotta Feeling”.
71 – Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)
I used to hate “Call Me Maybe”, and thought it was overplayed to death. In hindsight, it’s a fairly well-made pop track and a bit of harmless fun.
70 – Levitating (Dua Lipa)
A fun pop track.
69 – You Light Up My Life (Debby Boone)
Quite over-the-top, but decent as 70’s cheese goes.
68 – How You Remind Me (Nickelback)
Pure power chords and simple songwriting, but it works.
67 – The Theme From “A Summer Place” (Percy Faith And His Orchestra)
It’s very odd having an orchestral movie theme in the middle of all these pop songs, but I quite like it.
66 – Shadow Dancing (Andy Gibb)
Not my favourite Andy Gibb solo song, but “Shadow Dancing” is alright.
65 – One Sweet Day (Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men)
Very soppy and melodramatic, but the voices sell it.
64 – Upside Down (Diana Ross)
A fun disco track, with lyrics that I didn’t understand as a kid.
63 – I Just Want To Be Your Everything (Andy Gibb)
The better of the two Andy Gibb efforts on this list, “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” could almost be a Bee Gees song.
62 – We Found Love (Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris)
A generic party anthem, but “We Found Love” is nothing if not rousing.
61 – Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera)
I’m not a Maroon 5 fan, but “Moves Like Jagger” has always been a sort of guilty pleasure track.
60 – Too Close (Next)
“Too Close” is just about the cheesiest 90’s song I’ve ever heard, but I kinda dig it.
59 – Low (Flo Rida feat. T-Pain)
Apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur.
58 – How Do I Live (LeAnn Rimes)
Melodramatic, but memorable.
57 – Despacito (Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat Justin Beiber)
“Despacito” was everywhere when it came out, and I was sick to death of it. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s just a fun Spanish bop at its core.
56 – You’re Still The One (Shania Twain)
Not the Shania Twain song that comes to mind first, but a good one.
55 – Party Rock Anthem (LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock)
“Party Rock Anthem” is, unsurprisingly, a great anthem for party-rockers.
54 – Abracadabra (The Steve Miller Band)
Catchy, but I know the Steve Miller Band can do better.
53 – Physical (Olivia Newton-John)
Most of the “Good” tier is filled with cheesy hits, and “Physical” is one of the cheesiest of all. But I like it.
52 – (Just Like) Starting Over (John Lennon)
A posthumous hit, “(Just Like) Starting Over” isn’t Lennon at his best, but it’s certainly him at his most endearing.
51 – I Love Rock ‘N Roll (Joan Jett & The Blackhearts)
It doesn’t get broader and more anthemic than this.
50 – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You (Bryan Adams)
I’m sure people were sick to death with this song after it charted for weeks on end in the 90’s, but I can dig it.
49 – Sugar Sugar (The Archies)
Sickly, but oh so sweet.
48 – Happy (Pharrell Williams)
It’s a little overplayed and under-written, but “Happy” is nothing if not a good time.
47 – Closer (The Chainsmokers feat. Halsey)
There was a period where The Chainsmokers were on top of the world, and “Closer” was their crowning achievement.
46 – Dilemma (Nelly feat. Kelly Rowland)
Nelly’s verses aren’t too crazy, but Kelly Rowland’s choruses are great.
45 – The Sign (Ace Of Base)
Uplifting and catchy.
44 – Just The Way You Are (Bruno Mars)
It can be a little cheesy, but Bruno Mars proves that he’s one of this generation’s top songwriters.
43 – Truly Madly Deeply (Savage Garden)
The definitive 90’s love ballad, I must have heard this song a hundred times in my life but only just found out what the title was!
42 – Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) (Los Del Rio)
Every now and again you’ll get a top 100 hit that serves purely to showcase a fun dance, and “Macarena” is definitely one of the best.
41 – I’ll Make Love To You (Boyz II Men)
One of the best Boyz II Men songs.
40 – Apologize (Timbaland feat. OneRepublic)
I think people forget that OneRepublic, the band behind “Counting Stars”, also did “Apologize” far earlier. It’s easily their best song.
39 – No One (Alicia Keys)
I really like Alicia Keys’ vocals, and “No One” is no exception.
38 – Sunflower (Post Malone & Swae Lee)
This is exactly the kind of song that I tend to steer away from, but for some reason “Sunflower” (from the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie) hits all the right beats.
37 – Bette Davis Eyes (Kim Carnes)
Kim Carnes’ vocals take some getting used to, but once you do “Bette Davis Eyes” becomes a classic.
36 – Flashdance … What A Feeling (Irene Cara)
One of the most uplifting and danceable songs ever.
35 – End Of The Road (Boyz II Men)
My favourite Boyz II Men song, with some great lyrics.
34 – You’re So Vain (Carly Simon)
I really like the irony of the lyrics, and Mick Jagger makes an uncredited cameo on backing vocals!
33 – Perfect (Ed Sheeran)
Ed Sheeran’s songs tend to be too simple for my liking, but it’s the simplicity of “Perfect” that makes it work. It cuts straight to the point, providing a heart-felt love ballad.
32 – Silly Love Songs (Wings)
It can get a little soppy at times, but “Silly Love Songs” remains one of McCartney’s best post-Beatles tracks.
31 – The Boy Is Mine (Brandy & Monica)
A definitive late-nineties girl-power bop.
30 – Shape Of You (Ed Sheeran)
“Shape Of You” was massive when it came out, and it was the highest-streamed song on Spotify for a time. It’s one of those songs that shines in its simplicity.
29 – Yeah! (Usher feat. Lil John & Ludacris)
A classic party anthem.
28 – Hot Stuff (Donna Summer)
Donna Summer was the queen of disco groove, and “Hot Stuff” is one of her more memorable efforts.
27 – Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell)
There was some controversy about “Blurred Lines” behind the scenes, and the lyrics are questionable at best, but the music and general vibe is some of the most fun you can have with a pop song.
26 – Un-Break My Heart (Toni Braxton)
One of the most powerful ballads I’ve ever heard.
25 – Gold Digger (Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx)
Jamie Foxx is a bit of a random feature, but he works well alongside Kanye’s great verses.
24 – Eye Of The Tiger (Survivor)
A song that’s guaranteed to get anyone hyped.
23 – Let’s Get It On (Marvin Gaye)
Marvin Gaye was always great at conveying raw sexuality in his lyrics and arrangements, and “Let’s Get It On” is one of the best examples of his mastery.
22 – Gangsta’s Paradise (Coolio feat. L.V.)
One of the 90’s best commercial rap songs.
21 – Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures) (The 5th Dimension)
The first part, “Aquarius”, is good, but it’s the refrain in “Let The Sunshine In” that makes this song such a powerful track.
20 – Call Me (Blondie)
“Call Me” is one of the best songs to come out of the New Wave movement. Blondie never misses.
19 – Blinding Lights (The Weeknd)
In the Billboard Top 100, “Blinding Lights” was the song that beat out all others to be first place in the ranking.
It’s not hard to see why – the chorus is catchy as hell, the production is stellar, and The Weeknd’s vocals made it a force to be reckoned with in the charts for weeks on end.
18 – Candle In The Wind 1997 / Something About The Way You Look Tonight (Elton John)
More known nowadays as being the song played at Princess Diana’s funeral, and the context definitely makes the track a bit more special.
Story behind the song aside, “Candle In the Wind” is a gorgeous track, and one of Elton John’s very best.
17 – I Want To Hold Your Hand (The Beatles)
The Beatles exploded onto the scene with their album “Please Please Me” in the UK, but it wouldn’t be until “I Want To Hold Your Hand” that they reached US – and worldwide – superstardom.
This is a classic McCartney / Lennon powerhouse track, filled to the brim with fun lyrics and emphatic performances.
16 – How Deep Is Your Love (Bee Gees)
The entire “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack is incredible, and three of its songs ended up making both the Billboard Top 100 and my top 20 in this list.
“How Deep Is Your Love” is probably my least favourite of the trio if I had to pick, but it’s still a gorgeous love ballad through and through.
15 – I’m A Believer (The Monkees)
It’s a little cheesy and dated, but “I’m A Believer” remains one of the most fun songs to come out of the 60’s.
14 – Le Freak (Chic)
Chic were the kings and queens of disco, and “Le Freak” was their best track. The vocals, guitar, bassline and drums are all quintessentially disco, and some of the greatest in their overall genre.
13 – Night Fever (Bee Gees)
Another banger from the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack, “Night Fever” is the Bee Gees at their sleekest, and at their second-most groovy.
12 – Smooth (Santana feat. Rob Thomas)
The third-greatest hit of all time according to Billboard, “Smooth” was Santana’s commercial return to form.
It has one of the catchiest guitar tones and choruses I’ve ever heard, with an emphatic vocal performance by Rob Thomas.
11 – Rolling In The Deep (Adele)
Adele was, and remains, one of the best artists to come out of the modern UK scene, and “Rolling In The Deep” is her greatest effort.
Her vocals are second to none, and I really love the passion in both the lyrics and the instrumentation.
10 – Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars)
The fifth-greatest hit according to Billboard, “Uptown Funk” was everywhere back when it came out – and in a rare case of the popular tastes aligning with my own, I loved it to bits.
It sounds so nostalgic yet fresh at the same time, with Mark Ronson’s production and Bruno Mars’ vocals bringing the heat from start to finish.
9 – I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston)
The greatest powerhouse love ballad of all time, Whitney Houston absolutely kills it in “I Will Always Love You”.
I know it’s a cover of a Dolly Parton original, but Houston made it her own and then some.
8 – Royals (Lorde)
Lorde burst onto the scene with “Royals”, one of the greatest debut hits I’ve ever heard.
She has maturity beyond her years in both the lyrics and songwriting, with a chorus that is both sombre and incredibly catchy.
7 – I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Marvin Gaye)
My favourite Marvin Gaye song, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” has a brilliant riff and a powerful vocal performance.
6 – Every Breath You Take (The Police)
The Police are a band known for fantastic hits and really clever pop / rock songs, and “Every Breath You Take” takes the cake for their most memorable track.
The lyrics can be a little creepy, but the story that Sting paints with the lyrics – and the groove from the rest of the instruments – makes this an all-timer.
5 – Another One Bites The Dust (Queen)
It’s crazy to think that Queen almost didn’t release “Another One Bites The Dust”, thinking it was too simple.
That simplicity is what makes it so catchy, as John Deacon’s bassline really hammers the groove home.
4 – Somebody That I Used To Know (Gotye feat. Kimbra)
Even ten years later, “Somebody That I Used To Know” holds up as one of the most complex pop songs of recent memory.
Gotye and Kimbra put in some masterclass performances, and the production is second to none. We may never see a hit as intricate as this again.
3 – Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)
I’m not the biggest Michael Jackson fan, but I do like most of the “Thriller” album – the best of the bunch, by a country mile, is “Billie Jean”.
The drums, bass and synth come together to create a pop groove like to other, and Jackson puts in a typically virtuoso performance.
2 – Stayin’ Alive (Bee Gees)
The “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack completely changed the game back in the 70’s, and “Stayin’ Alive” is the Bee Gees’ crowning achievement.
It’s the greatest disco song ever, with a slick, sexy groove that makes you want to get up and dance every time.
1 – Hey Jude (The Beatles)
When the Beatles chose to release an 8-minute lead single back in 1968, everyone thought it was career suicide. Little did they know that “Hey Jude” was about to become one of the most popular songs to ever grace the charts.
McCartney’s lyrics are uplifting and joyful, and the final half of the song that morphs into anthemic chanting is sure to get any party singing along. In the list of the top 100 greatest hits ever, “Hey Jude” reigns supreme.
Aaand that’s my list! Blimey, this was a long one … You can check out some of my (usually) shorter lists below:
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