Top Ten Most Famous Songs of All Time (Excluding Classical or Traditional Music)

I want you to go deep inside your mind. Ignore your taste and your personal opinion. Ignore critical praise and commercial success.
Just think of which song every child knows, even if it doesn’t know the title or the artist and can’t understand what it’s all about. Think of a song that sooner or later ALWAYS pops up whenever you turn on your radio, a song that always plays when you’re in a store, a song that is frequently used as background music on TV or in movies, maybe even to an extent where it became stereotypical - and all of that for many, many years or even decades. A song so omnipresent that hearing it became as common as walking down a street. When this applies to the song you have in mind, add it.

The Top Ten

1 Thriller - Michael Jackson Thriller - Michael Jackson

Why is "of all time" in the list title if the list is all the second half of the 20th century? - Alkadikce

Because coincidentally in this era the songs most people know nowadays were released. - Martin_Canine

Many Michael Jackson songs would apply for this list, but "Thriller" has a bonus none of his other songs have: it has the most famous, influential and popular music video of all time, which furthermore adds to the song's immense status. - Martin_Canine

2 We Will Rock You - Queen

When you start stomping twice and then clap, and an entire stadium with people from all around the world starts playing along, then the number one spot is justified. - Martin_Canine

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3 I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston

Ever since its release, this might have become the quintessential love song of all time. Also, it's a cover song that's much more popular than the originalm - Martin_Canine

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4 All You Need is Love - The Beatles

Virtually never played on radio.

What are you talking about? This song is heard every second day, and it was a worldwide hit. - Martin_Canine

I absolutely love this song, but I honestly don’t think that this should be in the top 10. Other Beatles songs are more popular. Most of my classmates don’t even know what this song is, sadly. :/ - Misfire

This is probably the most famous band's most famous song, and the most famous song about peace. Ironically it's only on some editions of one of their least influential releases. - Martin_Canine

"Yesterday" is the most-covered song of all time, with over 2,000 different recorded covers to date. It is also one of the top 5 "most played" songs in radio history, but "Thriller" is not.

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5 Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin UListen to Sample
6 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

Bohemian Rhapsody should most definitely be #1. The movie of the same name is absolutely FANTASTIC. Topped the box office right 'round the world on its opening weekend (November 2018). Bohemian Rhapsody, the song, is once again selling like wild fire.

The greatest rock song ever written (by Freddie Mercury) performed by the greatest rock band of all time, Queen.

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7 Last Christmas - Wham!

I didn’t even know this version existed. Lmao - Misfire

I don't know about the US, but in German speaking territory this song is heard 24/7 during December. There are even jokes about this being the only relevant Christmas song (like, a list about the best holiday songs consisting of only this song). Every year, again and again, this song gets extremely popular towards the end of the year since 30 years now. - Martin_Canine

When every year in December for over 30 years, a song plays several times a day, this is a really close candidate for the number one spot. - Martin_Canine

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8 What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

This song is universally and frequently played whenever a peaceful and harmonic scenery is shown (or the opposite), apart from the fact it appears on many samplers and airs much on the radio. - Martin_Canine

It was used in Madagascar & Finding Dory too. It really is famous! - Victoryboy

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9 Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley UListen to Sample
10 Hound Dog - Elvis Presley UListen to Sample

The Contenders

11 Eye of the Tiger - Survivor

I wonder how the band would have felt they had never had a hit before I don’t think and then suddenly they had one of the biggest songs ever.

"Rocky" was an Oscar winning movie, the sequels were just entertainment, but not critical darlings. But the third movie featured one of the most played songs of all time: "Eye of the Tiger" became synonymous with training and sports scenes in movies and on T.V., and, like all of the songs on here, is an evergreen on the radio. - Martin_Canine

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12 My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion UListen to Sample
13 We are the Champions - Queen

The essential song that is ALWAYS played when someome wins. No matter what they win, or who. Next to "We Will Rock You", it's also their song that gets the most airplay. - Martin_Canine

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14 In the Air Tonight - Phil Collins UListen to Sample
15 My Way - Frank Sinatra

Although it's neither an original song nor one of his first (it was recorded 30 yeara after his debut single), "My Way" became the definite Frank Sinatra song and one of the most played and sung songs all around the globe. - Martin_Canine

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16 Purple Rain - Prince & the Revolution UListen to Sample
17 Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees UListen to Sample
18 Can't Help Falling in Love - Elvis Presley UListen to Sample
19 Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash UListen to Sample
20 Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland UListen to Sample
21 Waterloo - ABBA

The song that brought one of the five famous groups of all time on the map is not only the most famous Eurovision Song Contest winner, it's also made its way to worldwide fame, and is beloved by almost everyone around the globe, probably even more than their other many, many, many, many, many evergreens. - Martin_Canine

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22 Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple UListen to Sample
23 Highway to Hell - AC/DC UListen to Sample
24 White Christmas - Bing Crosby UListen to Sample
25 Tutti Frutti - Little Richard UListen to Sample
26 Mamma Mia - Abba

Good song. - Misfire

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27 Sugar Sugar - Archies

I NEVER heard this song - PugsfromMoon

It's a song from 1969 that topped the charts in many countries all around the world, and is one of the most played songs over here. It's on the radio on the daily and can be found on tons of compilation albums. - Martin_Canine

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28 I Was Made for Lovin' You - Kiss UListen to Sample
29 Sunny - Boney M UListen to Sample
30 Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson UListen to Sample
31 That's All - Genesis UListen to Sample
32 Born to Be Wild - Steppenwolf UListen to Sample
33 Y.M.C.A. - Village People UListen to Sample
34 What is Love - Haddaway UListen to Sample
35 Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 - Pink Floyd UListen to Sample
36 Dancing Queen - Abba UListen to Sample
37 Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley & the Comets UListen to Sample
38 Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend - Marilyn Monroe
39 Hit the Road Jack - Ray Charles UListen to Sample
40 You're the One that I Want - John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John UListen to Sample
41 Celebration - Kool & the Gang UListen to Sample
42 Respect - Aretha Franklin UListen to Sample
43 Candle in the Wind 1997 - Elton John UListen to Sample
44 Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr. UListen to Sample
45 Seasons in the Sun - Terry Jacks UListen to Sample
46 La Isla Bonita - Madonna UListen to Sample
47 (I've Had) the Time of My Life - Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes UListen to Sample
48 I Believe I Can Fly - R. Kelly UListen to Sample
49 I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor UListen to Sample
50 Walking on Sunshine - Katrina & the Waves UListen to Sample
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List Stats

73 listings
1 year, 176 days old

Top Remixes

1. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
2. Thriller - Michael Jackson
3. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
1. We Will Rock You - Queen
2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland
3. Last Christmas - Wham!
1. I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
2. Thriller - Michael Jackson
3. All You Need is Love - The Beatles


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