Music Artists Whose Most Famous Song is Not Their Best

Most Nirvana fans disrespect their fellow Nirvana listeners if their favorite song by them is Smells Like Teen Spirit. This works with more music artists.

The Top Ten

1 Deep Purple Deep Purple Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, more.

My original list title was "music artists whose best song isn't even close to being the best". I have chosen that longer name because most music artist's best song is not the most popular, so it needed some emphasis - Alkadikce

I prefer Highway Star, Burn and Child in Time over it. - Userguy44

Smoke on the Water is not even the best Deep Purple riff, let alone song. - Alkadikce

I agree with this. I think that these are better songs: Highway Star, Perfect Strangers, Child in Time, Burn.
Pictures of Home, Stormbringer, Soldier of Fortune are also very interesting. - Metal_Treasure

2 Nirvana Nirvana Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana disbanded after Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994. The drummer of the band, David Grohl, went on to start the Foo-Fighters, an alternative rock band. more.

Lithium is my favorite. - Misfire

This is why the phrase "smells like the only Nirvana song you know" exists. - Alkadikce

Sorry the previous comment is supposed to be what makes this significant is that Smells Like Teen Spirt is their most famous song by such a big margin.

The thing that makes this significant is that Smells Like Teen Spirit.

3 Metallica Metallica Metallica is an American Thrash Metal band formed in 1981 . The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single "Enter Sandman". more.

@Alkadikce: I guess Nothing Else Matters because of its mainstream popularity. Even non-metal fans know it because it's a ballad and not a metal song. I've heard it being played at weddings. It's a great ballad but Metallica is a metal band and their metal songs are supposed to be more appreciated - I mean, for me it isn't their best song. It's just the most accessible. - Metal_Treasure

Which song are we talking about now as "most famous"? Master of Puppets, Enter Sandman, One or Nothing Else Matters? - Alkadikce

4 Carly Rae Jepsen Carly Rae Jepsen Carly Rae Jepsen is a Canadian singer and songwriter from Mission, British Columbia, and later based in Vancouver.

I had no desire to try out her songs, but I have heard it from more people that she became famous of one of her worst songs which gave her bad prejudices. - Alkadikce

5 Pitbull Pitbull Armando Christian Pérez, better known by his stage name Pitbull, is a Grammy (and Latin Grammy) winning Cuban-American rapper, songwriter and record producer.

Random person: Pitbull sucks, he isn't a rapper and he only talks about sex and partying.

*Plays Hustler's Withdrawal for them - DaWyteNight

He doesn't have any good songs anyway. - Userguy44

6 Nicole Scherzinger Nicole Scherzinger Nicole Scherzinger, born Nicole Prescovia Elikolani Valiente on June 29, 1978, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, and television personality . She first rose to fame as the lead singer of the pop/r&b group The Pussycat Dolls. In fact, Nicole was pretty much the only girl in the group more.

Imagine thinking Right There is her best song lol - DaWyteNight

7 Blue Öyster Cult Blue Öyster Cult Blue Öyster Cult is an American rock band from Long Island, New York, whose most successful work includes the hard rock and heavy metal songs "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", "Godzilla" and "Burnin' for You".

Astronomy or Joan Crawford are way better than Don't Fear The Reaper. - Alkadikce

8 Black Sabbath Black Sabbath Black Sabbath were a Heavy Metal band formed in Birmingham, England in 1968 by guitarist and songwriter Tony Iommi, singer John "Ozzy" Osbourne, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. more.

For me "Heaven and Hell" is their best song (but it's with Dio on vox).
Paranoid is their most popular song - a 2 minute song written in 20 minutes as a filler (a very simple song with children melody which explains its popularity).
War Pigs is also very popular but I personally find this song very monotonous, repetitive and overall, boring (sorry). - Metal_Treasure

Their three best known Ozzy era songs are War Pigs, Iron Man and Paranoid. Songs that are better in my opinion are Fairies Wear Boots, Sabbra Cadabbra, Children of the Grave and Into the Void.

Edit: I compared only Ozzy songs on purpose. - Alkadikce

Children of the Sea and Heaven and Hell are my favorite BS (okay maybe I'll just spell it out next time) songs

Paranoid is good, but they made better songs. BS is better, because it sounds more like them. - Userguy44

9 Nickelback Nickelback Nickelback is a Canadian rock band formed in 1995 in Hanna, Alberta, Canada. The band is composed of guitarist and lead vocalist Chad Kroeger, guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist Ryan Peake, bassist Mike Kroeger, and drummer Daniel Adair.

I'm convinced that nowhere is this more true than for Nickelback. Their most popular songs are How You Remind Me, Savin Me, and Rockstar, all of which are more or less formulaic tunes with good lyrics but bad melodies. They have MUCH better in their roster, some of which are rather unpopuLar, like After the Rain, the Hammer's Coming Down, Make Me Believe Again, and Sister Sin

I like the most "Burn It To The Ground" (even more obscure than the songs already mentioned by the visitor). - Metal_Treasure

Metal Treasure that's not true. Look on Spotify, it's always in their top 5 most popular. Not trying to out hippy, but BITTG is very mainstream. Great song though.

10 Akon Akon Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam, better known as Akon, is an American-Senegalese singer, rapper, songwriter, businessman, record producer and actor.

The Contenders

11 Van Halen Van Halen Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. From 1974 until 1985, the band consisted of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen, and bassist Michael Anthony.

Most famous: Jump. Since I don't really know this band, I leave it to you to collect some better songs of them. - Alkadikce

Jump sounds too poppy. I prefer their more heavier stuff. - Userguy44

12 Post Malone Post Malone Austin Richard Post (born July 4, 1995), known professionally as Post Malone, is an American singer, rapper, songwriter, record producer, and guitarist.

Most Popular Song-Rockstar
Best Song:Sunflower - oneshot

13 T‐Pain T‐Pain Faheem Rashad Najm, better known by his stage name T-Pain, is an American recording artist and music producer from Tallahassee, Florida.
14 Pantera Pantera Pantera was an American Heavy Metal band formed in 1981 by guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul. The band started out as a Glam Metal act in the 1980s with little success. After discarding their original lead vocalist and enlisting Phil Anselmo, the band signed a major record deal with more.

I am not a big fan of the band either but they have better songs than Walk. - Alkadikce

There are better songs than just Walk such as 10's, Drag The Waters, No Good, Cowboys From Hell, Cemetery Gates, and more -TheDarkOne_221b

15 Yes Yes Yes is an English progressive rock band formed in 1968 by bassist Chris Squire and singer Jon Anderson. They first achieved success in the 1970s with a progressive, art and symphonic style of rock music. Their best known song is their 1971 hit "Roundabout" off of their album Fragile.

Don't think they deserve to be on this list, need to be on the list most famous song that no one knows the name of the artist for.
I don't think there is really much fans that think 90125 is the best album, it only has two really good songs on it, where as the Yes Album and Fragile has most of their classic songs and if you look at the top 10 albums most will acknowledge it isn't that good of an album, it is number 8 in the top 10 yes albums - germshep24

The reason I think "Owner of a Lonely Heart" is the most popular is because it's the most frequently played Yes song on radio and it's their biggest pop hit by far (it hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100! ). People may not know the name of the band, but they're way more likely to know this song than, say, "Starship Trooper" or "Close to the Edge". - Gg2000

Most popular song: Owner of a Lonely Heart.
I know there are a lot of fans who dig 90125, but I think it doesn't really encapsulate their strengths as much as the big three from the prog era (The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge). - Gg2000

Yes isn't very popular, I really don't think they have a most popular song, because only progressive rock fans would have actually have found them, though if you, did say Owner of a Lonely heart most would say they like this song but most wouldn't know the artist's name - germshep24

16 George Gershwin George Gershwin

His best known work is Rhapsody in Blue, which is impressive but not as good as Concerto in F. - Alkadikce

17 Whitney Houston Whitney Houston Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170–200 more.
18 Linkin Park Linkin Park Linkin Park is an American rock band formed in Agoura Hills, California, in 1996. The members currently include Mike Shinoda (vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar), Brad Delson (guitar), Dave "Phoenix" Farrell (bass), Joe Hahn (DJ) and Rob Bourdon (drums). Linkin Park are associated with a mixture of Alternative more.

I always thought "Numb" was their most popular one, considering how much views it got on YouTube. - Misfire

Newer songs get more YouTube views, even those 3 years count a lot - Alkadikce

Guilty All The Same, One Step CLoser, Castle Of Glass, and A Line In The Sand make In THe End look like Smells Like Teen Spirit -TheDarkOne_221b

Their most famous songs are Numb and In The End.In my opinion the best ones are A Place For My Head,From The Inside and Bleed It Out - DarkBoi-X

Most famous song; In The End
Best songs: One Step Closer, Don't Stay, A Place for My head...heck, the whole Meteora album... - Camaro6

19 Twenty One Pilots Twenty One Pilots Twenty One Pilots is an American musical duo that originates from Columbus, Ohio. Currently there are two members. The lead singer, Tyler Joseph, and the drummer, Josh Dun. At the 2016 American Music Awards, they won two AMAs for Favorite Pop/Rock Artist, and Favorite Alternative Artist. Twenty One more.

Too true listen to anything from trench and/or vessel - MaximanDaBeast

20 Zayn Malik Zayn Malik Zain Javadd Malik, born on 12 January 1993, who records mononymously as ZAYN, is a British singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Bradford, ZAYN aspired to pursue a career in music from a young age leading him to audition as a solo artist for the British reality television music competition The X more.
21 Johnny Gill Johnny Gill Johnny Gill started out as a solo artist in the 1980s, releasing two albums that didn't garner much attention. It was not until later, when Gill became a member of the r&b/pop group New Edition, that people started to take notice of his music and his talent. He went on to release his most successful more.

Imagine thinking Rub You the Right Way is his best song lol - DaWyteNight

22 Outkast Outkast Outkast is an American hip hop duo formed in 1991, in East Point, Atlanta, Georgia, composed of Atlanta-based rappers André "André 3000" Benjamin (formerly known as Dré) and Antwan "Big Boi" Patton. The duo achieved both critical acclaim and commercial success in the 1990s and early 2000s, helping more.
23 ABBA ABBA ABBA were a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972 by members Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

Eagle & Summer Night City & The Name of the Game vs. Dancing Queen & Mamma Mia & Voulez-Vous - Alkadikce

Don't forget "The Winner Takes It All". That's probably the biggest of all the fan favorites. - Gg2000

24 Eminem Eminem Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is an American rapper, actor and music producer born on October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Eminem has sold over 300 million records making him the bestselling hip-hop artist of all time. In addition to his solo career, he is a member of D12 and (with Royce more.

Well for many people Lose Yourself, which is his most popular, is their favourite, including me. - ParasN2000

I personally prefer Not Afraid over Lose Yourself - Not_A_Weeaboo

25 Flo Rida Flo Rida Tramar Lacel Dillard, better known by his stage name Flo Rida is an American rapper and pop music artist from Carol City, Florida. He is known for songs such as "Low", "Right Round", "Sugar", "Club Can't Handel Me", "Good Feeling", "Whistle", "Wild Ones", "My House" and "GDFR."
26 Radiohead Radiohead Radiohead are an English rock band from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, formed in 1985. The band consists of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, keyboards, other instruments), Colin Greenwoood (bass guitar), Phil Selway (drums), and Ed O'Brien (guitar).

Yep. Just go on Reddit if you want to see hardcore fans hating on listeners of "Creep". I knew a friend of mine who wrote a parody of that song called "I'm a Sheep", which made fun of both the "Creep" fans and the "snobs". - Gg2000

Creep isn't even the most famous Radiohead. That would be Paranoid Android, which isn't my favourite though - Userguy44

27 The Kinks The Kinks The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most important and influential rock bands of the 1960s.

There's WAY more content in so many ways tjan just You Really Got Me and Lola

Check out "The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society" or "Kontroversy"

28 Tool Tool Tool is an American progressive/alternative/post-metal band, that was formed in 1990. more.

Most popular of theirs is probably Sober, which is just so boring compared with their other work. - tgbhj

29 Plies Plies Algernod Lanier Washington, better known by his stage name Plies, is an American rapper. He is known for his singles such as "Shawty", "Hypnotized", and "Bust It Baby." Unlike his sing-songy singles, Plies' albums mostly contain realistic material about the street life and trying to survive. His first more.

Plies is one of those artists with both great and terrible songs. I'm pretty sure he makes bad songs on purpose. - DaWyteNight

30 Iggy Azalea Iggy Azalea Amethyst Amelia Kelly, born June 7, 1990 known professionally as Iggy Azalea, is an Australian rapper, singer, songwriter, and model.

She doesn't have good songs though. - ParasN2000

People judege her way to soon - Izalien

31 Lou Reed Lou Reed Lewis Allan "Lou" Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He was the guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, and his solo career spanned five decades. more.

"Walk on the Wild Side" is a good song, but it doesn't really have that much of an edge to it musically compared to his other stuff. - Gg2000

32 Dio (Ronnie James Dio) Dio (Ronnie James Dio) Dio was an American heavy metal band formed in 1982 and led by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, after he left Black Sabbath with intentions to form a new band with fellow former Black Sabbath member, drummer Vinny Appice.

Most popular song is Holy Diver

To be fair holy diver is one of Dio greatest songs unlike most of the other artists on this list - germshep24

33 Paramore Paramore Paramore is an American rock band from Franklin, Tennessee, formed in 2004. The band currently consists of lead vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farro.

Most Popular Song:Misery Business
Best Song:Hard Times - oneshot

34 NF NF Nathan "Nate" John Feuerstein, whose stage name is NF, is an American Christian hip hop rapper, singer and musician from Gladwin, Michigan.
35 Lupe Fiasco Lupe Fiasco Wasalu Muhammad Jaco (born February 16, 1982), better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He rose to fame in 2006 following the success of his debut album, Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor. He also performs as the frontman of rock band Japanese Cartoon more.
36 Jason Derulo Jason Derulo Jason Joel Desrouleaux, better known by his stage name Jason Derulo (an alternate spelling of his surname), is an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. He is best known for his singles such as "Whatcha Say", "Ridin' Solo", "In My Head", "What If", "Wiggle", "Talk Dirty", "Trumpets" and "Want To Want more.
37 Grateful Dead Grateful Dead The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. Ranging from quintet to septet, the band is known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of country, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, rock, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, space rock, for live performances more.

Most popular song : Touch of Grey.
I don't think it's a bad song (a little too poppy for my taste), but it doesn't really show their musical interplay or the strengths of their songwriting. I don't even think it's the best song on the album; I think Hell in a Bucket and Black Muddy River are better. - Gg2000

38 Lynyrd Skynyrd Lynyrd Skynyrd Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the Southern rock genre during the 1970s They are known for songs like "Free Bird", "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Tuesdays Gone" .

Most popular: Sweet Home Alabama
My favorite: Free Bird

These two are almost equally popular, Free Bird used to be #11 on Best Songs of All Time. - Alkadikce

39 Major Lazer

Most popular song: Cold Water
Best song: Tip Pon It
- TheDuttyGyal

40 Logic Logic Born on January 22, 1990, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, better known as Logic, is one of the most influential artists in the rap game today, with amazing lyricism and flow. Logic first gained major fame through making 2013's edition of the XXL Top-10 Freshmen List, and has easily more.
41 Bruno Mars Bruno Mars Peter Gene Hernandez, professionally known by his stage name Bruno Mars, is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and choreographer. more.
42 B.o.B. B.o.B. Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr., better known by his stage name B.o.B, is an American recording artist and music producer from Decatur, Georgia.
43 Kelly Rowland Kelly Rowland Kelendria Trene "Kelly" Rowland is a Grammy Award winning American singer, songwriter, actress and television personality.
44 Beyoncé Beyoncé Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, is an American singer and actress, who started out in the popular pop/r&b girl group Destiny's Child. They had multiple top 5 hits such as "No, No, No", "Say My Name", "Bills, Bills, Bills", "Survivor", "Independent Women", "Bootylicious", and "Jumpin', Jumpin" from more.
45 Kendrick Lamar Kendrick Lamar Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper and songwriter. Raised in Compton, California, Lamar embarked on his musical career as a teenager under the stage name K-Dot, releasing a mixtape that garnered local attention and led to his signing with indie record label Top Dawg more.

This was especially true when his collaboration with Taylor Swift was his most popular song. Humble is still nowhere near his best song though.

46 J Cole J Cole
47 Lil Boosie Lil Boosie Torrence Hatch, born November 14, 1982, is an American rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He released his first independent album 'Youngest of the Camp' in 2000, followed by "For My Thugs" in 2002. He released two collaboration albums with Webbie, Ghetto Stories in 2003 and Gangsta Musik in 2004. In more.
48 Lil Wyte Lil Wyte Patrick Lanshaw, better known by his stage name Lil Wyte, is an American rapper from Memphis, Tennessee.
49 XXXTentacion XXXTentacion Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy (born January 23, 1998), known professionally as XXXTentacion, and often referred to as X, is an American rapper, singer and songwriter.
50 Ariana Grande Ariana Grande Ariana Grande-Butera, known professionally as Ariana Grande, is an American singer and actress. She was born on June 26th 1993 in Boca Raton, Florida to Joan Grande and Edward Butera. She is best known for her role as Cat Valentine on the Nickelodeon sitcom Victorious and its spin-off show Sam & Cat. more.
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