Rolling Stone’s New List of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time Puts Aretha Franklin at Number One

Aretha Franklin 'The Queen Of Soul' Has Died

Rolling Stone’s new ranking of the 500 greatest songs of all time has selected Aretha Franklin’s 1967 anthem ‘Respect’ as the greatest song in history. 

The magazine described that Otis Redding-penned hit as one that, “catalyzed rock & roll, gospel, and blues to create the model for soul music that artists still look to today. Just as important, the song’s unapologetic demands resonated powerfully with the civil rights movement and emergent feminist revolution.”

A similar list was released by Rolling Stone nearly two decades ago, however, the updated list has altered drastically from the first. 

The new top 10 is as follows:

1. Aretha Franklin — Respect (1967)

2. Public Enemy — Fight The Power (1989)

3. Sam Cooke — A Change Is Gonna Come (1964)

4. Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone (1965)

5. Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

6. Marvin Gaye — What’s Going On (1971)

7. The Beatles — Strawberry Fields Forever (1967)

8. Missy Elliott — Get Ur Freak On (2001)

9. Fleetwood Mac — Dreams (1977)

10. OutKast — Hey Ya! (2003)

The magazine released a statement along with the list that said: “Rolling Stone first published its 500 Greatest Songs list in 2004, when the iPod was relatively new and Billie Eilish was three years old. Music has changed immeasurably since, so we remade the list from scratch.”

A team of more than 250 artists, writers, and music industry figures, including U2 guitarist The Edge, Angelique Kidjo, Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward, rapper Megan Thee Stallion, Sam Smith, and more were involved in the voting that led to the finalized list. 

More than half of the 500 songs on the updated list were not featured on the original list published by Rolling Stone in 2004. 

U2 scored three tracks on the new list, leading the pack when it comes to Irish artists

Irish artists on the new Rolling Stone list

462 – Van Morrison, ‘Into the Mystic’

413 – Them, ‘Gloria’

321 – U2, ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’

272 – Thin Lizzy, ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’

211 U2, ‘With or Without You’

184 – Sinéad O’Connor, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’

62 – U2, ‘One’

The 2004 list featured a top ten track list where 9 out of 10 of the songs came from the ‘golden age of music’ having been released between 1959 and 1971.

The old top 10

1. Bob Dylan — Like A Rolling Stone (1965)

2. The Rolling Stones — (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1965)

3. John Lennon — Imagine (1971)

4. Marvin Gaye — What’s Going On (1971)

5. Aretha Franklin — Respect (1967)

6. The Beach Boys — Good Vibrations (1966)

7. Chuck Berry — Johnny B. Goode (1958)

8. The Beatles — Hey Jude (1968)

9. Nirvana — Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)

10. Ray Charles — What’d I Say (1959)

You can find the full list here