I wanted to do a list of the ten most iconic songs of the last fifty years. The test was not whether they were my personal favourites, but whether they were truly iconic. Iconic implies recognizable, but I have tried to avoid the modern bias one often sees in these lists.

I was a little bit concerned that I didn’t have anything by the Jacksons or Michael Jackson, but I couldn’t think what to take out. I also wasn’t sure whether to go for Sound of Silence or Bridge over Troubled Water. So I made my choice and now now all I can say is here is the list – in alphabetical order.

All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

American Pie – Don McLean

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Dancing Queen – Abba

Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me – Nilsson

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John

House of the Rising Sun – The Animals

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

Imagine – John Lennon

In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley

My Way – Frank Sinatra

No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley

Pinball Wizard – The Who

Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

Sultan’s of Swing – Dire Straits

Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan

Twist and Shout – The Beatles

Whiter Shade of Pale – Procal Harum

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – The Righteous Brothers

Comments and disagreement welcome.


6 Responses to The twenty most iconic songs of the last fifty years

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  • Nancy says:

    I agree with most of your choices. But House of the Rising Sun is an old song – even if the Animals version was a milestone. I would replace it with Blame it on the Boogie, by the Jacksons.

  • I think “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” would have been a more iconic choice than “Sound of Silence”. I have a feeling it’s better known, at any rate.
    It’s a pity you didn’t add links to the songs. I’m sure they’re all on YouTube.

    • dkessler says:

      I will consider that. I suppose it is better known. but I think Sound of Silence may have been their breakthrough song. I will wait for more feedback and then decide.

      I will post links to the songs soon. Just a bit busy at the moment.