Listen to Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in One Streamable Playlist

Whatever value one places in “ best of ” or “ greatest ” lists, it ’ south unvoiced to deny they can be virtuoso exercises in critical conciseness. When running through 10, 50, 100 films, albums, novels etc. one can ’ thyroxine wander through the wildflowers but must make aglitter, punchy statements and move on. Rolling Stone ’ sulfur writers have excelled at this shape, and expanded the list size to 500, first releasing a book compiling their “ 500 Greatest Albums of All Time ” in 2003 then following up the future year with the “ 500 Greatest Songs of All Tim einsteinium, ” a special consequence of the magazine with short blurbs about each survival .
In 2010, the magazine updated their massive number, compiled by 162 critics, for a special digital issue, and it now lives on their web site with paragraph-length blurbs integral. Each one offers a fun little nugget of fact or public opinion about the choose songs. ( Tom Petty, learning that The Strokes admitted to stealing his open riff for “ american Girl, ” told the cartridge holder, “ I was like, ‘ Ok, beneficial for you. ’ It doesn ’ thyroxine fuss me. ” ) There ’ s hardly board to explain the rankings or justify inclusion. We ’ ra asked to take the Rolling Stone writers ’ collective word for it .

possibly it ’ s a little unmanageable to argue with a list this big, since it includes a piece of everything—for the potential impurity, there ’ mho a unharmed lot of gold. The update list swapped in 25 raw songs and added an introduction by Jay-Z : “ A great birdcall has all the cardinal elements—melody ; emotion ; a strong statement that becomes character of the dictionary ; and great production. ” Broad enough criteria for great, but “ greatest ” ? Put on the Spotify playlist above ( or access it here ) and judge for yourself whether most of those 500 songs in the update list—472 to be exact—meet the bar .
You can see the original, 2004 list, sans blurbs, at the Internet Archive. Number one, Dylan ’ s “ Like a Rolling Stone ” ( get it ? ). Number 500, Boston ’ s “ More Than a Feeling, ” which, well… o. The update list gives us Smokey Robinson ’ s “ Shop Around ” in concluding station ( don ’ thymine worry, Smokey fans, “ The Tracks of My Tears ” makes it to 50. ) placid at count one, naturally, “ Like a Rolling Stone. ” Find out which 498 songs sit in-between at the on-line list hera. ( Wikipedia has a percentage breakdown for both lists of songs by decade. ) The magazine may be up for sale, its journalistic credibility in question, but for comprehensive “ best of ” lists that keep track of the drift of popular culture, we shouldn ’ t count them out just so far .
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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @ jdmagness

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