Special Report

The 100 Absolute Best Songs in History

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

100. Please Mr. Postman
> Artist: The Marvelettes
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Sept. 4, 1961
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 23
> Listen here

“Please Mr. Postman” was the first song released by the famed Motown record label to hit No. 1 on the pop charts. The song, with its catchy melody in The Marvelettes’ recording, would be covered by numerous other artists, including The Beatles and The Carpenters, the latter of whom also hit the top spot on the Hot 100 with it.

Source: David Redfern / Getty Images

99. Gimme Little Sign
> Artist: Brenton Wood
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Aug. 12, 1967
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 15
> Listen here

The smooth and soulful “Gimme Little Sign” was the biggest hit for Shreveport, Louisiana-native Brenton Wood. The song peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October of 1967.

Source: RB / Getty Images

98. Wild Thing
> Artist: The Troggs
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: June 25, 1966
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 11
> Listen here

The Troggs’ “Wild Thing” is a defining garage rock song. The simple yet infectious song caught on like wildfire in 1966, reaching the top position on the Hot 100. It’s been covered near countless times since by artists including The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Prince.

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

97. Little Sister
> Artist: Elvis Presley
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Aug. 21, 1961
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 13
> Listen here

“Little Sister” was not one of Elvis Presley’s blockbusters (though it did top the the U.K. charts), but it did reach No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October of 1961. The song tells the story of a guy whose girlfriend dumps him, so he sets his sights on her younger sister.

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

96. Glad All Over
> Artist: The Dave Clark Five
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Feb. 15, 1964
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 14
> Listen here

“Glad All Over” was the first single from The Dave Clark Five to peak within the Hot 100’s top 10. The song’s chart performance was aided by the band’s appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The appearance also established the group as leading members of the British Invasion alongside the Beatles. The song has historically been popular amongst British soccer and rugby teams.

Source: RB / Getty Images

95. We’ve Only Just Begun
> Artist: Carpenters
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Sept. 12, 1970
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 17
> Listen here

The brother and sister hitmakers from the 1970s had 12 top-10 hits, including “We’ve Only Just Begun,” which peaked at No. 2 in October of 1970. The song was written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols, who were hired to write an ad jingle. Richard Carpenter asked if there was a longer version and the Carpenters recorded it. The song became very popular as a wedding song.

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

94. Ring of Fire
> Artist: Johnny Cash
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: June 1, 1963
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 13
> Listen here

“Ring of Fire” was written by Johnny Cash’s eventual wife June Carter and songwriter Merle Kilgore and originally performed by June’s sister Anita Carter. Cash’s version was the big hit, however, thanks in part to its distinctive mariachi horns — an idea that reportedly came to the Man in Black in a dream.

Source: George Stroud / Getty Images

93. White Room
> Artist: Cream
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: October 5, 1968
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 11
> Listen here

Cream, so named because the three members — Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, and Eric Clapton — were claimed to be the best drummer, bass player, and guitarist in the rock — had a brief but history-making appearance as the world’s first super band. “White Room” reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November of 1968. The song is about depression and despair. That apparently didn’t deter Apple, which used the song in a 2000 commercial for the company’s white iMacs.

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

92. Love Is All Around
> Artist: The Troggs
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Feb. 24, 1968
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 16
> Listen here

English rock band The Troggs displayed their softer side with “Love Is All Around.” The song, which was inspired by the Joy Strings Salvation Army band, peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100 in 1968. It was later covered by the band Wet Wet Wet, whose popular version was featured prominently in the movie “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994).

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

91. Heart of Glass
> Artist: Blondie
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Feb. 17, 1979
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 21
> Listen here

Blondie emerged from New York City’s punk scene in the late 1970s and surfed the rock, pop, punk, and reggae genres to craft a series of hits in the late 1970s and 1980s. Among them was “Heart of Glass,” a fusion of disco and punk that topped the U.K. and U.S. charts. “Heart of Glass,” was No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in April of 1979 and was the first of four Blondie songs to top the charts.

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