Special Report

The 100 Absolute Best Songs in History

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60. Rock Around the Clock
> Artist: Bill Haley And His Comets
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: March 16, 1974
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 14
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Bill Haley and His Comets’ version of “Rock Around the Clock” topped the Billboard pop chart in 1955 — prior to the creation of the Hot 100 — and stayed there for eight weeks. It would enter the Hot 100 in 1974, following its inclusion in the movie “American Graffiti” and the TV show “Happy Days,” peaking at No. 39. The rebellious anthem helped bring rock and roll to the forefront of American culture like few other songs did.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

59. Time Has Come Today
> Artist: The Chambers Brothers
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Aug. 10, 1968
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 14
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The Chambers Brothers, who had chart success in the mid-1960s, started out as gospel singers from Mississippi. They tapped into the era’s angst about civil rights and the Vietnam War with a psychedelic classic that rose rose to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1968. The single that ran for and AM-unfriendly 4:45 minutes, while the album version topped out at 11:06 minutes and was mostly heard on album-oriented FM radio.

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58. Rhiannon
> Artist: Fleetwood Mac
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: March 6, 1976
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 18
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Fleetwood Mac sent 25 songs to the Hot 100, primarily throughout the ’70s and ’80s. “Rhiannon” — written and sung by band member Stevie Nicks — stands out thanks to its emotional weight and exceptional songwriting.

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57. Purple Haze
> Artist: Jimi Hendrix
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Aug. 26, 1967
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 0
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Jimi Hendrix has had seven songs chart in the Billboard Hot 100, with the guitar-powered “Purple Haze” reaching No. 65 in October of 1967. Hendrix said the song was about a dream he had in which he was walking under the ocean and enveloped by a purple cloud. The song is heard frequently on classic rock radio stations.

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56. I Can See for Miles
> Artist: The Who
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: October 14, 1967
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 11
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The Who’s venture into psychedelic music features Pete Townshend’s soaring guitar that closes the song, which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November of 1967. The lyrics are about jealousy and distrust that borders on the obsessive.

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55. People Are Strange
> Artist: The Doors
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Sept. 23, 1967
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 9
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The Doors built on the success of “Light My Fire” with “People Are Strange,” which rose to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October of 1967. The song was written by Jim Morrison during a period of depression and alienation. It has been covered by punk/post-punk rockers Echo & the Bunnymen. The song also appears in “Forrest Gump.”

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54. California Dreamin’
> Artist: The Mamas & the Papas
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Jan. 8, 1966
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 17
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Written in 1963 and first released as a single two years later, “California Dreamin'” would become an iconic anthem to both homesickness and sunny California. The version performed by The Mamas & The Papas peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100, and artists including Bobby Womack, the Beach Boys, and Sia — for the movie “San Andreas” (2015) — released popular covers.

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53. Black Dog
> Artist: Led Zeppelin
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Dec. 25, 1971
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 12
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Led Zeppelin, the band that defined hard rock, named the song after a Labrador retriever wandering the grounds of the mansion where they were recording an album. “Black Dog” rose to No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February of 1972, and it was the group’s second highest charting single after “Whole Lotta Love.”

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

52. Suzie Q
> Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: Sept. 7, 1968
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 12
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Louisiana musician Dale Hawkins scored a hit of his own in 1957 with “Susie Q.” It was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s cover of the track that crossed over to pop radio, though, reaching No. 11 on the Hot 100 in 1968. Other artists who have performed the song include The Rolling Stones and Carl Perkins.

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51. Cathy’s Clown
> Artist: The Everly Brothers
> Billboard Hot 100 entry date: April 18, 1960
> Total weeks on Billboard Hot 100: 17
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“Cathy’s Clown,” about a guy who gets dumped by his girlfriend, was The Everly Brothers only No.1 hit, and the first single to go to the top spot in the United States and the U.K. at the same time in May of 1960. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks.

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