Rolling Stone Updates Greatest Songs of All Time List, How Classics Like Fleetwood Mac and Bob Dylan Stack Up

by Josh Lanier
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Rolling Stone magazine is showing some R-E-S-P-E-C-T in its latest update to the 500 greatest songs of all-time list. Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” held the top stop since 2004 when the list was first created, but he is no longer No. 1. Now, Aretha Franklin is the queen of the hill with her iconic song “Respect.”

In fact, the entire list got a major update that is sure to upset nearly everyone. There are 254 new entries on the list. Musicians, journalists, and music industry officials cast more than 4,000 votes for songs they thought belonged on it. The updated listed now includes more hip-hop, modern country, indie rock, Latin pop, reggae, and R&B, Rolling Stone said in its introduction to the list.

But the top of the chart includes the most notable changes from the 2004 rankings. Aretha Franklin moved from No. 4 to No. 1. “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy rose to the No. 2 spot. The top 5 songs include Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” at No. 3, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” at No. 4, and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at No. 5.

The rest of the top 10 include Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” at 6, The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever,” Behind Missy Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” ranked 9th, and Outkast’s “Hey Ya” came in at 10.

Compared to 2004, which had Dylan’s “Stone,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones, “Imagine” by John Lennon,” “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye, and Aretha Franklin as the magazine’s top 5.

You can see the full list here.

Notable New Entries on the Rolling Stone GOAT List

The biggest change to this list is the number of new songs from today’s biggest performers. So, it’s hard to say if these will stand the test of time, but Rolling Stone is willing to bet they will. Even if their comment section doesn’t. So far, most of the comments on the list don’t like the new additions.

“Far too many songs from the last ten years or so clogging the list,” one person wrote. “No song from 2019 or 2020 has been around long enough to be an all-time great. As a disgruntled Gen-Xer, this is yet another (Rolling Stone) list that proves the Millennials have taken over the magazine (not necessarily a bad thing) and they have terrible taste in music (definitely a bad thing).”

Some of those new entries include Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” at 490, BTS’ “Dynamite” at 346, and Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” at 178. All of those are cultural juggernauts that reshaped today’s music scene along with the likes of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, both of whom also join the list.

But it’s a tough sell to say that Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” which ranked 436, is somehow better than Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” at 469.

The only song after 2004 to crack the top 20 is Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own.”

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