Rolling Stone magazine’s latest list of all-time greatest songs

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Aretha Franklin's hit song voted best of all time. SOURCE: Getty

American singer, songwriter and pianist Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” has topped the list of all-time best songs named by influential cultural magazine Rolling Stone, according to a report in ABC News.

In its first list of a similar nature released since 2004, the respected publication has placed the Queen of Soul’s 1967 hit in pole position beating, other music industry icons such as The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac.

The list of the 500 greatest songs of all time had previously placed Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Satisfaction” at first and second spot, followed by John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

In what might be considered a sign of the times, all top three singers in 2021 are African American, whose songs relate to the themes of respect, revolution, and rights, according to the ABC.

Franklin’s “Respect” has long been considered one of the best rhythm and blues songs of its era and earned the singer two Grammy Awards in 1968 and induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987.

Coincidentally, or maybe not, the Aretha Franklin biographical movie “Respect” is currently showing in Australian cinemas. Franklin died in 2018.

In what might be viewed as a subliminal message, Rolling Stones placed Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power” in second place, followed by Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” at third.

Dropping to fourth position was Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” coming in at fifth.

The top ten best all-time songs list was rounded off with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going ON” (6th); The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” (7th); Missy Elliott’s “Get Your Freak On” (8th); Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” (9th); and Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” (10th).

A group of 250 industry figures, musicians and music reporters cast their votes in the latest Rolling Stones poll.

Interestingly, Franklin’s “Respect” was actually a cover of the song first released by Otis Redding two years prior, but the Queen of Soul embraced it and made it her signature tune.

Elvis fans may be disappointed to learn that while the King of Pop nabbed 11 spots in the 2004 list, he only managed to snatch three in the 2021 update, showing that Sam Cooke may have been on the money when he sang “A Change Is Going To Come.”



What's your all-time favourite song?

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