The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber; these are probably some of the most popular and best selling artists of all time. Sometimes, an artist’s popularity would not necessarily translate into the biggest selling songs ever.
As a matter of fact, of the above mentioned artists, only one of them has a song in Billboard magazine’s chart of songs with the most number of records sold and airplay on the radio. Here now is a list of the top 10 most popular songs of all time.
10. Hey Jude – The Beatles (1968)
There probably is not a soul in the planet who has not heard of this band, or at least of one of its immensely popular lineup of songs. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr make up the greatest and most influential act of the rock era. In 1968, it came out with “Hey Jude,” a McCartney song that was credited to Lennon-McCartney. It actually started out as “Hey Jules,” as it was meant to comfort Lennon’s son, Julian, during his parent’s divorce. The song stayed at number one for nine weeks and is the longest song to reach the top in terms of running time at seven minutes and 11 seconds.
9. You Light Up My Life – Debby Boone (1977)
Debby Boone is a country singer who first hit it big in 1977 with the monster smash “You Light Up My Life.” The song was on top of the chart for 10 weeks. It also helped win for Boone a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Kasey Cisyk originally recorded the song for the movie of the same title, where it was lip synched by Didi Conn. It was a love song, but Boone interpreted it as an inspirational song.
8. Physical – Olivia Newton-John (1981)
Olivia Newton-John is an Australian singer and actress born in England. She has sold over 100 million records around the world and has had five number one songs and 10 top 10 songs in the Billboard chart. She starred in the movie adaptation of Grease alongside John Travolta and was part of one of the most successful soundtracks of all time. In 1981, she released “Physical,” which stayed at number one for 10 weeks. It was banned or edited by several radio stations and by MTV, however, because of its sexual lyrics and gay-themed content.
7. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) – Los Del Rio (1996)
Los Del Rio is a Spanish pop duo that was formed way back in 1962. In 1993, they came out with the song called “Macarena.” A radio station in Miami asked the Bayside Boys, composed of Carlos de Yarza and Mike Triay, to remix the song, with Patricia Alfaro recording new English lyrics. The result was the music phenomenon of 1996. Los Del Rio eventually released six albums, with five of them featuring different styles and versions of the song. It stayed at number one for 14 weeks.
6. I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas (2009)
The Black Eyed Peas is an American hip-hop and dance group made up of Will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo and Fergie. It is considered as the second best selling artist of all time for downloaded tracks. Formed in 1995, it broke through in 2003 with the song called “Where is the Love?” In 2009, the group ruled the charts, with “Boom Boom Pow” staying at number one for 12 weeks in a row. It was succeeded by “I Gotta Feeling” that was on top of the chart for 14 consecutive weeks. The 26-week reign is an all-time record.
5. Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock (2011)
LMFAO is a dance pop duo. In 2011, it released the album called Sorry for Party Rocking that featured the song “Party Rock Anthem.” The song interpolates lyrics from the song called “Hustlin’” by Rick Ross. Providing assistance to the duo was Lauren Bennett, a British singer, and GoonRock. It is considered as the third best selling digital song in U.S. history.
4. How Do I Live – LeAnn Rimes (1997)
On May 27, 1997, two artists released the same song on the same day. The producers of Con Air had versions of “How Do I Live” from both LeAnn Rimes and Trisha Yearwood. The former recorded it first, but at 14 years old, the producers thought she was too young and gave out too much of a pop vibe. Yearwood’s version was used in the film and released to country radio. Rimes responded by releasing hers to mainstream pop radio. The song never hit number one and stayed on the chart for 69 weeks. It holds the record for most weeks in the top 10. It also stayed in the country chart for 291 weeks from 1997 to 2003.
3. Mack the Knife – Bobby Darin (1959)
The song “Mack the Knife” first appeared in the German music drama called Die Dreigroschenoper or The Threepenny Opera in 1928. In 1956, Louis Armstrong recorded a version of the song. This inspired Bobby Darin, who included the song in his album called That’s All. He first would not allow its release as a single, but his label did so anyway. The song became Darin’s signature song and biggest hit. It stayed at number one for nine weeks in a row.
2. Smooth – Santana featuring Rob Thomas (1999)
Carlos Santana is an American-Mexican musician known for his fusion of rock and Latin American music. He is considered as one of the greatest guitarists of all time and has won 10 Grammy Awards. He had his first hit in 1969 with the song “Jingo.” He had to wait 30 more years before he finally reached number one with “Smooth” that featured Matchbox 20’s singer Rob Thomas.
1. The Twist – Chubby Checker (1960)
This classic from Chubby Checker has the distinction of being the only song to hit number one twice in two different chart runs. “The Twist” first hit the top of the chart in 1960. A year later, he performed the song in The Ed Sullivan Show, which helped it attract an older audience. By the early part of 1962, the song was back at number one.