I realize this blog is only about 18 years late in writing about the top songs of the 20th century, but I was not aware that such a list even existed until I read this week that Aretha Franklin’s Respect was No. 4 on the list.
The list was compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Some of the items on the list are not songs, but albums.
The project was part of a music education program, with a curriculum distributed to fifth grade teachers. The list is far from authoritative; voters include elected officials, teachers, students and members of the media. But the list seems legitimate enough to me, after all, it’s got two Springsteen songs on it (although I would have rated Born to Run (No. 135) higher than Born in the U.S.A. (No. 59).
Here are the top 10 songs on the list; I’ve added a video to accompany each one.
1) “Over The Rainbow” by Judy Garland
2) “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby
3) ‘This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie
4) “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
5) “American Pie” by Don Mclean
6) “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by The Andrews Sisters
7) West Side Story (Album); here’s the Prologue
8) “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”
9) “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” by The Righteous Brothers
10) “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin
How could you argue against any song on the list; all of them are classics.
And here is a link to the full list of 365 songs/albums.