Top 23 songs of all time
best pop songs of all time are as varied and attention-grabbing as the artists who sing them. Topically, the cover everything from love and sex to heartbreak and survival—and just about every topic in between. We went back more than three decades (note those sick ‘80s songs) and found the very best of the genre. There are plenty of party songs to dance to, as well as the top guilty-pleasure karaoke songs, some unforgettable one-hit wonders and more.
1. “Firework” by Katy Perry; songs of all time
Part dance floor anthem, part inspirational power song, “Firework” was Katy Perry’s third release off 2010’s Teenage Dream and a huge elevation point in her career. It won MTV’s 2011 VMA for Video of the Year and earned two Grammy nominations, and all the hoopla around Seth Rogen and James Franco’s The Interview gave it another boost of publicity in 2014.
2. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars; songs of all time
Mars supplied the vocals for this track produced by Britain’s Ronson for the duo’s fourth collaboration. It cleaned up at the 2015 Grammys, including winning Record of the Year, and became the third most-watched video ever on YouTube. It was also featured in every single commercial of the past year, probably.
3. “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus; songs of all time
This song hails from a different era of Cyrus before she did whatever it was she did with Robin Thicke at the VMAs and back when she was just being Miley. Anyone who claims not to know the words (or belt them out and roll the windows down whenever the song’s on the radio) cannot be trusted—they’re flat-out lying.
3. “Sorry” by Justin Bieber; songs of all time
Taking a hiatus from making music to focus on growing up a little, the Biebs came back with Purpose in 2015. “Sorry,” the second single from the album was mixed by Skrillex—and in a stroke of genius and surprising modesty, he excluded himself from the music video and focused on an oft-imitated squad of dancers instead.
This song made 2012 the year of the cheesy pickup line after Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s lip-sync sesh catapulted the earworm onto the radio. Jepson hasn’t had as big of a hit since, but she has facilitated millions of hasty flirtations and phone number solicitations. Thanks, Carly Rae!
5. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé; songs of all time
The anthem of single gals everywhere, the opus made Beyhive converts out of every last hold-out. No one could resist that Queen Bey’s leotard and signature dance moves, and Kanye West was right: “Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!”
6. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele; songs of all time
English sensation exploded to international fame with this tune, released when she was just 21 years old—though her voice carries the expertise of a woman decades older. High-reaching vocals, a bone-chilling opening note and ever-relatable subject matter of tarnished love scored Adele two Grammy Awards as fans around the world cried to the breakup anthem.
7. (JUST LIKE) STARTING OVER; songs of all time
US Release: 1980
8. YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE; songs of all time
US Release: 1977
9. WE FOUND LOVE; songs of all time
Rihanna Feat. Calvin Harris
US Release: 2011
10. LOW; songs of all time
Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain
US Release: 2008
11. SMOOTH; songs of all time
Santana Feat. Rob Thomas
US Release: 1999
12. PARTY ROCK ANTHEM; songs of all time
13.LMFAO Feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock; songs of all time
US Release: 2011
SHAPE OF YOU
US Release: 2017
14. PHYSICAL; songs of all time
US Release: 1981
15. WE BELONG TOGETHER; songs of all time
US Release: 2005
16.UN-BREAK MY HEART; songs of all time
US Release: 1996
17. ENDLESS LOVE; songs of all time
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
US Release: 1981
18. YOU WERE MEANT FOR ME/FOOLISH GAMES; songs of all time
US Release: 1997
19. I SWEAR; songs of all time
US Release: 1994
20. EBONY AND IVORY; songs of all time
Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder
US Release: 1982
21. NOTHING COMPARES 2 U; songs of all time
US Release: 1990
22. ALL NIGHT LONG (ALL NIGHT); songs of all time
US Release: 1983
23. MY SHARONA; songs of all time
US Release: 1979