BMI Jewels Make Up Majority of Rolling Stone’s Top 500

Posted in News on July 12, 2010

In its June issue, Rolling Stone magazine offered the latest version of its “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” an update of its countdown originally released in 2004. Nuggets crafted by BMI songwriters overwhelmingly dominate the list: Standards from the BMI catalogue make up more than 60% of the classic roll call. Nine out of the top 10 picks are BMI gems: The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” co-written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, holds steady at the #2 position, and is followed by John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” the Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say.”

Ultimately, the list is a genre-hopping joyride, canvassing the best of the American musical framework. From BMI legend Sam Cooke, who weighs in at #12 with “A Change Is Gonna Come,” to recent Songwriters Hall of Fame Towering Song Award recipient Paul Simon, whose “Bridge Over Troubled Water” checks in at #48, the picks reveal the richness of BMI’s deep catalogue.

BMI’s Rolling Stone Top 20

2 “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” The Rolling Stones, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
3 “Imagine,” John Lennon, written by John Lennon (PRS)
4 “What’s Going On,” Marvin Gaye, co-written by Renaldo Benson
5 “Respect,” Aretha Franklin, written by Otis Redding
6 “Good Vibrations,” The Beach Boys, written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love
7 “Johnny B. Goode,” Chuck Berry, written by Chuck Berry
8 “Hey Jude,” The Beatles, co-written by John Lennon (PRS)
9 “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana, written by Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and Krist Novoselic
10 “What’d I Say,” Ray Charles, written by Ray Charles
11 “My Generation,” The Who, written by Pete Townshend (PRS)
12 “A Change Is Gonna Come,” Sam Cooke, written by Sam Cooke
13 “Yesterday,” The Beatles, co-written by John Lennon (PRS)
16 “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” The Beatles, co-written by John Lennon (PRS)
18 “Maybellene,” Chuck Berry, written by Chuck Berry
20 “Let It Be,” The Beatles, co-written by John Lennon (PRS)
22 “Be My Baby,” The Ronettes, written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector
23 “In My Life,” The Beatles, co-written by John Lennon (PRS)
24 “People Get Ready,” The Impressions, written by Curtis Mayfield
25 “God Only Knows,” The Beach Boys, written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher
26 “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding, written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper

For the full list, as well as analyses of what makes each classic hum, hunt down the June issue of Rolling Stone.


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