This is one of the definitive records exhibiting producer Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" technique of recording. Cher was among the background singers on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." It went to #1 on the pop singles charts in the US and the UK in the midst of the peak of interest in the British Invasion. Daryl Hall and John Oates took the song back into the top 20 in the US in 1980.
This was the first dance song written by producer and songwriter Linda Perry. She has said she wrote it when she was wanting to learn about programming drums and included "every catch phrase you possibly could imagine." The result was an instant party classic. The song became Pink's first #1 pop single in the US and her only #1 until "So What" in 2008.
"Mack the Knife" was originally composed and premiered onstage in German in Berlin in 1928. It was widely introduced to English-speaking audiences as part of an English version of The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht. The song is a murder ballad detailing the crimes of the highwayman MacHeath. Pop singer Bobby Darin recorded a version of "Mack the Knife" that hit #1 on the US pop charts in 1959. It went on to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
Britney Spears' commercial success seemed to be seriously fading when she headed into the studio to record this first single from her album In the Zone. It has a very high pitched hook that is unforgettable. The song has been the subject of cover versions by artists ranging from bluegrass band Nickel Creek to French-Israeli folk-pop artist Yael Naim. The song brought Britney Spears back to the pop top 10 and earned her a Grammy Award for Top Dance Recording.
Utilized for the futuristic segment of Donna Summer's disco album I Remember Yesterday, "I Feel Love" became a landmark in electronic music. The entirely synthesized backing track brought electronic music into the pop mainstream. Producer Giorgio Moroder was one of the key architects of the sound. It was a top 10 pop hit for Donna Summer, but the highly synthesized electronic sound is not something she explored extensively in later recordings. However, "I Feel Love" inspired waves of electronic bands and artists for decades to come.
"Heartbreak Hotel" was the first #1 pop single by Elvis Presley and the bestselling single of the year 1956. The song's subject matter of extreme sadness at the end of a love relationship was inspired by the songwriter Thomas Durden reading a story about a suicide in a newspaper. A note was left saying "I walk a lonely street." The intense bluesy sound with a slow rock and roll beat was a radical change from Elvis Presley's earlier recordings.
Frank Sinatra, one of the top pop artist of all time, had not had a #1 pop single since 1955 when he recorded this song. It won three Grammy Awards including Record of the Year. One of the most distinctively remembered components of the recording is the scatted "doo-be-doo-be-doo" as the song fades.
Many consider this one of the sexiest recordings of all time. It was reportedly written after a case of serious writer's block. Marvin Gaye was struggling to come up with material to follow his landmark What's Going On album. The song was first written from a spiritual point of view and then with political overtones. Ultimately it became one of the most celebrated odes to lovemaking ever recorded.
22. Beatles - "Help!" (1965)
This Beatles classic was primarily written by John Lennon to express the extraordinary stress he felt from the band's meteoric rise to success. "Help!" was the title song for the Beatles' second feature film. John Lennon has stated it was among his favorite songs he wrote due to its honesty. It did mark a shift in subject matter for Beatles songs to concerns about a wider range of life than simply love songs.
This Gospel-influenced classic was written by Curtis Mayfield of the vocal group the Impressions. It only reached #14 on the pop singles chart, but its social and political overtones were perfect the times. The song has been covered many times by a range of artists from Bob Dylan to Dionne Warwick.