Saturday 1 October 2016

The ‘most iconic song of all time’ announced - and it might surprise you

Published 25/09/2015 | 11:09

Nirvana
Nirvana

Scientists at the University of London have formulated an algorithm to find out which songs are the most iconic of all time.

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They analysed lists of greatest songs from sources including Rolling Stone and VH1 and then examined each song's key, the beats per minute, chords and song variance to see how musicians make their songs more memorable.

The study, carried out for Fiat in order to find the best song to promote their new car, was conducted by Dr Mick Grierson who said, "We looked at a range of measures for each song and compared them to see if there were similarities in these recordings which occur less in other songs."

However, he told the Daily Mail that there is no "formula" for creating an iconic song.  It just has to "sound great".

"Even by applying scientific process, what is considered iconic is ultimately up to the individual. My conclusion is that if you want a formula for creating great music, there is one: you just have to make something that sounds great."

Coming in at the top spot is Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, which was released in 1991 and featured on the band's second album, Nevermind.  It beat John Lennon's Imagine into second place and U2's One came third.

A list of legendary artists feature in the top 10 with Michael Jackson fourth with Billie Jean, Queen fifth with Bohemian Rhapsody, followed by The Beatles with Hey Jude, Bob Dylan with Like a Rolling Stone, the Rolling Stones with I Can't Get No Satisfaction, the Sex Pistols with God Save the Queen, and Guns N' Roses with Sweet Child O'Mine.

Here's the full list:

1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit,"" Nirvana

2. "Imagine,"" John Lennon

3. "One,"" U2

4. "Billie Jean,"" Michael Jackson

5. "Bohemian Rhapsody,"" Queen

6. "Hey Jude," The Beatles

7. "Like A Rolling Stone," Bob Dylan

8. "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," Rolling Stones

9. "God Save The Queen," Sex Pistols

10. "Sweet Child O'Mine," Guns N' Roses

11. "London Calling," The Clash

12. "Waterloo Sunset," The Kinks

13. "Hotel California," The Eagles

14. "Your Song," Elton John

15. "Stairway To Heaven," Led Zeppelin

16. "The Twist," Chubby Checker

17. "Live Forever," Oasis

18. "I Will Always Love You," Whitney Houston

19. "Life On Mars? David Bowie

20. "Heartbreak Hotel," Elvis Presley

21. "Over The Rainbow," Judy Garland

22. "What's Goin' On," Marvin Gaye

23. "Born To Run," Bruce Springsteen

24. "Be My Baby," The Ronettes

25. "Creep," Radiohead

26. "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Simon & Garfunkel

27. "Respect," Aretha Franklin

28. "Family Affair," Sky And The Family Stone

29. "Dancing Queen," ABBA

30. "Good Vibrations," The Beach Boys

31. "Purple Haze," Jimi Hendrix

32. "Yesterday," The Beatles

33. "Jonny B Good," Chuck Berry

34. "No Woman No Cry," Bob Marley

35. "Hallelujah," Jeff Buckley

36. "Every Breath You Take," The Police

37. "A Day In The Life," The Beatles

38. "Stand By Me," Ben E King

39. "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," James Brown

40. "Gimme Shelter," The Rolling Stones

41. "What'd I Say," Ray Charles

42. "Sultans Of Swing," Dire Straits

43. "God Only Knows," The Beach Boys

44. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," The Righteous Brothers

45. "My Generation," The Who

46. "Dancing In The Street," Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

47. "When Doves Cry," Prince

48. "A Change Is Gonna Come," Sam Cooke

49. "River Deep Mountain High," Ike and Tina Turner

50. "Best Of My Love," The Emotions

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