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The Most Recognizable Songs of All Time

Good or not, these are the most recognizable songs ever recorded. We surveyed 200 people about the Top 100 songs of all time (based on streaming and sales for the past 50+ years), and some songs were not recognized by either the oldest or the youngest surveyed. Ages were evenly distributed from 16 to 69 years old. Quite a few songs were not recognized by the ultra youth, and a couple were not known by the oldest (no one over 24 ever heard of The Weeknd, for example, so it fails the list). However, we found 25 songs that at least 90% of our group recognized. These were the top: Most Recognizable Songs of all time.

1 - Hey Jude by the Beatles ... and...

1/tie - Stairway to Heaven by Led Zepellin were both recognized by 100%.

2 - Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen was known by everyone, likely due to the recent film.

3 - Don't Stop Believin' by Journey. Yeah, who doesn't know it by now? Even the Simpsons celebrated this tune.

4 - Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. Unforgettable.

5 - I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family, everyone knows this song (we love it or hate it, but we do remember it).

7 - Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, the most overused montage track.

8 - Careless Whisper by George Michael, possibly the most loved song on the list. Everyone seems to have a good memory of this smooth ballad.

9 - Never Gonne Give You Up by Rick Astley

10 - Can't Touch This by MC Hammer ... yeah no points for quality, but it is very recognizable.

11 - Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees

12 - Dancing Queen by Abba 

13 - Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd

14 - *Gangnam Style, the youtube sensation by Psy

15 - Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley

16 - Somebody to Love by Jefferson Airplane

17 - Aqualung by Jethro Tull.  The most recognizable opening riff of all time. Dunt dunt dunt da dun dunn.

18 - Wannabe by Spice Girls. Yeah, worst song ever, but! it is one of the most recognizable songs in the past 40 years.

19 - Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones

20 - Respect by Aretha Franklin

21 - Circle of Life by Elton John, helped a lot by the Lion King and a dozen TV shows.

22 - Livin La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin

23 - Umbrella - Rihanna

24 - Rolling in the Deep - Adele

25 - Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice was very recognizable by most of those surveyed and it rounds out the list.  Although were they really just recognizing Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie?

My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion was very recognizable due to the film.

We Will Rock You by Queen was recognized by 75% of the respondents.

Like a Virgin by Madonna was known by 74%

There you have it. The most recognized songs in music history. Of course, in 10 years, this list might be different, as new songs get created and make the rounds. One things is certain, the newer songs (post 2007) made much less of an impact than the older songs. Either we're not writing memorable tunes anymore, or we're rushing it. Maybe next year will be good. Let's see. Time will tell.

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