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  • What's the Best Song of All Time?

       November 30, 2005

    I'm working on a music writing project and I've been using Acclaimed Music as a source. It's kidn of a fun site that lists the top songs, albums and artists "of all time compiled from critics' best-of lists all around the world." Now, keep in mind that these critics have proclaimed that Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" is the best song of all time. Ack!

    I don't agree with that, but maybe you do. In the spirit of our Greatest American series, I'm going to post some polls (by decade, starting with the 1940s) and we'll determine what really is the greatest song of all time. Here's how it's going to go:

    • For each decade, I'll take the top 5 songs from the Acclaimed Music critics list
    • I'll pick 3 more songs that are in the top 200 of the critics list
    • Finally, I'm giving myself one wild card that may or may not be in the top 200
    • I'm going to try have artists only represented by one song in any poll
    • The winners of each decade's poll will square off in the star-studded finale where we'll declare a winner!
    • If you don't like any of the choices, well, that's kinda too bad, but do feel free to make a pick in the comments

    First up, it's the 1940s. I don't know that many songs from this era, so I can't really complain about the critics list, or do much to expand on it. Looking at later decades, oh, let me tell you, I'm going to have some issues when the 1970s roll around.

    What's the best song of the 1940s?
    I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry-Hank Williams

    This Land Is Your Land-Woody Guthrie

    Round Midnight-Thelonius Monk

    White Christmas-Bing Crosby

    Blue Moon of Kentucky-Bill Monroe

    God Bless The Child-Billie Holliday

    Wabash Cannonball-Roy Acuff

    Sentimental Journey-Les Brown

    Stormy Weather-Lena Horne

    Current results

    Update: the polls are closed. Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is the winner and will advance to the finals.

    Click here for more on our Greatest Song competition.

    Posted by at November 30, 2005 06:38 AM

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    #  November 30th, 2005 7:45 AM      jagorham
    What, no Glenn Miller?  
    #  November 30th, 2005 8:13 AM      kris
    Yeah, I'm going to go back and do a poll for pre-1940 songs. That'll be the next one ;-)  
    #  November 30th, 2005 5:42 PM      james
    im not happy about how well "white christmas" is doing. especially since bing crosby didn't even write it.

    #  December 1st, 2005 9:17 AM      mbrlr
    I wish we could cast more than one vote and rank the votes. I'm uncomfortable not praising Billie Holiday or Hank Williams.  
    #  December 1st, 2005 9:18 AM      mbrlr
    And, btw, "Like a Rolling Stone" has to rank pretty near the top...what's your problem with it, out of curiousity?  
    #  December 1st, 2005 10:27 AM      kris
    I think Bob Dylan was/is a great songwriter, but he has a HORRIBLE voice. I don't want to actually sit down and listen to him sing his own songs. It's not enjoyable for me.  
    #  December 1st, 2005 10:41 AM      james
    agreed, mbrlr, it would be be great to be able to rank the choices. i wonder if any of the poll sites support that.
    #  December 1st, 2005 11:04 AM      mbrlr
    Granted, his voice is something that takes some getting used to :]

    I'm not sure if any of the poll sites allow that or not. I'm home sick today and breaking my wife's command not to get out of bed. I'm not sure how long I'll last, but till I'm coughing my lungs up, I'm going to keep the computer on.  
    #  December 1st, 2005 12:39 PM      BVBigBro
    I like Dylan's voice on Nashville Skyline.  
    #  December 1st, 2005 12:48 PM      kris
    The only ranked choice polls I can find are the kind that basically do runoffs and then determine a winner.

    Like this. What I'd want is something that would give me 10 choices and give 10 points for a #1, 9 for a #2 and so on.

    You'd think someone could just write something like that.  
    #  December 1st, 2005 1:03 PM      james
    i like that poll that you linked to, kris. what's wrong with that one? it looks like it has enough features - stats are available, so if the runoff wasnt desireable we'd still see the rankings.

    try out my sample poll
    #  December 1st, 2005 4:52 PM      kris
    Note-I'm ending this poll at 7 pm my time this evening.

    I'll try the other type of poll for the next decade.  



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