Music industry veterans from MTV and Rolling Stone Magazine exchanged opinions, lists and even arguments about which songs should be on their final roster of 100. One of the major criteria was that a song was instantly recognizable. And, the term "pop" was given a wide definition, encompassing rock, rhythm and blues and alternative.
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones checked in at Number Two. That one and the Number 12 entry, "Where Did Our Love Go" by The Supremes, never appeared on MTV because they were popular before the advent of music videos.
The chronological starting point for the list was The Beatles' 1964 arrival in America, and ranges to music of the present day. Teen diva Britney Spears comes in at Number 25 with "Baby One More Time," and the trio of Oklahoma brothers known as Hanson, are at Number 28 with "MMMBop."
Rap and hip-hop rhythms made a strong showing on the Rolling Stone and MTV list of 100 Greatest Pop Songs, with TLC's "Waterfalls" at Number 36, followed by Naughty By Nature's "O.P.P." at 37. Artists like Eminem, L.L. Cool J and Wyclef Jean made the bottom half of the list.
The current issue of Rolling Stone Magazine has the complete list of 100, with stories about the making of each song. Accompanying several of the entries are caricature drawings by Robert Risko, whose signature style is elongated bodies and contorted faces.
At the Top 5 on the MTV and Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Pop Songs, Michael Jackson comes in at Number 5 with "Billie Jean." Considered his most popular tune, "Billie Jean" fueled the phenomenal success of Michael's 1982 "Thriller" album. It also established Jackson as a solo adult artist, instead of the Jackson Five child star. And, it was one of the first tunes to break to color barrier on MTV, so other African American artists would have an outlet for their videos. "Billie Jean" was inspired by a disturbing series of letters from a fan who was stalking Michael.
Madonna's "Like A Virgin" holds down the Number 4 spot. It was her first Number One hit, with a full, elegant band arrangement by producer Nile Rodgers. Her performance of that tune on the MTV Video Music Awards is legendary.
Nirvana, featuring the late alternative rock hero Kurt Cobain, lands at Number 3 with their influential hit "Smells Like Teen Spirit." That song ushered in the "grunge" era of rock, with its moods of anger and frustration. The Rolling Stones have the Number 2 spot with their 1965 hit, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." Lead guitarist Keith Richards admitted that the classic melody came to him in his sleep. He woke up, played it on his guitar into a tape machine, then fell back to sleep.
For those who don't agree with the MTV and Rolling Stone Magazine list, you can vote each day at the website rollingstone.com, and see the results instantly. And, editors assure music fans that all the votes will be counted! At the Number One spot, here's the most-recorded song in history -- "Yesterday" by The Beatles.