It was August 4th, 1958, the Billboard Hot 100 was born. In honor of the chart’s 65th anniversary, Billboard staff has been putting together a huge list of the Top 500 Best Pop songs, everything from Tony Bennett to SZA, The Kinks to The Chainsmokers, Chubby Checker to *NSYNC. And now we’re revealing the Top 10, coming to you from the people who put the list together. Here’s the Billboard Top 10 from the 500 Best Pop Songs of All Time.
Let’s kick off the Top 10 with The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
The Beatles are the group that turned rock music into the new pop music. They combined the rock and roll of early rockers like Little Richard and Chuck Berry, melded it with girl group singles, and the result was “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” It became the first Beatles song to top the Billboard Hot 100. This was the song that had a generation of teenagers losing their minds, screaming in the streets, ripping their clothes off. The Beatles were the original boy band and this is the song where all that started.
Coming in at our No. 9 spot Tupac featuring Dr. Dre, “California Love.” This was a song that the last 10 years West Coast rap had been leading up to. You know, Dr. Dre had been the best producer for about a decade. Tupac had been the best rapper for about a half-decade. Then, Tupac gets out of jail. He comes to Death Row Records. He gets a Dr. Dre beat and they make “California Love.” It’s one of the best rap songs of the decade and it does what all the best rap songs do is that it’s super local to the West Coast, but it’s super global in its appeal. We talked about what rap songs should certainly be the highest on this list and “California Love” is sort of the beginning of the era where rap music could be pop music. Today, rap is the most popular music on the globe, it’s more popular than pop even. At its heart, pop stands for popular and this was the most popular music at the time. And it was the No. 1 hit and it’s a song that everybody still remembers.
Watch the full video above.