The Top 40 Pop Artists of All Time

The Essential Recording Artists to Know

Any serious pop music collection begins here. These are the 40 most essential pop music artists to know. The list is based on commercial success as well as quality and timelessness of the artist's music. Suggested tracks are included to get you started. These performers are the bedrock of popular music.
of 40

Everly Brothers

Courtesy Warner Bros.

The Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, are one of the most successful duos ever on the pop charts. They demonstrated a connection between country music and rock and roll. Their vocal harmonies had a very strong influence on pop and rock music to come particularly the Beach Boys, Beatles, and Simon and Garfunkel.

Essential Songs

  • "Wake Up Little Susie"
  • "Bye Bye Love"
  • "Cathy's Clown"
  • "All I Have to Do Is Dream"
  • "Bird Dog"

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of 40

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow - This One's For You
Barry Manilow - This One's For You. Courtesy Arista Records

Barry Manilow is perhaps the ultimate pop music showman. It is no surprise that he has now become one of the top Las Vegas entertainers of all time. Those who look for pop music to be high art frequently deride the simple melody and musical drama of Barry Manilow's top hits. However, he has earned a strong, hardcore following of fans and vocal respect from his entertainment peers.

Essential Songs

  • "I Write the Songs"
  • "Weekend in New England"
  • "Mandy"
  • "Copacabana (At the Copa)"
  • "Can't Smile Without You"

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of 40

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke - Best of Sam Cooke
Sam Cooke - Best of Sam Cooke. Courtesy RCA

Although he died tragically at the age of 33, Sam Cooke left a tremendous legacy from his few years as a top pop and soul performer. Many give credit to Cooke for being a pioneer and founder of what became known as soul music when he moved from the gospel world to a focus on popular music. Sam Cooke was also a pioneer among black performers on the business end of music. He formed his own record label and music publishing company. He also became a music leader in the American civil rights movement lending it one of his most stirring songs, "A Change Is Gonna Come," as an anthem.

Essential Songs

  • "You Send Me"
  • "Wonderful World"
  • "A Change Is Gonna Come"
  • "Chain Gang"
  • "Twistin' the Night Away"

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of 40

Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys - Actually
Pet Shop Boys - Actually. Courtesy Capitol Records

The Pet Shop Boys wrap erudite irony and romance in lush electronic keyboard textures topped by often deadpan vocals to create their own unique corner of the pop music world. They are one of the top five dance-pop artists of all time and are electro-pop pioneers. Vocalist and songwriter Neil Tennant has come out publicly and the Pet Shop Boys' music regularly addresses and celebrates gay culture.

Essential Songs

  • "West End Girls"
  • "Being Boring"
  • "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" with Dusty Springfield
  • "It's a Sin"
  • "Left To My Own Devices"

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of 40


Beyonce - Dangerously In Love
Beyonce - Dangerously In Love. Courtesy Columbia Records

Beyonce Knowles first made her appearance on the pop music scene as part of the trio Destiny's Child. They landed nine top 3 singles including four that went all the way to #1. Since venturing out on her own as a solo artist Beyonce has landed in the top 3 seven more times including four more #1's. Yet, there is a sense that, at the age of 28, she is really just getting started. Beyonce has established herself firmly as a top level singer, dancer, and actor.

Essential Songs

  • "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)"
  • "Irreplaceable"
  • "Crazy In Love"
  • "If I Were a Boy"
  • "Naughty Girl"

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of 40

Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends
Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends. Courtesy RCA

Songwriting, vocal harmonies and the sometimes otherworldly clarity of Art Garfunkel's upper registers are hallmarks of one of the top pop duos of all time. There is a sense that pop folk reaches its epitome in the lyrically complex songs Simon and Garfunkel recorded in the late 60's. It seemed that personal difficulties pulled this duo apart far too early, but the recorded legacy is a rich one.

Essential Songs

  • "The Sounds of Silence"
  • "Mrs. Robinson"
  • "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
  • "The Boxer"
  • "I Am a Rock"

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of 40

Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis
Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis. Courtesy Atlantic Records

Dusty Springfield is arguably the greatest blue-eyed soul singer of all time. She brought the sounds of American R&B to the UK and influenced a generation of singers there. Her album Dusty in Memphis is legendary. Dusty Springfield died in 1999 at the age of 59 from breast cancer.

Essential Songs

  • "Son-of-a Preacher Man"
  • "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me"
  • "I Only Want to Be With You"
  • "Wishin' and Hopin'"
  • "Silver Threads and Golden Needles"

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of 40

The Carpenters

The Carpenters - Close to You
The Carpenters - Close to You. Courtesy A&M

The Carpenters bucked the popularity of rock, heavy metal, and glam in the early 1970's to present a seemingly light, gentle style of pop music that became exceedingly popular. Listening to these songs again Karen Carpenter's voice stands out as one of the more unique instruments in the history of pop music. There is an undercurrent of melancholy present even in the happiest of songs. Karen Carpenter passed away as a victim of anorexia nervosa in 1983 at the age of 32.

Essential Songs

  • "(They Long To Be) Close to You"
  • "We've Only Just Begun"
  • "Superstar"
  • "Top of the World"
  • "For All We Know"

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of 40

Donna Summer

Donna Summer - Live and More
Donna Summer - Live and More. Courtesy Casablanca

Donna Summer earned the title of undisputed queen of disco when disco was at its dizzying peak on the pop charts. Partnering with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, she also created some of the most forward looking dance music in classics like "I Feel Love" and "Hot Stuff." Her classic hits remain highly influential to this day. Although her impact on the pop music charts has faded, Donna Summer most recently hit #1 on the dance chart in 2008.

Essential Songs

  • "Hot Stuff"
  • "I Feel Love"
  • "Love to Love You Baby"
  • "MacArthur Park"
  • "Last Dance"

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of 40

Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams - Sing When You're Winning
Robbie Williams - Sing When You're Winning. Courtesy EMI

Robbie Williams is perhaps the most successful international pop superstar to never reach the pop top 40 in the US. As a member of the boy band Take That he took part in recording 12 top 10 UK pop singles including seven #1's. As a solo artist Robbie Williams has gone back to the top 10 an astounding 26 more times including six more #1's. At the 2005 Brit Awards his song "Angels" was named as the top song in British music over the past 25 years.

Essential Songs

  • "Angels"
  • "Millenium"
  • "Feel"
  • "Rock DJ"
  • "Let Me Entertain You"

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of 40

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours. Courtesy Warner Bros.

Fleetwood Mac were a well-respected British blues band until the American folk-pop duo Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were asked to join in 1975. This was the catalyst that soon turned Fleetwood Mac into pop-rock icons. Their album Rumours is one of the most commercially and critically acclaimed albums of all time. It spent 31 weeks at #1 on the Billboard album chart and is ranked as one of the 10 bestselling albums of all time.

Essential Songs

  • "Dreams"
  • "Go Your Own Way"
  • "Don't Stop"
  • "Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)"
  • "Big Love"

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of 40

Sly and the Family Stone

Sly and the Family Stone - Dance to the Music
Sly and the Family Stone - Dance to the Music. Courtesy Epic

Sly and the Family Stone are one of the most influential soul and funk artists of all time. In the late 60's they led uplifting, positive soul music that encouraged a vision of a world lacking prejudice. In the early 1970's with the groundbreaking album There's a Riot Goin' On, they introduced a dark, militant brand of funk that was just as influential as their earlier music.

Essential Songs

  • "Everyday People"
  • "Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin"
  • "Family Affair"
  • "I Want to Take You Higher"
  • "Dance to the Music"

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Eagles - Hotel California
Eagles - Hotel California. Courtesy Asylum Records

The Eagles entered the pop music world with a laidback, easy country rock sound. However, by the time of the albums Hotel California and The Long Run they were exploring something significantly darker and more complex. Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 album is one of the bestselling albums of all time.

Essential Songs

  • "Hotel California"
  • "Heartache Tonight"
  • "Take It Easy"
  • "One of These Nights"
  • "Take It to the Limit"

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of 40

David Bowie

David Bowie - Young Americans
David Bowie - Young Americans. Courtesy RCA Records

Throughout the many images and styles he has adopted in over 40 years, David Bowie has remained one of the most influential musicians in popular music. He proved himself equally adept at mainstream pop, glam rock, new wave, and disco. David Bowie is considered an essential artist for anyone interested in the evolution of alternative pop music both in the US and UK. He passed away on January 10, 2016, just two days after his 69th birthday. 

Essential Songs

  • "Fame"
  • "Golden Years"
  • "Let's Dance"
  • "Space Oddity"
  • "Changes"

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of 40


Queen - A Night at the Opera
Queen - A Night at the Opera. Courtesy Elektra Records

Queen emerged in the early 1970's with influence from glam and heavy metal bands such as Led Zeppelin. They soon developed their own style of grand, operatic pop and rock that reached its pinnacle with the six minute pop opera "Bohemian Rhapsody." The band later proved adept at creating major hit singles in styles ranging from rockabilly to disco. Through all of it leader Freddie Mercury remained one of the most flamboyantly entertaining lead vocalists of all time. Freddie Mercury died a victim of AIDS in 1991 at age 45.

Essential Songs

  • "Bohemian Rhapsody"
  • "Somebody to Love"
  • "We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions"
  • "Another One Bites the Dust"
  • "Radio Ga-Ga"

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of 40


Jay-Z - The Blueprint
Jay-Z - The Blueprint. Courtesy Roc-a-Fella

Jay-Z is perhaps the most successful hip hop artist of all time both critically and commercially. As a former CEO of Def Jam, he is also seen as one of the most influential businessmen in the history of hip hop. Jay-Z has released 11 #1 albums in the US, more than any other artist except the Beatles.

Essential Songs

  • "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)"
  • "Empire State of Mind"
  • "Big Pimpin'"
  • "'03 Bonnie and Clyde"
  • "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)"

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of 40

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On. Courtesy Motown

As a Motown recording artist, Marvin Gaye was one of the most popular soul singers in the US. In the early 70's he fought to have artistic control over his music and laid the groundwork for Stevie Wonder to follow in his footsteps. Marvin Gaye brought stunning social commentary to the pop mainstream with the 1971 album What's Going On.

Essential Songs

  • "What's Going On"
  • "Let's Get It On"
  • "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"
  • "Got To Give It Up (Pt. 1)"
  • "Sexual Healing"

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of 40

Duran Duran

Duran Duran - Seven and the Ragged Tiger
Duran Duran - Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Courtesy Capitol Records

Duran Duran were originally derided as simply a disposable pop band more concerned with image than music. However, they are the most enduring of groups that emerged in the early 1980's "second" British invasion of new wave and post punk. Duran Duran topped the US dance chart and reached the UK pop top 5 as recently as 2004.

Essential Songs

  • "The Reflex"
  • "Hungry Like the Wolf"
  • "New Moon on Monday"
  • "Rio"
  • "Come Undone"

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of 40


U2 - The Joshua Tree
U2 - The Joshua Tree. Courtesy Island Records

Bono was 16 when U2 formed in 1976 as a group of eager teenagers. Over 30 years later the lineup has remained intact and U2 are one of the top rock bands of all time. Rolling Stone notably said the 1987 album The Joshua Tree elevated U2 "from heroes to superstars" where they have remained since.

Essential Songs

  • "Beautiful Day"
  • "With or Without You"
  • "One"
  • "Pride (In the Name of Love)"
  • "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

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of 40

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells a Story
Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells a Story. Courtesy Mercury Records

Rod Stewart's voice is one of the most instantly recognizable instruments in pop music. His musical career has spanned over 40 years in which he has gone from heavy rock vocalist to pop and disco superstar to a champion of pop standards. Rod Stewart is also respected as a top confessional pop songwriter although his most recent recorded work has primarily been engaged in interpreting the songs of others.

Essential Songs

  • "Maggie May"
  • "Reason to Believe"
  • "Downtown Train"
  • "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)"
  • "You Wear It Well"

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of 40

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You. Courtesy Atlantic

Aretha Franklin holds the title of queen of soul. She is one of the most celebrated singers of all time earning 18 Grammy Awards, and she became the first woman to enter the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. In addition to singing, Aretha Franklin is a very accomplished pianist. Many of her songs stand as anthems for women everywhere.

Essential Songs

  • "Respect"
  • "Chain of Fools"
  • "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)"
  • "Spanish Harlem"
  • "Think"

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of 40

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston - Whitney
Whitney Houston - Whitney. Courtesy Arista Records

Whitney Houston is sometimes referred to simply as "the Voice." Her powerful vocals led to massive pop success in the 1980s and 1990s. She was born into music with her mother, Cissy Houston, holding a career as a top studio singer. She also counts Dionne Warwick as a cousin and Aretha Franklin her godmother. She became the first artist to have seven consecutive #1 pop singles in the US surpassing the record of six by the Beatles and the Bee Gees.

Essential Songs

  • "I Will Always Love You"
  • "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)"
  • "It's Not Right But It's Okay"
  • "Saving All My Love For You"
  • "Greatest Love Of All"

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of 40

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run. Courtesy Columbia Records

Known as "the Boss," Bruce Springsteen is often considered one of the most distinctively American of rock songwriters. He is a winner of 19 Grammy Awards and an Academy Award for his powerful "Streets of Philadelphia" from the film Philadelphia. With the release of his album Born to Run in 1975, Bruce Springsteen was featured simultaneously on the covers of Time and Newsweek. It took five years for his commercial success to catch up to the critical acclaim.

Essential Songs

  • "Born to Run"
  • "Dancing in the Dark"
  • "Streets of Philadelphia"
  • "Hungry Heart"
  • "I'm On Fire"

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of 40

Billy Joel

Billy Joel - The Stranger
Billy Joel - The Stranger. Courtesy Columbia Records

Billy Joel is one of the most successful singer-songwriters in history. He is a member of both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. He has been a very popular concert act in recent years performing with another of the top piano playing pop stars of all time, Elton John.

Essential Songs

  • "Just the Way You Are"
  • "My Life"
  • "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me"
  • "The River of Dreams"
  • "Tell Her About It"

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of 40


Prince - 1999
Prince - 1999. Courtesy Warner Bros.

Prince spearheaded the "Minneapolis" sound in the early 1980s that was an arresting blend of pop, rock, funk and new wave. He has continued to pull together diverse influences from pop and rock history into a sound that is distinctively Prince. He has generated controversy throughout his career for sexually explicit material, his opinions on ownership of copyright to his works, and ongoing battles with the Warner Bros. record label. Prince's last four studio albums have quietly been top 3 hits on the US albums chart.

Essential Songs

  • "When Doves Cry"
  • "Kiss"
  • "Raspberry Beret"
  • "Diamonds and Pearls"
  • "Let's Go Crazy"

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of 40

Bee Gees

Bee Gees - Children of the World
Bee Gees - Children of the World. Courtesy RSO

Through the massive runaway success of Saturday Night Fever and its accompanying soundtrack, the Bee Gees became disco icons although it doesn't seem that was their aim. Their career has resulted in a significant number of additional hits in a sort of baroque pop style and later R&B influenced material. Barry Gibb, one of the three brothers who made up the group, has also been a very successful producer of pop hits by other artists ranging from brother Andy to Barbra Streisand. Maurice Gibb passed away in 2003 at the age of 53.

Essential Songs

  • "Stayin' Alive"
  • "You Should Be Dancing"
  • "Jive Talkin'"
  • "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
  • "Tragedy"

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of 40


Abba - Arrival
Abba - Arrival. Courtesy Universal

From 1974 through 1982 ABBA were the bestselling pop music act in the world. Although their success was a bit more muted in the US, they were international superstars and some consider their highly melodic, catchy songs to be the gold standard in pop music. The musical Mamma Mia based on ABBA songs has returned the group to massive sales around the world in recent years.

Essential Songs

  • "Dancing Queen"
  • "Take a Chance On Me"
  • "Mamma Mia"
  • "Fernando"
  • "SOS"

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of 40

The Beach Boys

Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Beach Boys - Pet Sounds. Courtesy Capitol Records

The Beach Boys were the top group recording early 1960s surf music with big hits like "Surfin' USA." Later in the decade under the leadership of the band's songwriter and producer Brian Wilson, the group explored innovative approaches to studio pop with the landmark album Pet Sounds and pop masterpiece "Good Vibrations." Unfortunately, Brian Wilson's battles with mental illness and drugs hampered the group's ability to reach its creative ambitions. However, the Beach Boys remain one of the most successful and influential pop groups of all time.

Essential Songs

  • "Good Vibrations"
  • "I Get Around"
  • "Wouldn't It Be Nice"
  • "Surfin' USA"
  • "Help Me, Rhonda"

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of 40

Britney Spears

Britney Spears - In the Zone
Britney Spears - In the Zone. Courtesy Jive Records

Britney Spears was the biggest of the teen pop stars to emerge in the late 1990s. However, by the middle of the following decade it seemed her musical career may have drowned in a mass of bad publicity and personal difficulties. Britney Spears then put together one of the most phenomenal comebacks in pop music history and is more commercially and critically successful than ever before. In the past decade she has released 16 top 40 pop singles, five #1 albums and is, at the age of 27, a pop icon.

Essential Songs

  • "...Baby One More Time"
  • "Toxic"
  • "Womanizer"
  • "Oops!...I Did It Again"
  • "Piece of Me"

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of 40

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation 1814
Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation 1814. Courtesy A&M Records

At a number of points in her career, Janet Jackson has threatened to surpass the achievements of her brother Michael Jackson in chart and sales success. Few artists have been more influential than Janet Jackson in the dance choreography that has accompanied many of her biggest hits. In addition to her music, Janet Jackson is also an accomplished actor.

Essential Songs

  • "Escapade"
  • "Miss You Much"
  • "Doesn't Really Matter"
  • "Nasty"
  • "Rhythm Nation"

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of 40

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey - Daydream
Mariah Carey - Daydream. Courtesy Columbia Records

With 18 under her belt, Mariah Carey is the only currently recording artist in striking distance of reaching the Beatles' all-time record of 20 #1 pop singles in the US. Her collaboration with Boyz II Men on "One Sweet Day" spent 16 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 which remains a record. Mariah Carey's vocal range and melismatic approach are trademarks that have influenced countless other female vocalists in the past two decades.

Essential Songs

  • "Fantasy"
  • "Vision of Love"
  • "Dreamlover"
  • "We Belong Together"
  • "Hero"

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of 40

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life
Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life. Courtesy Motown

Stevie Wonder emerged in the early 1960s as a precocious child star with one of the most infectious live hits ever recorded, "Fingertips - Pt. 2." Through the rest of the decade and early 1970s he matured as an artist until he took full artistic control as singer, musician, producer and songwriter. His music ranged across styles, but usually remained rooted in highly rhythmic textures. The songs are noted for their positive outlook even when dealing with difficult social issues. After over 45 years Stevie Wonder continues to record for his original label Motown.

Essential Songs

  • "Superstition"
  • "Sir Duke"
  • "Fingertips - Pt. 2"
  • "If You Really Love Me"
  • "Living for the City"

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of 40

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Thriller
Michael Jackson - Thriller. Courtesy Epic

Michael Jackson, with the possible exception of Elvis Presley, was the epitome of larger than life pop music figures. He hit the pop spotlight as a child of 11 in 1969 with his brothers in the group Jackson 5. At the end of the next decade he emerged as a young adult recording artist. Michael Jackson recorded Thriller, the bestselling album of all time, and was the world's biggest pop star in the late 1980s. His career became mired in tabloid rumors and criminal investigations. However, his star still shone brightly when he died suddenly at age 50 in 2009.

Essential Songs

  • "Billie Jean"
  • "Black or White"
  • "Man in the Mirror"
  • "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
  • "You Are Not Alone"

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of 40

The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed. Courtesy Decca Records

Originally many saw the Rolling Stones as sort of a scruffy, explicit anti-Beatles. However, through the decades to come the group developed their own distinctive status as "the world's greatest rock and roll band." They have been responsible for bringing strong influences of American blues into the pop mainstream and remain one of the world's top live bands.

Essential Songs

  • "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
  • "Brown Sugar"
  • "Miss You"
  • "Honky Tonk Women"
  • "Paint It, Black"

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of 40

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were
Barbra Streisand - The Way We Were. Courtesy Columbia Records

Barbra Streisand is the bestselling female album artist of all time in the US. She is also a pioneer among women in filmmaking having become a successful director as well as actor. Her success is particularly notable, because her primary vocal style remains outside of the pop mainstream yet she has released five #1 pop singles.

Essential Songs

  • "The Way We Were"
  • "Woman In Love"
  • "People"
  • "Love Theme from 'A Star Is Born' (Evergreen)"
  • "Stoney End"

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of 40

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra - Strangers in the Night
Frank Sinatra - Strangers in the Night. Courtesy Reprise Records

Frank Sinatra is the most successful pop artist at transcending the era of swing and pop standards to remain a recording star after the advent of rock 'n roll. He first hit Billboard singles charts in 1939. His last significant chart hit, "Theme from New York, New York," appeared over 40 years later in 1980 when he was 64. Frank Sinatra is the recipient of 11 Grammy Awards as well as an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in From Here to Eternity. Frank Sinatra died in 1998 at the age of 82.

Essential Songs

  • "Strangers In the Night"
  • "Theme from New York, New York"
  • "My Way"
  • "Love and Marriage"
  • "Somethin' Stupid" with Nancy Sinatra

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of 40


Madonna - Like a Prayer
Madonna - Like a Prayer. Courtesy Warner Bros.

Madonna has released 37 top 10 pop hits in the US, more than any other artist. She also ranks as the top dance artist of all time. Seven of her albums have debuted at #1 in the US. She is a member of the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame.

Essential Songs

  • "Like a Prayer"
  • "Vogue"
  • "Music"
  • "Like a Virgin"
  • "Ray of Light"

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of 40

Elton John

Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Courtesy MCA

Elton John is the foremost piano player in pop music history. He has released over 50 top 40 singles including a phenomenal 38 consecutive top 40 singles from 1972 through 1986. His music could be considered definitive of mainstream pop in the 1970s. In recent years Elton John has toured frequently with a fellow successful piano playing pop musician, Billy Joel.

Essential Songs

  • "Your Song"
  • "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
  • "Bennie and the Jets"
  • "Daniel"
  • "Philadelphia Freedom"

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of 40

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley - Elvis' Golden Records
Elvis Presley - Elvis' Golden Records. Courtesy RCA

Without Elvis Presley, its hard to imagine how much of what came after in pop and rock music could have happened. He brought rock 'n roll into American living rooms. Elvis Presley became a larger than life cultural icon. He recorded over 100 pop top 40 hits. Elvis Presley died in 1977 at the age of 42.

Essential Songs

  • "Jailhouse Rock"
  • "Suspicious Minds"
  • "Are You Lonesome Tonight"
  • "Heartbreak Hotel"
  • "Don't Be Cruel"

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of 40

The Beatles

Beatles - Revolver
Beatles - Revolver. Courtesy EMI

The Beatles are the pop band by which nearly everything else in pop music is matched and measured. Their influence on pop artists that followed their phenomenal single decade career from 1960 to 1970 is unmeasurable. They continue to hold the record for the most #1 pop singles in the US at 20 and are widely considered to be the bestselling album artists of all time. Their influence is still felt so strongly they will rank as one of the top selling album recording act of the decade of the 2000's.

Essential Songs

  • "Hey Jude"
  • "Help!"
  • "Get Back"
  • "Come Together"
  • "A Hard Day's Night"

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