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How Did Bob Dylan, Prince Rank On Updated Rolling Stone List Of All-Time Top 500 Songs?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The last time Rolling Stone magazine compiled its list of the top 500 songs of all-time (meaning the last 60 or 70 years, in practice), Minnesota's own Bob Dylan stood at the top of the heap with his signature song "Like a Rolling Stone."

But in 2021, that stone has decidedly rolled out of the #1 spot, making way for Aretha Franklin's anthemic "Respect." Rolling Stone argued it was Franklin's first number-one hit and the single that established her as the Queen of Soul.

Dylan's song managed to hold onto a spot in the top five, though, surrounded by a much different set of songs than the 2004 iteration. Here's the current top five:

  1. Aretha Franklin, "Respect" (1967)
  2. Public Enemy, "Fight The Power" (1989)
  3. Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come" (1964)
  4. Bob Dylan, "Like A Rolling Stone" (1965)
  5. Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (1991)

In comparison, here's the 2004 list's top five, of which only Franklin's and Dylan's songs were included:

  1. Bob Dylan, "Like A Rolling Stone" (1965)
  2. The Rolling Stone, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (1965)
  3. John Lennon, "Imagine" (1971)
  4. Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On" (1971)
  5. Aretha Franklin, "Respect" (1967)

Both Dylan and Minnesota's other most famous musical ambassador -- Prince -- managed multiple spots in the top 100, and even more in the rest of the full 500. Here are the songs from both featured throughout the list, and where they ranked:


  • 18. "Purple Rain"
  • 37. "When Doves Cry"
  • 85. "Kiss"
  • 339. "1999"
  • 360. "Little Red Corvette"
  • 431. "Adore"

Bob Dylan

  • 4. "Like a Rolling Stone"
  • 67. "Tangled Up in Blue"
  • 83. "Desolation Row"
  • 100. "Blowin' in the Wind"
  • 164. "Mr. Tambourine Man"
  • 187. "Subterranean Homesick Blues"
  • 317. "Visions of Johanna"

The list has drawn a considerable amount of controversy online, with many noting how many of the songs featured in the updated list are too recent to be considered among the all-time greats, such as BTS's "Dynamite," Robyn's "Dancing On My Own," and Daddy Yankee's "Gasolina."

Additionally, many fans of the magazine's original rock-and-roll focus said the list leans too far toward pop, R&B and dance.

Here is the full top 50 entries on the list:

  1. Aretha Franklin, "Respect"
  2. Public Enemy, "Fight the Power"
  3. Sam Cooke, "A Change Is Gonna Come"
  4. Bob Dylan, "Like a Rolling Stone"
  5. Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
  6. Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On"
  7. The Beatles, "Strawberry Fields Forever"
  8. Missy Elliott, "Get Ur Freak On"
  9. Fleetwood Mac, "Dreams"
  10. Outkast, "Hey Ya!"
  11. The Beach Boys, "God Only Knows"
  12. Stevie Wonder, "Superstition"
  13. The Rolling Stones, "Gimme Shelter"
  14. The Kinks, "Waterloo Sunset"
  15. The Beatles, "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
  16. Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z, "Crazy in Love"
  17. Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
  18. Prince and the Revolution, "Purple Rain"
  19. John Lennon, "Imagine"
  20. Robyn, "Dancing on My Own"
  21. Billie Holiday, "Strange Fruit"
  22. The Ronettes, "Be My Baby"
  23. David Bowie, "Heroes"
  24. The Beatles, "A Day in the Life"
  25. Kanye West feat. Pusha T, "Runaway"
  26. Joni Mitchell, "A Case of You"
  27. Bruce Springsteen, "Born To Run"
  28. Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"
  29. Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg, "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang"
  30. Lorde, "Royals"
  31. The Rolling Stones, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
  32. The Notorious B.I.G., "Juicy"
  33. Chuck Berry, "Johnny B. Goode"
  34. James Brown, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"
  35. Little Richard, "Tutti Frutti"
  36. The White Stripes, "Seven Nation Army"
  37. Prince, "When Doves Cry"
  38. Otis Redding, "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay"
  39. OutKast, "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)"
  40. Jimi Hendrix, "All Along the Watchtower"
  41. Joy Division, "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
  42. Bob Marley & the Wailers, "Redemption Song"
  43. The Temptations, "My Girl"
  44. Michael Jackson, "Billie Jean"
  45. Kendrick Lamar, "Alright"
  46. M.I.A., "Paper Planes"
  47. Elton John, "Tiny Dancer"
  48. Radiohead, "Idioteque"
  49. Lauryn Hill, "Doo Wop (That Thing)"
  50. Daddy Yankee feat. Glory, "Gasolina"

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