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The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (20-11)

The definitive list of the Hot 100's top 100 songs from the chart's first 50 years, August 1958 through July 2008.

How were Billboard's 50th Anniversary Hot 100 song and artist charts determined? Read the FAQ.

Bee Gees

The captivating ballad was the first of the singles from "Saturday Night Fever" to hit No. 1 on the Hot 100; it remained there for three weeks during its then-record-breaking 17 weeks in the top 10. The song also won the 1977 Grammy Award for best pop performance for a duo or group with vocal.

Set off by the infectious refrain, "Aaah, freak out!," "Le Freak" topped the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in 1978. The song reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 on Dec. 9 and spent six weeks there. Chic's unique sound possessed far-reaching impact, inspiring pioneering rap acts Grandmaster Flash and the Sugarhill Gang as well as rock/pop icons Queen and Blondie.
Percy Faith & His Orchestra

If you found only one easy listening song in a college student's music library during the early '60s, it would have been Percy Faith's rendition of "Theme from 'A Summer Place.'" With a melody carried by Faith's orchestra string section, the instrumental entered the Hot 100 at No. 96 in the Jan. 16, 1960, issue and rose to No. 1 in its seventh chart week. "Summer Place" held the pole position for nine straight weeks, the chart's longest consecutive-week reign at the time. Consecutive weeks or not, no other instrumental to date has led the Hot 100 as long as this record of the year Grammy winner.
Boyz II Men

During its 33-week run on the Hot 100 in 1994, Billboard mused that this Babyface-penned song had "all the right ingredients: tight harmonies, white-knuckled lead vocals, a slow and grinding urban groove, and words of undying love." Listeners agreed: The song spent 14 weeks atop the chart.
Bryan Adams

"Everything I Do" was well on its way to being the hit that never was. Penned by Michael Kamen and Bryan Adams for the latter's "Waking Up the Neighbours" album, "Everything I Do" was proposed for the soundtrack to the Kevin Costner-starring "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." The film's producers asked that the melody be rewritten, but the writers refused. The single could have languished there, but the film team compromised and opted to include the song during the end credits. What no one knew was that the soft-rock ballad would have legs nonetheless; it went on to top the Hot 100 for seven weeks in 1991 and scored a record-crumbling 16 weeks on the U.K. singles chart.

Jewel's debut single, "Who Will Save Your Soul," became a surprise No. 11 breakout, fueling the release of "You Were Meant for Me," which carried her to No. 2 on the Hot 100 on April 19, 1997. (A CD-single release of follow-up "Foolish Games" included "Meant" as the B-side.) The song remained on the chart for a then-record-setting 65 weeks.
Rod Stewart

The seduction ballad from Rod Stewart's "Night on the Town" album caused a fair amount of controversy for its lyrics about the deflowering of a "virgin child," but nevertheless the single held sway on the Hot 100 for eight weeks beginning in the fall of 1976. The song, which spent 23 weeks on the chart, is also known for featuring romantic murmuring in French near the fade-out from actress Britt Ekland, Stewart's girlfriend at the time.
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie

"When I put out 'Endless Love' . . . during the days of disco, the reaction was, 'Are you nuts?' " Lionel Richie told Billboard with amusement in 2002. But it was Richie who had the last laugh as his theme song for the 1981 film, a duet with Diana Ross, spent nine weeks at No. 1 during its 27 weeks on the Hot 100.
Kim Carnes

The battle for the No. 1 song of 1981 was a photo finish between two dramatically disparate hits that both spent nine weeks at the top of the Hot 100. Lionel Richie and Diana Ross teamed for the creamy love theme to the film "Endless Love," while Kim Carnes released the synth-driven new wave-pop "Bette Davis Eyes." Written by Jackie DeShannon-who had top 10 hits with "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"-and Donna Weiss, the original version of "Bette" was arranged as a honky-tonk song. Carnes' synth player Bill Cuomo refashioned the track to the version we know today, which ultimately topped the 1981 year-end Hot 100, with "Endless Love" taking the runner-up position. "Bette Davis Eyes" also achieved a hallowed one-two punch at the Grammys, winning record and song of the year.
Usher Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris

"Yeah!" was the first single from Usher's fourth studio album, 2004's "Confessions," the follow-up to his multiplatinum third set, 2001's "8701." The crunk and R&B "Yeah!," produced by Lil Jon and Sean Garrett and featuring Ludacris, spent 12 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and also went to No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay. "Yeah!" helped propel "Confessions" to record-breaking first-week sales. The 1.1 million units the album scanned broke R. Kelly's record of 540,000 copies of 2000's "TP-2.com" for the highest first-week numbers scanned by a male R&B artist in Nielsen SoundScan history.

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