Madonna in The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
For the first time in 17 years, Rolling Stone have completely remade their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. More than 250 artists, writers, and industry figures helped them choose a brand-new list full of historic favorites, world-changing anthems, and new classics.
The magazine published its list first back in 2004 and updated it several times since. This time they’ve decided to give it a total reboot. To create the new version of the RS 500 they convened a poll of more than 250 artists, musicians, and producers as well as figures from the music industry and leading critics and journalists. They each sent in a ranked list of their top 50 songs, and they tabulated the results.
Nearly 4,000 songs received votes. Where the 2004 version of the list was dominated by early rock and soul, the new edition contains more hip-hop, modern country, indie rock, Latin pop, reggae, and R&B. More than half the songs here weren’t present on the old list, including a third of the Top 100. The result is a more expansive, inclusive vision of pop, music that keeps rewriting its history with every beat.
The list has a new number one: The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, takes the top spot with her version of Otis Redding’s Respect.
The Queen of Pop, Madonna, is featured with three of her most classic hits: Into the Groove, Vogue, and Like a Prayer. Here’s what RS says about these three pop jems.
#161 Into the Groove
1985. Written by Madonna and Stephen Bray
Perhaps the greatest dance-pop invitation of the Eighties, “Into the Groove” was written by Madonna and Steve Bray, who had played drums in the punk band Madonna briefly fronted during her early New York days. The song soundtracked the scene where she goes to NYC hot spot Danceteria in her movie Desperately Seeking Susan, and soon became a smash. “The dance floor was quite a magical place for me,” she said n 1998. “I started off wanting to be a dancer, so that had a lot to do with it. The freedom that I always feel when I’m dancing, that feeling of inhabiting your body, letting yourself go, expressing yourself through music.”
1990. Written by Madonna and Shep Pettibone
Inspired by the way men were dancing at the gay clubs she frequented, Madonna wrote some lyrics that connected the act of striking a pose to classic Hollywood glamour. Producer Shep Pettibone, who’d remixed some of the pop star’s earlier singles, whipped up a booming disco beat and synth bass, then later mixed in syncopated stabs of house piano after Madonna had recorded her vocals in a Manhattan basement. The most amazing part? They did it all on a budget of $5,000, with the idea that something so bold could probably only be a B side.
#55 Like a Prayer
1989. Written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard
Only Madonna could combine love, religion, and oral sex into a six-minute gospel-pop powerhouse. To her, “Like a Prayer” is “the song of a passionate young girl so in love with God that it is almost as though He were the male figure in her life.” The song debuted as part of a soft-drink ad campaign, which got yanked after the ostentatiously blasphemous video hit MTV. Right on schedule, the Vatican condemned it, as if intentionally playing its part in the song’s marketing. “In Catholicism you are born a sinner and you are a sinner all of your life,” Madonna said in 1989. “No matter how you try to get away from it, the sin is within you all the time.”