Vera Lynn, a British singer-songwriter of the 1940s through mid-1950s who broke ground in so many ways. Lynn – born Vera Margaret Welch March 20, 1917 in London – became one of the first, if not the first British artist to gain widespread popularity in the United States, but it doesn't end there. In 1952, at the peak of her popularity, she released the song "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart," a ballad that went on to reach No. 1 on all three of Billboard magazine's popular music charts in use at the time (Best Sellers in Stores, Most Played by Disc Jockeys and Most Played in Jukeboxes, for nine, six and four weeks, respectively) that summer. (The chart generally considered to be the gauge of popularity at the time was the Best Sellers chart, meaning "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" is generally credited with a nine-week No. 1 run on Billboard's pop charts.)
Think about this for a second as you consider the following:
After "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" wrapped up its run in popularity, it would be another 10 years before another British performer – Acker Bilk, with the instrumental "Stranger on the Shore" – would top the Billboard chart; the Hot 100 was by now in use.
For 35 years, only one song (The Beatles' "Hey Jude" in the fall of 1968) could match the nine-week No. 1 run of "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart," with Elton John's double-sided smash "Candle in the Wind 1997"/"Something About the Way You Look Tonight" finally surpassing Lynn and the Fab Four by Christmas 1997, en route to Elton's eventual 14-week ride at No. 1.
No other British female artist or act with primarily female singers has surpassed the No. 1 run Lynn had in the summer of '52. (Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" at seven weeks in 2011 is second amongst female British singers, with Lulu's 1962 hit "To Sir With Love" at five weeks third).
The long-standing appeal of "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart," albeit primarily to people who were young adults in the 1940s and early 1950s, is awesome in itself. But the song's chart accomplishment, and how it compares to the American chart runs of other British performers, is also something to behold.
Owl City: "Hot Air Balloon", "Fireflies", "Panda Bear", and "Tip of the Iceberg" were all especially memorable...
Roxette. It's hard not to love such heartfelt ballads like "Fading Like a Flower", "Listen to Your Heart" and "Things Will Never Be the Same". And though some of their more upbeat pop songs may not make sense lyrics-wise, they are always catchy as hell.
Sir John Lennon and his fantastic, international peace-and-love-anthem song "Imagine".
Sara Bareilles' "King Of Anything". Especially those "oh-oh"'s at the beginning.
Her EP Once Upon Another Time is the best thing she's ever done.. With Ben Folds producing, and every song in a different genre, it should be a classic. Especially "Lie To Me".
Adele has SO many. Among them are "Rolling In The Deep", "Chasing Pavements", "Someone Like You", and "Rumour Has It".
What about "Set Fire To The Rain"? That one is downright EPIC!
"Hometown Glory" is another wonderful, wonderful song of hers that unfortunately didn't make it to mainstream listeners.
"Make You Feel My Love" and "Lovesong" are fierce covers.
"Hiding my Heart" and "Don't You Remember" are also lesser known, under-appreciated pieces.
"Skyfall" is pure epicness, especially towards the end.
Styx, especially "Mr Roboto", "Come Sail Away" and "Renegade".
For a lesson in obscure songs by popular bands, try out "A Day". Despite the eventual popularity of "Lady", Styx II wasn't a heavy seller, but this song more than makes up for it.
Dennis DeYoung's live version of "Lady" from his orchestra tour goes UP TO TWELVE when Ravel's "Bolero" kicks in mid-way. On the Channel 11 version, he even said that he intended it to be in there all along!
Also "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)."
As well as "The Grand Illusion". Gotta love a song with a lesson.
Katy Perry's Teenage Dream album. "California Gurls", "Teenage Dream", and "Firework" just win in so many unique ways.
"Not Like the Movies".
Teenage Dream is better than One Of The Boys, but if "Waking Up In Vegas" was from Teenage Dream, it would easily be in the top two songs of the album. As it is, it was the best song from One Of The Boys.
Imogen Heap. You've probably heard heard "Hide and Seek" one way or another, but try to listen to "The Moment I Said It" or "Half Life" without being moved. "Aha!" and "Daylight Robbery" are also awesome, but in a different way.
And "Pon De Replay", "Unfaithful", "Don't Stop the Music", "Breaking Dishes", 'Shut Up and Drive", "S.O.S.", "What's My Name?", "Where Have You Been", "We Found Love", "You Da 1"...too much to mention.
The awesomeness that is "Beat It". The Fall Out Boy cover was pretty sick, too.
Welcome a challenger from the Sinosphere, ladies and gentlemen. Jacky Cheung's "A Thousand Heartbreaking Reasons". It's not... awesome in the conventional sense, but it is awfully emotive.
Carly Simon has a song that launched a thousand questions in "You're So Vain".
Madonna. Her best stuff in the 80s defined a generation of women and gay men. Try looking at a wedding gown the same way after those VMAs.
"Vogue". That song just kicks so muck ass...
And honorable mentions should go to "Live To Tell", "Frozen", "Into The Groove", and "Like A Prayer".
Alanis Morisette. She is awesome enough to play GOD. Plus she has one of the best angry-women-album of all time in Jagged Little Pill which casts Full House in a completely different light.
"Ironic". Seriously. How many times has a song gotten its point across by completely failing at it?
"So Pure" was a crowning moment because it was fun, it was cute, it didn't have a case of "I'm going to fit as many syllables as I can onto a line"-itis. The video was cool too.
"Hand In My Pocket". It is by FAR Alanis' best song.
"You Oughta Know" was only the song that put Alanis on the map. Such aggression. And then there was the performance of it at the 38th Grammy Awards in 1996,note (she won 2 Grammys out of 3 nominations for the song itself, and went 2 for 3 on the album as well.) which dials it down to a simple rhythm section, piano, and strings. The album version is great, but that performance is superb.
P!nk. "Sober" is hands down one of the most emotional songs of the 2000's. And let's face it, we've all gotten "So What" stuck in our hea—SO WHAT? I'M STILL A ROCKSTAR! I GOT THE HOT MOVES! AND I DON'T NEED YOU TONIGHT!!!
"Raise Your Glass" can inspire tears with its defiance.
Four Pink songs: "Raise Your Glass", "Who Knew", "Fuckin' Perfect", and "Glitter In The Air".
"Raise Your Glass" (and its music video) is just pure awesome.
"Stupid Girls" earns a special place in your heart.
All the above, plus "Family Portrait" are some of the best songs. Ever.
"Just Like A Pill".
"Blow Me One Last Kiss", her new song.
The Jackson 5 and "I Want You Back". Not only did it hit #1 (as did the next four Jackson 5 singles), not only has it been sampled and sampled and sampled ("Izzo" and "Jump" and "My Baby" and "Take Me There"), not only did KT Tunstall put together a staggering SOLO live performance of it, but the "all I need!" at the end of the breakdown is as pure as pop has ever gotten, or likely ever will.
Jackson 5. "Dancing Machine." The Paul Oakenfold remix. EPIC WIN.
Girls Aloud's "Biology" and "Sexy! No No No...". The songs' lyrics and structure might not make any sense but by the time the songs are over, it has wormed your way into your heard and you just want to listen again to figure out what just hit you.
Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." Suddenly it becomes clear that, no, this isn't just an eccentric yet generic pop star, Love It or Hate It, her music is taking this somewhere different.
"Poker Face", "Paparazzi", and "Just Dance" can change even negative minds into admirers.
"Bad Romance" will grow on you, but "Alejandro" can make a Gaga fan.
"Speechless". No, it doesn't really fit in with the rest of The Fame Monster, but it's so epic you won't care.
"Dance In The Dark". It is unbelievably epic. It only hit #122 in the U.S. Travesty.
Kat Deluna: it's a shame not many people know about her as she has plenty of amazing songs like "Run The Show", "In The End", "Everybody Dance", "Rock The House", "Party O Clock", "Drop It Low" and "Club On Smash", etc.
Toto. Big hits like "Africa", Hold the Line", and "Rosanna" are good enough to improve any bad day.
Last year, Kelly Clarkson released "My Life Would Suck Without You". It not only kicked ridiculous amounts of ass, it rocketed from #97 to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 within two weeks. Two weeks! That's what you call an overnight success and if that doesn't scream Crowning Music of Awesome, nothing does.
"Mr. Know It All" and "Stronger" are both just as good, if not better.
Then she released "Dark Side" on June 5, 2012. Beautiful, tearjerking, amazing song. Let's say someday that song will kick Carly Jae Repson off the charts.
Say what you want about My December and mention the Clive Davis troubles as much as you wanna, it was an amazing album.
It doesn't matter if it's in Spanish, you HAVE to listen Tino Casal's "Eloise"
Not to mention the music video, which compliments the song beautifully.
"Eyes Wide Open" is just as haunting as "Somebody", if not more. That music video is great too.
Rachel Stevens album Come and Get It was something of a commercial bomb, however, music critics have recently been asking people to not let it become a forgotten classic. When you hear "So Good" or "I Said Never Again (But Here We Are), you understand why.
"A warning to the people/the good and the evil/this is war"
"To the right/ to the left/ we will fight to the death/ To the edge/ of the earth/ it's a brave new world from the last to the first."
Attack: "I won't suffer/ be broken/ get tired/ or wasted/ surrender to nothing/ and give up what I started/ and stopped it/ from end to beginning/ a new day is coming/ and I am finally free!" It ends in a scream.
"The Kill" in itself was basically a Crowning Music of Awesome, edging out Linkin Park's "In the End" and Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life" (according to AOL here) as top alternative song of the decade and spent 94 weeks on the charts.
"Come, break me down/ Marry me, bury me/ I am finished with you."
Say what you will about Lindsay Lohan, but she has some damn good songs, such as: "Rumors", "Speak", "Confessions Of A Broken Heart (Daughter To Father)", "Bossy", "Can't Stop Won't Stop", "Too Young To Die", "Stay", and "Stuck."
This might be sacrilege, but her cover of Stevie Nicks song "Edge of Seventeen" is actually pretty good. She doesn't stray too far from the original, and her raspy voice is a good fit for the song.
Bon Iver's cover of Peter Gabriel's "Come Talk to Me." Wow. Just... Wow. Though everything he does is Made of Win.
Jennifer Lopez. It's almost impossible to resist dancing to songs like "Dance Again", "On The Floor", "I'm Into You", "Love Don't Cost A Thing", "Papi", "Do It Well", "Jenny From The Block", "Hold It Don't Drop It" and "Let's Get Loud".
Swedish all-girl group Play has some great songs, like "Famous", "Under My Skin", and, of course, "Us Against The World".
Promptly one-upped with "Must Not Chase The Boys" and "Girls Can Too".
Sweden is usually good for those. "Discotheque" and "Doctor Doctor" from Elin Lanto and "That's the Way My Heart Goes" and "Disconnect Me" by Marie Serneholt as well.
Jessie J's "Domino" is so incredibly infectious that you just can't help but sing along to it.
"Price Tag" is nearly the same, and so is the incredibly catchy "Do It Like a Dude".
Let's just say all of Who You Are and get this over with.
While a lot of the Spice Girls discography was derided for being saccharine and repetitive, a lot of those people have never heard "Walk of Life", a slow Ode to London Nightlife with hints of Jazz and Reggae. If you love your mother then Mama will be Narm Charm to you. It's saccharine but it's still a sweet song. There's also the lesser known "Holler" which has the girls dabbling in R&B.
Aimee Ann Duffy has got some good ones so far (including the Crowning Album of Awesome Rockferry), but by far her best is "Rain on Your Parade". If this woman is not doing a James Bond theme at some point in her career, it will be a great injustice.
If there was only one song we could choose from her rather inferior album Endlessly that's not bad at all compared to the rest of the songs on the album, it would have to be "Well, Well, Well".
"Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto. (Its actual title is "Ue o muite arukou", but the American distributor changed it for whatever reason.)
And as covered by Selena.
Most songs by The Police, and everything by Sting. The band reformed in 1986 to release a new version of "Don't Stand So Close To Me". By this point, Sting was venturing into jazz and experimental albums, and had expanded his vocal range; Andy Summers had been playing guitar forever; and Stewart Copeland had scored movie themes. It. Was. AWESOME.
Simon and Garfunkel's final album, Bridge Over Troubled Water. The title track in particular is pure dynamite.
Bookends is another classic album. Start with "Mrs. Robinson" and go from there.
Undoubtedly the most EPIC foreign pop song ever (it's in Swedish) is Hall Om Mig, attached to a quite well-known and equally incredible Princess Tutu vid.
What do you get if you combine an indie rock singer-songwriter whose music has been featured on many movies and shows and an incredible female singer who's known for "Love Song"? You get an amazing duet.
Greg Laswell's cover of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Also his song "Another Life To Lose," which is a Coldplay-size Tear Jerker.
Saint Etienne and The Lightning Seeds, two of the most awesome pure pop bands you could ever wish to hear.
If you can't sing along or dance to Fun.'s "We Are Young", you seriously need to see a doctor.
Along with "We Are Young", we have "Some Nights", another one of their simply amazing mainstream hits.
Also "All The Pretty Girls".
Even though it was for Twilight, Christina Perri's song "A Thousand Years" is especially awesome. Even more so since it perfectly fits Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Fans of either are likely to use it for wedding dances for many years to come.
Cyndi Lauper. Specifically, "Time After Time", "Unchained Melody", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and lots of others.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood had numerous awesome moments, but the 12" "Annihilation" mix of "Two Tribes" takes the cake. Not only do you get the Epic Riff intro, but also the magnificent black humour of Patrick Allen telling us exactly what to do if your grandmother or any other member of the family should die while in the fallout shelter.
It's hard not to be stirred by the bombastic ballad "The Power Of Love".
This qualifies as power-pop but pop nonetheless: Everclear. The entirety of So Much for the Afterglow counts as the best of its genre, but in terms of a single song, go with "Wonderful". The lyrics are what make it really awesome.