Vera Lynn, a British singer-songwriter of the 1940s through mid-1950s who broke ground in so many ways. Lynn 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 6 years before another British performer - Laurie London, with the gospel/Sunday School favorite "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" - would top the pop chart, and then another four years after London when the then-exclusive club became four (Acker Bilk, with "Stranger on the Shore" and the Tornadoes with "Telstar", both instrumentals) 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 (since tied with 2015's "Uptown Funk!" by Mark Ronson). Both "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" and "Hey Jude" remain tied for fourth on the all-time longest-running No. 1 U.S. pop hits by British artists.
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 1967 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.
In 2009 a best-of album entitled We'll Meet Again: The Best of Vera Lynn was released. The digitally remastered albums by The Beatles were released at the same time. Guess who was No. 1?
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.
John Lennon and his fantastic, international peace-and-love-anthem song "Imagine".
"Hiding my Heart" and "Don't You Remember" are also lesser known, under-appreciated pieces.
"Skyfall" is pure epicness, especially towards the end.
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!
"The Grand Illusion". Gotta love a song with a lesson.
Also "Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)". It's only four minutes long, but it's ridiculously unforgettable. And infectious.
The Teenage Dream album. "California Gurls", "Teenage Dream", and "Firework" just win in so many unique ways.
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.
From Prism, we have "Roar", "This is How We Do", "Birthday", and almost ALL of the inspirational second half of the album. It's also hard to believe an artist like Katy Perry could churn out songs like "By the Grace of God" and "Ghost" (WARNING: the latter is a Tear Jerker of epic proportions).
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.
Her early dance songs "Pon de Replay", "Don't Stop the Music", "Shut Up and Drive", and "S.O.S." are so infectious they should be classified as dancing diseases.
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". If we're lucky, she'll tell the world who it is that bets they think the song is about them before she leaves for the great gig in the sky,note All she has revealed publicly is that the subject's name includes at least one A, E, and R. NBC executive Dick Ebersol paid $50,000 at a charity auction in 2003 to be told the secret, but under strict instructions to tell no-one else. but even while she remains tight-lipped on the subject, it's hard not to sing along with her in that classic refrain.
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" just kicks so muck ass...
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.
"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.
"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 heads.
"Raise Your Glass" can inspire tears with its defiance.
"Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" rivals "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson as the greatest breakup anthem, ever. Those lyrics...
I'll dress nice, I'll look good, I'll go dancing alone, I will laugh, I'll get drunk, I'll take somebody home...
The Jackson 5:
"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.
"Faster Than the Speed of Night." Best heard live with speakers on full blast.
"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.
"Here We Go" sounds like it's MADE for a Bond film. And who could ever forget their kickass cover of "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus?
"Poker Face", one of her first hits, is a pretty awesome tune itself, but there is a MIDI version that sounds even better. Note that the rap part after the second chorus is replaced by a sweet violin solo.
Her rendition of the National Anthem at the 2017 Superbowl has been heralded as one of the best performances of the song ever, possibly even greater than Whitney Houston's legendary one at the 1991 game. As one YouTube commentor put it, "[She] could make an American out of an ISIS member with these vocals."
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.
In 2009, she 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 Awesome Music, nothing does.
"Dark Side" is an amazing, beautiful, tearjerking song.
Say what you want about My December and mention all the Clive Davis troubles as much as you want to, it was an amazing album.
"Since U Been Gone" anyone? The bitter breakup lyrics, the guitar solo, and her confident vocals? It has appeared on over 40 albums, both Entertainment Weekly and The Atlantic Magazine named it the best song of the 2000's, and it even made Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" List. That's quite a feat coming from a singer whose future was questionable after her American Idol fame had died down. This song proved Kelly was here to stay, and she wasn't just another fluke winner of a reality show.
It doesn't matter if it's in Spanish, you HAVE to listen Tino Casal's "Eloise".
"Eyes Wide Open" is just as haunting as "Somebody", if not more. That music video is great too.
"Save Me" is a surprisingly dark song about a depressed and possibly suicidal person, who finds help in a lover who saves him from himself. And the operatic background is amazing!
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.
Say what you will about Lindsay Lohan, but she has some damn good songs. 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.
"Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO all the way. The insanely crazy melody and memorable lyrics make it worthy of any party...and worthy of holding the title "anthem".
Demi Lovato's "Skyscraper" is supremely inspirational and so, so beautiful.
Eurovision 2011 produced this gem: "Caroban" by Nina.
Calling "The Flood" "epic" would be understating it.
"Back For Good": a more understated sort of awesome, but an eternal, gorgeous song, and the most beloved one of the band's 90s incarnation. When you have the main songwriter of the biggest rock in the country at the time willing to admit a Boy Band song moved him, you know you did something right:
Noel Gallagher: If it touches people, it's a good song. You know, people go on about Take That but 'Back for Good' said something to me. And if it touches me...
Bon Iver's cover of Peter Gabriel's "Come Talk to Me". Wow. Just... Wow. Though everything he does is Made of Win.
Her rendition of "Reflection" from Mulan is also an honorable mention, considering she was only a teenager at the time. Whether you like her or not, you have to admit she put on a hell of a performance.
"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".
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.
Mis Teeq's "Scandalous" (or as most people recognize it, the theme to Catwoman) is an excellent dance song.
"Good Intent" by Kimbra. That and its equally fantastic music video.
When thinking of Awesome Music, Disco isn't the first thing that comes to mind, is it? Well, that may be due to never hearing The Whispers play "One For The Money".
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.
"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.
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.
If you can't sing along or dance to fun.'s "We Are Young", you seriously need to see a doctor. "Some Nights" is another one of their simply amazing mainstream hits.
Even though it was for Twilight, the 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.
Say what you will about the line "You're gonna catch a cold / From the ice inside your soul", "Jar of Hearts" is epic.
It's a crime against the music industry that "Till the End of Time" wasn't a bigger hit. It's a duet with freaking Beyoncé, with nostalgic lyrics and retro slow dance instrumentals. It sounds like an R&B classic from 1984 that fell through a time warp to 2006.
They 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.
"Royals". With its catchy minimalist snap beat, her intelligent lyrics and her wonderful vocals, it's no wonder it broke into the U.S. at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Her cover of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" is so awesome enough to give you chills. Think what you will of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but this cover is really great.
They may have been criticized for their use of synthesizers for some of their music, but Ace of Base do have songs that fit this category, like the catchy reggae of "All That She Wants" and "The Sign", which can even perk up the grumpiest person on Earth.
All four songs from Heartbeats, the band's only EP, are excellent, with intelligent lyrics and intense instrumental and vocal work.
The gloriously gospel-esque "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith. He's so good that when he performed the song on Saturday Night Live, he sounded exactly like he did on the recording. And this was LIVE!
Despite the fact that neither song is precisely typical of them, both "Manic Monday" and "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles are awesome for being extremely catchy, fun songs that are both easy to learn and great to rock out to. "Manic Monday" has an incredibly memorable accompaniment and harmonizing backing and expresses so many sentiments people have about that particular day, and one of the cheesiest lyrics ("My I-don't-have-to-run day") is also one of the most unique and iconic. "Walk Like an Egyptian", meanwhile, has awesome instrumentation (especially the drum work), and while the Word Salad Lyrics conjure up some...interesting images, it's very clear how much fun the girls had singing them, and altogether it creates a highly unusual-sounding song.
Nena's "99 Luftballoons/Red Balloons", whether you listen in German or English, is an amazing song. This is everything an anti-war protest song should be.
In the world of K-Pop, the undisputed queens are hands-down Girls' Generation. Love them or hate them, SNSD consistently attains an all-kill (#1 on each of the Top 7 music charts in Asia) with every single or album they make... usually within a few hours of release. To date, their most famous song Gee has over 152 million + views on YouTube. Not as high as, say, Taylor Swift, but they are still the most popular girl group in Asia ever.
Heidi Montag's Body Language is a really catchy song that proves that not all reality TV stars are bad at singing.
Madleen Kane's "Forbidden Love" is a brilliantly dramatic disco song with a top-notch piano opener. The album and extended mixes have hauntingly beautiful strings at each of their last acts (it's a reprise in the case of the album).