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Signature Song

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This is a music trope for the (usually) one song by an artist that everyone knows. It doesn't matter how people know the song — maybe it was all over the radio, maybe it was used in a movie, maybe it was used in a TV show, maybe it was used for an ad that got played over and over and over again — but people know it.

These songs tend to be songs with an Epic Riff; they can also be Black Sheep Hits. It's also possible for an artist to have more than one Signature Song, especially one for two or more distinct phases of their career. Whatever the case, these songs are very likely to be awesome.

Some of the more rabid members of the artist's fandom may accuse one of not being a true fan for disliking the artist's Signature Song, even if said person may like every other song that the artist has recorded — or, inversely, liking the Signature Song more than what Fanon considers the artist's "real best work".

Sometimes the signature song isn't the artist's biggest hit (see Chart Displacement). It also doesn't necessarily run in line with their Signature Style (see Black Sheep Hit).

The song can also be famous due to its inclusion in a certain work. The songs that are potholed are examples of these.

If they made an appearance in Guitar Hero or Rock Band, it's probably this song. If the artist was a composer of Classical Music, the song is probably a Standard Snippet now.

In earlier times, such as the 1930s and 1940s, it was not uncommon for a band or singer to open their set with their signature song or at least a few bars of it, especially when they appeared on radio. With the advent of television talk shows, it also became common for the studio band to play a few bars from the artist's signature song as he or she walked onstage.

To stop people from leaving at gigs after they've heard the song,note  these songs are normally played live either at the end of the main set or during the encore. Not performing it at all may result in an Iconic Song Request. Some artists or bands will actually avert playing their signature at all. Be it because they consider it an Old Shame, a target of Misaimed Fandom, because they would rather try out some deep cuts on that tour, or any other reason.

Some musicians arguably avert this by having several equally famous hit songs; The Beatles, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley being three prominent examples. As such, if they'd left off one of their hits from a show it wouldn't have been such an obvious oversight. That said, certainly some of their songs are more identified with them than others. A Black Sheep Hit is somewhat more likely to fall victim to this, for obvious reasons.

Occasionally, an artist can have a signature song that is eventually usurped by another song (although this could be temporary). It's also possible for an artist to have different signature songs in different countries. Additionally, one could have different signatures songs for different audiences. Though a rare occurrence, it's possible for two different artists to have the same signature song.

Signature songs may be slightly different from region to region, as well.

See One-Hit Wonder for an extreme case of this trope. Not to be confused with Leitmotif or Character Signature Song, which is about signature songs sang by fictional characters.

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  • Six Flags — Vengaboys' "We Like to Party" has become synonymous with the franchise due to its usage in the memorable and highly memetic "It's Playtime" commercial from 2004.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ichiro Mizuki: Despite his 50 year long career and a discography of over 1,200 songs, up until his passing of December of 2022 his most famous hit was the the opening of Mazinger Z, the one that catapulted him to fame. He would often begin or end a concert with Mazinger Z, and it wasn't unusual for him to begin with it and then sing it again at the end as an encore.
  • Macross:
    • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Lynn Minmay — "Do You Remember Love", which not only shares its name with the Compilation Movie and features heavily in the climax, but has gone on to become of the most iconic songs in the entire franchise. Not only does it play a major role in the climax of the anime version of Macross Frontier, it was also re-recorded by the casts of Frontier and Delta for the 40th Anniversary album.
    • Macross Frontier:
      • Sheryl Nome — "Diamond Crevasse", which she sings during a major Music for Courage moment in the anime and the first Compilation Movie and has become iconic among fans for marking a major shift in Sheryl's character development.
      • Ranka Lee — "Seikan Hikou" has become memetic for its prominent usage of Ranka's Kira pose. It has become popular enough that many Nico Nico Douga mashups will feature it. Many people have gone on to Watch It for the Meme because of this song and the gesture, and referencing both has become a common Stock Shout-Out to the franchise in Japanese media.
      • "Diamond Crevasse" and "Seikan Hikou" are so iconic of their respective singers that not only did JUNNA and Minori Suzuki (the singing voices for Mikumo and Freyja in Macross Delta) cover them (the latter song even being sung by a young Freyja in a flashback), but they also got the chance to duet them with both May'n and Megumi Nakajima respectively when they guest starred in one of Walkure's concerts.
      • For both of the Idol Singers — "Lion", the second opening, has become iconic for its usage in the various fight scenes in the anime and Compilation Movies. Like the aforementioned "Seikan Hikou", it features in many different Nico Nico Douga mashups.
    • Macross Delta:
      • Freyja Wion — "Rune ga Pikatto Hikattara", the first ED, which debuted near the top of the Oricon charts and for a brief time was the number one song on the Japanese iTunes store. One might even argue it can be viewed as the Signature Song for Walkure as a whole, as its resemblance to Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" has not lead to several different mashups on YouTube, but has led many people around the internet to Watch It for the Meme.
      • Mikumo Guynemer — "Ikenai Borderline", which is another iconic song from Walkure that plays during prominent moments in the series, but is more associated with Mikumo due to it matching her mature and alluring nature.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf has had a lot of different theme songs over its run, but the original theme from season 1 is still the most popular song from the show. The original theme song is still associated with Pleasant Goat several years after the show began using different theme songs. This might be because the original theme song is still used here and there, just in the closing instead of the opening.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Live-Action TV 
  • WandaVision has plenty of musical themes, but the most notable one is "Agatha All Along" since it is the only song from the show to top the iTunes charts as well as the fact that the song has received a large amount of Memetic Mutation.

  • 12 Stones — "We Are One" or "Broken"; however, the most famous song that the band was ever involved in by far is lead singer Paul McCoy in "Bring Me to Life"
  • 4 Non Blondes — "What's Up".
  • 3OH!3 — "Don't Trust Me" but could be considered but their single "Starstrukk" with Katy Perry was a massive hit.
  • 50 Cent — "In Da Club" or "Candy Shop" are always associated as the first songs you think of.
  • Aaliyah — "Age Ain't Nothing But A Number" or "Try Again".
  • Abba — They have a catalogue of songs so a number could count such as "Dancing Queen", "Mamma Mia!", "Gimme Gimme Gimme!".
  • AC/DC — "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" was Bon Scott's signature song, and so identified with him that Brian Johnson won't perform it. It's also regarded as the band's signature song in their native Australia. Outside of Australia, the signature song of the Scott era is likely "Highway to Hell" or "TNT", although Johnson continues to perform them. For Johnson's songs it's either "Back in Black", "Thunderstruck" or "You Shook Me All Night Long". They have many very popular songs, though.
  • Adele — "Someone Like You", "Hello" or "Rolling in the Deep". Not far behind are also "Set Fire to the Rain", "Easy on Me", "When We Were Young" and her Covered Up version of "Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan.
  • Afrojack — "Take Over Control" was his highest-charting hit as a lead artist, but "Can't Stop Me" is also remembered due to its success in dance clubs.
  • a-ha — "Take on Me" may very well be the most successful pop song ever recorded by a Norwegian act. In the U.S., they are still commonly considered one-hit wonders.
  • Alanis Morissette — "Ironic" is probably her most well-known song.
  • Alicia Keys — "Fallin'" from her first album. She's also well-known for "Girl On Fire" and "Empire State of Mind" with Jay-Z
  • Alien Ant Farm — Most famous for their Cover Version of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal".
  • Alter Bridge —- "Rise Today", which is even acknowledged by the band themselves because it usually is their closer during concerts. Also up there is "Metalingus", which while never an actual single is best known for being the long-time entrance song to legendary professional wrestler Edge.
  • Aqua — "Barbie Girl", which was one of the songs that defined The '90s and their biggest hit by far. Some go so far as to label them a One-Hit Wonder, though they did have other songs that charted.
  • Ashnikko — Her breakthrough hit, "STUPID" blew up on TikTok. "Daisy" and "Slumber Party" can also be considered.
  • Iggy Azalea — "Fancy" with Charli XCX or "Work".
  • Rick Astley — "Never Gonna Give You Up", thanks in part for the music video becoming the basis for one of the most well-known memes on the Internet, the Rickroll.
  • Avenged Sevenfold — "Bat Country", their Breakthrough Hit, remains the band’s best known song to this day, though its follow-up "Beast and the Harlot" is not far behind.
  • Backstreet Boys — "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" is a definite hit that is played at every party. "I Want It That Way" could also qualify as their most popular ballad.
  • Bananarama — "Venus" or "Cruel Summer"; while the former was a bigger hit in its heyday, its status as a Cover Version could give the latter, which was their original song, the advantage.
  • John Barrowman — "You're So Vain"; the orchestral arrangement makes it immediately recognizable from Carly Simon's version.
  • The Beatles — The band has so many iconic songs that it is impossible to single out just one as their signature (though "Hey Jude", "Yesterday", "Here Comes The Sun", "Let It Be", "All You Need is Love", "Blackbird", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "In My Life" and "Come Together" would probably be the first picks), but during the peak of Beatlemania in The '60s, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You" would've held the title. However, there's no denying that the signature song of John Lennon's solo career is "Imagine", the quintessential anthem of World Peace. For George Harrison instead, it's "My Sweet Lord", probably the most famous song ever that fuses rock and gospel, and it's also worth mentioning that its album All Things Must Pass is the best-selling album by a solo Beatle.
  • The Bee Gees — "Stayin' Alive" from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which made the group the face of disco music around the world, and becoming the unofficial Signature Song of the entire genre.
  • Beyoncé — "Crazy in Love", "Irreplaceable", "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", "Halo", "Run the World (Girls)", "Drunk in Love", "Sorry", and "Formation" are probably her most popular to date, but depending on the time period, it could really be any of her singles.
  • Blackfoot — "Highway Song" and "Train, Train" (both from Strikes) are their most notable songs.
  • blink-182 — "All The Small Things" and "I Miss You", arguably down to Tom DeLonge's unique vocals.
  • Bon Jovi — "Livin' on a Prayer", full stop. "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Wanted Dead or Alive", "It's My Life" and "Always" are runner-up songs, but "Prayer" remains their best known song overall.
  • David Bowie — As his first hit, "Space Oddity" is usually regarded as this, since the range of his career and resultant arguments over his best era make it hard to settle the question otherwise. However, songs such as "Life on Mars?", "Rebel Rebel", "Starman" and especially "'Heroes'" have become competitors for the title in recent years. While relatively early in his canon, "Changes" kinda pokes fun at this, and (ironically) became another one of his signature tunes.
  • Bowling for Soup — "1985" or "Girl All The Bad Guys Want".
  • Busted — "Year 3000" or "That's What I Go To School For".
  • Mariah Carey — "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is universally (in)-famous and one of the most played songs during the festive period. "Fantasy", "Emotions" and "Without You" are very popular for showing her incredible voice.
  • Doja Cat — "Say So" or "Like That". Her debut song, "Mooo!", is also popular.
  • Good Charlotte — "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" and "Girls and Boys".
  • Johnny Clegg — The anti-Apartheid song "Asimbonanga" dedicated to Nelson Mandela, with English and Zulu lyrics.
  • Coldplay — "Yellow" from the earlier career. "Paradise" is also massively popular, and opened the band to pop audiences. Also counting are "Viva la Vida", "The Scientist", "In My Place", "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"... Just to mention a few, since they have quite a lot of very popular tracks.
  • Phil Collins — "In the Air Tonight" is no doubt his most popular song as a solo artist.
  • The Cranberries — "Zombie", "Linger" or "Dreams." Of those three, "Zombie" (which is also a Black Sheep Hit) was the first to get over a billion views on YouTube. Not far behind is "Ode to My Family".
  • Michael Crawford — In the wake of the international acclaim he received as the title character in the original West End and Broadway productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, the show's Villain Love Song "The Music of the Night" became the signature song of his recording and concert career.
  • Cream — A highly beloved band among fans of classic rock, but "Sunshine of Your Love" and their cover of "Crossroads" stand out above the rest. The former is famous for its iconic riff, and the latter is a staple of Eric Clapton during his solo career.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival — A tough call since they had many widely popular hitsnote , but two of them narrowly beat out the rest: "Fortunate Son" - largely due to it being used in many Vietnam War themed memes and movies, and easily being their most popular song in America - and "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" - often used in commercials, their most streamed song on the internet (though "Fortunate Son" is close behind) and easily their most popular song in Europe, as well as among pop audiences who may not be familiar with the band.
  • Bing Crosby — He used "Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day" as his 'official' signature tune. In one Bob Hope movie, Crosby's surprise cameo appearance at the very end was accompanied by an orchestra version of the opening bars of this song. Nowadays, Crosby's signature song is likely "White Christmas", which remains the best-selling single of all time.
  • Miley Cyrus — Depending on what Miley era. "Party in the USA" from her younger years. "Wrecking Ball" from the Bangerz era. "Flowers" from her more recent era.
  • Deep Purple — The band has many beloved songs, but without a doubt, "Smoke on the Water" is their most recognizable, especially among entry-level guitar players.
  • Depeche Mode — "Enjoy the Silence" is their most Covered Up and most famous song, with "Personal Jesus", "Never Let Me Down Again", and "Just Can't Get Enough" all trailing behind in recognizability and notability.
  • Disturbed — "Down with the Sickness" was considered their signature song, and for all intents and purposes it is, considering the band ends almost every live show with it as their encore. However, as of 2015's album "Immortalized", the band has become synonymous with their rendition of Simon and Garfunkel's signature song "Sound of Silence", becoming their sole mainstream music hit.
  • Pussycat Dolls — "Don't Cha" put them in the mainstream spotlight. "Buttons" became popular recently despite being relatively older in their discography thanks to TikTok.
  • The Doors — "Light My Fire", "The End" - notably being featured in Apocalypse Now, "Riders on the Storm", "Break on Through (To the Other Side)", and "L.A. Woman".
  • Eagles — "Hotel California", the title track to their 1976 album, is the one song everyone knows by them, even people who weren't even born when the song was released. Second place is their debut hit "Take It Easy".
  • Billie Eilish — "Bad Guy" was the song that turned her from cult favorite to worldwide superstar, becoming her first #1 hit and was essential to her sweeping the "big four" Grammy categories in 2020.
  • Eminem — A few examples.
    • "Lose Yourself" from 8 Mile is his biggest song to date, as it charted at number one on 24 national charts worldwide, including US Billboard Hot 100. It's also the third oldest song to be in the top 100 songs streamed on Spotify.
    • "My Name Is" his Breakout Hit and Black Sheep Hit. The "chkka-chkka" disc scratch sound effect used in the song is used throughout the rest of Eminem's discography as a Leitmotif for his Slim Shady character, long after other rappers had stopped using disc scratching.
    • "The Real Slim Shady", which codified Slim's character as The Gadfly, and an actual threat to society via being an Anti-Role Model who his fans were emulating anyway.
    • "Stan", a Murder Ballad that was initially never meant to be a single, is Eminem's most critically celebrated song and led to the word 'stan' getting added to the dictionary to mean a Loony Fan.
    • "'Till I Collapse" was not a hit when first released (it was not a single), but had a Revival by Commercialization in the early 2010s and, on Spotify, is not only his second most-streamed song, behind the aforementioned "Lose Yourself", but it's also the platform's most-streamed non-single.
    • "Rap God" is the signature song of his post-overdose career, due to its lyrics wryly summing up the course of his career and its outrageous level of technical aptitude. Unlike the other entries, it's a favourite among people who rap themselves - it was the #1 most viewed lyrics page on Genius for a good half-decade (it is currently #2, replaced by Justin Bieber, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito", a megahit in Spanish that led many people Googling for a translation).
    • "Killshot" is also notable for being a second Career Resurrection for Eminem after his apologetic, responsible Recovered Addict persona was really making people turn on him, going back to his older style of dropping obliterating insults on white rappers and popstars he hates to make what is currently the highest charting Diss Track of all time.
    • "Venom" has stuck around due to its highly catchy chorus making it an internet meme favourite.
  • Europe — During their prime, this was arguably "Carrie", their Black Sheep Hit ballad from the album The Final Countdown. Nowadays, however, it's without a doubt the title track.
  • Evanescence — "Bring Me to Life" is not only their biggest hit, but quite possibly the most recognizable female-led rock song of the entire 21st Century.
  • Foo Fighters — "Best of You" or "The Pretender".
  • Aretha Franklin — "Respect" is considered the ultimate empowerment anthem; the chorus where the title is spelled out continued to be one of the most iconic lines in musical history.
  • Gorillaz — "Clint Eastwood" introduced them to the world. "Feel Good Inc", "DARE" or "Rhinestone Eyes" may also qualify.
  • Green Day — A few candidates: "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" is probably their best-known song of their 1990s output (due to extensive use in soundtracks and for being a staple of graduation ceremonies) along with "Basket Case", which is easily their most streamed song on the internet of that period. Not far behind are "Longview", "When I Come Around" and "Welcome to Paradise", all from their breakout album Dookie. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" from American Idiot is their most popular song of their 2000s work and their most commercially successful song to date, with three other Idiot songs — "Wake Me Up When September Ends", "Holiday", and the title track — also in the running. Then, there's also "21 Guns". "Going To Pasalacqua" was, pre-Dookie, their most popular song by some distance, and still gets a good crowd reaction. They've made a lot of well-known songs, though.
  • Haken's most popular song is "Cockroach King", thanks to a combination of being Awesome Music and having a humorous video in which a Muppet version of the band does a Bohemian Parody. In response to its popularity, Haken would go on to create two whole albums based on the Cockroach King, Vector and Virus.
  • HEALTH — "Crimewave" is their most well-known song in part due to the Crystal Castles remix. However, their cover of the Units' "High Pressure Days", known as "High Pressure Dave", has easily become a contender thanks to its appearance in Grand Theft Auto V.
  • Whitney Houston's cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You", performed with such Grammy-conscious gusto, became so big of a hit that she considered it her signature song, so much to the extent that she filed a lawsuit banning anyone else — even Parton herself — from performing it.
  • Enrique Iglesias — "Hero" is one of the most famous ballads of the early 2000s.
  • Inner Circle — "Bad Boys", due to it being the theme song of the long-running series COPS.
  • Michael Jackson — The "big three" of the Thriller album take the cake here. "Billie Jean", the album's first chart-topping single, is considered the song that brought about his coronation as the King of Pop and introduced the world to his signature "moonwalk" dance. "Beat It", the other chart-topper from the album was a clash of pop and rock titans thanks to Eddie Van Halen's guitar playing. And the title track, while only peaking at #4, has arguably the the most famous music video of all time and remains a Halloween staple. His best-known non-Thriller song is probably "Smooth Criminal" from Bad, as its video featured one of Jackson's most iconic outfits in his white suit, and led to the most famous cover version of any of his songs — its 2001 Nu Metal remake by Alien Ant Farm.
  • Billy Joel: "Piano Man" takes the cake, but "Uptown Girl", "We Didn't Start the Fire", "Just the Way You Are" and "She's Always a Woman" definitely count as well, and "Vienna" has pretty much become his quintessential album track. Going by album:
    • Cold Spring Harbor: "She's Got a Way" (also counts for the Songs in the Attic live album, which helped popularizing the song).
    • Piano Man: the Title Track, of course. Another very appreciated track is "Captain Jack".
    • Streetlife Serenader: "The Entertainer".
    • Turnstiles: "New York State of Mind".
    • The Stranger: "She's Always a Woman", "Just the Way You Are", "Only the Good Die Young" and "Movin' Out" are the hit singles and are still very popular; however, "Vienna" and "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" count as well. While they never were released as singles, the former has become massively popular in later years on streaming services, especially among younger people, and is not only a firm fan favorite, but also one of Joel's own favorite songs overall; the latter is well-known for being Joel's longest composition, is widely regarded as one of Joel's best songs - and, indeed, he cited it is his personal favorite song.
    • 52nd Street: "My Life". "Honesty" is not far behind, though.
    • Glass Houses: "It's Still Rock & Roll to Me", followed by "You May Be Right".
    • The Nylon Curtain: "Allentown" or "Goodnight Saigon".
    • An Innocent Man: several songs on it are very well-known, but "Uptown Girl" is Joel's best known song besides "Piano Man", very probably. "The Longest Time" is also very popular, while "Tell Her About It" was a huge hit, but nowadays is not as recognized, and was almost immediately dropped from concerts after a few times it was played next to its release.
    • The Bridge: "A Matter of Trust".
    • Storm Front: has many well-known songs, but "We Didn't Start the Fire" stands out. "The Downeaster 'Alexa'" is very appreciated, while "I Go to Extremes" was a hit at the time, but lost a bit of popularity.
    • The River of Dreams: the Title Track. "Lullabye" is also popular.
  • Journey — More than forty years after its release, pretty much everyone in the world will instantly recognize "Don't Stop Believin'". It memorably was used in the final episode of The Sopranos and was the first song ever covered on Glee.
  • Keane — "Everybody's Changing" or "Somewhere Only We Know".
  • Kings of Leon — "Sex on Fire" was incredibly popular and their most well-known single.
  • Wiz Khalifa — While he is mainly known for his purely rap works, it is the pop rap ballad "See You Again" from Furious 7 that he is most famous for in the public eye, due to it being a tribute to the franchise's late star Paul Walker and becoming a popular anthem for high school and college graduations.
  • Kendrick Lamar — While "Swimming Pools" was his first mainstream success, "Alright" won him a Grammy for Best Rap Song and later on became a Black Lives Matter anthem. However, "HUMBLE." seems to have won the title overall.
  • Lady Gaga — Usually comes down to a tie between "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance", although "Just Dance", her Breakthrough Hit, is also up there.
  • Cyndi Lauper — "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" is the female empowerment anthem of the 1980s. "Time After Time" is a very close second however.
  • Led Zeppelin — "Stairway to Heaven" is pretty much the quintessential classic rock album track, and is known for its iconic guitar riff. They have several contenders, though ("Immigrant Song", "Whole Lotta Love", "Kashmir", "Ramble on", "Going to California", just to name a few...).
    • In addition, during their prime years each of the band's instrumentalists had a song heavily associated with them, with the musician being given an extended solo to show off during the song. "Dazed and Confused" for Jimmy Page, "Moby Dick" for John Bonham, and "No Quarter" for John Paul Jones.
  • Lil Nas X — "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)" is his signature song, complete with controversial music video.
  • Linkin Park — "In the End" was this, with most of their domestic and international fanbase (and even non-fans) knowing the lyrics by heart and late Chester Bennington saying it is a staple of their live performances. "Numb" could also qualify.
  • Loreen — Both of her winning Eurovision songs could be considered; "Euphoria" or "Tattoo".
    • Fort Minor — Originally this title belonged to "Where'd You Go", the only hit song off of the project. Over time however, this would become its follow-up "Remember the Name", which, while performing poorly on most charts, continued to be prominent as a sports anthem and a staple of movie trailers.
  • Little Big Town — Tough call between "Pontoon" or "Girl Crush". The former was their biggest hit on country radio and their most popular song amongst their core demographic. The latter, on the other hand, is their biggest hit on the Hot 100 and their most widely known and beloved song to general audiences.
  • Living Colour — "Cult of Personality", which was by far their biggest chart hit in the US and only major pop crossover. Especially re-enforced via Song Association with pro-wrestling superstar CM Punk.
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd comes down to a two-way tie between "Sweet Home Alabama", their iconic anthem of Southern Pride which is their best known song to the greater public, and "Free Bird", a classic rock radio mainstay that inspired the Iconic Song Request and is the more popular song with their core demographic. Close behind is also "Simple Man", a quintessential album track in rock history.
  • Måneskin — Hard to pinpoint exactly which one it would be. Some would say it's their cover of "Beggin'", some would say it's "I Wanna Be Your Slave" while Eurovision fans would most likely associate them with their winning song "Zitti e Buoni".
  • Bruno Mars — He had several huge hits since his career first took off in 2010, but his signature song is likely one he was not officially the lead artist for: "Uptown Funk!" was released with producer Mark Ronson as the lead artist, with Mars as a guest. However, it became a 14-week chart-topper, won the Record of the Year Grammy, and was named the biggest hit of the 2010s by Billboard Magazine.
  • Reba McEntire's signature song would either be her cover of Bobby Gentry's "Fancy" (which made the Top Ten on Billboard's Hot Country Hits in 1991.) or her cover of Vicki Lawrence's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" (made number 12 on the Hot Country Songs chart and is her most frequently played song on radio). Both are also her top two most streamed songs on Spotify. Other candidates include "I'm a Survivor", which was also the theme song of her self-titled sitcom (albeit shortened and with the lyrics rearranged), or "Consider me Gone", her fourth most streamed song on Spotify, among her later work.
  • McFly — "5 Colours in Her Hair" and "All About You".
  • MC Hammer — "U Can't Touch This", his 1990 Breakthrough Hit, has been credited with making Pop Rap viable in the mainstream. Ironically enough, it was not his highest charting song due to its limited availability as a commercial single, but it's the only song of his with any modern day presence in pop culture.
  • Meat Loaf — "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)", largely due to the mass confusion over what "that" is. "Bat Out of Hell", "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)" are also strong contenders.
  • Megan Thee Stallion — "Body" is her biggest hit to date or her (in)famous duet with "Cardi B", "WAP".
  • Metallica — While many of their songs are iconic, "Enter Sandman" probably takes the cake here. Not far behind, though, are "Ride the Lightning", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Master of Puppets", "Nothing Else Matters", "One", "The Unforgiven", "Until it Sleeps", "The Memory Remains", "Sad But True", and their cover versions of "Turn the Page" and "Whiskey in the Jar".
  • George Michael — "Careless Whisper" is George's most famous solo song along with "Faith" and "Freedom".
  • Miguel — Was initally “Sure Thing” before “Adorn” eclipsed it in popularity, but seems to be reverting to the former thanks to TikTok.
  • Nicki Minaj — "Starships" is her most well-known song but "Superbass" or "Anaconda" could also be considered.
  • Miracle Musical: "The Mind Electric" is the most popular song on Hawaii: Part II, for its intense story and heavy use in fan projects.
  • Modest Mouse: "Float On", followed closely by "The World at Large".
  • Molly Hatchet — "Flirtin' With Disaster" is by far their most popular song, spending weeks on the top 100, being their most streamed song on Spotify (and the rest aren't even close) and appearing in numerous films and TV shows.
  • Van Morrison — "Brown Eyed Girl" is his overall biggest hit, and the most popular song of his career among average audiences. Among the most popular classics of Morrison's career, although they weren't all big hits on the charts, are also the Moondance signatures (the Title Track, "Into the Mystic", "Crazy Love" and "And It Stoned Me"), "Have I Told You Lately", "Bright Side of the Road", "Domino", "Days Like This" and the classic he penned with his early career band Them, "Gloria".
  • Ne-Yo — "So Sick" was a massive hit and has since been sampled by many other artists. "Miss Independent" also could be this.
  • Nicola Roberts — A weird example. "Beat of My Drum" is technically her most commercially successful song, but her unofficially released single "Sticks + Stones" is widely considered as her best song (to date) and is an Ensemble Dark Horse track on her debut album.
  • Nirvana — "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from Nevermind is the band's biggest hit, and quite possibly the defining song of The '90s, being responsible in part for bringing both Grunge and Alternative Rock music to a mainstream audience and ending the dominance of Hair Metal.
  • Noah — "Separuh Aku" is their biggest hit after the name-change from Peterpan and is still the song that will likely to be brought up when talking about "Noah's song". Peterpan, on the other hand, had more songs that still remain in Indonesian public consciousness ("Mimpi Yang Sempurna", "Semua Tentang Kita", "Ada Apa Denganmu", "Mungkin Nanti", "Menghapus Jejakmu").
  • Miike Snow — "Animal" at first, but now most definitely "Genghis Khan", though the former is back to being this for them in the UK due to the remix being used as the theme tune of Friday Night Dinner.
  • Orleans — "Dance With Me" and "Still the One" are their only widely-known songs, being their top two on Spotify and the others aren't even close.
  • Paramore — "Misery Business" is definitely their signature. However, "crushcrushcrush" and more recently, "Hard Times" are well-known.
  • Katy Perry — "I Kissed a Girl" made her very popular. "California Gurls", "Teenage Dream", "Firework" and "Roar" would all qualify is Katy's signatures.
  • Pink Floyd — While they have several popular songs, but "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" from The Wall probably takes the cake here, being their only #1 hit and having a very distinctive theme railing against the education system. The other song which would take the cake and is the most representative contender is easily "Wish You Were Here", although it wasn't even released as a single at first. Also in the running are "Money", the biggest hit from The Dark Side of the Moon, and "Comfortably Numb", also from The Wall.
  • The Pointer Sisters — "I'm So Excited", with the closest contender being "Jump (For My Love)".
  • PSY — "Gangnam Style" was the song that broke down the barrier for K-pop music to succeed outside South Korea. It was, for a long time, the most viewed music video on YouTube and the first to ever hit the one-billion view mark.
  • Queen has many, many, hugely iconic songs, but even then, one song stands above all: "Bohemian Rhapsody", to the point that it gave its title to Freddie Mercury's biopic.
  • Rev Theory — "Voices" is undoubtedly their best known song despite never being an actual single that was promoted to radio. This is because it is the longtime theme music for iconic professional wrestler Randy Orton. Technically, it isn’t even an actual Rev Theory song, but rather a solo song by frontman Rich Luzzi (although credited to the band as a whole).
  • Olivia Rodrigo — "drivers license" and "good 4 u"
  • Scissor Sisters — "Filthy/Gorgeous" or "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'".
  • The Rolling Stones — "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" was the band's biggest chart hit and is considered the song that made them The Beatles' main rivals. The role is shared nowadays by "Paint it Black", their most streamed song on the internet and one of their biggest hits as well. Of course, there are two non-singles that are particularly iconic, as it often happens in rock music: "Gimme Shelter" and "Sympathy for the Devil". Also the hit "Start Me Up" comes close.
  • Seether — On pop radio, "Broken" was the band’s only hit and thus their signature song to that format. On their home rock format, "Fake It" is definitely their most recognizable song. Runners-up include "Remedy", their first song to top any rock chart, and "Country Song", easily their most successful 2010s song.
  • Bob Seger: "Old Time Rock and Roll". It was only a moderate hit initially, but became his signature due to its famous use in Risky Business.
  • Selena — A close call between "Amor Prohibido", "Como la Flor" and "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom". Though "Dreaming of You" is quite popular among American listeners.
  • Shaggy — "Boombastic", "Angel", and "It Wasn't Me" are his most iconic songs. Since the latter two are duets with other singers providing the lead vocals (Rayvon and Rickardo "RikRok" Ducent respectively), one could argue that "Boombastic" is Shaggy's true signature, especially thanks to its famous use during the "Biggie Cheese" musical number in Barnyard, which reached meme status around 2016. Not to mention Mr. Bean dancing to it.
  • Shinedown — "Second Chance" is this, as it’s their biggest hit, only successful pop crossover, and the last hard rock song to ever be a mainstream pop hit.
  • Simple Minds — In the United States, "Don't You (Forget About Me)", as it was their only song to top the charts there, tied to one of the most iconic films of the 1980s.
  • Frank Sinatra — "My Way", though "That's Life" has become a very close second.
  • Nancy Sinatra — "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," her very first US hit and a landmark of the Swinging Sixties.
  • Slipknot — "Duality", "Psychosocial" or "Before I Forget" could be considered.
  • Sam Smith — "Unholy" was incredibly popular after blowing up on TikTok.
  • Spice Girls — "Wannabe", "Spice Up Your Life" and "2 Become 1" would all be synonymous with them.
  • Bruce Springsteen — "The Boss" has had many iconic songs, but two songs of his in particular were "born" for this status: his 1975 Breakthrough Hit "Born to Run" and his 1984 song "Born in the U.S.A.", which has become appropriated as a symbol of American patriotism (despite actually being anything but).
    • Although by far less representative of his songwriting, "Dancing in the Dark" is technically Springsteen's biggest international hit, and easily his most streamed song on the internet. There's also "I'm on Fire," which is one of his biggest hits and one of his most streamed and popular songs; strangely enough, most compilations lack the song.
    • If you wanna go by album:
      • Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.: Were once "Blinded by the Light" and "Spirit in the Night", but now "Growin' Up" has (no pun intended) grown to be this, also thanks to its association with Springsteen's youth and live popularity.
      • The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle: "Rosalita (Come out Tonight)".
      • Born to Run: the Title Track and "Thunder Road".
      • Darkness on the Edge of Town: "Badlands", followed by "The Promised Land" as a song which grew in popularity and is very much a live staple.
      • The River: the Title Track and "Hungry Heart".
      • Nebraska: "Atlantic City".
      • Born in the U.S.A.: Pretty much all the songs on the album are classics, but the Title Track, "Dancing in the Dark", "I'm on Fire", "Glory Days" and "My Hometown" stand out the most.
      • Tunnel of Love: "Brilliant Disguise" in the US, "Tougher Than the Rest" in Europe.
      • Human Touch: the Title Track.
      • Lucky Town: was once the hit "Better Days", but now "If I Should Fall Behind" eclipsed it.
      • Greatest Hits: "Streets of Philadelphia", with "Secret Garden" as a runner-up.
      • The Ghost of Tom Joad: the Title Track.
      • Tracks: "Sad Eyes" and "Pink Cadillac".
      • The Rising: the Title Track in the US, "Waitin' on a Sunny Day" in Europe.
      • Devils & Dust: the Title Track.
      • Magic: "Radio Nowhere".
      • Working on a Dream: the Title Track.
      • The Promise: "Because the Night" and "Fire".
      • Wrecking Ball: the hit "We Take Care of Our Own" was this first, but now the Title Track easily eclipses it.
      • Western Stars: "Hello Sunshine".
      • Letter to You: the Title Track and "Ghosts".
  • Harry Styles — "Watermelon Sugar" became popular thanks to TikTok. But, "As It Was" has likely usurped it, given it spent fifteen weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 2022.
  • Sugababes — Depending on the era. "Overload" from their debut album. "Round Round" or "Push The Button" when Heidi joined.
  • Survivor — "Eye of the Tiger" remains one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s thanks to its use in Rocky III and continued presence as a sports stadium anthem.
  • Taylor Swift — "Tim Mc Graw", "Teardrops On My Guitar" and "Our Song" put her on the map but her most well-known singles include "Shake It Off", "Love Story" and "Bad Blood".
  • Talking Heads — "Psycho Killer" is probably their overall best-known song and most streamed track on the internet, but also "Once in a Lifetime" continues to be one of the band's best-known songs and one of the most famous tracks of the 80s thanks to its iconic Surreal Music Video and the many, many parodies it received over the years. The song so thoroughly eclipses the rest of the band's output that a Greatest Hits Album and a retrospective Boxed Set were both named after it, and it remains a staple of frontman David Byrne's live performances as a solo act. The other song that comes close to it is "Burning Down the House", which was their biggest chart hit.
  • Tally Hall:
    • Starting in the early 2020s, "Ruler of Everything" became more and more well known, as it became a staple of several meme edits. Even besides that, it's the multiple tone shifts the song goes through, and the memorable lyrics.
    • From Good & Evil, there's "Turn the Lights Off," known for being incredibly catchy in addition to having a dark and vague story. It's become a popular choice for Fan Vids.
  • Tears for Fears — "Shout" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" are undoubtably this, being two of the most recognizable songs from The '80s. To younger generations it's easily the latter, which dwarfs the former on Spotify. "Mad World" could be considered this, but it's usually overshadowed by the Gary Jules cover from Donnie Darko, while "Head Over Heels" and "Sowing the Seeds of Love" are both fairly popular in their own right.
  • Thin Lizzy — "The Boys Are Back in Town" is their most recognizable song by far, receiving ample airplay and being streamed more than any other song in their discography.
  • Justin Timberlake — After leaving *NSYNC, his most famous solo songs include "Sexyback", "Cry Me A River" and "Like I Love You" in the early 2000s.
  • The 1975 — "Chocolate" or "The Sound".
  • The All-American Rejects — "Dirty Little Secret" or "Swing Swing".
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra — "Sarajevo 12/24" from their first album and "Christmas Canon" from their second.
  • Randy Travis — "Forever and Ever Amen" is a staple of classic country music.
  • Tina Turner — "What's Love Got to Do with It" is easily the signature of her solo career and her entire singing career as a whole. It was even the title of her 1993 biopic. "The Best" could be considered as a contender. Her signature song from when she was still paired with her ex-husband Ike is either their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary", "Nutbush City Limits" or "River Deep, Mountain High"note .
  • Bonnie Tyler — "Total Eclipse of the Heart", was initially her undisputed signature, but "Holding Out for a Hero" has since become a very close contender at least.
  • U2 — A lot of candidates, but "With or Without You," "One" and "Beautiful Day" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" are probably the leads, and the latter is a high contender also thanks to being their most covered song. "Sunday Bloody Sunday", "Pride (In the Name of Love)", "Where the Streets Have No Name," "Mysterious Ways", "Desire" and "Vertigo" are also very popular and recognizable songs, and are their most played live songs, along with "I Will Follow", which can be considered as their first classic overall. They have many popular songs overall.
  • Van Halen — "Jump", "Panama", "You Really Got Me", "Running with the Devil" and "Ain't Talking 'Bout Love" are their top five most streamed songs on Spotify. "Hot for Teacher" is another strong contender, both due to its iconic drum solo and due to it and its raunchy music video exemplifying Van Halen's testosterone-fueled public image; it was even the former trope namer for what is now a redirect to Teacher/Student Romance.
  • Vaughn Monroe — "Racing with the Moon", the song was even used on the advertisements he recorded for RCA Victor.
  • Village People — "YMCA" has appeared in countless shows, movies and ads and is frequently subject to parody. "Macho Man" is a close second, however.
  • The Weeknd — For some time, it was "Can't Feel My Face" (with "Earned It", "The Hills", "Starboy" and "I Feel It Coming" not far behind), but "Blinding Lights" has likely usurped it, given it has the distinction of being seen by many as the signature song of 2020 itself, as it was the biggest hit song released before the COVID-19 Pandemic, remained near the top of the charts for the remainder of the year, even after other hit songs would see release, and was declared by Billboard itself to be the most successful song in Hot 100 history.
  • Kanye West — The songs that are contending for that title are "All Falls Down", "Jesus Walks", "Gold Digger", "Stronger", "Heartless", "Power", or "All of the Lights", but depending on the time period, it could really be any of his songs.
  • Westlife — They were very popular for their ballads, mostly "Flying Without Wings" or "You Raise Me Up". They also released a popular cover of "Uptown Girl".
  • Barry White — "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" and "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe", his top two songs on Spotify.
  • The Who — The theme songs to the three core CSI-verse television series ("Who Are You", Won't Get Fooled Again, and Baba O'Riley") are generally considered the frontrunners for this status along with "My Generation" and "Behind Blue Eyes" (which are their most streamed songs behind "Baba O'Riley" and very iconic songs in rock history — and in the case of the latter, for being [in]famously covered by Limp Bizkit). Other contenders include "I Can See for Miles" (their biggest commercial hit in the US and the theme song to the relatively forgotten fourth CSI show), and, even more, "Pinball Wizard" (the signature song of the seminal rock opera Tommy, as well as one of their most popular and streamed songs and very often played lived).
  • Robbie Williams — Celebrated a very successful solo career after leaving Take That! in the mid-90s. His most popular song would be "Angels" but "Let Me Entertain You" and "Rock DJ" could also be considered, especially with the controversial video for the latter.
  • ZZ Top — "La Grange" is their most streamed song online. Though "Sharp Dressed Man, "Gimme All Your Lovin'", "Tush" and "Legs" are all close contenders.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Homestuck — While there's a song literally called "Homestuck Anthem", "Sburban Jungle" is arguably more emblematic of the series as a whole, since it's the theme for the in-universe video game the plot revolves around, and it's used as an element in numerous other songs.

Alternative Title(s): A To K, L To Z


"One-Winged Angel"

The reveal trailer for Sephiroth plays One-Winged Angel, which is the most iconic song in the Final Fantasy franchise.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (34 votes)

Example of:

Main / SignatureSong

Media sources: