Best #1 single of all time: 1955-2014 (THE FINALS)

Well, ladies and gentlemen, here we are. Four months, 66 threads, 1,040 songs, and thousands of votes have brought us to this point.

These are the champions of champions - the best song of each decade, as selected from the best song of each year. The time has come to cast your vote and select the Official SDMB-Approved Greatest #1 Jam of All Time. Choose wisely.

I’ll be starting a new poll series sometime after Christmas, depending on when I settle on what I want to do. Until then, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

Previous polls: 1955-56 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s

Absent the Beatles I’ll go with Satisfaction.


  1. Sinéad O’Connor - “Nothing Compares 2 U”
  2. Michael Jackson - “Billie Jean”
  3. The Rolling Stones - “Satisfaction”
  4. Elvis Presley - “Jailhouse Rock”
  5. Stevie Wonder - “Superstition”
  6. Lorde - “Royals”
  7. OutKast - “Hey Ya!”

This is a very tough one. The only one I voted for even once was “Superstition,” which I voted for both in 1973 and in the 1970s poll. However, I’m not sure it’s my favorite from this list. I will keep everyone in suspense for the next couple of days until the situation in the world-famous** Ponch8 Music Reading System** settles itself.

In making my pick, my first criterion was “Is this, in my opinion, the best song by this artist?” I figured if it wasn’t, it shouldn’t win an all-time poll. Sure it’s an arbitrary reason, but it’s MY arbitrary reason!

This eliminated “Satisfaction” (“Mother’s Little Helper”, “Sympathy For The Devil” and maybe “Gimme Shelter” are all better); “Superstition” (“Living For The City” is better); “Billie Jean” (“Beat It” is better); and “Nothing Compares 2 U” (“Mandinka” is better).

That left “Jailhouse Rock”, “Hey Ya”, and “Royals”. I preferred “Rolling In The Deep” in the 2010-present poll, so that knocked “Royals” out.

In a squeaker, I went with “Hey Ya!” over “Jailhouse Rock”. Both are terrific, uptempo songs, but “Hey Ya” is a hair better. IMHO, anyway.

If I were a more cynical man, I’d speculate that Ponch just needs some extra time to research whether any of these artists have ever had dealings with a certain currency-themed singer-songwriter or her producer of questionable medical integrity. :slight_smile:

For me, it was between the Stones and Stevie Wonder. Had this been “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?”, I would’ve voted for that. Alas, Stevie gets my vote. “Superstition” gets cranked up no matter when I hear it.


I think “Billie Jean” is an absolutely perfect pop song. It’s not my favorite MJ song, but it’s perfect.

I was torn between Superstition and Billie Jean for a while. I listened to both of them to help me decide.

I went with Billie Jean. Why? I think there are better Stevie songs, so this, IMO, isn’t even his best. Billie Jean, OTOH, is MJ at his finest, and it is truly spectacular.

Agreed. Just listening to the opening bass line makes me feel cool.

“Satisfaction” has never been one of my favorite Stones songs. I’m flabbergasted that the Beatles aren’t in this poll.

This artist in question is a huge Rolling Stones fan, so their songs do gain a few points in the world-famous Ponch8 Music Rating System, but “Satisfaction” is not one of my favorites of theirs. It’s unlikely that I’ll pick it, perhaps much to her chagrin.

I bowed to pressure and voted for “Satisfaction” as well.

This love of Sinead O’Connor still mystifies me. I don’t understand you people.

I voted for Michael Jackson.

Me neither. Though it is not a bad song.

Oh, god this is rough. I went with Stevie Wonder, but I’d probably rank them like this:

  1. Superstition
  2. Satisfaction
  3. Jailhouse Rock

After this, it gets muddy. I think I’ll go:

  1. Billie Jean
  2. Hey Ya
  3. Nothing Compares 2 U
  4. Royals

I think all are great songs, with possibly the exception of “Royals” (though it’s fine, just not Top of the Pops for me in this type of poll. I think I probably would have come up with all the other choices except for “Royals” eventually if you asked me to name the best numbers one Billboard songs ever.)

I see “Satisfaction” is leading the poll. That sounds about right, and I could live with that. :slight_smile:

The Stones have never been one of my favorite bands . . . but it’s a no brainer for me to vote for Satisfaction as the best of this list.

To be honest, I’d never heard Lorde - “Royals”, or OutKast - “Hey Ya!” before. I didn’t vote in those years.

Lorde sounds quite good actually.

OutKast gives me a headache.

“Hey Ya” managed to be even more stupid than “Satisfaction,” and that’s absolute criterion when judging rock songs, though it’s not as loud. Still, I voted for it as a poke in the eye for anyone who voted for Sinead O’Connor because her song title contains Leetspeak. Which does earn it stupidity points, but not enough.