Like a Rolling Stone,” Bob Dylan’s scornful, ironic ode to a spoiled woman’s reversal of fortune, has been designated the greatest rock’n’roll song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
The six-minute opening track from his landmark 1965 album “Highway 61 Revisited” broke the barrier of the three-minute hit single and established Dylan as a mainstream pop artist, marking his transformation from folk troubadour to rock sensation.
“No other pop song has so thoroughly challenged and transformed the commercial laws and artistic conventions of its time, for all time,” writes Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke in an article accompanying the magazine’s list of the top 500 rock songs of all time.
The list, published in a special edition out tomorrow (Nov. 19), was compiled by a panel of recording artists, producers, label executives, critics and songwriters. Among them were singer Art Garfunkel, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne, vocalist Joni Mitchell and even Dylan’s son, Jakob, who fronts rock act the Wallflowers.
Ranked No. 2 on the magazine’s roster of greatest rock songs of all time is the Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” followed by John Lennon’s utopian ballad “Imagine,” Marvin Gaye’s languid soul classic “What’s Going On” and Aretha Franklin’s empowerment anthem “Respect.”
Rounding out the top 10 are “Good Vibrations” from the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” the Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” Nirvana’s 1991 hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Ray Charles’ seminal soul record “What’d I Say.”
The lion’s share of songs from the list hail from the 1960s, and only a handful were released after 1990. The most recent single to make the list is “Hey Ya!” (2003) from hip-hop duo OutKast at No. 180. Rapper Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” (2002) ranks No. 166.
The highest-charting song on the list from the king of rock’n’roll, Elvis Presley, is his 1956 hit “Hound Dog” at No. 19.
The Beatles, not surprisingly, notch the most songs on the list, with 22 entries. They are trailed by archrivals the Rolling Stones, who tally 13. A dozen of Dylan’s songs make the cut.
In a similar list published in 1989, the magazine named the Stones’ “Satisfaction” as the best single of the past 25 years, with Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” placed at No. 2 — a reversal of the latest ranking.
Last year’s Rolling Stone magazine list of the top 500 rock albums of all time put the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” at No. 1.