Songs that make you bob your head, tap your toes, and wiggle your way around the room are the reasons why people love music. Every year, a new song tops the charts, plays on repeat on your favorite radio station, and makes people love music all over again.

While there’s no definitive “these songs are the best ever” compendium everyone agrees on, the Billboard Hot 100 is often held as the standard by which the world rates music singles. Using this standard as a reference, here are the very top of the songs and singles from the Billboard Hot 100 every decade dating back to the 1960s.

Top music singles from the 1950s

Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Horton—the 1950s were full of songs that defined a generation.  

  • 1950: “Goodnight Irene” by Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers
  • 1951: “Too Young” by Nat King Cole
  • 1952: “Blue Tango” by Leroy Anderson
  • 1953: “The Song from Moulin Rouge” by Percy Faith
  • 1954: “Little Things Mean a Lot” by Kitty Kallen
  • 1955: “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” by Perez Prado
  • 1956: “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley
  • 1957: “All Shook Up” by Elvis Presley
  • 1958: “Volare” (“Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu”) by Domenico Modugno
  • 1959: “The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton

Top music singles from the 1960s

The 1960s were a tumultuous decade for both politics and music, and artists like The Beatles helped many see through the tough times.

  • 1960: “Theme from ‘A Summer Place’” by Percy Faith
  • 1961: “Tossin’ and Turnin’” by Bobby Lewis
  • 1962: “Stranger on the Shore” by Mr. Acker Bilk
  • 1963: “Sugar Shack” by Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs
  • 1964: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles
  • 1965: “Wooly Bully” by Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs
  • 1966: “The Ballad of the Green Berets” by Sgt. Berry Sadler
  • 1967: “To Sir With Love” by Lulu
  • 1968: “Hey Jude” by The Beatles
  • 1969: “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies

Top music singles from the 1970s

Fashion trends and over-the-top expression were the name of the game in the 1970s. The likes of Simon and Garfunkel and Barbra Streisand made the decade one to remember.

  • 1970: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel
  • 1971: “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night
  • 1972: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack
  • 1973: “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn
  • 1974: “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand
  • 1975: “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Captain & Tennille
  • 1976: “Silly Love Songs” by Wings
  • 1977: “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)" by Rod Stewart
  • 1978: “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb
  • 1979: “My Sharona” by Knack

Top music singles from the 1980s

Another unbridled decade of upheaval, the 1980s were full of punks being punks and Prince being Prince.

  • 1980: “Call Me” by Blondie
  • 1981: “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes
  • 1982: “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John
  • 1983: “Every Breath You Take” by The Police
  • 1984: “When Doves Cry” by Prince
  • 1985: “Careless Whisper” by Wham!
  • 1986: “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne and Friends
  • 1987: “Walk Like an Egyptian” by The Bangles
  • 1988: “Faith” by George Michael
  • 1989: “Look Away” by Chicago

Top music singles from the 1990s

The 1990s were a decade of "dirty design," evolving tastes, and the public trying to find their place in the world. Bryan Adams wooed and Whitney Houston wailed like no one else could.

  • 1990: “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips
  • 1991: “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams
  • 1992: “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men
  • 1993: “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
  • 1994: “The Sign” by Ace of Base
  • 1995: “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio
  • 1996: “Macarena” (Bayside Boys Mix) by Los Del Rio
  • 1997: “Candle in the Wind 1997” by Elton John
  • 1998: “Too Close” by Next
  • 1999: “Believe” by Cher

Top music singles from the 2000s

The Pew Research Center defines the 2000s as a decade where millennials ended and Generation Z began. More hip-hop, heartfelt alternative rock, and, of course, Beyoncé, topped the charts.

  • 2000: “Breathe” by Faith Hill
  • 2001: “Hanging by a Moment” by Lifehouse
  • 2002: “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback
  • 2003: “In Da Club” by 50 Cent
  • 2004: “Yeah!” by Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris
  • 2005: “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey
  • 2006: “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter
  • 2007: “Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé
  • 2008: “Low" by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain
  • 2009: “Boom Boom Pow” by The Black Eyed Peas

Top music singles from the 2010s

The 2010s (pronounced “twenty-tens”) aren’t over yet, but songs that rocked the world in some way or another were big hits. Also, it’s been an evolving decade for films and television.

  • 2010: “Tik Tok” by Kesha
  • 2011: “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
  • 2012: “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra
  • 2013: “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton
  • 2014: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  • 2015: “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
  • 2016: “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
  • 2017: “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran
  • 2018: “God’s Plan” by Drake

Did a few of favorites make the list? See anything that brings back memories? Songs have a way of working their way into your soul. Take some time and revisit a few cream-of-the-crop singles from the Billboard Top 100 Songs.