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The Best of the Best

By Bill LambThis is the place to begin your collection of the best in pop

music. The selection here is subjective, but all of these songs are deserved classics. Read on to explore the best pop music of all time. 40. Rihanna featuring Jay-Z - "Umbrella" (2007)

Courtesy Def Jam

Tricky Ste art and The!"ream rote #$mbrella# ith Britney Spears in mind. %er record label rejected it claiming they had enough songs for her upcoming collection Blackout. The song then caught the attention of L.&. Reid at 'sland "ef (am, and after he sent it to Rihanna she immediately anted to record it. $pon release the song )uickly became the biggest hit of Rihanna*s career reaching +, around the orld. #$mbrella# remained at the top of the chart in the $- for ,. eeks, the longest of any song in the decade. 't as nominated for /rammy & ards for Song and Record of the 0ear hile inning a /rammy for Best Rap1Sung 2ollaboration. 3atch 4ideo
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Courtesy Motown

Stevie 3onder originally rote the song #Superstition# for guitarist (eff Beck. %o ever, ith insistence from management, he recorded it himself. The song as notable as indicating Stevie 3onder*s move into personal exploration ith a funkier sound and the use of innovative arrangements of synthesi8ers and horns. The song as the lead single for Stevie 3onder*s Talking Book album and hit +, in the $S in early ,9:;. 3atch 4ideo
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,'. Aretha $ran2lin - "Res1e"t" (&-37)

Courtesy Atlantic Records

#Respect# as originally ritten and recorded by R<B legend 7tis Redding in ,9=>. %o ever, it is &retha ?ranklin*s ,9=: version that has become definitive and a signature song for her. The sho stopping #R!@!S! 5!@!2!T ?ind out hat it means to me# line is unforgettable. The song ent to +, on the $S pop charts and on t o /rammy & ards for Best R<B recording and Best R<B ?emale 4ocal performance. 3atch 4ideo
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,7. 4e5

rder - "6lue 7!nday" (&-',)

Courtesy Factory

#Blue Aonday# is one of the most influential dance pop records of all time. Be 7rder recorded it just t o years after the group had risen out of the ashes of the post punk band (oy "ivision hich fell apart hen lead vocalist 'an 2urtis. The band incorporated influential elements from seminal dance artists -raft erk, "onna Summer and Sylvester. The breakbeat production ork of &rthur Baker in Be 0ork as also a strong influence. The ,C!inch single became the biggest selling ,C!inch of all time. 3atch 4ideo
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,3. 8!n 7"9ean - "Ameri"an :ie" (&-7&)

Courtesy United Artists

#&merican 5ie# is considered by many to be an allegorical history of rock music up to the time of its recording. The #day the music died# from the chorus is considered the day that Buddy %olly died in ,9>9 in an airplane crash ith Ritchie 4alens and the Big Bopper. The actual meaning of the specific lyrics is the subject of ongoing speculation. %o ever, many believe that such figures as the Byrds, Aick (agger, and the Beatles are subjects mentioned in the song. #&merican 5ie# as a +, pop single for four eeks. 3atch 4ideo

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,;. R.<.7. - "9!sing 7y Religi!n" (&--&)

Courtesy Warner Bros.

The biggest hit single by the band R.@.A. ent to +D on the pop singles chart. The sound of the song is built around a mandolin hook. The song*s title comes from a Southern collo)uial phrase meaning to lose one*s temper. R.@.A.*s lead vocalist has said the song is about unre)uited love and romantic expression. The accompanying video as highly acclaimed. 't on a /rammy & ard for Best Short ?orm 4ideo. 3atch 4ideo
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,4. 7ad!nna - "Ray

f 9ight" (&--')

Courtesy Ma erick

Aadonna orked ith producer 3illiam 7rbit to put together this dance classic. 't became the top song played in dance clubs for the year ,99E. The accompanying video as inspired by the time lapse photography in the film !oyanis"aatsi. #Ray of Light# as a top ,. smash hit in both the $- and the $S. 't as one of the first recordings here Aadonna full embraced the techno and electronica dance music genres. 3atch 4ideo
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,,. 7i"hael Ja"2s!n - "6illie Jean" (&-',)

Courtesy #$ic

The pulsing bass line is the introduction to #Billie (ean.# The song*s tale of patrimonial accusations is based on a real!life incident. Aichael (ackson*s vocal hiccups became a trademark. Like so many classics, #Billie (ean# almost missed the cut to be included on the T%riller album. 't ent straight to +, and as a top ,. smash across @urope. Aany consider #Billie (ean# to be the most prominent and most influential song on the bestselling album of all time T%riller. 3atch 4ideo
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Courtesy Twentiet%&Century Fo'

This pop standard ritten in ,9;; as first sung by @thel 3aters at the 2otton 2lub in %arlem. %o ever, Lena %orne*s version of the song as included in the ,9D; movie (tormy Weat%er and is probably the best! kno n recording of this classic. The song is built around a classic eather metaphor used to describe emotion. This recording is included in the /rammy & ards %all of ?ame.

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,&. ?uman 9eague - "8!n@t *!u 0ant 7e" (&-'&)

Courtesy A)M Records

The electronic pop band %uman League ere skeptical about the release of #"on*t 0ou 3ant Ae# as a single and thought it ould stall the band*s commercial progress. To their surprise it ent to the top of the pop singles chart in both the $S and the $-. 't has since become kno n as a defining song of Be 3ave pop. The match of deadpan vocal delivery ith an aggressive electronic hook is unforgettable. 3atch 4ideo
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