ROLLING Stone has compiled what it says is the definitive list of the "500 greatest songs of all time", but critics have branded the effort “woke”.


How so?

The new “RS 500” marks the first time the iconic magazine has updated its list of the greatest songs for 17 years, with the 2004 list topped by three white artists - Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and John Lennon.



The new “inclusive” list sees black artists move into the top three - Aretha Franklin, Public Enemy and Sam Cooke - and the choices overall have sparked fierce debate, with naysayers accusing the music bible of being guilty of “pandering to the current climate”.


How was it put together?

Via a poll of more than 250 artists, musicians and producers and music industry figures, who each sent in a ranked list of their top 50 tracks. Nearly 4,000 songs received votes and the list was compiled.


Aretha’s at the top?

Respect moves from fifth place on the old list to number one on “RS 500” 2021.


What else?

Public Enemy's Fight the Power is at two, Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come is at three, Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone is at four, Nirvana is at five with Smells Like Teen Spirit, followed by Marvin Gaye's What's Going On?, The Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever, Missy Elliot's Get Ur Freak On, FleetWood Mac's Dreams and Outkast's Hey Ya, beating The Beach Boys' God Only Knows which is at 11, with Stevie Wonder's Superstition at 12. 


Rounding off the top 20?

The Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter at 13, The Kinks' Waterloo Sunset at 14, The Beatles' I Want to Hold Your Hand at 15, followed by Beyonce’s Crazy in Love at 16, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody at 17, Prince’s Purple Rain at 18, John Lennon's Imagine at 19 and Swedish disco star Robyn at 20 with Dancing on my Own.


A flavour of the whole 500?

Where the 2004 version of the list was dominated by early rock and soul, the new edition contains more hip-hop and R&B and relatively new artists often bump iconic figures down the list. The Smiths' How Soon is Now? Is at 421, for example, while Royals by 24-year-old New Zealand singer, Lorde, is at 30.


Well, it’s certainly….?

Eclectic? One fan response included: “So many amazing artists completely missing or grotesquely underrepresented, while several songs that came out just last year make the top 500.” Another added: “I bet you can guess the ethnicity of most, if not all, of the dropped artists. Nothing like a nice virtue signal and pandering.” Another said: “Rolling Stone is going back and ‘woke-ing’ up all their old lists.”


Rolling Stone say…?

“More than half the songs - 254 in all - weren’t present on the old list, including a third of the Top 100. The result is a more expansive, inclusive vision of pop, music that keeps rewriting its history with every beat.”