The best songs ever: Part 2

The best songs ever: Part 2


Ahead of the impending Ivor Novello Awards this week, Music Week got thinking about the immortal question: What is the best song ever written? Our staff have already answered the question, but we decided to put it to top names in the biz, too. We’ve published some of them in part 1, but here’s what other people had to say...

David Bowie - Life On Mars
Henry Harrison (Mystery Jets)

“It was the last song he ever performed live and it still sounded so brilliant and moving. You could tell he wasn’t in the best of health but it was still wonderful performance.”


Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On?
Miller Williams (senior vice president, creative, Kobalt)

“It’s a timeless song and it reflects what’s going on in the world today.”



Coldplay – Sparks
Jerry Williams (artist)

“I'm a big fan of Chris Martin's songwriting and, if I had to listen to one song for the rest of my life, it would be this. Every time I hear it I almost see a colour, like a really warm, plummy purple. It reminds me of walking along the beach in Portsmouth, it's such a beautiful song.”


Sigur Rós - Untitled #1  
Mac & Phil (songwriters/producers)

“It breaks your heart and mends it at the same time.”



Gillian Welch - Elvis Presley Blues
Natalie Hemby (artist)

“That song is hypnotising to me. It’s a story but it's not told in a story fashion. It has the Blues incorporated in it, it’s a lullaby in a way; there are all these different types of music in this one song and I love that it’s about the King of Rock’n’Roll, like an ode to him. When that song comes on I could listen to it over and over and over. Granted there are songs like I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton or (Pride) In The Name Of Love by U2, there are so many great songs, but it doesn't matter if it's day or night, I will always love that song.”



Joni Mitchell - A Case Of You
Josette Maskin & Naomi McPherson (Muna)

Maskin: “I think [my answer is] a Case Of You by Joni Mitchell. I think it’s one of the best songs ever written.”

McPherson: “Every Joni Mitchell song is the best song I’ve ever heard. She wrote it when she was 21. It’s the most emotional shit. You can’t write that. It’s the most honest, human channelling of the muse ever. Her purpose in life is to write the most poetic, simple, personal beautiful songs. She’s the best.”



Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller - Is That All There Is?
Ron Mael (Sparks)

“Leiber and Stoller usually aren’t mentioned like Lennon or McCartney but they were amazing writers. That song is so broad and the sentiments are so cynical for a popular song.”



Avril Lavigne - I’m With You
Dyo (songwriter)

“It’s just a great song and I still use it as a reference point in the studio to this day.”



Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman
Mark Bowen (co-founder, Wichita Recordings)

“This was written by Jimmy Webb and it’s a song so good we had to name a label after it. It’s the perfect song, every note from first to last is incredible, and the yearning in the lyrics has never been bettered for me. The idea of a song that says, ‘I need you more than want you/But I want you for all time…’ Wow. This song would stop me in my tracks anywhere, any time. When we started the label we said we wanted to try and release one song even half as good and in 17 years I don’t think we’ve come close. It’s a hell of a song.”



The Cribs - Glitters Like Gold
James Moodie (senior manager, talent and music, Vevo)

“They’re my favourite band and they’re the best live act around. This song really reminds me of Serve The Servants from Nirvana’s In Utero, which was my favourite album growing up. I think if you asked them they’d probably admit it was in homage. Also it’s on an amazing clear 7” with gold sparkles.”






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