Referencing Pereza in his song ‘Princesas’ , often “any excuse, bullshit, is good to toast” . Music has always been a reason for celebration outside and within our borders, with different festivities honoring it on the calendar. But if there is a specific date that was engraved on us, especially during school days, it is Santa Cecilia . Considered the patron saint of music by the Catholic Church , the day of her death, November 22 , was named Music Day. Whether you are religious or not, play instruments or not, whether you were enrolled in a conservatory as a child or not. The truth is that, as we say, any excuse is a good one to celebrate that something that makes life much easier, fun and stimulating for many of us. It will not be so bullshit.

Music accompanies us in everything we do, in more banal and everyday moments in which we just need to disconnect from boring reality, and in others that remain etched in our memory forever . Because if something characterizes this type of art it is its ability to teleport you in time . Songs have that magical power to create emotions (practically like smells) that, just by listening to a chord, a rhythm or a voice, make your mind travel to other places or corners of the past. An incomparable phenomenon that, in addition to being a sensory fantasy, is free . And that today is a luxury.

But music is not only part of our lives on an emotional or passionate level. It also has infinite benefits for mental health, memory or cognitive functioning in general. When we listen to our favorite artist or discover that new band that keeps playing on the radio, our brain takes notice and the happiness hormones are activated , that is, your besties : serotonin and dopamine . And for this reason, listening to music in your spare time is synonymous with well-being and self-care. So, with all this range of benefits, how can we not celebrate music day in and day out?

To do this, at Esquire we have decided to complicate our lives and select, within a universal criteria, the 20 most famous songs in the history of music . Those that your grandmother may have heard and that your grandson will surely hear. The ones that are recognizable wherever you are at any time and place on planet Earth, and that, by magic, you know their lyrics from foot to foot. Let’s admit it, if we had known the lyrics of these songs as well as the Knowledge of the Environment lesson of that 4th grade exam, we would have saved ourselves more than one punishment.

‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – Nirvana

In 1991 , Nirvana released their second album, ‘Nevermind’ , which marked the history of grunge forever, making it mainstream for the first time . ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was part of this iconic album, becoming the absolute hit for Kurt Cobain and his company, and being, in the words of the music press at the time, “an anthem for apathetic young people”.

After Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’, perhaps the song that has been covered the most times in human history is John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ . Composed by the Beatle in 1971 , the song has become a hymn for world peace . Around five million physical copies of the single have been sold and more than four million digital copies have been distributed. And the numbers continue to grow year after year.

‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ – Tina Turner

The Queen of Rock (ie Tina Turner ) had to wait until her third album, ‘Private Dancer’, to get her first chart-topping hit worldwide. We are talking about ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ , a song that, by the way, was first offered to Donna Summer . What would have happened if she had accepted?

‘With Or Without You’ – U2

The history of music cannot be understood without the presence of U2 , a band that has the privilege of having many of the most famous rock songs in its catalogue . But we have to put special emphasis on ‘With Or Without You’ , a power ballad that is part of his fifth studio album, ‘The Joshua Tree’ , and which was number one in the United States for 3 weeks in 1987.

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – Queen

According to a study, the happiest song in history is signed by Queen . It’s not ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ , but the truth is that it could well be because it has given many of us very good moments. As its name indicates, the song does not have a very usual structure, but rather more similar to a classical rhapsody (musical piece of romanticism) than to popular music. A jewel.

‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ – Whitney Houston

It won the Grammy in 1988 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and was a worldwide hit, reaching number one in more than 13 countries. You can’t conceive of an ’80s dance floor without Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ blasting out. A classic to come up.

‘Let It Be’ – The Beatles

The title of this song has become a kind of mantra over the years for several generations who have grown up listening to the Beatles . You may have also seen it in several tattoos of people who don’t even listen to the Beatles. For all these reasons, it is not surprising that ‘Let It Be’ is the most famous song in the history of the British band.

‘Like A Rolling Stone’ – Bob Dylan

Following a poem that Bob Dylan wrote in 1965 after a grueling UK tour, the artist created what we know today as ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ , his best-known song. And not only for his fans, but also for the press. In fact, it has been proven that, statistically, it is the most praised song in the history of music.

‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ – Rolling Stones

In the same year as the previous one and alluding to its title, the Rolling Stones released ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ . Composed by the incombustible Mick Jagger and Keith Richards , the song reached the highest positions on the world charts, catapulting the British band to other markets such as the United States.

What song was played at the wedding of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden? Well indeed, it could not be other than ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’ . The pop and disco genres were put on the table in 1975 for the first time from a more serious side. Today, 47 years later, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know an ABBA song.

‘Born To Run’ – Bruce Springsteen

Perfect to be heard when you’re driving down a deserted road with the windows rolled down, ‘Born To Run’ was released by Bruce Springsteen in 1975 . The Boss writes about freedom in what looks like a love letter to a girl named Wendy. Rock made elegance.

‘Respect’ – Aretha Franklin

It has been named the best song of all time , among the 500 selected by the legendary music magazine Rolling Stone . ‘Respect’ is a song that was written in 1965 by the artist Otis Redding, although it was the great Aretha Franklin who made her what she is today by releasing her cover two years after her. Under her vocals, the song morphed into a 1970s feminist anthem.

‘No Woman No Cry’ – Bob Marley

It is time to lie down in a hammock looking at the sea and relax. From rock and soul we went to reggae , with the great exponent of the genre par excellence as the protagonist. Bob Marley released the good vibes ‘No Woman No Cry’ in 1974 , surely without knowing that he would create a school around the sound from Jamaica .

Inspired by a kiss he witnessed at the fall of the Berlin Wall, David Bowie wrote the fantastic ‘Heroes’ back in 1977 . The song tells of two lovers who meet on a night that may never be repeated. A musical melodrama that has served as the soundtrack for romantic films such as ‘Moulin Rouge’.

‘Hallelujah’ – Leonard Cohen

Often sung in churches (although its content is not strictly religious), ‘Hallelujah’ warmed hearts from the moment it was released in 1984 . According to rumors, Leonard Cohen wrote 150 verses in draft until, using scissors, he cut it down to 4 and a half minutes. Like fun fact , the song reached a huge peak of popularity after appearing in the movie ‘Shrek’ in 2001.

The residue left by Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ is so deep that there are even artists who have been inspired (a priori, innocently) so much by its melody that they have been sued by the British band. It was in the year 92 when Radiohead blessed the world with this song that speaks of “obsessive and self-destructive sexual attraction” . Little intensity.

‘Stairway To Heaven’ – Led Zeppelin

We go back to the 70s to highlight another of the songs that have marked the history of rock . It has been considered one of the most requested on radio stations in the United States, and that the band that the signature is not from there. Led Zeppelin surprised in 1971 with 8 minutes of pure magic with ‘Stairway To Heaven’.

‘Material Girl’ – Madonna

Madonna ‘s second album , ‘Live A Virgin’, placed her where she always remained: on the throne of pop. On this album we were able to listen to ‘Material Girl’ , her song par excellence, in which the artist characterizes herself as Marilyn Monroe to talk about materialism and insouciance in the face of romance.

‘Back To Black’ – Amy Winehouse

We cannot close this selection of the 20 most famous songs in the history of music without mentioning an artist who has marked the 21st century. Amy Winehouse unfortunately left us in July 2011, although along the way she was in charge of giving us jewels like this ‘Back To Black’ that will always remain in our memory.