Putting together a list is always a dicey proposition. The fear of omitting an innovative or important item weighs heavily on the minds of voters, and therefore, it’s generally a good idea to somehow narrow the scope of what nominations are acceptable. Occasionally, though, a publication decides to open up the playing field and print a list with absolutely no restrictions. This month, Q Magazine decided to try their hand at the latter and more broad category, and I must say, they did a damn good job.

Fifty of the world’s elite songwriters were given the task of picking the ten greatest tunes ever written. You may remember a few years ago Rolling Stone similarly did a top 500 list, but not a single song from the historic publication’s top ten carried over to Q’s effort. Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” led the way followed by “Strawberry Field Forever”, “Life On Mars”, “Sympathy For The Devil”, and “Strange Fruit” by The Beatles, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, and Billie Holiday respectively. Rounding out the other five were “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (The Verve), “God Only Knows” (The Beach Boys), “Born To Run” (Bruce Springsteen), “Blowin’ In The Wind” (Bob Dylan), and “Perfect Day” (Lou Reed).

It’s impossible to argue with this collection of epic songs. Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” is unquestionably the quintessential cover of the Leonard Cohen classic. The late singer/songwriter’s voice brings so much emotion to the track that it is more than worthy of the top spot. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, and David Bowie are all adequately represented, and really the only song that could be considered a surprise is “Bittersweet Symphony”, though its steady, melodic beauty makes its inclusion more than warranted.

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