The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time - 400-301

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The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time - 400-301

Our run down of the tracks named the 500 greatest songs of all time in this week's NME continues... In at 400, it's the Foo Fighters - 'Learn To Fly' (1999, Roswell/RCA). The video showed Dave Grohl could act. The song, meanwhile, proved he could write guitar pop firecrackers that stomped emo underfoot.

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399. Oasis - 'Slide Away' (1994, Creation). Among Noel Gallagher's most straightforward – and very best – love songs, written on a guitar given to him by Johnny Marr.

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398. Regina Spektor - 'Us' (2004, Sire). The jittery piano rhythms, anti-folk aesthetic and Spektor's acrobatic voice make 'Us' a thing of rare beauty

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397. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - 'The Mercy Seat' (1988, Mute). A claustrophobic song about an electric-chair execution, full of Old Testament references. Archetypal Cave.

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396. Eminem - 'The Real Slim Shady' (2000, Aftermath). The music was cartoonish and playful, but the lyrics take absolutely no prisoners, destroying fake Shadys with both barrels.

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395. Jamie T - 'Sheila' (2006, Virgin). Three interwoven tragedies with lyrics borrowed from Betjeman – Jamie T's debut unveiled a serious street-poet talent.

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394. The Stranglers - 'No More Heroes' (1977, United Artists). An anthem of nihilism and rebellion so vital and visceral it was a hit twice; the second time it was called 'Waking Up' and by Elastica.

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393. Blur - 'To The End' (1994, Food). Part-French and made of mirrorballs, trying to patch up failing relationship has rarely sounded more grand and beautiful than 'Parklife''s last dance.

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392. Chaka Khan - 'I Feel For You' (1984, Warner Bros). Released five years after Prince's original, it's Khan's version, with Stevie Wonder on harmonica and Melle Mel breaking rap into the chart mainstream, that's remembered.

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391. Black Sabbath – 'Paranoid' (1970, Vertigo). Pioneering heavy metal, 'Paranoid' was the sacrificial knife in the neck of rock, unleashing all of hell's squealiest demons.

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390. Paul Simon - 'Me And Julio Down By The School Yard' (1972, Columbia). Paul Simon's genius in action - making two boys committing an undisclosed, serious crime sound like a nursery rhyme.

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389. Blur - 'There's No Other Way' (1991, Food). With their second single, Blur managed to out-Madchester most Madchester bands. No mean feat.

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388. The Smiths - 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side' (1985, Rough Trade). Morrissey's persecution complex set to the most glorious of Johnny Marr guitar lines.

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387. Roy Orbison - 'Oh, Pretty Woman' (1964, Monument). Orbison didn't do obvious. Here he is wondering if a passing beauty might be as lonely as he is.

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386. Pavement - 'Cut Your Hair' (1994, Matador). A scathing attack on the image-obsessed music industry, as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.

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385. Oasis - 'Champagne Supernova' (1995, Creation). An album as gargantuan in scale as 'What's The Story? (Morning Glory)' needs a suitably epic closing track, and this is it.

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384. The Slits - 'Typical Girls' (1979, Island). Blending punk, reggae and rock, this brilliant track by The Slits might've been called 'Typical Girls', but they were anything but.

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383. N*E*R*D - 'Lapdance' (2001, Virgin). A satire drawing parallels between politicians and strippers dressed up as an electro-funk groove. Clever.

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382. The Beatles - 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' (1968, Apple). George Harrison's lyrics were inspired by an ancient Chinese text. Eric Clapton's vibrato-heavy guitar was all his.

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381. MGMT - 'Kids' (2007, Columbia). A twisted New Order-esque banger of a track, the kind you wished they still wrote.

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380. Arctic Monkeys - 'Piledriver Waltz' (2011, Domino). One giant metaphor for heartbreak. Easily Alex Turner's most tender song.

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379. The Byrds - 'I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better' (1965, Columbia). Gene Clark can't work out whether or not to dump a cheating girlfriend. Multi-harmonied lushness ensues.

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378. Nick Cave And Kylie Minogue - 'Where The Wild Roses Grow' (1995, Mute). Unlikely as Nick Cave teaming up with Kylie on a sinister murder ballad was, it's the modern standard all duets are measured against.

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377. Elton John - 'Bennie And The Jets' (1973, DJM). Ziggy Stardust's influence is all over this satire of '70s glitz-n-greed showbiz excess told via a fictional band.

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376. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - 'Roadrunner' (1976, Beserkley). Richman's 'Roadrunner' is Thelma And Louise and Easy Rider, a guide to a carefree existence, and it's utterly infectious.

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375. Michael Jackson - 'Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough' (1979, Epic). The song that made a man a legend, with a funky disco beat packed with personality.

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374. The Human League - 'Love Action (I Believe In Love)' (1981, Virgin). Sexy and synthy, this was the sound of a new decade, new technology and ostentatious haircuts.

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373. Arctic Monkeys - 'Brianstorm' (2007, Domino). Alex Turner took a turn for the metal with – at that point - the heaviest song of the Monkeys’ career.

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372. Public Enemy - 'Don't Believe The Hype' (1988 Def Jam). A takedown of ‘false media’, Chuck D’s political hip-hop made for one of the 1980s most important musical movements.

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371. Bjork - 'Hyperballad' (1996, One Little Indian). Poetry in electronica-driven motion. Bjork’s spiralling masterpiece was as thrilling as it was expansive.

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370. Suede - 'The Wild Ones' (1994, Nude) Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler proved themselves a songwriting duo to be reckoned with on this stately ballad.

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369. Oasis - 'Half The World Away' (1994, Creation). 'Whatever'’s b-side – and The Royle Family’s theme tune – saw these rock and roll stars do acoustic balladry with lashings of pathos.

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368. My Bloody Valentine - 'You Made Me Realise' (1988, Creation). As heavy as they come, gauzy melodics mixed with punishing riffery and a minute of solid Hell-chord in this beastly squall.

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367. A Guy Called Gerald - 'Voodoo Ray' (1988, Rham! Records). Acid house’s breakout hit, throbbing with the soulful sound of getting off your tits in a field.

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366. The Cure - 'Friday I'm In Love' (1992, Fiction). Turned out you weren't the only one who loves the weekend. Irrepressibly joyful.

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365. Sonic Youth - 'Teen Age Riot' (1988, Blast First). Over a sprawling seven minutes, Sonic Youth thundered through one of the eighties’ most exciting alt.rock moments.

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364. Suede - 'Killing Of A Flash Boy' (1994, Nude). Superlative b-side that chugged with sleazy glam and a magnetic gang mentality.

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363. Creedence Clearwater Revival - 'Bad Moon Rising' (1969, Fantasy) Mixing classic rock with southern country, this honest hoedown paved the way for the Seventies’ Stateside stadium sound.

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362. Metallica - 'Enter Sandman' (1991, Elektra). Heavy metal’s answer to the nascent grunge movement was slick, riff heavy and blisteringly mean.

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361. Erik B And Rakim - 'Paid In Full' (1987, Fourth and Broadway Records). The definitive journey into sound, via a masterfully curated selection of samples and Rakim’s killer rhymes.

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360. The Cure - 'Pictures Of You' (1989, Fiction). The prettiest thing The Cure have ever done. A sparkling sonic expedition and damn, [i]that[/i] intro.

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359. Blur - 'For Tomorrow' (1993, Food). The moment Britpop got epic. Stunning strings, trips to Primrose Hill and Damon Albarn as everyman urban poet.

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358. Ian Dury And The Blockheads - 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll' (1977, Stiff). An exemplary, funk-angled checklist, here Ian Dury proved himself as one of the 1970s most charismatic frontmen.

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357. The Walker Brothers - 'The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore' (1966, Philips Records). Scott Walker’s velvety baritone made this cover of Frankie Valli’s tune majestically heartrending.

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356. The Cure - 'Close To Me' (1985, Fiction). Through Robert Smith’s confidential whispers, 'Close To Me' bristled with a jaunty yet longing romance.

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355. Kelis - 'Millionaire' (2004, Arista). Teaming up with Andre 3000, these space-hop sonic soulmates created a slinky slice of electronica.

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354. Beck - 'Loser' (1993, Polydor). Beck’s breakthrough was sublime folk funk nonsense, like the Beastie Boys meets Muddy Waters.

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353. The Chemical Brothers - 'Hey Boy Hey Girl' (1999, Freestyle Dust). Documenting the rise of ‘superstar DJs’ via the biggest of beats and a killer drop.

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352. Simon And Garfunkel - 'The Boxer' (1970, Columbia). Simon and Garfunkel’s single paired the group’s pop nous with their folk traditionalism.

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351. Modest Mouse - 'Float On' (2004, Epic). Funk beats, psych squiggles and one brilliant chorus made for Modest Mouse’s finest few minutes.

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350. Amy Winehouse - 'Rehab' (2006, Island). The moment Amy transformed from MOR jazz singer into the witty voice of a generation.

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349. Depeche Mode - 'Just Can't Get Enough' (1981, Mute). One of Depeche Mode’s perkier moments – proof they could do catchy as well as pervy.

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348. The Byrds - 'Eight Miles High' (1966, Columbia). The pivotal moment that folk met psychedelia; bringing canyon harmonies, jazz and eastern raga together.

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347. Gorillaz - 'Clink Eastwood' (2001, Parlophone). Damon Albarn and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien confused the shit out of Blur fans with this genius acid-funk.

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346. Yazoo - 'Only You'. Vince Clarke's beautifully sparse Depeche Mode offshoot hit that made superstars of Alison Moyet and um, The Flying Pickets.

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345. Arctic Monkeys - 'Fluorescent Adolescent' (2007, Domino) The sound of a relationship in a rut was depressingly relatable yet redeemably danceable.

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344. Kayne West - 'Runaway' (2010, Mercury) Kanye’s “toast to the douchebags” was a compelling takedown of everyone who’d ever trash-talked him.

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343. The Mamas And The Papas - 'California Dreaming' (1965, Dunhill). The defining sound of the hippy movement, folk harmonies chimed with the lure of the West Coast.

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342. Kasabian - 'Club Foot' (2004, Columbia). Destined for stadiums from the start, this banging, electronica-driven lad anthem was Kasabian’s potent calling card.

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341. Kelis - 'Caught Out There' (2000, Virgin/EMI). The Neptunes’ purple patch was defined by Kelis’ debut single and a new, glitch direction for hip-hop.

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340. Eminem - 'Stan' (2000, Interscope). Who’d have thought a bloody Dido sample would have such clout? Stunningly bleak.

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339. Patti Smith - 'Because The Night' (1978, Arista). Patti’s most well known song was written by Bruce Springsteen, a gothic, sexually-charged power ballad.

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338. Gorillaz - 'DARE' (2005, Parlophone). Roping Shaun Ryder and his lolling Mancunian drawl into the equation and with Damon Albarn on falsetto backing vocal duties and Danger Mouse taking care of production, a cartoon band became a very human prospect, complete with squelchy beats, scratchy synths and a global reach.

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337. The Kinks - 'All Day And All Of The Night' (1964, Pye). All Day And All Of The Night’s deceptively simple power chords and howling, hurtling vocal harmonies paved the way for everyone from Black Sabbath to Guns N’Roses.

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336. The Beatles - 'Come Together' (1969, Apple). A sultry, bluesy shuffle, the opening track on Abbey Road was as expansive as it was intimate.

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335. Super Furry Animals - 'The Man Don't Give A Fuck' (1996, Creation). A Steely Dan sample was the sonic lynchpin in this delightfully sweary call to indie arms.

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334. The Stone Roses - 'She Bangs The Drums' (1989, Silvertone). “The past was yours, but the future’s mine” – a mission statement from the baggy overlords.

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333. Pet Shop Boys - 'Go West' (1993, Parlophone/EMI). The Pet Shop Boys managed to turn a novelty Village People hit into a synthpop essential.

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332. Buddy Holly - 'Rave On!' (1958, Coral). Less than two minutes long, but there was a world of rock potential here from the 21-year-old pioneer. Rave On! –

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331. Massive Attack - 'Karmacoma' (1995, Virgin). Mixing raps from Tricky, Russian opera and throat singing samples, Karmacoma was experimental Brit-hop at its finest.

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330. Eels - 'Novocaine For The Soul' (1996, DreamWorks). Brutishly bleak lyrics skipped over the top of stop-start college rock perfection. Made cheering up seem stupid.

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329. Foals - 'Two Steps, Twice' (2008, Transgressive). Taken from their debut LP, this piece of math-rock proved non-linear post-punk could still be stupidly catchy.

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328. The Wedding Present - 'My Favourite Dress' (1987, Reception Records). Ragged, jagged guitars from the Leeds band’s debut album. David Gedge did yearning and captivating with class.

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327. Michael Jackson - 'Man In The Mirror' (1998, Epic). Gospel choirs and changing the world by bettering yourself made for one of 1980s pop’s most powerful moments. Shamone, indeed.

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326. Marvin Gaye - 'Sexual Healing' (1982, Columbia). It doesn’t get raunchier than this – somehow steering clear of cheesiness, this slice of soul positively sizzled.

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325. Billie Holiday - 'Strange Fruit' (1939, Commodore). Immensely powerful blues ballad about lynching in the Southern States. The original protest song.

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324. House Of Love - 'Destroy The Heart' (1990, Creation). Swirling psych from Camberwell’s self-destructive LSD enthusiasts – perfect pop with plenty of inner turmoil.

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323. Depeche Mode - 'Personal Jesus' (1989, Mute). Stomping sensuality on a tune which both Johnny Cash and Marilyn Manson later had their way with.

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322. Bjork - 'Big Time Sensuality' (1993, One Little Indian). House music rhythms bashed up against Bjork’s idiosyncratic squeal for one of the nineties biggest bangers.

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321. Small Faces - 'Itchycoo Park' (1967, Immediate). Celebrating the summer of psychedelia were mod gang the Small Faces and their sunny stoner pop.

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320. Cornershop - 'Brimful Of Asha' (1997, Wiiija). Both the original and Norman Cook remix blended British indie with multicultural beats, making for a crossover classic.

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319. Funkadelic - 'One Nation Under A Groove' (1978, Warner Brothers). Seven and a half minutes of serious soul and a cornerstone for dance and hip-hop in the following decade.

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318. Johnny Cash - 'Ring Of Fire' (1963, Columbia). Co-written by Johnny’s wife June Carter, the Mariachi country song was as tender as it was tough.

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317. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - 'Zero' (2009, Polydor). Experimental art disco vibes from Brooklyn’s weirdest. 'Zero' was party punk of the highest order.

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316. Pavement - 'Here' (1992, Matador). Proving slackers have souls, 'Here' shook up the college rock scene with its tender melodicism

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315. Jimi Hendrix - 'All Along The Watchtower' (1968, Polydor). Jimi Hendrix took Bob Dylan’s ballad and turned it into a decade defining guitar anthem.

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314. MC5 - 'Kick Out The Jams' (1969 Elektra). Invented punk with one deftly dealt ‘motherfucker’. The caustic sound of angry America.

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313. Prince - '1999' (1982, Warner Brothers). An entire soul funk party in six minutes – the moment Prince became a king.

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312. The Verve - 'History' (1995, Hut). One of the greatest break-up songs ever, grown men were blubbing by the end of the string intro.

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311. The Beatles - 'Ticket To Ride' (1965 Parlophone). Jangling their way to another Number One, this single hinted at the heaviness in the Beatles’ future.

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310. The Temptations - 'Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone' (1972, Gordy Records). Motown went the psych route with this multi-layered and symphonic sunshine soul jam.

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309. Wire - 'Outdoor Miner' (1978, Harvest). Post punkers Wire souped up their second album sound with piano plinks and keening harmonies.

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308. Foals - 'Spanish Sahara' (2010, Transgressive). Yannis Philippakis and his skyscraping falsetto added an otherworldy edge to this pulsing electronic anthem.

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307. The Jam - 'Going Underground' (1980, Polydor). The Jam’s first ever Number One blasted the British government via taut mod riffs.

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306. Blur - 'Beetlebum' (1996, Food). Chugging and emotive, Damon Albarn’s rumoured ode to taking heroin with girlfriend Justine Frishmann of Elastica was dark-pop perfection.

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305. Gloria Jones - 'Tainted Love' (1964, Champion). Northern Soul’s finest moment from the woman who was later to give birth to Marc Bolan’s only child.

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304. The Beatles - 'Something' (1969 Apple). Penned by George Harrison, this cooing, guitar solo-laced ballad was more than a match for Lennon and McCartney.

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303. Leonard Cohen - 'Suzanne' (1967 Columbia). Originally written as a poem, the whole-hearted Suzanne is melancholy, melodic and desperately graceful.

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302. Radiohead - 'Fake Plastic Trees' (1995 Parlophone). An acoustic heart with a stadium soul - the sound of Radiohead becoming one of the most respected band of the 1990s.

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301. Depeche Mode - 'Enjoy The Silence' (1990 Mute). Electronica with a human face, the second single from Violator mixed sex with serious beats.

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