Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ is branded the most ‘iconic song of all time’

U2, Michael Jackson, Oasis and The Who also make list of top 50 songs

Nirvana‘s landmark hit single ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ has been declared the most iconic song of all time.

The ‘Nevermind’ track was placed at the top of a list of 50 songs by researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Computer scientist and musician Dr. Mick Grierson examined songs featured in seven ‘all-time best’ lists from sources including NME, and ran them through analytical software to compare their key, BPM, chord variety, lyrical content, timbral variety, and sonic variance. 


“We found the most significant thing these songs have in common is that most of them use sound in a very varied, dynamic way when compared to other records,” Grierson told The Daily Mail. “This makes the sound of the record exciting, holding the listeners attention. By the same token, the sounds these songs use and the way they are combined is highly unique in each case.


He added: “Ultimately, there is no ‘formula’ for this, other than to make your song sound as different, diverse and exciting as possible.”

John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ came second while U2’s ‘One’, Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ completed the top five.

Other songs in the overall list included Guns N’ Roses hit ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, Oasis’ ‘Live Forever’, Radiohead breakthrough hit ‘Creep’ and The Who’s ‘My Generation’.

Meanwhile, it was recently announced that Kurt Cobain’s cover of Beatles song ‘And I Love Her’ is due to be released on vinyl.

The Vinyl Collective message board points to this pre-order link for ‘And I Love Her’ with solo song ‘Sappy’ on 7″. Cobain’s take on ‘And I Love Her’ first appeared in Brett Morgen’s documentary Montage of Heck earlier this year. The vinyl 7″ is slated for release on November 20.