List of signature songs

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A signature song is the one song (or, in some cases, one of a few songs) that a popular and well-established recording artist or band is most closely identified with or best known for. This is generally differentiated from a one-hit wonder in that the artist usually has had success with other songs as well. A signature song may be a song that spearheads an artist's initial mainstream breakthrough, a song that revitalizes an artist's career, or a song that simply represents a high point in an artist's career. Often, a signature song will feature trademark characteristics of an artist and may encapsulate the artist's particular sound and style. Signature songs can be the result of spontaneous public identification, or a marketing tool developed by the music industry to promote artists, sell their recordings, and develop a fan base.[1] Artists and bands with a signature song are generally expected to perform it at every concert appearance, often as an encore on concert tours, sometimes being the last song of the setlist.[2]

Examples of signature songs for selected artistsEdit

Song Artist Released Notes
"I Am the Best" 2NE1 2011 Written by Teddy Park[3][4]
"Dancing Queen" ABBA 1976 Written by Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson[5]
"Beautiful" Christina Aguilera 2002 Written and produced by Linda Perry[6]
"Rose Garden" Lynn Anderson 1970 Written by Joe South[7]
"The House of the Rising Sun" The Animals 1964 Traditional folk song[8]
"What a Wonderful World" Louis Armstrong 1967 Written by Bob Thiele (as "George Douglas") and George David Weiss[9]
"The Cattle Call" Eddy Arnold Written/recorded in 1934 by Tex Owens[10]
"Heat of the Moment" Asia 1982 Written by John Wetton and Geoff Downes[11]
"Never Gonna Give You Up" Rick Astley 1987 Written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman[12]
"Upside Down" A-Teens 2000 The band's first original release[13]
"I Want It That Way" Backstreet Boys 1999 Written by Max Martin and Andreas Carlsson[14]
"Working Class Man" Jimmy Barnes 1985 Written by Jonathan Cain[15]
"One O'Clock Jump" Count Basie 1937 A 12-bar blues instrumental written by Basie in 1937[16]
"Goldfinger" Shirley Bassey 1964 The title song from the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger[17]
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" Bauhaus 1979 Considered the harbinger of gothic rock music[18]
"Loser" Beck 1993 Written by Beck and producer Carl Stephenson[19]
"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" Tony Bennett 1953 Written by George Cory and Douglass Cross[20]
"Johnny B. Goode" Chuck Berry 1958 Recorded January 6, 1958 at Chess Records[21]
"Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies" Beyond 1993 Written by Wong Ka Kui for the band's Rock and Roll album[22][23]
"Fantastic Baby" Big Bang 2012 Written by G-Dragon, T.O.P and Teddy[24]
"Rebel Girl" Bikini Kill 1993 Written by Kathleen Hanna, Billy Karren, Tobi Vail and Kathi Wilcox[25]
"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" Blue Öyster Cult 1976 Written and sung by lead guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser[26]
"Livin' on a Prayer" Bon Jovi 1986 Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child[27]
"Hallelujah" Jeff Buckley 1994 Originally written and recorded by Leonard Cohen in 1984[28]
"Margaritaville" Jimmy Buffett 1977 Recorded 1976 at Criteria Studios and Quadrafonic Sound Studios[29]
"Rhinestone Cowboy" Glen Campbell 1975 Originally written and recorded by Larry Weiss in 1974[30]
"Hero" Mariah Carey 1993 Written by Carey and Walter Afanasieff, from her third album Music Box[31][32]
"All by Myself" Eric Carmen 1975 Written by Eric Carmen[33]
"We've Only Just Begun" The Carpenters 1970 Written by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams[34]
"The Mercy Seat" Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 1988 Written by Nick Cave and Mick Harvey[35]
"What'd I Say" Ray Charles 1959 Recorded on February 18, 1959[36]
"I Want You to Want Me" Cheap Trick 1977 Written by Rick Nielsen and produced by Tom Werman[34]
"Layla" Eric Clapton 1970 Written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon[37][38]
"Crazy" Patsy Cline 1961 Written by Willie Nelson[39]
"Walking in Memphis" Marc Cohn 1991 [40]
"Khe Sanh" Cold Chisel 1978 Their debut single, written by Don Walker[41]
"In the Air Tonight" Phil Collins 1981 Written by Phil Collins[42]
"My Favorite Things" John Coltrane 1961 Published in 1959 by Rodgers and Hammerstein[43]
"Karma Chameleon" Culture Club 1983 Featured on the group's 1983 album Colour by Numbers[44]
"Achy Breaky Heart" Billy Ray Cyrus 1992 Written in 1990 by Don Von Tress[45]
"La Mer" Bobby Darin 1968 Written by Charles Trenet[46]
"I've Gotta Be Me" Sammy Davis Jr. 1968 Written by Walter Marks[47]
"Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" Doris Day 1956 Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans[48]
"Holiday in Cambodia" Dead Kennedys 1980 Written by Jello Biafra and John Greenway. Recorded 1979[49]
"Pour Some Sugar on Me" Def Leppard 1987 3rd single from the 1987 album Hysteria[50]
"Smoke on the Water" Deep Purple 1972 Recorded in December 1971[51]
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" John Denver 1971 Written by Denver, Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert[52]
"Meet in the Middle" Diamond Rio 1991 Written by Chapin Hartford, Jim Foster, Don Pfrimmer[53]
"Falling In Love Again" Marlene Dietrich 1930 Composed by Friedrich Hollaender[54]
"My Heart Will Go On" Celine Dion 1997 Written by James Horner (music) and Will Jennings (lyrics)[55]
"Light My Fire" The Doors 1967 Recorded in August 1966[56]
"Through the Fire and Flames" DragonForce 2005 The opening track from their third studio album Inhuman Rampage[57][58]
"Hotel California" Eagles 1977 Written by Don Felder, Don Henley, Glenn Frey[59]
"Mr. Blue Sky" Electric Light Orchestra 1978 Written by Jeff Lynne and recorded 1977 at Musicland Studios[60]
"Take the 'A' Train" Duke Ellington 1941 A jazz standard composed by Billy Strayhorn in 1939[61]
"Stay with Me" Lorraine Ellison 1966 Co-written by Jerry Ragovoy and George David Weiss[62]
"Lose Yourself" Eminem 2002 First hip hop song to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song[63]
"The Final Countdown" Europe 1986 Written by Joey Tempest[64]
"Respect" Aretha Franklin 1967 Originally written by Otis Redding in 1965[65]
"I Will Survive" Gloria Gaynor 1978 Written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris[66]
"Kick It in the Sticks" Brantley Gilbert 2010 Written by Gilbert, Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip[67]
"Gee" Girls' Generation 2009 Written by Ahn Myung-won, Kim Young-deuk and Kanata Nakamura[68]
"God Bless the USA" Lee Greenwood 1984 A popular American patriotic song[69]
"Rock Around the Clock" Bill Haley & His Comets 1954 Recorded April 12, 1954 at Pythian Temple studios[70]
"Thanks for the Memory" Bob Hope 1938 Composed by Ralph Rainger with lyrics by Leo Robin[71]
"Stormy Weather" Lena Horne 1933 Written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler[72]
"Ah! Leah!" Donnie Iris 1980 From Iris's debut solo album Back on the Streets following his work with The Jaggerz and Wild Cherry.[73] The title of the song would later form puns of Iris's later albums, signifying the song's strong association with his career.
"El derecho de vivir en paz" Víctor Jara 1971 Published in 1971 on the "El Derecho de Vivir en Paz" LP.[74]
"Soy rebelde" Jeanette 1971 Written by Manuel Alejandro, it was a smash hit across the Spanish-speaking world.[75]
"The Middle" Jimmy Eat World 2001 Released as the second single of the band's fourth album Bleed American.[76][77]
"Piano Man" Billy Joel 1973 Selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry[78]
"He Stopped Loving Her Today" George Jones 1980 Written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman[79]
"Don't Stop Believin'" Journey 1981 From their seventh album Escape[80]
"Mr. Brightside" The Killers 2003 [81]
"Shame" Evelyn "Champagne" King 1977 Written by John H. Fitch, Jr. and Reuben Cross[82]
"Louie, Louie" The Kingsmen 1963 Written by Richard Berry in 1955[83]
"You Really Got Me" The Kinks 1964 Written by Ray Davies and recorded in July 1964[84]
"Rock and Roll All Nite" Kiss 1975 Recorded at Electric Lady Studios in February 1975[34]
"Midnight Train to Georgia" Gladys Knight & the Pips 1973 Written by Jim Weatherly[85]
"Imagine" John Lennon 1971 Recorded during May–July 1971 at Ascot Sound Studios[86]
"Great Balls of Fire" Jerry Lee Lewis 1957 Written by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer[87]
"Auld Lang Syne" Guy Lombardo 1939 A Scots-language poem written by Robert Burns in 1788[88]
"Cry Me a River" Julie London 1955 Written by Arthur Hamilton and first published in 1953[89]
"Coal Miner's Daughter" Loretta Lynn 1970 Based on the true story of Lynn's life growing up in rural Kentucky[90]
"Free Bird" Lynyrd Skynyrd 1973 First featured on the band's 1973 debut album[91]
"U Can't Touch This" MC Hammer 1990 Samples the song Super Freak by Rick James[92]
"American Pie" Don McLean 1975 Written by Don McLean[93]
"Down Under" Men at Work 1981 Released as the second single from their debut studio album Business as Usual[94]
"Can't Get You Out of My Head" Kylie Minogue 2001 From the artist's eighth studio album, "Fever", released in 2001[95]
"Nights in White Satin" The Moody Blues 1967 Written and composed by Justin Hayward, recorded October 1967[34]
"Ace of Spades" Motörhead 1980 Released as the only single from the bands fourth studio album[96]
"How You Remind Me" Nickelback 2001 The lead single from their third studio album Silver Side Up[97]
"Closer" Nine Inch Nails 1994 The second single from their second studio album The Downward Spiral[98]
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" Nirvana 1991 The opening track and lead single from their 1991 album.[99]
"Wonderwall" Oasis 1995 Written by Noel Gallagher and recorded in May 1995[100]
"Wagon Wheel" Old Crow Medicine Show 1994 Co-written by Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor, recorded in 2003[101]
"Crazy Train" Ozzy Osbourne 1980 Released as the first single from Osbourne's debut solo album Blizzard of Ozz[102]
"You Enjoy Myself" Phish 1988 Written by Trey Anastasio, the song is a regular live feature.[103][104]
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" Poison 1988 3rd single from the band's 2nd album and their only US No. 1[105]
"Every Breath You Take" The Police 1983 Written by Sting and featured on the band's final album[106]
"Dior" Pop Smoke 2020 Appears on all four of Pop Smoke's commercially released projects[107]
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" Procol Harum 1967 The band's first record to be released, also its greatest hit, the single reached number 1 in the UK Singles Chart and sold over 10 million copies worldwide.[108]
"Satin Sheets" Jeanne Pruett 1973 Originally recorded by Bill Anderson and Jan Howard[109]
"Gangnam Style" Psy 2012 Written by Park Jae-sang and Yoo Gun-hyung[110]
"Bohemian Rhapsody" Queen 1975 Written by Freddie Mercury for Queen's fourth studio album A Night at the Opera[111]
"Hello" Lionel Richie 1983 Released as the third single from his second solo album Can't Slow Down.[112][113]
"The Gambler" Kenny Rogers 1978 Written by Don Schlitz in August 1976 and recorded by several artists[114]
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" The Rolling Stones 1965 The band's first No. 1 in the US[115]
"Blue Bayou" Linda Ronstadt 1977 Written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson[116]
"Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" Neil Sedaka 1962 Co-written by Sedaka and Howard Greenfield[117]
"Closing Time" Semisonic 1998 Released March 1998 as the lead single from their second studio album Feeling Strangely Fine[118]
"Ol' Red" Blake Shelton 2002 Co-written by James "Bo" Bohon, Don Goodman, and Mark Sherrill[119]
"Lucifer" Shinee 2010 Produced by Lee Soo-man[120]
"You're So Vain" Carly Simon 1972 Released as the first single from Simon's third studio album No Secrets[121]
"The Sound of Silence" Simon & Garfunkel 1965 Written by Simon and recorded March 10, 1964.[122]
"My Way" Frank Sinatra 1969 Originally written by French songwriter Jacques Revaux[123]
"When a Man Loves a Woman" Percy Sledge 1966 Written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright[124]
"All Star" Smash Mouth 1999 Featured in the 2001 film Shrek[125]
"I Got You Babe" Sonny & Cher 1965 The first single from the duo's debut album[126]
"Wannabe" Spice Girls 1996 Written by the band, Matt Rowe and Richard Stannard[127]
"Born to Run" Bruce Springsteen 1975 Released as the first single from his third studio album[128]
"Maggie May" Rod Stewart 1971 Co-written by singer Rod Stewart and Martin Quittenton[129]
"Amarillo by Morning" George Strait 1983 Written by Terry Stafford, released as third single from Strait from the Heart[130]
"Sorry, Sorry" Super Junior 2009 Written by Yoo Young-jin[131]
"Chop Suey!" System of a Down 2001 Written by Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian.[132][133]
"I Don't Care" Eva Tanguay 1922 Recorded in 1905[134]
"Shout" Tears for Fears 1984 Released as the second single from their second studio album[135]
"On the Good Ship Lollipop" Shirley Temple 1934 Composed by Richard A. Whiting with lyrics by Sidney Clare[136]
"My Girl" The Temptations 1964 Recorded by the Temptations in 1964[137]
"Tiptoe Through the Tulips" Tiny Tim 1968 Written by Al Dubin (lyrics) and Joe Burke (music)[138][139]
"Forever and Ever, Amen" Randy Travis 1987 Written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz and recorded in 1987[140]
"Hello Darlin'" Conway Twitty 1970 Written and recorded on November 18, 1969[141]
"Ice Ice Baby" Vanilla Ice 1990 Samples "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie[142][143]
"Bitter Sweet Symphony" The Verve 1997 Written by Ashcroft and recorded January–March 1997[144]
"Y.M.C.A." Village People 1978 Written by Jacques Morali, Victor Willis and Henri Belolo[145]
"Moon River" Andy Williams 1962 Composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer[146]
"Every Day I Have the Blues" Joe Williams 1955 Written by Aaron "Pinetop" Sparks and Milton Sparks[147]
"Save the Best for Last" Vanessa Williams 1992 Written by Phil Galdston, Wendy Waldman and Jon Lind in 1989[148]
"Rehab" Amy Winehouse 2006 Written by Winehouse from her second album Back to Black[149]
"Stand by Your Man" Tammy Wynette 1968 Co-written by Tammy Wynette and Billy Sherrill[150]
"The Bund" Frances Yip 1980 Composed by Joseph Koo with the lyrics by Wong Jim, for the TV series of the same name.[151]
"Maldita primavera" Yuri 1993 Cover of Italian-language song "Maledetta primavera".[152]

See alsoEdit


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