Nirvana’s breakthrough 1991 single is still riding high in it’s influence on music; having now been branded with the coveted title of the most iconic song of all time.
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ topped a list of 50 songs compiled by researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London.
Songs featured in seven ‘all-time best’ lists from various magazines were run through an analytical software programme by computer scientist and musician, Dr. Mick Grierson. To deem which song was the most iconic, the software compared their key, BPM, chord variety, lyrical content, timbrel variety and sonic variance.
Speaking of the process, Grierson stated: “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. This makes the sound of the record exciting, holding the listener’s attention. By the same token, the sounds these songs use and the way they are combined is highly unique in each case.”
John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ came second in the list, while ‘Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen and ‘One’ by U2 completed the top five. ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses, ‘Live Forever’ by Oasis, ‘Creep’ by Radiohead and ‘My Generation’ by The Who were also included on the list.
If you haven’t already, have a listen to Nirvana’s seminal hit below.