What makes a great pop song? Let’s face it, the lyrics don’t always have to be meaningful as long as they’re memorable; the music has to have a hook that grabs the attention too, and the chorus has to be something you want to hear again and again. Add to this a top-quality singer and an accomplished band, and you could have a truly great pop song – like these examples in our all-time five to one countdown.

5. She Loves You – The Beatles

The Beatles changed their style endlessly throughout a relatively short career because above all else, the Beatles were music lovers and experts. They would have loved the academic side of studying music, like that found in a master of music education course at Rutgers University Online, but their greatest gift, of course, is their incredible albums and singles. ‘She Loves You’ from 1963 is one of their earlier releases, but it became the best-selling song in the United Kingdom in the sixties and is still memorable worldwide. Come on, who doesn’t do the Paul McCartney head wobble when they sing ‘woooh!’ to this song?

4. Hit Me Baby One More Time – Britney Spears

Britney was a Mickey Mouse Club child prodigy, but when ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ hit the airwaves in October 1998, the world quickly realized that Britney was now all grown up. This is perhaps the most infectious pop song of the nineties, and the video, whilst controversial, helped to propel Britney to the pinnacle of pop megastardom where, with one or two well-publicized blips, she’s remained ever since.

3. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) – Whitney Houston

We all know the tragic story of New Jersey’s Whitney Houston, but just one listen to this classic pop song is enough to erase all memories of everything except her beautiful soaring voice. Now over thirty years old, this is still a favorite track to play at weddings for the simple reason that it’s a song that it’s impossible not to dance to. It’s full of the joy of life and is a fine tribute to the genius that was Whitney at the height of her fame.

2. Waterloo – ABBA

Think of a great topic for a pop song? Were you thinking about the defeat of Napoleon by the Duke of Wellington that put an end to wars engulfing Europe? Nope? ABBA were, and their thinking outside of the box paid off in big style. ‘Waterloo’ won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1975 before selling over six million copies. At one point it was said the group was Sweden’s biggest export, proof that pop perfection can really pay.

1. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was called the ‘King of Pop’ and many of his songs could rightly have been considered for this list, from ‘Thriller’ to ‘Beat It’ and ‘Man In The Mirror’, but it’s ‘Billie Jean’ that takes the very top spot. Admit it, you’re singing this song in your head right now – and that’s a happy space to be in. Everything about this single is touched by magic, so let’s tip our hat to the King in the rakish fashion he made his own.

Music education from Rutgers University and other top seats of learning can help you make the most of your music potential, allowing you to teach others the joy of music too. You may not make a great pop song yourself, but you’ll still be able to appreciate these five classic tunes, and you’ll also be able to explain the composition techniques behind them and the major chords used. As Michael Jackson himself would have said, ‘Shamone!’

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