The Top 12 Melodies of ALL TIME

By Dana Lalevee on March 22, 2017

We’re an opinionated bunch over here at the NSAI headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. A great percentage of us listen to music like it’s our jobs…because it IS our job. In the spirit of this month’s theme, we banded together to deliver our picks for the 12 best melodies ever written. (Note: We tell you guys all the time – music is subjective. This list isn’t definitive nor is it set in stone.)

Georgia On My Mind – Ray Charles

2006-09-01, Mommaerts Mini-Reunion 302” by rmommaerts is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked it: Anna, Receptionist
Why: "The melody never goes where you expect it to go. It is incredibly unique, yet is still somehow memorable/sing-able. Its smooth and sultry, and leaves a lot of room for improvisation (why I love jazz!) and new interpretations."

Killer Queen – Queen

Queen 47” by Mark Kent is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Who picked it: Dana, Membership Representative
Why: "You can’t argue with the rise and fall of this tune, taking you on a jaunty ride through Freddie Mercury’s genius creation. And that guitar solo…swoon!"

Dana’s Honorable Mention: She Came In Through the Bathroom Window – The Beatles

I Hate You, I Love You Again - Emily West

Shure 55SW” by Christopher Holden is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked it: Erin, Membership Representative
Why: "It’s romantic melody line, simple yet deeply effective lyrics, and conflicting emotional subject matter are extremely well communicated. No joke, two years ago I listened to this song on repeat for days, balling the entire time. I haven’t come across a heartbreak song so wildly beautiful and intensely personal as this one. Emily’s gorgeous voice and the production of the song are perfectly complimentary too, which makes the melody sparkle."

Erin’s runners up: Paper Hearts – Tori Kelly, The Longest Time – Billy Joel, I Want You Back – Jackson 5, Tokyo Sunrise – LP, Bound To You – Burlesque Soundtrack feat. Christina Aguilera


My Heart Will Go On (written by James Horner and Will Jennings for Titanic) - Celine Dion

Celine Dion” by RachelTaylor18 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked it: Katie, Membership Representative
Why: "The melody is so cinematic, thematic, and iconic."


ABC – The Jackson 5

The Jacksons” by Eva Rinaldi is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked it: Todd, IT
Why: "Simplistic and natural. I feel you can sing along your first time listening. Predicable but fulfilling."


Break Every Chain - Paxton Ingram (The Voice)

18 SUMMERS” by Ivo Klassmann is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked it: Leah, Director of Events
Why: “I actually do get chills when I hear it. It is so emotional and empowering; it makes you FEEL something. You cannot listen to it unless it is turned all the way up, and then multiple times.”


Heart Shaped Locket -  Brothers Osborne

136750_1440” by Disney | ABC Television Group is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked it: Shelby, Logistics Coordinator
Why: “This song is my all-time favorite this week.  If I do not desire to put a song on constant repeat and I am not humming it when I am not listening to it, I have not truly connected with the melody. I listened to “Heart Shaped Locket” maybe 65 times before I even heard all the lyrics. This melody can tell a story on its own. It lifts and falls, it slows, dips and turns. I could follow the emotion without even hearing the entire story.”


Home – Marc Broussard

Marc Broussard” by Stephanie M is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked it: Trina, Membership & Regional Chapters Liason
Why: “I’ve always loved this song!”

Trina’s Runners Up: Beauty of Who You Are – Marc Broussard, I’m Yours – Jason Mraz, To Make You Feel My Love – Garth Brooks, The Longest Time – Billy Joel, More Like Her – Miranda Lambert, White Christmas – Bing Crosby


Tie between Up & Up or Christmas Lights - Coldplay

Coldplay” by jlhopgood is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked 'em: Libby, Marketing Manager
Why: Up & Up - “The song is about not giving up,” Libby says, “and the melody speaks to that.”
Christmas Lights - “The melody is the cherry on top of this song’s lyrical meaning!”


Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen

(Celine Dion and the Canadian Tenors or Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris versions)

Cohen at Lucca Summer Festival #2” by Salvatore Vastano is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked it: Krista, Director of Development
Why: “This would be my pick because the melody is so overwhelmingly beautiful. I would be moved and FEEL something even without the lyrics. And this comes from a lyric fanatic. It’s like the music is another language that speaks what the lyrics say. The lyrics just provide the translation. And isn’t that what a great melody/music is supposed to do? In fact, it ticks me off when people cover this song and change the melody. It is perfect.”

Krista’s honorable mentions include: The Longest Time – Billy Joel, Beautiful Soul - Jesse McCartney, The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson, Want to Want Me - Jason Derulo,
I’ll Be There For You – Bon Jovi, Mean – Taylor Swift, Not Over You – Gavin DeGraw, On Again Tonight – Trent Willmon, Please Remember Me – Tim McGraw, I’m Alright – Jo Dee Messina, Always Be My Baby – Mariah Carey, Water Runs Dry – Boyz II Men, Enter Sandman – Metallica, Always On My Mind – Elvis (and Willie), Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis, Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion, Bless the Broken Road – Rascal Flatts, My Best Friend – Tim McGraw, It’s Your Love – Tim and Faith, The Song Remembers When – Trisha Yearwood



You mean nothing to me.” by Alexa LaSpisa is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked it: Morgan, Membership Administration & Executive Assistant to Bart Herbison
Why: “I wish I was, but I’m just not a melody person. Lyrics I can go all day, but melodies aren’t in my brain that way.”


Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles

Abbey Road 2009 (Beatles)” by Shane Global is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who picked it: Jennifer, Senior Director of Operations
Why: "Melody is such an integral part to telling that story.  It sets up the mood for the entire song and leads you where the song wants to take your mind."