25 Great Songs You’ve Never Heard (2023)

Ever have those moments where you hear a song on the radio, or blaring from a passing car, and wonder how you could have lived so long without having heard it? Do you relish the moments when a friend presses a 7” into your hand – or sends you a YouTube clip or Spotify link – urging you to go and listen to their latest new discovery? For dyed-in-the-wool music lovers, the world is full of great songs you’ve never heard – and that list just seems to be getting bigger every day.

Which is why we’ve put together a list of just a few of the best songs you’ve never heard. We hope to guide you towards some of the finest music that you might not even be aware of. And there are some absolute gems on this one.

Peggy Lee – A Brown Bird Singing

Peggy Lee’s voice can easily stand on its own, but it did so even more than usual on Sea Shells, a unique album in her catalogue featuring little more than Peggy’s voice and a harp. The chorus of this proto-New Age tune simply features Peggy wordlessly humming along, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. – Sam Armstrong

A Brown Bird Singing

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The Saints – Swing For The Crime

Aussie punks The Saints made waves with the buzzsaw punk of their debut, (I’m) Stranded, but their brave third album, 1978 Prehistoric Sounds, fell on deaf ears. With hindsight it’s a lost gem, with highlight “Swing From The Crime” mixing up a lethal gumbo of Bo Diddley beats, Memphis soul, and cinematic pop. – Tim Peacock

Swing for the Crime

(Video) 25 more songs you've (hopefully) never heard before

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Stan Ridgway – A Mission In Life

One of the 1980s great “nearly” men, Stan Ridgway almost hit the big time with LA’s Wall Of Voodoo and enjoyed a European hit with 1986’s “Camouflage.” Arguably his apogee was 1989’s Mosquitos featuring “A Mission In Life”: a beautifully wrought ballad about a lonely barkeep that orders a large dash of film noir as a chaser. – Tim Peacock

Vince Staples – Señorita

For all the hype that Odd Future superstars like Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler, The Creator, and Frank Ocean received during the height of the crew’s powers, it was Vince Staples who emerged as perhaps the best pure rapper in the group (Earl fans certainly have an argument here). “Señorita,” from Vince’s stunning debut, Summertime ‘06, is propelled by an absolutely spooky piano line that sounds like it’s looking for enemies to stalk. Vince’s flow moves from patient and nuanced to rapid-fire in a moment’s notice, standing out in a discography that grew large with bigger hits later on. – Will Schube

Sons of Kemet – The Book of Disquiet

Sons of Kemet have quickly become a household name thanks to the brilliant vision of bandleader and saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, but long before they dropped Black to the Future in 2021, they were approaching jazz with a radically unique POV on their debut LP, Burn. “The Book of Disquiet” begins with a cacophony of noise, like a jazz orchestra tuning up, before Hutchings’ smooth horn helps tether radically disparate rhythm section performances, giving the tune an avant-garde edge. – Will Schube

The Book of Disquiet

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Rotary Connection – Didn’t Want To Have To Do It

An extremely psychedelic cover of The Lovin’ Spoonful, Rotary Connection’s version of “Didn’t Want To Have To Do It” dials things back to the bare minimum of strums and drums, with disembodied vocal and electronic flourishes throughout. – Sam Armstrong

Catalyst – Perception

Ecstatic jazz fusion from “the funkiest band you’ve never heard.” Bassist Zuri Tyrone Brown sets the pace alongside the percussion, with Patrick Gleason’s synthesizer, which featured on so many of Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi-era albums, offering clouds of atmosphere. Definitely one of the best songs you’ve never heard. – Sam Armstrong

Manchester Orchestra – The Mansion

Every Manchester Orchestra song that’s not a hit deserves a spot on this list. The perennially underrated rock outfit blend heavy, anthemic hooks with deceptively complex arrangements and a perfect cloud for which singer Andy Hull to float across. The song is a slow builder, but when the group hits the mountaintop, it’s a cathartic release unmatched by other epically leaning groups. – Will Schube

Nilufer Yanya – Baby Blu

Nilufer Yanya’s Miss Universe was one of the most exciting releases of 2019, and though “Baby Blu” isn’t one of the popular singles from the record, it best illustrates Yanya’s brilliance. Over a pulsing drum groove and deep, dark piano chords, Yanya’s powerful, illusive voice gives the song a jazzy, R&B inspired feel. It’s effortlessly emotive, with Yanya’s layers of vocals giving the song a number of angles from which these earworm melodies arrive on the scene. – Will Schube

Nilüfer Yanya - Baby Blu (Official Video)

(Video) 25 Great Sonic Songs You've Never Heard: Part 1

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Mantronix – Don’t You Want More

Overshadowed by “Got To Have Your Love” and “Take Your Time,” this heavy track is a glorious bit of hip-house, a short-lived genre that effortlessly brought together hip-hop and house music. Tracks with rhetorical titles like this are always a dangerous game, of course, but the answer is most definitely in the affirmative here. Easily one of the best electronic songs you’ve never heard. – Sam Armstrong

Eddie Henderson – Movin’ On

Derided at the time as a crass pop move, Eddie Henderson’s Coming Through has aged extremely well. “Say You Will” is the undisputed highlight on this effortlessly funky album, but “Movin’ On” hits an ethereal groove that allows the group to sit in the pocket and simply enjoy each other’s company for a while. – Sam Armstrong

Pharcyde – The Hustle

The Pharcyde has rightfully received their due in the decades since they dropped Labcabincalifornia, but much of their music is overshadowed by the overwhelming success of their big singles like “Passin’ Me By” and “Runnin.’” The hustle, which is towards the end of the 17 song Lab, is Pharcyde personified. The beat effortlessly swings while the group partakes in a classic back and forth chant. It’s playful and deadly serious at the same time, the sort of contradiction only a group like Pharcyde could pull off. – Will Schube

Asylum Choir – Medley: N.Y. Op./Land of Dog/Henri The Clown

It’s difficult to find now, but back when Asylum Choir, the duo of Leon Russell and Marc Benno, released their psych-pop masterpiece Look Inside the Asylum Choir, these three tracks were under one song title and operated as a medley. Now they’re separated, which removes some of the impact, but this run is one of the most exciting groups on a nearly perfect album. It helped foreshadow Leon Russell’s monumental career, blending playful melodies with world-class musicianship. – Will Schube

Jimmy Witherspoon & Brother Jack McDuff – Past Forty Blues

This midlife crisis blues plods along so slowly that you can hear guitarist Melvin Sparks enjoying the space to stretch out. (Listen for him mimicking a door’s knock after Jimmy Witherspoon’s first line.) – Sam Armstrong

CeCe Peniston – Crazy Love – Kenlou 12”

You may have heard CeCe Peniston’s ballad “Crazy Love,” but unless you were in a club in the 90s, you likely didn’t get a chance to enjoy this Masters At Work strutting, funky house rework. The vaunted duo speed things up, but keep the drama intact. – Sam Armstrong

Crazy Love (Kenlou 12")

(Video) Greatest Songs You've Never Heard

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Mac (Mac Phipps) – Murda Murda, Kill Kill

Mac Phipps’ story was finally given a wide audience when the excellent NPR podcast Louder Than A Riot covered his saga, but his music is still woefully underrated in modern rap circles. The Louisiana native was one of the most naturally gifted pure rappers on the planet, and his No Limit discography is legendary territory for anyone that knows his work. But songs like the new Jack swing-influenced “Murda Murda, Kill Kill” were used in a trial that convicted Mac of crimes that lack definitive evidence of his guilt, for which he’s still in jail. – Will Schube

Slatt Zy – Heart Right

Slatt Zy’s is one of the most exciting young MCs in my eyes, out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and (for now) still a few years away from being able to legally drink. But on tracks like “Heart Right,” his melodically-inclined flow conveys the struggle and hustle Slatt went through to eventually end up where he’s at now. – Will Schube

Slatt Zy - Heart Right (Official Video)

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Alexander O’Neal – Fake ‘88 – House Mix

Alexander O’Neal’s undeniable vocal talents, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis’ immaculate instrumentation, and a couple of crack remixers (Keith Cohen and Steve Beltran): There simply isn’t a weak link in this chain. And it’s likely one of the best remixes of a song you’ve never heard. – Sam Armstrong

The Stairs – Weed Bus

One of Liverpool’s hottest properties at the turn of the 1990s, The Stairs were formed by local legend, Edgar ‘Summertyme’ Jones and signed to Go! Discs. A no-holes-barred hymn to marijuana, their fantastic debut single “Weed Bus” gleefully lifted the main riff from The Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time” then shot off into its own space. Also a classic, their lone album, Mexican R’n’B was released in glorious mono – in 1992! – Tim Peacock

Mystery Jets – History Has Its Eyes On You

Despite building an impressively eclectic catalog over the past 15 years, maverick London indie-popsters Mystery Jets have often flown under the radar. Their most recent album, A Billion Heartbeats, is arguably their best yet, but while it got lost in the wider scheme of the pandemic, its best track, History Has Its Eyes On You, is a moving paean to the positivity we’ll all need to draw upon in the post-COVID world. – Tim Peacock

Royal Trux – The Sewers of Mars

Royal Trux is a scuzz rawk band of the highest order, plodding its way through its songs with growling riffs and sloppy (but, somehow, extremely precise) rhythm sections. “The Sewers of Mars” might be among the best songs from its mid-90s major label foray. – Sam Armstrong

Roy Ayers – Rhythm

One of the funkiest songs you’ve never heard? Peel back the curtain on the lyrics to Roy Ayers’ “Rhythm” and it’s a bit desperate. (“I need love/Love me now/Do doo do/Really need your love.”) But the backing track is just too funky to think of it as anything but endearing. – Sam Armstrong


(Video) 25 Great Sonic Songs You've Never Heard: Part 4

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Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug – Freestyle

Before Young Thug became a national icon thanks to his extra-terrestrial warbling and inimitable manipulation of the English language, he was just another member of Rich Gang, the Cash Money subsidiary. Alongside Rich Homie Quan, the two stole the group’s compilation, Tha Tour Part 1, on their duo tracks like “Freestyle.” On the song, the two exchange melody-drenched bars and barbed wired punchlines, firmly asserting themselves as next up in Birdman’s crew of hitmakers. – Will Schube

Lil Wayne & Curren$y – President

Some collaborations end up being so good, both artists want the track for themselves. That’s what happened with Lil Wayne and Curren$y’s “President,” which finds both MCs spitting over Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents,” which was initially the first single for his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, before appearing on the project in another form. The track is a special and overlooked moment in New Orleans rap history, with Curren$y just beginning an unimpeachable run, and Wayne in the middle of one of the hottest streaks in rap history. – Will Schube

Richard Thompson – Roll Over Vaughan Williams

Richard Thompson’s career with Fairport Convention is highly respected and his subsequent albums in tandem with ex-wife Linda are equally revered. Sandwiched in between, his solo debut, 1972’s Henry The Human Fly sold in meager quantities and is still barely recognized. Its best track, the brilliant “Roll Over Vaughan Williams”, mixes up droning chords, fuzzed-up riffs and Jig-like lead guitar breaks and pretty much invents psych-folk. – Tim Peacock

Roll Over Vaughn Williams

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Think we’ve missed some of the best songs you’ve never heard? Well, of course we have. But feel free to put your picks in the comments below.


What is the best song I ve never heard? ›

The 12 Best Songs You've Never Heard
  • 1) Where Rainbows Never Die by The Steeldrivers. ...
  • 2) Violin by Amos Lee. ...
  • 3) My Heart's A Cannonball by Lelia Broussard. ...
  • 4) Apocalypse Lullaby by The Wailin' Jennys. ...
  • 5) Hammond Song by The Roches. ...
  • 6) You And I by Paper Route. ...
  • 7) I Am Mountain by Gungor. ...
  • 8) Sing Along by Virginia Coalition.
Jan 16, 2015

What is the No 1 song of all time? ›

Blinding Lights

What are the top 10 most popular songs ever? ›

Now, without further ado, here are the most famous songs and the most iconic songs of all time.
  • “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana. ...
  • “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson. ...
  • “Stayin' Alive” – Bee Gees. ...
  • “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor. ...
  • “Whole Lotta Love” – Led Zeppelin. ...
  • “Sweet Child O'Mine” – Guns N' Roses.
Aug 2, 2022

What is the best song about life? ›

31 Best Songs About Life
  1. Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. ...
  2. Beautiful Day by U2. ...
  3. Born Free by Matt Munro. ...
  4. Country Roads, Take Me Home by John Denver. ...
  5. Don't Stop Believin' by Journey. ...
  6. Don't Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin. ...
  7. Dream On by Aerosmith. ...
  8. Dust in the Wind by Kansas.
Jul 8, 2022

What are the most unknown songs? ›

Most Obscure Hit Songs
  • J. W. Myers: “On a Sunday Afternoon,” 1902.
  • Orpheus Quartet: “Turn Back the Universe and Give Me Yester Day,” 1916.
  • J. W. Myers: “Way Down in Old Indiana,” 1902.
  • Alan Turner: “Till the Sands of the Desert Grow Cold,” 1913.
  • Roy Ingraham Orch: “Chant of the Jungle,” 1930.
Jul 23, 2014

What is the most famous one hit wonder? ›

1Los Del RioMacarena [Bayside Boys Mix]
2Soft CellTainted Love
3Dexy's Midnight RunnersCome on Eileen
4Right Said FredI'm Too Sexy
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What is the most famous song? ›

For some people, it's “God Save The Queen,” while for others it's “The Star-Spangled Banner.” There are also those who would say that the song “Happy Birthday to You” is the most famous of all time (not without reason as it netted its creator the most money ever in the history of humankind).

What are the top 5 songs of all time? ›

The Best Songs Of All Time—According To Critics And Fans
  1. 'Imagine' — John Lennon. Getty Images.
  2. 'Hey Jude' — The Beatles. ...
  3. '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' — The Rolling Stones. ...
  4. 'Yesterday' — The Beatles. ...
  5. 'Good Vibrations' — The Beach Boys. ...
  6. 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' — Nirvana. ...
  7. 'Johnny B. ...
  8. 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' — The Beatles. ...

Which song is best in the world? ›

Probably, but for the sake of it, here are the 12 most popular songs in the world according to YouTube.
  • Luis Fonsi – Despacito ft. ...
  • Ed Sheeran – Shape of You – 5.7 billion views. ...
  • Wiz Khalifa – See You Again ft. ...
  • Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk ft. ...
  • PSY – Gangnam Style – 4.4 billion views. ...
  • Justin Bieber – Sorry – 3.5 billion views.
Jul 5, 2022

What are some old songs that everyone knows? ›

37 Songs That Everyone Knows – Old & New
  • “Don't Stop Believin'” by Journey.
  • “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey.
  • “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley.
  • “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.
  • “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers.
  • “All Star” by Smash Mouth.
  • “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson.
  • “Baby” by Justin Bieber.
Oct 8, 2021

What's a meaningful song? ›

Even More Songs That Offer Life Advice
SongArtistYear Released
26. Think Good ThoughtsColbie Callait2011
27. Put a Little Love in Your HeartJackie DeShannon1969
28. R-E-S-P-E-C-TAretha Franklin1967
29. Life's A DanceJohn Michael Montgomery1997
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Jul 27, 2022

What songs make you think about life? ›

7 Songs That Will Make You Think about Life ...
  • Cats in the Cradle – Harry Chapin.
  • Ironic –Alanis Morissette.
  • Both Sides Now– Judy Collins.
  • Turn! Turn! Turn! – the Byrds.
  • Popular Song –MIKA.
  • If I Die Young—the Band Perry.
  • The Rose – Bette Midler.

What is considered an underrated song? ›

Underrated songs have always been there. For some reason, those songs never got the popularity they deserved. Every year a lot of new songs get released. We listen to a very small number of new songs and keep repeating them because the mass audience loved those songs.

What is the least known song? ›

50 best unknown songs by famous artists
5050.The Velvet Underground - Run Run Run
4949.Public Enemy - Louder than a bomb
4848.David Gilmour - Where we start
4747.Sex Pistols - Liar
4646.Jimi Hendrix - 1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
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Are the most mysterious song? ›

The song was recorded from a Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) broadcast at an unknown date, widely speculated to be 1983 or 1984.
The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet.
"The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet"
GenreNew wave, post-punk
Length2:55 (radio version)
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Who has the most #1 hits ever? ›

The Beatles have the most No. 1 hits of all time: 20. Though unclear for how long, the Beatles still reign supreme as the artist with the most No. 1 songs of all time.

What is the song that has made the most money? ›

Estimated earnings: $50 million

Fast forward 120 years and "Happy Birthday" is by far the richest and most profitable song of all time. The Ownership of "Happy Birthday" has changed hands a few times in the last 100 years. Music holding company Warner Chappell bought the rights for $15 million in 1990.

What band has most number 1 hits? ›

The Beatles, unsurprisingly, lead the way with a record 20 No. 1s, all earned between 1964 and 1970.

What is the most universally loved song? ›

Grierson deemed to be the most iconic:
  • " Smells Like Teen Spirit,"" Nirvana.
  • " Imagine,"" John Lennon.
  • " One,"" U2.
  • " Billie Jean,"" Michael Jackson.
  • " Bohemian Rhapsody,"" Queen.
  • " Hey Jude," The Beatles.
  • " Like A Rolling Stone," Bob Dylan.
  • " I Can't Get No Satisfaction," Rolling Stones.
Sep 24, 2015

What songs does everyone know? ›

Songs Everyone Knows

What is a song that everyone loves? ›

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

Bohemian Rhapsody is among the songs everyone knows and loves. It's the most-streamed song from the 20th century, with over 1.6 billion listens.

What song do you know every word to? ›

"All Star" – Smash Mouth

Sure, it may just make you think of Shrek, but you still know all the words.

What is the most famous old song? ›

The Results: The 50 Most Iconic Songs of All Time
  • I Can't Get No Satisfaction, Rolling Stones.
  • Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan.
  • Hey Jude, The Beatles.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen.
  • Billie Jean, Michael Jackson.
  • One, U2.
  • Imagine, John Lennon.
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana.
Oct 1, 2015

What songs have secret meanings? ›

Here are deep songs that you didn't know have a deeper meaning.
  • Can't Feel My Face – The Weeknd. ...
  • Poker Face – Lady Gaga. ...
  • Chandelier – Sia. ...
  • Closing Time – Semisonic. ...
  • A Little Bit Longer – Jonas Brothers. ...
  • Gangnam Style – Psy. ...
  • Pumped Up Kicks – Foster The People. ...
  • Let It Be – The Beatles.
Jun 29, 2022

What's a good personal theme song? ›

  • 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. ...
  • 'I Will Survive' by Gloria Gaynor. ...
  • 'Lose Yourself' by Eminem. ...
  • 'I'm Still Standing' by Elton John. ...
  • 'Survivor' by Destiny's Child. ...
  • 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger' by Daft Punk. ...
  • '(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher' by Jackie Wilson.
Jul 5, 2022

What songs played backwards have hidden messages? ›

Play It Backwards! Are diabolical messages hidden in songs?
  • Eagles – “Hotel California” ...
  • Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven” ...
  • AC / DC – “Highway to Hell” ...
  • Queen – “Another One Bites The Dust” ...
  • Beatles – “Revolution 9” ...
  • Pink Floyd – “Empty Spaces” ...
  • Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Oct 29, 2021

What is the least known song? ›

50 best unknown songs by famous artists
5050.The Velvet Underground - Run Run Run
4949.Public Enemy - Louder than a bomb
4848.David Gilmour - Where we start
4747.Sex Pistols - Liar
4646.Jimi Hendrix - 1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
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What is the top song RN? ›

Today's Top Hits
  • As It WasHarry Styles.
  • I Like You (A Happier Song) (with Doja Cat)Post Malone, Doja Cat.
  • Bad HabitSteve Lacy.
  • About Damn TimeLizzo.
  • I Ain't WorriedOneRepublic.
  • Pink VenomBLACKPINK.
  • Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) - 2018 RemasterKate Bush.
  • Quevedo: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 52Bizarrap, Quevedo.

What are some songs names? ›

Classic Songs with a Name in the Title
  • "Rhiannon," Fleetwood Mac.
  • "Eleanor Rigby," The Beatles.
  • "Runaround Sue," Dion.
  • "Come On, Eileen," Dexy's Midnight Runners.
  • "Johnny B. Goode," Chuck Berry.
  • "Darling Nikki," Prince.
  • "Me and Bobby McGee," Janis Joplin.
  • "Sweet Caroline," Neil Diamond.
Apr 22, 2020

Where can I find obscure songs? ›

To find obscure music, browse through an online service like SoundCloud that allows artists to upload their own tracks. Also, check your local music shop, art fairs, and festivals that showcase local musicians. Finally, check the walls of bars and coffee shops for upcoming local performances.


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