Billboard‘s most recent cover star John Mayer has been making music in the public eye for nearly 20 years. The singer-songwriter has wonseven Grammys, scored the most No. 1s on Billboard‘s Top Rock Albums chart of any artist (7), and notched 20 Hot 100 hits.
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Adult pop-rock is his bread and butter, and in his own words, “I don’t make music for the club. I make music for the omelette on the Sunday after the club” —atime when we’re all the most honest with ourselves.
The essence of John Mayer’s music is honest, nostalgic and raw. It is metaphorical yet direct. John Mayer makes music that describes what you’re going through, even if you don’t realize you’re going through something. He finds the metaphors and analogies that help life make sense, even when it doesn’t.
Below,Billboardranks John Mayer’s 20 best songs.
20. “Why Georgia” (Room for Squares, 2001)
Off Mayer’s 2001 debut album, Room for Squares,’“Why Georgia” is an upbeat ode to coming of age and carving your own path. The song also gives us a preview of his effortless ability to toss unusualwords into pop songs without sounding forced:“Either way I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdictless life.”
19. “Waiting on the World to Change” (Continuum, 2006)
Releasing a mildly politically charged song was definitely a power move for John Mayer with his Continuumlead single, but the song is something of an anti-anthem — while Mayer sings about waiting, the purposeful lack of urgency in his lyrics and vocals carries throughout the song. “Waiting on the World to Change”won the Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2006.
18. “Vultures” (Continuum, 2006)
Mayer’s vocal range in “Vultures” is what makes the song so great. Traditionallyknown for his velvety, smooth voice, so when he actually flexes on a couple high notes, you can’t help but notice. With bold metaphors layered over funky piano and searing guitar solos, “Vultures” is quintessential John Mayer.
17. “Clarity” (Heavier Things, 2003)
“Clarity” was the second single off 2003’s Heavier Things,and it did not disappoint. With smooth horns by the recently passed Grammy-winner Roy Hargrove, drums and piano by Roots legend Questlove, and Mayer’s infectious “ooOOooh, ooOOooh” sighs before each chorus, the song comes together for easy-listening perfection.
16. “Gravity” (Continuum, 2006)
“Gravity” is the perfect song for when you’re in your feelings. Here, we see John Mayer’s blues at the forefront of the song, keeping the singing to a minimum in favor of a heavy guitar solo — you can hear more of the pain and emotion in Mayer’s guitar than in his vocals. The artist himself seems to have a great deal of fondness for the song — he’s released it on three separate albums, and it won the Grammy for best solo rock vocal the third time out as a live version on 2008’sWhere the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles.
15. “Edge of Desire” (Battle Studies, 2009)
John Mayer has a way of saying things one might be ashamed of and making them sound beautiful; in this case, “I want you so bad I’ll go back on the things I believe.” “Edge of Desire” questions how far you’ll go for love. His raw honesty crescendos to the point where he’s practically screaming, begging at the end of the track. The song also includes perhaps one of Mayer’s most creative lyrics: “Maybe this mattress will spin on its axis and find me on yours.”
14. “Bigger Than My Body” (Heavier Things, 2003)
A feel-good song through and through, the prominent drums and bouncy guitar carry the track. Mayer also shares the sentiment that the best is yet to come:You’re capable of way more than what you or anyone else gives you credit for, and Mayer gets the message across without being cheesy or preachy.
13. “No Such Thing” (Room For Squares, 2001)
“No Such Thing” is the debut single that John Mayer burst onto the scene with, peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and enduring as one of his signature hits. It’s the first of many time we hear Mayer sing of his parents and their inevitable aging, which he returns to on later albums. But the final takeaway of the track is about not taking yourself too seriously, while also not selling yourself short: “I’d like to think the best of me is still hiding up my sleeve.”
12. “Your Body Is a Wonderland” (Room For Squares, 2001)
Mayer’s second career single peaked at No. 18 on the Hot 100, but more importantly, it was the first time America realized he could be seductive. With lines like “One mile to every inch of your skin like porcelain,” and his repetition of “I’ll use my hands,” John Mayer brought sex appeal to this acoustic balladwithout making it feel dirty.
11. “Who Says” (Battle Studies, 2009)
“Who Says” is 100 percentan IDGAF song — albeit a fairly gentle one.It’s a middle finger to the naysayers, but Mayer’s smooth voice delivers the message inoffensively. The opening line “Who says I can’t get stoned?” gave Mayer an edge and a cool factor that he now exudes effortlessly.
10. “Love on the Weekend” (The Search For Everything, 2017)
This song is all about the simple pleasure of spending the weekend with the one you love. While most of Mayer’s best songs have a melancholy romanticism about them, this song is the opposite:He mixes simple sentiments like “I can’t believe I get to see your face” with signature multi-syllable surprises in the sweet lyrics, treating the listener to lines like “And I’ll be dreaming of the next time we can go into another serotonin overflow” —which automatically make you crave higher serotonin levels, something you’ve probably never thought about. What other pop song can say the same?
9. “The Heart of Life” (Continuum, 2006)
Sometimes, John Mayer’s voice is so lovely that it’s not hard to get whisked away by the sound. However, “The Heart of Life” is one of those songs that will make you emotional if you listen to the words —filled with lyrics like “Bad news never has good timing,” which basically amount to “It be like that sometimes.” The one liner “The heart of life is good” will instantly fill you with gratitude, no matter how complicated life can be.
8. “You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me” (The Search For Everything, 2017)
The whistling at the introduction practically hits you over the head with nostalgia. It brings you to simpler times, and you just know it’s going to be something wholesome. You can hear and feel Mayer’s raw emotion as he sets up behind the piano this time, rather than his usual six-string, and as a listener you can’t help but adopt the same feelings.
7. “Daughters” (Heavier Things, 2003)
No one but John Mayer can make a song accusing a woman of having daddy issues sound so damn beautiful. Mayer’s recurring theme of how our parents affect our lives is carried through the song with folk-y guitar strums and gentle percussion. “Daughters” won the Grammy for song of the year in 2005, and it’s easy to see why.
6. “Emoji of a Wave” (The Search For Everything, 2017)
Mayer’s song title for this track is super new-school, but the message is as classic as ever. This time, the singer-songwriter likens hardships in life and relationships to the cyclic nature of waves: They come and go, and you just have to accept themto get through it. The strings in the background really elevate the song to a new level, and the lyric “Your heart is where my head should be, the dissonance is killing me” is quintessential Mayer.
5. “New Light” (Non-album single, 2018)
“New Light” ushers in a new era of John Mayer in many ways. For one, we hardly ever hear the singer pining for a lover, and especially not while stuck in the friend-zone. The funky single, co-written and produced by No. I.D., showcases a sound that Mayer has been working on over the last few years by collaborating with artists from all corners of the industry — Shawn Mendes and Travis Scott to name a couple —and the result is sonically unlike any other song in his catalog, but the mid-songguitar solo still brings us back to classic John Mayer.
4. “Half of My Heart” (Battle Studies, 2009)
By the time this song was released, Mayer had earned a reputation as something of a player. This song addresses that persona, but softens the blow by acknowledging that it takes two to make a tabloid romance. Mayer and famed eventual-ex Taylor Swift’s voices harmonize so well together that they sound like they were meant to be as one on the track. Mayer apparently felt the same way, revealing in a since-deleted tweet that Swift “would make a killer Stevie Nicks to my [Tom] ‘Petty’ of a song.” The harmonies between the two and piercing guitar riffs make for a perfectly-balanced hit, earning the hit single a Grammy nomination for best male vocal pop performance in 2010.
3. “Stop This Train” (Continuum, 2006)
“Stop This Train” addresses the anxieties we feel about growing up directly, by using a train as a metaphor for life. It’s a very, very real feeling that twenty-somethingsoften have trouble vocalizing — short of annoying words like “adulting” —but that’s why we have John Mayer to do it for us. He reflects on his own life, while again referencing his parents in a veryblunt aspect of life we allmust face: “Don’t know how else to say it, don’t want to see my parents go.”
2. “Free Fallin’” (Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles, 2008)
Mayer’s cover of Tom Petty’s 1989 classic“Free Fallin’,” released as part of his Where the Light Islive set, does complete justice to the incomparable original, but also breathes new life into the song by switching up the song’s melodies. Mayer’s vocal range gets the spotlight on the chorus, emphasizingthe “singer” part of his usual “singer-songwriter” billing. Just ashe did with his cover of Beyonce’s “XO” — both of which perennially rank among his top-streamed songs on Spotify —he manages to make a Tom Petty song into a John Mayer song.
1. “Slow Dancing In a Burning Room” (Continuum, 2006)
“Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” is the ultimate John Mayer Song. “Slow dancing in a burning room” might be one of his most poignant metaphors, the imagery beautiful yet chaotic. The song brings layers of intimacy, from its lyrics to its slow-cooked groove, that set it apart even fromhis other best songs. Lines like “You’ll be a bitch because you can” are out of character for the singer, making the lyric that much more memorable. “Slow Dancing” takes a reverse format from many of his other most famous songs, ending with a series of questions (“Don’t you think we oughta know by now?”) rather than posing them from the outset.
As a recorded highlight of 2006’s Continuum, the song is great, but when it’s played live, it’s an experience. Watching Mayer play the song in person is to see an artist truly immersing himself in his craft, and as a spectator it’s mesmerizing to watch. There’s no saying how long he’ll extend the guitar solo, or in which direction he’ll take it. John Mayer takes live music to a whole new level, and it’s one of the reasons why he’s being honored at Billboard’s Live Music Summit on Nov. 13-14.
What are the top 20 songs right now? ›
- Made You LookMeghan Trainor.
- golden hourJVKE.
- Rich FlexDrake, 21 Savage.
- I Like You (A Happier Song) (with Doja Cat)Post Malone, Doja Cat.
- Here With Med4vd.
- Late Night TalkingHarry Styles.
- Lavender HazeTaylor Swift.
- 10:35Tiësto, Tate McRae.
“It's Wild Blue for me, baby,” Mayer told SiriusXM. “I just put it on and I can't believe it's mine. Artists aren't really allowed to say that but it is true.What is the hardest John Mayer song to play on guitar? ›
John Mayer (opens in new tab) joined TikTok (opens in new tab)this week, but the real story is he's used it to give us insider tips on how to play his most difficult song – Neon. Anyone who's ever tried to grapple with this cut from his 2001 album Room For Squares will know the riff is a real finger twister.What is the #1 song of all time? ›
It was never a hit single and got almost no play on Top 40 radio. There's even a dispute over the exact title. Yet “It's a Small World,” also known as “It's a Small, Small World” and “It's a Small World (After All),” is very likely the most played song in music history — nearly 50 million times.What is the #1 rock song of all time? ›
- 1) LED ZEPPELIN - STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. ...
- 2) QUEEN - BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. ...
- 3) LYNYRD SKYNYRD - FREE BIRD. ...
- 4) DEEP PURPLE - SMOKE ON THE WATER. ...
- 5) PINK FLOYD - COMFORTABLY NUMB. ...
- 6) LED ZEPPELIN - KASHMIR. ...
- 7) RAINBOW - STARGAZER. ...
- 8) FREE - ALL RIGHT NOW.
In his track Paper Doll, John detailed an ex who he "was good to" and puts the blame of the split back onto the girl who was "a little paper doll" and too fragile to hand the relationship. There were many similarities between the lyrics of Paper Doll and Dear John, all but confirming the track was about Taylor.What is the biggest rock hit of all time? ›
- 'Purple Haze' by Jimi Hendrix. ...
- 'Whole Lotta Love' by Led Zeppelin. ...
- 'Sympathy for the Devil' by The Rolling Stones. ...
- 'Under Pressure' by Queen & David Bowie. ...
- 'Baba O'Riley' by The Who. ...
- 'Comfortably Numb' by Pink Floyd. ...
- 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. ...
- 'Funk #49' by the James Gang.
A-list love life! John Mayer is arguably one of the biggest heartthrobs in Hollywood and has romanced some serious A-listers. Although he has seemingly stepped out of the dating pool in recent years, the musician has wooed celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Katy Perry, Cameron Diaz and Taylor Swift throughout the years.What does John Mayer listen to? ›
Like many musicians, John Mayer has many influences; he himself has stated that he draws inspiration from artists across all genres including Hip Hop, R&B, Jazz, Rock, Blues, and Soul. He has also said that he draws musical inspiration from stand up comedians, but I'm not quite sure how that works.
What is the saddest song to play on guitar? ›
- Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton.
- Yesterday by The Beatles.
- Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.
- Stay With Me by Sam Smith.
- The Long And Winding Road by The Beatles.
- When the Party's Over by Billie Eilish.
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles.
- Wind of Change by The Scorpions.
Minor is the place to start if you want to convey sad emotions and this chord progression can be used to create a depressing feeling with the music. It's hard to sound happy when you just use minor and diminished chords.What song has the greatest guitar solo of all time? ›
1. "Stairway to Heaven" — Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin (1971) Since its release in 1971, "Stairway to Heaven" has topped numerous lists as the best rock song and best guitar solo of all time, and it's primarily thanks to the masterful architecture of Jimmy Page's guitar solo.What is considered the best song ever written? ›
Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' named Greatest Song of All Time by Rolling Stone.What is the number one song in America? ›
Taylor Swift, “Anti-Hero”What are the 5 most recorded songs of all time? ›
- 'Yesterday' by The Beatles.
- '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' by The Rolling Stones.
- 'Cry Me A River' by Justin Timberlake Julie London.
- 'Imagine' by John Lennon.
- 'Over The Rainbow' by Judy Garland // 'What a Wonderful World' by Louis Armstrong.
- 1 of 31. Barbra Streisand. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BSB. ...
- 2 of 31. Etta James. Charles Paul Harris/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. ...
- 3 of 31. Aretha Franklin. ...
- 4 of 31. Whitney Houston. ...
- 5 of 31. Mariah Carey. ...
- 6 of 31. Elton John. ...
- 7 of 31. Freddie Mercury. ...
- 8 of 31. Adele.
"One Dance" became the first song to hit 1 billion streams on 12 December 2016, and held the streaming record for almost a year before being surpassed by "Shape of You" on 21 September 2017, which went on to become the first song to reach 2 billion streams in December 2018 and 3 billion streams in December 2021.What song did Taylor write about Harry? ›
In an interview in 2015, Swift addressed the turbulence of her relationship with Styles when discussing the inspiration of “Out of the Woods.” “The number one feeling I felt in the whole relationship was anxiety,” she said.Which song of Harry is about Taylor? ›
While Harry hasn't released as many songs allegedly inspired by his romance with Taylor, this track off his 2017 self-titled debut solo album is the most clear reference to it and is basically a counter-argument to "Style." Just read this lyrics: "Same lips red, same eyes blue.
What is Taylor Swift's favorite song of her own? ›
Taylor Swift reveals 'Midnights' track is one of her own 'favourite songs'Who has the biggest hits of all time? ›
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Jennifer Aniston (opens in new tab) and John Mayer are often forgotten as one of the A-list couples of the noughties, dating from 2008 to 2009 after meeting at an Oscars party.How long did Jessica Simpson and John Mayer date? ›
Simpson divorced Lachay in 2006 and began dating Mayer shortly after. "We dated on and off for two years," Simpson told Oprah.Did John Mayer date Katy Perry? ›
Good for you, man.” Katy Perry and John Mayer dated soon after her divorce to Russell Brand in 2012. They were together for three years until they broke up in 2015. A year later, Katy started dating Orlando Bloom in 2016 and they got engaged in 2019.Are any of John Mayers songs about Jennifer Aniston? ›
Now that their relationship was finished, Mayer did what any good songwriter does: he tapped into the emotions from the relationship and started writing a song. That song would become “Shadow Days,” which appeared on his album Born and Raised. When speaking with Us Weekly, a source revealed, “Shadow Days” is about Jen.Are Harry Styles and John Mayer friends? ›
These crooners have been bromancing for years, FYI. "Reunited with John Mayer... Oh how i've missed you," the "Kiwi" musician once tweeted in 2011. In 2017, the "My Stupid Mouth" artist would praise his friend's self-titled debut album, tweeting: "@Harry_Styles could have made any style record under the sun.Does John Mayer regret breaking up with Katy Perry? ›
John Mayer has revealed that he regrets ending things with his ex-girlfriend, Katy Perry. The on/off couple finally called in quits in 2015, but John admits he hasn't moved on and has written a song called 'Still Feel Like Your Man' about his ex. “Who else would I be thinking about?" he told the New York Times.Does John Mayer like Led Zeppelin? ›
John Mayer is not a big fan of Led Zeppelin. In a recent interview on Let There Be Talk, the blues icon doubled-down on his love for the Strat, and shed light on why Jimmy Page's style doesn't appeal to him. “I happen not to be a Zeppelin guy,” Mayer told Delray. “It never caught me, it still very much could.What is Johnny Depp's favorite music? ›
Johnny Depp's favourite albums:
Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan. Ex-Maniac – Babybird. Watch Me Disappear – Augie March. Sticky Fingers – The Rolling Stones.
Does John Mayer play with a pick? ›
Possibly the technique that most defines Mayer's sound is his decision to use his fingers to pluck his strings rather than using a pick (plectrum). Of course, Mayer does use a pick for some of his songs and performances, but often, you will see him use his fingers instead.What song is most likely to make you cry? ›
- 'Nothing Compares 2 U' by Sinéad O'Connor. ...
- 'Hurt' by Johnny Cash. ...
- 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' by Neil Young. ...
- 'Teardrop' by Massive Attack. ...
- 'I Know It's Over' by The Smiths. ...
- 'No Distance Left to Run' by Blur. ...
- 'The Boxer' by Simon & Garfunkel. ...
- 'No Name #5' by Elliott Smith.
- Joe Satriani – The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing.
- John Petrucci – Damage Control.
- Steve Vai – Juice.
- Eddie Van Halen – Eruption.
- Animals as Leaders – CAFO.
- 5: Guns N' Roses: Sweet Child O' Mine (1988) ...
- 4: Deep Purple: Smoke On The Water (1972) ...
- 3: The Rolling Stones: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction) (1965) ...
- 2: Chuck Berry: Johnny B Goode (1958) ...
- 1: Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991) ...
- The best of the rest.
In music a tritone consists of two notes that are three whole steps apart, such as “C” to “F#.” Not found in either the major or minor scales, and due to its discordant sound, it has been called “the Devil's Chord.”Which is the darkest chord? ›
The diminished chord is the darkest chord in music. This is because it's constructed with stacked minor third intervals. The D diminished chord and F diminished chord share most of the same notes. But, when you add a 7th to the chord they share all the same notes.Who is number 1 guitarist of all time? ›
1: Jimmy Page
The mastermind behind hard-rock giants Led Zeppelin is without a doubt the best guitarists who ever lived. Jimmy Page's clamorous fusion of blues-rock and hyperactive riffage took the revolutionary spirit of Jimi Hendrix's innovations and turned them into pure magic.
- Jimi Hendrix.
- Eric Clapton.
- Jeff Beck.
- Chuck Berry.
- Stevie Ray Vaughan.
- Joe Satriani.
- Steve Vai.
- Yngwie Malmsteen.
|1||Guthrie Govan||All-Around Technical Virtuoso|
|2||Pat Metheny||Jazz Voicing & Picking|
|3||Tommy Emmanuel||One-Man Band|
|4||Steve Vai||Technical & Harmonic Prowess|
- I'm Good (Blue) I'm Good (Blue) David Guetta, Bebe Rexha. ...
- 10:35. 10:35. Tiësto, Tate McRae. ...
- Anti-Hero. Anti-Hero. Taylor Swift. ...
- Boy's a liar. Boy's a liar. PinkPantheress. ...
- 2 Be Loved (Am I Ready) 2 Be Loved (Am I Ready) Lizzo. ...
- LET GO. LET GO. Central Cee. ...
- Kill Bill. Kill Bill. SZA. ...
- Die For You. Die For You.
What is the #1 song right now 2022? ›
Taylor Swift, “Anti-Hero”What are todays top 40 songs? ›
- Unholy. SAM SMITH & KIM PETRAS. Capitol.
- Anti-Hero. TAYLOR SWIFT. Republic.
- I'm Good (Blue) DAVID GUETTA & BEBE REXHA. Parlophone UK.
- Die For You. THE WEEKND. XO.
- Super Freaky Girl. NICKI MINAJ. Republic.
- I Like You .. f/Doja Cat. POST MALONE. Mercury/RCA-Republic.
- Made You Look. MEGHAN TRAINOR. Epic.
- Bad Habit. STEVE LACY. L-M/RCA.
Billboard: While “Heat Waves” by Glass Animals was secured the top spot on Billboard's 2022 year-end Hot 100 Songs chart, Bad Bunny was 2022's biggest winner, becoming the first Latin artist to rank as the top artist of the year and with his album Un Verano Sin Ti winning the designation as the top album (it was also ...What is the most downloaded song? ›
- Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas - From "Blackmail"Kishore Kumar.
- Samne Ye Kaun Aya - From "Jawani Diwani"Kishore Kumar.
- Chalte Chalte - Part 1 / From "Chalte Chalte"Kishore Kumar.
- Churi Nahin Yeh Mera Dil Hai - From "Gambler"Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar.
22-dated ranking: Most Weeks Spent on the Billboard Hot 100: 91, “Heat Waves,” Glass Animals.What is the 1 one song right now? ›
The current number one pop song on iTunes right now is Anti-Hero by Taylor Swift.What is #1 on iTunes right now? ›
The chart of the current best selling hot 100 song downloads on iTunes right now is updated daily and is for the top singles in the USA. The number one song on iTunes right now is Anti-Hero by Taylor Swift.What song is number 1 on iTunes? ›
|1.||it's been a year||iTunes|
|2.||Heart Like A Truck||iTunes|
- Calm Down (with Selena Gomez)Rema, Selena Gomez.
- Rich FlexDrake, 21 Savage.
- I Ain't WorriedOneRepublic.
- Hey MorOzuna, Feid.
- Tití Me PreguntóBad Bunny.
- Another LoveTom Odell.
- Escapism. RAYE, 070 Shake.
- golden hourJVKE.
- Bad HabitSteve Lacy.
- I Like You (A Happier Song)Post Malone.
- Victoria's SecretJax.
- Bad HabitsEd Sheeran.
- WomanDoja Cat.
- Big EnergyLatto.
- Easy LoverEllie Goulding & Colbath.
- INDUSTRY BABYLil Nas X.
What are the top 10 songs in the United States right now? ›
- 10:35Tiësto, Tate McRae.
- LET GOCentral Cee.
- Anti-HeroTaylor Swift.
- Just Wanna RockLil Uzi Vert.
- I'm Good (Blue)David Guetta, Bebe Rexha.
- Boy's a liarPinkPantheress.
- Kill BillSZA.
- Beg For You (feat. Rina Sawayama)Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama.
The most-streamed song in Spotify history is credited to… The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights." The song, which was released in November 2019, has been streamed over 3 billion times on the platform!