A Musical History

The history of Universal Music Publishing Group is best told through our songs.

From the standards of Jerome Kern to the sixties pop of the Beach Boys and heartfelt soul of Otis Redding; from the folk rock of the Mamas & the Papas to singer-songwriter Paul Simon; from the classic rock and pop of Elton John, Neil Diamond and Billy Joel to the alternative rock of R.E.M. and Pearl Jam; from the new wave of The Cars and INXS to the urban pop of Mariah Carey and Justin Timberlake; from the hip-hop of 2Pac and Eminem to the dance pop of Justin Bieber. Universal Music Publishing Group's iconic songs represent the soundtrack to our lives.


Scroll through and click to either watch the video or play a song clip.

1933

Bessie Smith - Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer
Bessie Smith - Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer

Nicknamed the "Empress of the Blues," Bessie Smith popularized this Blues standard written by Wesley Wilson.

Bessie Smith - Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer

1936

Fred Astaire - The Way You Look Tonight
Fred Astaire - The Way You Look Tonight

Fred Astaire had the first hit version, a number one, of this co-written Jerome Kern 'Great American Songbook' standard. 

1941

Andrews Sisters - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
Andrews Sisters - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

The Andrews Sisters were one of the most popular artists of the 1940's. Don Raye co-wrote this hit for the group which went on to become one of greatest songs of the 20th century.


The Andrews Sisters - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

1944

Louis Jordan - Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby
Louis Jordan - Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby
Louis Jordan combined Blues and Jazz laying the path to R&B.

Louis Jordan - Is You Or Is You Ain't My Baby

1958

The Platters - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
The Platters - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

The most famous version of the classic written Jerome Kern song came from American doo-wop group the Platters, and was a number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Platters - Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

1964

Beach Boys - I Get Around
The Beach Boys first US Billboard Hot 100 number one single and a classic of their Surf Rock Pop sound.

1965

The Mamas & The Papas - California Dreamin'
The Mamas & The Papas - California Dreamin'
A Folk Rock benchmark and a defining song of the 60’s capturing the allure of the California lifestyle.

The Mamas and The Papas - California Dreamin'

1966

Neil Diamond - Solitary Man
One of Diamond's early hits and the start of a recording and hit making career that is still going strong.

1967

Aretha Franklin - Respect

Written by Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin's signature song, and one of the defining hits of the soul era has gone on to become a powerful statement anthem.

1967

Jimi Hendrix - Foxy Lady
A Psychedelic Rock classic taken from Hendrix's first album 'Are You Experienced'.

1968

Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay

Recorded just a few days before passing in 1967, this was the first ever posthumous number one single to enter the UK and US charts, and went on to become the most successful release of his career. 

1970

Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
A defining song and number one hit taken from the duo's last studio album.

1971

Isaac Hayes - Theme From Shaft
Isaac Hayes - Theme From Shaft

Hayes had a number one crossover hit with this signature song.


Isaac Hayes - Theme From Shaft

1972

Elton John - Rocket Man

Elton John and Bernie Taupin's atmospheric pop ballad, documenting the lonely life of an astronaut, appeared on Elton's fifth studio album 'Honky Château'. 



1973

Billy Joel - Piano Man
The first, and one of the most famous, of Billy Joel's many hit singles.

1974

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird
One of Classic Rock's most iconic songs from perhaps the most well-known Southern Rock band.

1976

Abba - Dancing Queen
This Disco flavored Euro Pop classic was a worldwide hit right as "Abbamania" reached its peak.

1977

Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive

One of the standout out songs from the film soundtrack that helped bring disco into the mainstream - helped along by John Travolta's legendary strut through the streets of New York for the 'Saturday Night Fever' opening credits. 

1978

Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive

Written by Frederick Perren and Dino Fekaris this big hit of the Disco era has gone on to become an empowerment anthem.

1979

The Clash - London Calling

The Clash's powerful political anthem was a response to social problems in Britain at the end of the 1970s, and regarded by many as one of their finest pieces of work. 

1983

Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

Arguably one of the most memorable electronic introductions to any track, Annie Lennox and David Stewart's hit single continues to ignite dancefloors today. 

1984

The Cars - You Might Think
American rock band the Cars are the epitome of the classic New Wave sound that shook the music scene from the late 70's into the 80's.

1985

Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine - Conga
Gloria Estefan's breakthrough chart success and the beginning of a hit laden career.

1987

INXS - Need You Tonight
A memorable riff kicks off INXS's biggest worldwide hit taken from the equally successful 'Kick' album.

1991

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion
R.E.M.'s biggest chart success marks the moment Alternative Rock crossed-over into the mainstream.

1992

Pearl Jam - Jeremy
Pearl Jam's debut hit album 'Ten' showcased a number of their now classic songs, along with "Jeremy" others include "Alive" and "Even Flow".

1992

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge
The breakthrough hit for the Red Hot Chili Peppers showcasing their melodic ballad side.

1993

2Pac - I Get Around
The breakthrough crossover hit from one of Hip Hop's most iconic artists.

1996

Mariah Carey - Dreamlover
Mariah Carey holds the record for the most amount of number one hits by a female artist in the Rock Era, this being one of them.

1997

Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On

Recorded by Celine Dion, UMPG writer Will Jennings co-wrote this world wide hit that was the theme song to one of the biggest grossing films of all time, 'Titanic.'

2002

Coldplay - Clocks

Built around an unforgettable piano riff, 'Clocks' won the band the prestigious 'Record of the Year' Grammy award.

2006

Justin Timberlake - SexyBack
Justin Timberlake brought "SexyBack" on his second solo album FutureSex/LoveSounds.

2010

Eminem - Love The Way You Lie feat. Rihanna
This powerful Rap and R&B ballad by Eminem and Rihanna reached number one on various charts across the world.

2010

Adele - Rolling In The Deep
The debut single from Adele's second album was a worldwide hit becoming her first US Hot 100 number one.

2011

Maroon 5 - Moves Like Jagger
Adam Levine had everyone doing their best Mick Jagger impression across the dance floor on this worldwide hit.

2012

Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe
Singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen’s breakthrough Pop song became her first number one single on US Hot 100.

2013

Imagine Dragons - Radioactive
Imagine Dragons are one of today’s most successful Alternative-Rock bands, this loud rock anthem was the second single from their debut album 'Night Visions.’

2015

Justin Bieber - What Do You Mean?

The debut single from Justin Bieber's fourth album was his first number one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

2016

Ariana Grande – Into You

The second single from Ariana Grande’s critically acclaimed, Platinum-selling album ‘Dangerous Woman’ is a glorious slice of pop perfection.

2017

Ed Sheeran - Shape of You

Steve Mac co-wrote and produced this global hit, which topped the charts in 60 countries worldwide - including 12 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.