The Beatles' hit track Hey Jude is the most-referenced song in literature.

Researchers at have discovered that the pop classic is mentioned in at least 55 works of fiction, from Stephen King's The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla to The Afterlife and Other Stories by John Updike.

But that's not the only Fab Four single popular with authors - Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (at seven), Eleanor Rigby (eight), I Want to Hold Your Hand (15) and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (16) all place in the top 20.

Elvis Presley is a runner up at two with Heartbreak Hotel, while Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven is placed third.

Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and Beat It by the late Michael Jackson are also mentioned in the unique countdown.

News of Hey Jude's popularity comes on what would have been John Lennon's birthday. The Beatles icon would have turned 72 on Tuesday (09Oct12).