There are times when I have a hard time finding the right words to show appreciation. But, I have come to learn that music has an intricate connection to human emotions. If you have decided to show your appreciation to those around you, I recommend using these top songs about gratitude to help get you there.
1. “In My Life” – The Beatles
Can you remember the last time you showed any heartfelt appreciation to a lover, friend, relative, or mentor? “In My Life” by The Beatles is a perfect song for showing gratitude to someone who has helped or mentored you in life.
Released in 1965, the narrator in this song uses the lyrics to show gratitude and say the highest form of thank you to their lover. At one point, he says that among all his friends and lovers, there’s not a single person who can compare to them!
2. “Thank You” – Dido
Although Dido released it years ago, it only shot to fame after getting sampled by revered rap icon Eminem’s rap “Stan.” The Eminem version talks about an obsessed fan. However, the original can and does stand on its own. It’s one of the sweetest songs we have listened to.
“Thank You” by Dido talks about a woman who is having a terrible time. All this, however, changes when they receive a call from their lover. It helps to show how thankful you can feel when you’re in a relationship where you feel genuinely supported and appreciated.
3. “We Are Family” – Sister Sledge
Those who are lucky enough to have sisters probably think of them as the best and most amazing people in the world. What better way to celebrate and appreciate your sisters than to play this anthem by Sister Sledge? We like it because of its upbeat tempo and highly memorable lyrics. In the song, the legendary disco group talks about the unbreakable bond that exists between sisters. It’s one song in this playlist that I am sure will always get you up and moving whenever you listen to it. For more songs about sisters, check out this list!
4. “Thank You Friends” – Big Star
Although it was initially recorded in 1974, this song only hit the airwaves in 1978. Big Star, the Memphis power-pop kings, included it in their third album titled “Third/Sister Lovers.” At first listen, the moody song appears quite strange. It’s only on a subsequent listen when you realize that the power-pop kings use their lyrics to thank them for everything. They use the song to show appreciation for the love and support the fans have shown them over the years.
5. “Every Day” – Rascal Flatts
By now, you have probably realized that there are different ways to say thanks and show gratitude. It’s possible to communicate different emotions depending on the songs you have chosen to include in your playlist. An excellent example of this is “Every Day,” where the song uses its lyrics to thank someone close to them for providing them with much-needed emotional support. The narrator says that this person is the only one who understands him and guards his secrets. They’re the ones who know how to save them from depression and darkness.
6. “Family Business” – Kanye West
We have examined many songs about gratitude, but none exemplifies familial love quite like “Family Business” by Kanye West. The song features in his first official album called College Dropout. He uses its lyrics to show the love and pride that he has in his family. You can hear him thanking them for their love and support at various stages, even when they occasionally tell uncomfortable stories related to his youth. “Family Business” is one of the best songs that give thanks to family.
7. “Thankful” – Kelly Clarkson
Long before she appeared as a judge on The Voice, Kelly Clarkson took part in the first-ever edition of American Idol. And if you didn’t know, she went on to beat all the other contestants appearing on the show. “Thankful” was included in her debut album, which was released shortly after emerging the victor. Clarkson uses this surprisingly jazzy song to appreciate and thank her romantic partner for always being there when needed.
8. “The Heart of Life” – John Mayer
Everyday life comes with a series of ups and downs. Although some of the occurrences in life can prove heartbreaking, “The Heart of Life” by John Mayer proves just how good it is. John uses it to demonstrate how love and hope can work together to defeat pain and darkness. We find it to be the perfect song to listen to when contemplating all the bad things happening around you. The truth is that we are all bound to experience pain and loss at some point in life. Although you may not understand everything that’s happening, you shouldn’t lose hope in it.
9. “Kind and Generous” – Natalie Merchant
Natalie released this humble, loving tribute to a close associate in 1998. It’s a song about a close friend who has opened up their hearts to her. You can feel the genuine affection and appreciation in her lyrics. In a past interview, she stated that she wrote this song because she wanted to give her fans a song that had a positive message.
10. “I Want to Thank You” – Otis Redding
As far as romantic tunes go, there’s no better song to show your gratitude to your partner than “I Want to Thank You” by Otis Redding. It’s the type of romantic tune you include in your playlist when you want to tell a lover just how much they mean to you.
In some cases, the best way to show gratitude to the person who helps put a smile on your face every day is to say thank you or sing it to them.
11. “A Moment Like This” – Kelly Clarkson
“A Moment Like This” by Kelly Clarkson is yet another fantastic tune from this talented songstress to help show gratitude. It’s included in her album titled “Thankful,” which contains a song of the same name. We chose to include this track in this list because of how best it describes certain emotions. An example is the feeling of gratitude you experience when you find real love in this world. Or the series of emotions that course through your body during a first kiss. Clarkson brings out all these feelings in her wonderfully crafted lyrics and emotionally-charged chorus. It’s a wonderfully written song from an artist who appears genuinely appreciative of her fortune, love, and success in the music industry.
12. “Song for My Father” – Sarah McLachlan
If you’re lucky enough to have parents or guardians who love, support you, and put countless hours into making you happy, you understand that there aren’t enough words to thank them. It’s not uncommon to lack enough words to express your gratitude.
When this happens, you should consider this song as a good start. Although you may have become an adult, you may still lack enough words to appreciate them truly. I recommend using its lyrics to show them how much they mean to you.
13. “Because You Loved Me” — Celine Dion
Released in 1996, “Because You Loved Me” went on to become a global hit and helped Celine win a Grammy Award. She uses the song’s lyrics to place her lover on a pedestal and show him her unflinching gratitude. She goes on to thank him for all the inspiration and strength he has provided her over the years. At one point, you can hear Celine proclaim, “I’m everything I am because you loved me.” The song talks about how she met her husband Angélil and their life together.
14. “Thank God I Found You” – Mariah Carey Featuring 98 Degrees and Joe
Anyone who has had a chance to listen to Mariah Carey immediately learns to love her soaring soprano voice. Her co-collaborators in this song help add intricate harmonies to the lyrics helping to bring a new texture to Mariah’s already impressive vocals.
The harmonies from Joe go a long way in transforming “Thank God I Found You” from an everyday pop song into something resembling a spiritual tune. It’s a song that will easily have you tapping in rhythm to its beats.
15. “Mashed Potato Time” – Dee Dee Sharp
Thanksgiving holidays are the perfect time to express gratitude, and for those unsure of what songs to include in their playlist, I would recommend starting with “Mashed Potato Time.” Dee Dee Sharp knows just the right words to use in describing everyone’s beloved starch for the holidays. Her lyrics will get you in the holiday mood in no time. You could even go a step further and kick-start or attempt to immortalize her famous dance moves, too!
16. “Give Thanks and Praises” – Bob Marley and the Wailers
“Give Thanks and Praises” by Bob Marley was released in 1983 as part of his posthumous album “Confrontation.” It’s the same album that contained the hit song “Buffalo Soldier” among other lesser-known tunes. The laidback song helps put the listener’s mind at ease while sweetly reminding them that they’re not alone. The artists use their lyrics to remind us that we all have someone we can turn to whenever things get tough. It’s an excellent song to listen to when hanging out with friends and family.
17. “You’re My Best Friend” – Queen
I don’t think this list of songs about gratitude would be considered complete without a song from Queen. “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen is literally a shout-out to best friends all over the world. Released in 1976, I don’t think the world will ever have a better tribute to besties than this one. Queen uses its lyrics to reflect on how much best friends are there for us when things aren’t going as we had hoped. In one line, he shouts, “Ooh, You Make Me Live!” to prove that they help bring sunshine to our lives. It also goes to show the duration the friendship has lasted. It’s a song that can easily make you misty, especially when you begin to think about your best friend in life.
18. “Thank You for Being a Friend” – Andrew Gold
Still, on the issue of best friends, this song from 1978 is one that I believe will never go out of style. “Thank You for Being a Friend” is a great classic you can use to say thank you to your BFF and to show them how much they mean to you. Andrew Gold narrates the length of their friendship, the tribulations they have gone through, and how he hopes that things will remain that way. He thanks and appreciates his friend for keeping his secrets and for remaining a confidant.
19. “Thank You” – Boyz II Men
Boyz II Men were here long before Pentatonix had made a name for themselves as an acapella powerhouse. It’s the group credited with creating a foundation for this particular music genre. You will instantly fall in love with this track, thanks to its catchy hook.
The group uses an intricate arrangement of bass and vocal persuasion to belt out this monster hit. Everything, including its deft harmonizers, immediately stands out, making you want to listen to it a second time.
20. “Gratitude” — Earth, Wind, & Fire
If there’s one thing that I am sure of, it’s that you can always rely on Earth, Wind, & Fire to give you memorable tunes filled with endearing messages. In its lyrics, the artist asks for peace of mind and requests the listeners to open up their hearts to the possibility of love. It shows the kind of energy that we all need to tap into, especially when meeting our loved ones during the holidays. Its lyrics alone should make for a fabulous listen, especially when entertaining friends and loved ones.
21. “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” — Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin is, without a doubt, the all-time queen of Soul music. In this song, Ms Franklin uses the lyrics to talk about a woman who feels uninspired and doesn’t have any purpose in life. The feeling continues until she comes face to face with the person her lyrics are about, which causes her life to make a 180-degree turn. Thanks to this meeting, she finally evolves into the person she has always desired to become.
22. “Thank You” — Hellyeah
Diehard metal group fans are probably surprised to learn that their favorite supergroup has a song about showing gratitude. But I wouldn’t write it off just yet, as we believe the song is worth trying. The song talks about showing appreciation to a close friend, relative, or lover who has recently passed away. It talks about the narrator’s regret at not getting an opportunity to say “thanks” and show gratitude when they had a chance to do so. Fortunately, the narrator chooses to believe that late is better than never and uses the lyrics to express their gratitude to the departed. They later extend this show of appreciation to the people still in their lives who are still alive. We suggest taking this song and its lyrics as a positive lesson and as a motivation to say what you need to say before things take a turn for the worse.
23. “Thank U” – Alanis Morissette
Ms. Alanis Morissette released “Jagged Little Pill,” her breakthrough album when she turned 21. The album was a huge global hit, which motivated her to take a break from music and journey to India. She took a few years to complete her tour of the country, culminating with the release of “Thank You.” The time spent traveling through the country enabled her to experience a spiritual awakening. “Thank You” tells her fans about the journey she took and the relationship she got to build with her newly found religion. The gratitude in this song is directed towards a deity or creator, as opposed to a romantic partner, which is the case with most other pieces.
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.