Songs about living can act as a universal language that everyone understands. These songs about life from different genres teach us to make sacrifices to achieve goals, forget the past, focus on the future, and never stop believing in ourselves. Music teaches us to follow our dreams wherever they lead.
1. Beautiful by Christina Aguilera
There’s a lot of social pressure to be thinner, more attractive, more stylish, or have a social media following. We can all use more self-esteem. Christina Aguilera shared her perspective with “Beautiful,” the song she recorded in 2002. In her music, she reminds fans that no matter what anyone else says about you, you’re beautiful just the way you are. Words can’t bring anyone down. You have to believe in yourself.
2. Beautiful Day by U2
Bono was inspired to write “Beautiful Day” after his experience with Jubilee 2000. The song is about a man who lost everything but can still find joy in his life. Whatever our circumstances, we can find beauty in our lives.
3. Born Free by Matt Munro
The theme of this song is freedom. Being born free allows us to have freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and share our thoughts and beliefs. By sharing ideas, we can contribute to making society better for everyone.
4. Country Roads, Take Me Home by John Denver
Although this song was actually about a country road in Maryland, it’s a favorite of John Denver fans. The song is about the longing to travel back home and be with family.
5. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
This hit is one of the best-loved songs by Steve Perry and his classic band Journey. The song is all about belief in yourself. No matter what obstacles you face, never lose faith that whatever you’re going through, you can triumph.
6. Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin
DWBH is the abbreviation for the Bobby McFerrin song that reminds us to stop focusing on the negative aspects of our lives and think of the positive. The phrase came from Meher Baba, an Indian guru. McFerrin thought it was an extraordinary philosophy about life.
7. Dream On by Aerosmith
1973’s ballad “Dream On” is one of Aerosmith’s most iconic songs. The song was on their debut album and is one of their biggest hits. The Boston band’s message was that you can never let anyone rob you of your aspirations or dreams, no matter what anyone says.
8. Dust in the Wind by Kansas
The 1977 song by Kansas tells us that we’re just passing through this life. The only things that last forever are the earth and sky, and we have to make the most of the time we have.
9. Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.
R.E.M. wrote their song to help save lives. They were troubled about the high incidence of teen suicide and wanted to let kids know that everyone hurts sometimes. The lyrics are straightforward and were written to help teens going through a crisis. The best thing about “Everybody Hurts” is that the band was told by many fans of different ages that the song saved their lives.
10. Fight Song by Rachel Platten
Rachel Platten wasn’t sure if anyone would ever hear her song or benefit from its message. She wrote it to inspire herself when she was in a dark place and needed hope. Within 72 hours of the piece playing on the air, she got a record contract. Listen to this when you need inspiration.
11. Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles
George Harrison wrote this song when he was going through one of the worst periods in his life. The UK was experiencing one of its worst winters in many years, and everyone wanted warmth and sunshine. The sun is a universal symbol of light, hope, and a metaphor for something positive.
12. I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash
This song has a positive message. Everyone experiences pain and faces obstacles. When you understand the dark clouds in your path can’t hold you back, you can rid yourself of the bad feelings and see the rainbow in front of you.
13. I Believe I Can Fly by Yolanda Adams
This song was the cover for R. Kelly’s 2001 R&B album. Singer Yolanda Adams encourages her fans to always believe in themselves no matter what obstacles they face. The lines to remember from this song are that you can accomplish it if you can see it in your mind. If you believe you can fly higher and achieve more, you can do it.
14. I’m Still Standing by Elton John
Everyone suffers trials, setbacks, and painful situations. Elton has had his share of them. “I’m Still Standing” is an inspiration to anyone that’s gone through a life crisis. Sometimes we don’t know where to turn. The lyrics about standing stronger and better than ever before can inspire us to deal with whatever comes our way, stay strong, and be better than before. Being a true survivor and feeling like a little kid again is something we can all strive to do.
15. Imagine by John Lennon
John Lennon’s “Imagine” is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. The song was written when comedian and activist Dick Gregory gave Lennon a Christian prayer book that inspired him. His concept was a world at peace without conflicts about religion and everyone living in harmony.
16. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
One of the biggest hits of 1978 was “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. The message is simple. When you’re going through tough times, don’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself. As the saying goes, “Suck it up, buttercup.” Put on your big girl or big boy pants and take control of the situation. As long as you know how to love yourself and others, you will survive and be strong.
17. Let It Go by Idina Mendel
In 2013 “Let It Go from Disney’s hit movie “Frozen” was the song everyone was singing. The song’s theme is letting go of negativity, bitterness and testing your limits to see what you can accomplish. The song is a reminder that negativity affects every aspect of your life.
18. Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson’s song from 1988 uses the wisdom of a Chinese proverb about lighting a candle rather than cursing the darkness. The song’s message is that instead of inaction and spreading negativity, start with yourself, the person you have the most significant impact on. If you want the world to be better, start with yourself, make changes, and you can improve the world.
19. Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen
This song was one of the most successful from Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A album. It was the last song written for the album after an argument with his manager Jon Landau, who wanted a hit song. It was a prime example of a manager motivating an artist to do his best work. The single was released before the album and was a huge hit. When you’re motivated to do your best work, miracles can happen.
20. Never Surrender by Corey Hart
This song by Canadian artist Corey Hart has a message everyone can benefit from. No matter how challenging any situation is, no one can take away your right to fight for what you want. If you persevere, no goal is impossible.
21. Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland
Judy Garland originally sang the beautiful “Over the Rainbow” in 1939. The song speaks of a magical land where all dreams come true. Over the rainbow is a place where everything is better, but it’s up to us to lift ourselves up and change our lives where we are.
22. Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head by B.J. Thomas
A favorite version of this song is from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The song is a reminder that you can’t stop the rain by complaining about it. When your mind is free, you have no worries.
23. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. by Aretha Franklin
Aretha’s hit was a rallying cry for women’s rights and civil rights, but it didn’t start that way. The song originally recorded by Otis Redding appealed to the male audience of working-class men speaking to their stay-at-home spouses. In today’s society, it would be considered misogynistic. Aretha had gained respect by joining the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King. Aretha changed the lyrics to the song, had her sister sing backup. She put so much emotion and determination into “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” it’s become an anthem for women worldwide.
24. Stand By Me by Ben E. King
Ben E. King’s beautiful tune recorded in 1961 remains one of the most popular songs about life more than 60 years after its initial release. The inspiration for the song was his life partner Betty Nelson. “Stand By Me” was to be recorded by the Drifters with Ben E. King as lead singer. Their manager refused to record the song. The second verse of the song has a reference to Chapter 46 in the Bible’s Book of Psalms. Ultimately, the meaning is that in a changing world with so many doubts, it’s reassuring to know there’s one person who will stand by you.
25. That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick
This is one of the most influential songs about life and made a difference in the lives of people with AIDS. The night before going into the studio, she asked Elton John to record with her, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight. Proceeds from the song were donated to the American Foundation For AIDS Research. The recording raised more than $3 million for research. This song is an example of how determination and compassion can make a difference through music.
26. Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks
This song is about an event from Garth’s life we can all learn from. When he and his wife went back to his hometown in Oklahoma, they met his old high-school girlfriend. In school, he prayed that this girl would be in his life forever. After their reunion, he realized God meant for him to be with his life partner and not the girl he used to know. Some of the greatest gifts God can give us are prayers that aren’t answered.
27. Walking On Sunshine by Katrina and the Wave
This song was originally going to be recorded as a ballad, but Katrina did it her way. “Walking On Sunshine” is a fun, upbeat song that’s sure to lift your spirits.
28. Wavin’ Flag (Celebration Mix) by K’naan
This song was written to honor the spirit of the Somali people. “Wavin Flag” brought people together after the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Coca-Cola chose the song as their promotional music for the FIFA World Cup Series in 2019.
29. We Are the Champions by Queen
Everyone knows the chorus of Queen’s iconic anthem, but there’s more to the song. Freddie Mercury wrote the music to be positive, unifying, and get their audiences singing and waving. Queen’s song epitomizes arena rock concerts.
30. What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
This beautiful song recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1967 is a favorite worldwide. How can you keep from smiling when you hear the lyrics about blue skies, white clouds, bright, blessed days, and dark, sacred nights.
31. You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban
This song is a beautiful tribute to the people in our lives who are always there for us. The people who always support us and raise us up help mold us into the people we are.
Songs about living inspire us to succeed with our goals and improve our lives. Music reduces stress levels, helps us to relax, and contemplate our path.
When different generations have problems communicating, music is a language that breaks through barriers. We can learn from sharing others’ life experiences through music, especially with songs that have a special significance or resonate with us.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other 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.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.