Are you still keeping to your New Year’s resolutions? You just could not resist that slice of chocolate cake, could you? It is officially the second month of the year. The month of little chocolate shaped heart candy and other red-coated sweet things. No one blames you.
I happen to be of the opinion that each day brings with it the opportunity to make a new resolution. To start fresh. Just because you slipped up on your diet does not mean you can’t lose that weight.
Perhaps you are struggling with a project you started. Perhaps you are meaning to start a new project, but feel that something is holding you back? Perhaps life has thrown you a curve and you really need that little extra bit of motivation to get you positive.
It may just be the time to take the bull by the horns and tackle that task. Whatever challenge you are facing, even if it is just getting up out of bed in the mornings – because even that can be hard at times – I’ve got you covered.
Here to get you going is my list of motivational songs.
We start this list with songs from the 70’s.
1. Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
1977, was the year the Bee Gees graced us with the classic, ‘Stain’ Alive’.
“You know it’s all right. It’s OK.
I’ll live to see another day.”
What’s not motivational about that? This timeless tune, makes me want to get up and do something? How about you?
2. Don’t stop me now – Queen
1978, brought us one of Rock music’s masterpieces by legendary band Queen. ‘Don’t stop me now’, is a feel good song, guaranteed to get you out and going. I guess there would be a difference between a ‘feel good song’ and a ‘motivational song’, but I think this one covers both those definitions.
From Queen’s large selection of classic rock, it’s hard choosing only one song. 1977’s ‘We are the champions’, 1990’s ‘another one bites the dust’ and 1991 ‘the show must go on’, defiantly also deserve to be in the collection of motivational songs.
3. Always Look on the bright side of life – Eric Idle
1979 saw the release of an annoying little jingle ‘Always Look on the bright side of life’, by Eric Idle (who is part of the British comedy group – Monty Python). This ear-worm is so irritating it will get stuck in your head at an inevitable time. Which is what makes it so good. Did someone cut you off in traffic? I’m sure that part which he whistles could easily be replaced by the words ‘F**k You!’ repeated four times. It is the ideal tune to whistle while your kid is sitting on the back seat. And in case you were wondering what the bright side of being cut off in traffic is; Well firstly, if this did not cause an accident you can be thankful for that. Also, you have a car to drive to enable you to be in a situation to be cut off in traffic.
I don’t know so much about the music video, though. I guess some people would be offended by it. Oh well! Always look on the bright side of life. . .
4. I will survive – Gloria Gaynor
There is something strangely motivating about the 1979 classic by Gloria Gaynor, ‘I will survive’. Not only is it the ideal post break up song, but it really fits many other situations too. Your boss thinks you just can’t live without him? Have you to go without chocolate for a week?
Yea, go on and sing it “I will survive”, you are feeling better already, aren’t you?
On to the age of neon colors and wild curly hair, the 80’s, which was not without its own digital flavor of music. Motivational songs of this decade included:
5. Don’t stop believing – Journey
Yes, as unbelievable as this may be, ‘don’t stop believing’ was originally released in 1981. It was released in 2009 as digital download content, after having been covered by the movie ‘Glee’, which is why it appears to be such a current hit.
6. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor has got to be one of the best motivational classics out there. Released in 1982, it held the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100, for six weeks. Among others, it was the theme song for the Rocky 3 movie.
The 90’s brought us:
7. Conquest of Paradise – Vangelis
Released in 1992, the lyrics to Vangelis’ ‘Conquest of Paradise’, don’t actually mean anything. The words are from a made-up language for the movie ‘1492: Conquest of Paradise’. What makes this piece of music so inspirational is the melody. Just listen to that and not feel encouraged – I dare you. Go on! Can’t do it, can you?
8. River of Dreams – Billy Joel
1993, Billy Joel brought us the ‘River of Dreams’.
If ever “in the middle of the night, you go walking in your sleep”, the “River of Dreams” would be the place to go. What gets me about this song, is that I think many of us are “looking for something so hard to find, it can only be seen by the eyes of the blind”. Serious! These are some lyrics.
9. Jimmy Cliff – I can see clearly now
1993, also brought us the Jimmy Cliff classic, ‘I can see clearly now’.
Again with some seriously good lyrics:
10. Smash Mouth – All Star
Released in the year we could all officially party like it’s 1999, Smash Mouth’s, ‘All Star’ tells you that despite your shortcomings you can still achieve great things.
11. Creed – Higher
Also from 1999, Creed’s ‘Higher’ takes us to a place “where blind men see.” While the song actually refers to lucid dreaming, the lyrics are very inspirational. They motivate you to “go there” and make this world a better place.
Other mentions of the 90’s
There are some songs of the 90’s that have just been overplayed. While R. Kelly’s 1997 hit, ‘I believe I can fly’, is defiantly the 90’s inspirational anthem of the decade – could you really listen to that again?
Bon Jovi’s 1997 song, ‘It’s my life’, seems to be on every other list of inspirational songs. While I can’t dispute the motivational aspect of this particular piece of music, I just really don’t like it. Maybe 1997 was not my year for music.
Beyond 2000, a new millennium inspired songwriters to write even more inspirational songs. Well, way beyond 2000 – because I’m skipping an entire decade here. It’s not that 2000 to 2009 did not have any inspirational songs, to me none of them really stick out.
12. Pink – Perfect
In a world where so many of us (especially us women) have so much self-doubt, suffer from depression and body image issues – this song, this song, ‘Perfect’ by Pink released in 2010. Honestly this song! It is very inspirational. When I’m feeling a bit over emotional this song can even bring tears to my eyes – that’s how good it is.
I fell in love with the song after reading THIS poem. Awesome poem – everyone should read. Great song.
13. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger
What is it about breakups that make songwriters write such inspirational lyrics? Like the Gloria Gaynor song (above), Kelly Clarkson’s 2011 hit, ‘Stronger’ hits a home run in the inspirational department.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Doesn’t mean that I’m lonely when I’m alone”
14. Rachel Platten – Fight Song
The lyrics may be filled with clichés, but, clichés are clichés for a reason. I love this song. Rachel Platten’s 2014 hit, ‘Fight Song‘, defiantly tops the charts of ultimate inspirational songs.
“I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion”
This song also happens to be the reason I was inspired to create this list in the first place.
15. Katy Perry – Rise
With all the inspirational Katy Perry songs released to date, I simply had to choose the latest number ‘Rise’. It was released last year (2016) in the spirit of the summer Olympics – or so Katy Perry claimed. Now, if you listen to the Christian Conspiracy Theorists, it’s another story. If you see this as being sung from the point of view of Lucifer, then the song takes on a completely different and scary meaning.
However, if the Devil has his Fate to fulfill, we, each one of us also has our Destiny. (There is an argument between the difference of Fate and Destiny, which I’m not going to go into now, but …)
Other inspirational Katy Perry songs include the 2013 hit ‘Roar’ and the 2010 Song ‘Firework’.
The longer I contemplate the list the longer it is likely to get. Inspirational songs have been topping the charts for decades.
What inspirational song do you think needs to be added to the list? What music from the period 2000 to 2009 should I have included? Talk to me I’m listening.
p.s. This post is the second day of, it does not need to be perfect, a blog series I’m currently running on this here blog.
About the Author
Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.
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