Ultimate Happy Birthday Playlist: 34 Popular Songs to Celebrate Your Special Day
Happy Birthday! Let's Celebrate YOU
When it comes to birthdays, there are two types of people: those who celebrate the occasion with gusto and those who are so low-key they barely recognize the special event. I hope you're more of the first type. After all, birthdays are the day that YOU entered the world. Your birth instantly transformed this world (or at least a small corner of it). Parents worried more and slept less because of you. They probably still do.
If you have a special friend or loved one with an upcoming birthday, why not mark the occasion with a special gift, a custom playlist that celebrates their existence? Here is a long list of songs to get you started.
How do you prefer to recognize birthdays?
1. "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart
A birthday is the perfect occasion to provide encouragement and express support for someone you love. This 1988 song does just that, as the protagonist offers best wishes for a lifetime that is filled with
- sunshine and happiness
- good fortune
- unconditional love and
- a true and dignified presence.
What better wishes could there be?
2. "Birthday" by Katy Perry
In this uptempo, R-rated hit from 2014, Katy Perry promises to dance and party all night with the birthday boy:
We're living the life
We're doing it right
You're never gonna be unsatisfied
If you wanna dance
If you want it all
You know I'm the girl that you should call.
3. "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby" by The Tune Weavers
Even if you were born decades after this song's 1957 release, you've probably heard the tune. A heartbroken young woman phones her ex-boyfriend on his birthday. She tells him that even though he's moved on to a new sweetheart, she recalls the good old days, today and every day. Sounds like somebody's stuck in the past!
4. "Your Song" by Elton John
Although not considered a traditional birthday song, this tender ballad from 1970 is a heartfelt way to say to celebrate the mere existence of someone special: "How wonderful life is while you're in the world."
Fun & Creative Ideas for Commemorating Your Birthday
go skydiving or hot air ballooning
enjoy go karting, bowling, playing paint ball or laser tagging with friends
book a segway tour of your favorite city
pick something off your bucket list
celebrate with a "birthday week" instead of one day
have a spa day with friends: massage, manicures, pedicures, relaxation
go to a karaoke bar
buy lottery scratchoff tickets -- a $1 ticket for each year you're celebrating
get your fortune told
give to your favorite charity and tell them why you're donating
treat yourself to an annual physical because it's good for you
rent a sports car or limo
go kayaking or horseback riding with friends
volunteer at the animal shelter
get a formal portrait taken, alone or with friends or family
be a kid again: go to a planetarium, zoo, or amusement park
paint some pottery
have a themed costume party
go to the shooting range for some lessons or practice
go to a museum or tourist spot in your area that you've never been to
thank your parents
try one food you've never eaten but always wondered about
make a list of this past year's achievements, plus your goals for the next year
5. "Sixteen Candles" by Franki Valli and The Four Seasons
This 1958 song features a love stricken young man who wishes his 16-year-old girlfriend, his "teenage queen," a happy birthday. He compliments her bright eyes and her beauty.
6. "Never Grow Up" by Taylor Swift
If only we could freeze time at the best moments. An ode to innocence and the carefree bliss of childhood, this 2010 song captures the bittersweet struggle between wanting to be independent and maintaining the cocoon of childhood. As the protagonist offers advice to a child she loves, reality hits her: "I just realized everything I have is someday gonna be gone."
7. "Here's To Never Growing Up" by Avril Lavigne
At some point, we've all believed we were invincible and ageless. We celebrated the wild abandon of youth. This 2013 song captures the rebellion of late adolescence and the belief that "we don't ever stop, and we're never gonna change."
8. "Happy Birthday To You" by New Kids On the Block
Talk about a song that will make the birthday person feel valued! This song from 1990 gives the assurance that age is just a number, so you might as well live it up:
This day only comes once every year
Because you're so wonderful
With each and every thing you do.
9. "Happy Birthday" by Carly Simon
There comes a time in adulthood when you have to give up vices or at least cut back. After all, you're not getting any younger. In this 1990 song, the protagonist rattles off all of the things that growing older have cost her: caffeine, desserts, sunbathing ... .
She laments, "We're too good to be happy, too straight to be sad, so just blow out the candles, Happy Birthday."
10. "Happy Birthday" by The Click Five
Have you ever been a day or more late in wishing someone special a happy birthday? This 2007 song is about belated birthday wishes that come from a friend who is traveling. He phones belated birthday wishes and an apology, all wrapped up in one.
11. "Raise Your Glass" by Pink
Offer up a toast to the special birthday person with this 2010 R-rated song by Pink. She celebrates the loud crowd, the underdogs and urges everyone to "raise your glass" and dance into the morning.
12. "I Ain't As Good As I Once Was" by Toby Keith
Celebrate a milestone birthday or just have a good laugh with a the birthday person using this fun 2005 country song. It recounts that while
I ain't as good as I once was,
(That's just the cold, hard truth ... huh)
I still throw a few back,
Talk a little smack,
When I'm feeling bullet proof ... .
It's a tribute to those who grow old but refuse to grow up.
Are you as good as you once were?
13. "It's Your Birthday!" by R. Kelly
In this song from 2004, R. Kelly promises his birthday girl a special night out on the town dancing. He promises that "your gift will be something you will remember for the rest of your days" and says there will be "nothing but VIP."
14."Trip Around the Sun" by Jimmy Buffett and Martina McBride
For those who slept through science class, one trip around the sun is an entire year, and it'll earn you one more candle on that birthday cake. This 2004 song acknowledges that although some years can be challenging, it's important to just appreciate your ride around the sun.
15. "Birthday Morning" by The Association
This song from 1968 is ethereal. It celebrates dawn and everything that is right about the anniversary of your birth.
Got the feel of sunrise in her hair
God unwinds her halo
To the stairway
To the moon
Just for this morning
A birthday morning
God bless the morning.
Celebrate Another Year Of Life
16. "Birthday" by Destiny's Child
Setting up a special night for her birthday boyfriend, the protagonist in this 1998 song is putting all the moves on her lover. Forget sending out the invitations, because she's planning a party for two, filled with birthday hanky-panky.
17. "Birthday" by The Beatles
Songs don't get too much simpler than this often-played classic from 1968. It's a recognition of a friend's birthday and an invitation to dance and party.
18. "Birthday" by Selena Gomez
In this basic 2013 song, Selena Gomez is looking for a good excuse for letting it all hang out while partying. Sounds like someone had too much party punch:
Tell 'em that it's my birthday
When I party like that
Every night's my birthday
They don't know, so it's okay.
19. "Happy Birthday, Darlin'" by Conway Twitty
Featured in this 1979 country song is a man who wants to give his wife a gift by taking away the trust issues between them. He wants to replace suspicion, lonely moments and doubt with faith and proclamations of love. In the end, he wants her to be able to tell others that, "He didn’t give me anything but he sure took a lot of things away."
20. "Having A Party" by Rod Stewart
In 1993, Rod Stewart remade this classic 1962 hit. Although not specifically a birthday song, it really fits the occasion, as it celebrates good clean fun: dancing, popcorn, cokes, and togetherness.
21. "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac
“Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again.” This 1977 hit is a hopeful, forward-looking song that urges the audience to forget the past and concentrate on all the promise of the future:
Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don't stop, it'll soon be here,
It'll be, better than before,
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.
22. "My Wish For You" by Rascal Flatts
If you want to wish the special birthday person all the good things that life has to offer, this 2006 country crossover hit is perfect. It expresses hope that they'll have:
- big dreams
- few worries or regrets
- clear choices
- a strong character and
- strength to make it through life's difficult times.
23. "Birthday Song" by Don McLean
This mellow song from 1972 is a birthday love song from someone who isn't used to expressing what he feels. He makes an exception, however, on his sweetheart's birthday:
You see I love the way you love me
Love the way you smile at me,
I love the way we live this life we're in.
24. "Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah)" by Andy Grammer
After going through tough times, the guy in this 2014 hit has finally caught a break. All his dreams are coming true and he's feeling on top of the world. Remind the birthday person that no matter how old he or she is, it's good to be alive. And it sure beats the alternative.
Even More Songs To Celebrate Birthdays
Kool & the Gang
27. Happy Birthday
28. It's My Life
29. It's Your Birthday
30. My Next 30 Years
31. Happy Birthday
32. Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby
33. Birthday Song
34. Happy Birthday
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