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61 Songs About Music and Singing

Updated on July 12, 2017
FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Do you love rock n' rock, country, pop music?  Some of the best songs celebrate music itself. Compile a playlist of songs about music, songwriting, and singing.
Do you love rock n' rock, country, pop music? Some of the best songs celebrate music itself. Compile a playlist of songs about music, songwriting, and singing. | Source

Why Would Songwriters Write About Music Itself?

I'm convinced that there are songs—and often whole playlists—for any situation. Music has the power to incite and entertain entire stadiums of people. It can also provide soothing comfort.

But why would songwriters write about music itself? That seems a little redundant. Are they so overcome with love for song and singing that those are the topics they turn to first? Or did their well of inspiration well run dry? I'd argue that both are possible.

There are a surprising number of pop, rock, and country songs dedicated to music, songs, songwriting, and singing. Many of them are classics. Others lament the direction that popular music is taking.

Celebrate the special place that music has in our lives by compiling a playlist of songs about songs. We have a long list to start you out. See how many you know.

1. "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson (featuring Bruno Mars)

This Grammy Award-winning song is brimming with energy and topped the charts in 2014. It was a nod to James Brown, who first popularized the distinctive sound of funk music in the 1960s, as well as artists who came after. Funk originated among African American musicians as a danceable genre with a strong rhythm and often improvised or risque lyrics.

2. "Don't Stop the Music" by Rihanna

In this 2007 pop song, Rihanna finds herself in a nightclub dancing with some guy she's just met. The music is mesmerizing, they're acting naughty, and somebody might be about to get lucky. That must be some song.

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3."Girl in a Country Song" by Maddie & Tae

This 2014 song takes country music to task for the way it portrays women. Today's cliché is that women are silent ride alongs who wear skin tight cut-off jeans and bikini tops and prefer to go bare footed.

Maddie & Tae complain that whereas women used to be more respected by county music, we are now considered just decorations for men's trucks and their lives. The song references favorite country artists of yesterday and makes mention of the lyrics of several chauvanistic songs from today, including the following.

  • Redneck Crazy (2013) by Tyler Farr
  • Hey Girl (2013) by Billy Currington
  • My Kinda Party (2010)
  • Make Me Wanna (2013) by Thomas Rhett
  • Get Me Some of That (2013) by Thomas Rhett, and
  • Honky Tonk Badonkadonk (2005) by Trace Adkins.

If you're a country fan, listen to the lyrics and see if you can pick up the references.

4. "I Love Rock 'n Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Who doesn't love this 1975 classic rock song? It's one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and harks back to a time when there were jukeboxes in bars and pizza joints, and a dime could buy you a couple minutes of bliss in the form of a shared song:

I love rock n' roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby.
I love rock n' roll
So come an' take your time an' dance with me.

5. "Piano Man" by Billy Joel

A creative depiction of his stint as a piano player at the Executive Room bar in Los Angeles, this 1973 Billy Joel pop song focuses on the establishment's regulars. There's a bartender named John who gives the singer his drinks for free, a real estate agent named Paul who is a struggling novelist, a career Navy guy named Davy, and other characters. All were actual people. Each had broken dreams and came to the bar to forget about their troubles for awhile with the help of alcohol and the piano man.

A versatile instrument, the piano can be played solo or as an accompaniment. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world, and about 25% of people play it.
A versatile instrument, the piano can be played solo or as an accompaniment. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world, and about 25% of people play it. | Source

6. "I'll Have to Say I Love You In a Song" by Jim Croce

The guy in this pop song from 1974 has tried to utter those three simple words to the one he loves, but the words just come out wrong. Feeling the compelling urge to express himself, he wakes his honey from a deep sleep and sings it to her. At least he got the words out this time, right?

7. "Record Year" by Eric Church

Since his lover left him, the heartbroken guy in this 2016 country song has turned to his own brand of music therapy to get over her. It's a three foot stack of vinyl records, which he's been working through as he downs the bourbon, scotch and beer.

He has pretty good taste in music, too. This song references George Jones, Waylon Jennings. Hank Williams Jr., Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, James Brown, and New Grass Revival. The narrator claims

I'm either gonna get over you
Or I'm gonna blow out my ears.

Our voices are affected by height, weight, emotions, hormones, health, anatomical structure, and environmental factors.
Our voices are affected by height, weight, emotions, hormones, health, anatomical structure, and environmental factors. | Source

8. Sing (Sing a Song ... Sing Out Loud) by The Carpenters

Who cares if your voice has a nasal New York quality to it? Or it makes nails on a blackboard sound sweet? This 1973 pop song encourages you to just belt it out. Just sing out loud with wild abandon.

9. "Your Song" by Elton John

The key message in this 1970 pop song is one of the most sincere and endearing I've heard in music—that the world is a better place because you're in it. The narrator explains that he doesn't have much money, so instead he has written this song as a gift for his loved one.

10. "We Belong to the Music" by Miley Cyrus (featuring Timbaland)

They say they "belong to da music" (don't we all?) and are ready to party. In this 2009 rock song, Miley says she has a brand new hairdo and brand new attitude. Is this where her personal troubles and that twerking stuff started? Just like Miley, there's little else substantive to this song. But hey, we didn't expect much.

11. "Murder on Music Row" by Alan Jackson and George Strait

Get out the crime scene tape. This 2000 country song laments the death of traditional country music. Fiddles and the twang of drinking and cheating songs like the ones George Jones made famous have been replaced by steel guitars and drums. Any diehard country music fan knows precisely what the problem is.

Today's country sounds so much like rock that crossover music is common. And that's what's leading these old boys to claim that country music as we once knew is gone:

The almighty dollar and the lust for worldwide fame
Slowly killed tradition, and for that someone should hang.

12. "Dream On" by Aerosmith

Although not an immediate hit, this 1973 song saved Aerosmith from being dropped by their label. It celebrates one's individual quest to be somebody:

Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you away.

13. "Rock and Roll All Nite" by KISS

"I wanna rock and roll all night ... and party every day." Now just repeat this over and over. That's most of KISS' 1975 signature song, but it works. In 2008, VH1 named this song the 16th greatest hard rock songs of all time.

14. "Party in the U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus

Arriving in Hollywood for the first time, Miley sees everyone wearing the stilettos and realizes she's not in Nashville anymore. In this pop song from 2009, turns to Jay-Z and Britney songs to help her feel more confident.

This song was originally intended for Jessie J, however she passed on it, considering the lyrics not edgy enough for her. Interestingly, at the time Miley Cyrus recorded the song, she had never even heard Jay-Z's music.

15. "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" by Waylon Jennings

Today's country music looks back on the previous couple of decades with nostalgia and expresses sadness about its recent transformation. However, yesteryear's country music registered similar complaints. It mourned country music's straying from its classic roots.

This 1975 chart-topper is a country music classic. Waylon Jennings honors Hank Williams Sr. and takes a swipe at the interlopers and upstarts who wear rhinestone suits and drive big, fancy cars.

16. "Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll" by The Killers

This 2004 rock song was intended as irony. It saluted indie music and hipster culture, but many people took the song literally.

Hipsters represent an alternative culture and livestyle. They are typically middle to upper middle class and live in gentrified urban neighborhoods, embracing liberal arts, social causes, and trends outside of the mainstream.

17. "I Write the Songs" by Barry Manilow

The narrator personifies music in this 1975 soft rock classic. He points out that songs bring people together, celebrate love, inspire song and dance, and more. Music lies within us all and unites us.

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs.

About 1 in 5 people play guitar.
About 1 in 5 people play guitar. | Source

18. "On the Radio" by Donna Summer

Some people have trouble expressing what they feel and have to rely on written letters or songs rather than the spoken word. Others leave their loved ones guessing.

This 1979 disco song features a woman who broke up with the man she still longs. The sad lady believes that he penned a heartfelt letter expressing his emotions for her and it has been read on the radio. Their song makes her miss him so much that you wonder whether she's imagining the whole thing.

Health Benefits of Music

 
 
 
can reduce pain intensity
can reduce stress and anxiety
can boost mood
can increase memory and attention
can enhance workout performance (endurance and/or speed)
can improve immunity
classical and meditative music can improve symptoms of depression
can facilitate post-surgical and stroke recovery
classical music can improve sleep quality

19. "Turn the Beat Around" by Gloria Estefan

This 1994 song befuddles me. The lyrics are simply a dumb description of Gloria Estefan (or others who recorded this hit song before her) saying that she loves to hear percussion (okay, got it). She encourages the horn players to play their pretty sounds and the violin players to keep playing "nitty gritty" (whatever that means).

But then things go really wrong when she turns to the flute player:

Flute player, play your flute 'cause
I know that you want to get your thing off.

That's where she loses me. I'm like, "What are you talking about, Gloria?!?" People liked the song because it was very danceable rather than for its lyrics.

20. "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles

This 1979 hit expresses concerns about the impact of technology, particularly upon the arts. As one form of technology gives way to another, our culture is transformed and new problems emerge alongside the shiny new opportunities.

Even More Songs About Music, Songs, and Singing

Song Title
Artist
Year Released
21. Play That Funky Music
Wild Cherry
1976
22. I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool
Barbara Mandrell (featuring George Jones)
1981
23. American Pie
Don McLean
1971
24. Music of the Sun
Rihanna
2004
25. The Devil Went Down to Georgia
The Charlie Daniels Band
1979
26. Bennie & The Jets
Elton John
1974
27. On the Radio
Regina Spektor
2006
28. Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox (If I Die)
Joe Diffie
1993
29. Radio Ga Ga
Queen
1984
30. Drift Away
Dobie Gray
1973
31. I've Got the Music in Me
The Kiki Dee Band
1974
32. It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
Billy Joel
1980
33. Killing Me Softly
Roberta Flack
1973
34. Hip Hop Is Dead
Nas (featuring Will.i.Am)
2006
35. Crocodile Rock
Elton John
1973
36. It Was Almost Like a Song
Ronnie Milsap
1977
37. Slow Poke Music
Whitesnake
2001
38. Please Mr. Please
Olivia Newton-John
1975
39. Country On The Radio
Blake Shelton
2013
40. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.
John Cougar Mellencamp
1985
41. Juke Box Hero
Foreigner
1982
42. I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)
The New Seekers
1971
43. This Is Country Music
Brad Paisley
2010
44. Play Something Country
Brooks & Dunn
2005
45. Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes
George Jones
1985
46. I Play the Road
Zac Brown Band
2010
47. Roll Over Beethoven
Chuck Berry
1956
48. Song Of The South
Alabama
1980
49. Daddy Sang Bass
Johnny Cash
1968
50. I Sang Dixie
Dwight Yoakam
1988
51. Big Star
Kenny Chesney
2002
52. Song Sung Blue
Neil Diamond
1972
53. If You're Gonna Play in Texas
Alabama
1985
54. Thank You for the Music
ABBA
1977
55. Heart of Rock & Roll
Huey Lewis & the News
1984
56. Sellout Song
Kevin Fowler (featuring Zane Williams)
2016
57. The Leader of the Band
Dan Fogelberg
1981
58. Music is Healing
Florida Georgia Line
2016
59. Symphony
Clean Bandit
2017
60. Fight Song
Rachel Platten
2015
61. Come Back Song
Darius Rucker
2010
Know a song that should be on this playlist about songs about music, songs and singing? Leave us a suggestion in the Comments Section below.
Brass instruments, also referred to as "lip-vibrated instruments," include valved brass  instruments such as the horn, tuba, and trumpet, and slide brass instruments like the trombone.
Brass instruments, also referred to as "lip-vibrated instruments," include valved brass instruments such as the horn, tuba, and trumpet, and slide brass instruments like the trombone. | Source

What's in a Name? Locations with Names Associated with Music, Songs and Singing

show route and directions
A markerBand, Romania -
Band, Romania
get directions

B markerDitty, Tennessee, USA -
Ditty, Tennessee 38506, USA
get directions

A ditty is a short, simple song or poem.

C markerHarmony Point, Alabama, USA -
Harmony Point, Lineville, AL 36266, USA
get directions

D markerMelody Point, Georgia, USA -
Melody Point, Hartwell, GA 30643, USA
get directions

E markerMusick Point, New Zealand -
Musick Point, New Zealand
get directions

F markerScale, Kentucky, USA -
Scale, KY 42025, USA
get directions

G markerSharp County, Arkansas, USA -
Sharp County, AR, USA
get directions

H markerSong Lake, New York, USA -
Song Lake, Preble, NY 13159, USA
get directions

I markerTune, Denmark -
4030 Tune, Denmark
get directions

J markerTreble Creek, Texas, USA -
Treble Creek, San Antonio, TX 78258, USA
get directions

© 2017 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Jo - I love finding fun geographical locations, so when I found that little spot in the road named Ditty I was delighted. Thanks for stopping by!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Larry - Billy Joel is still awesome in my book. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 6 months ago from Oklahoma

      Happened to catch "Piano Man" on the radio the other day. It's a favorite of mine.

      Great list.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 6 months ago from Tennessee

      I always learn something from your hubs. I had never heard of Ditty, TN. I had to look it up. It seems to be just a spot in the road, but what a delightful name. I know the area where it is located and may have to check it out sometime on one of my many trips through that part of the state.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Rasma - Glad you enjoyed this! I am often surprised myself just how many songs there are on a given topic. Have a great day!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      Absolutely amazing and so musical. WOW Never knew there was so much. Many old favorites long forgotten.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Linda - I'm so sorry that you've lost your singing voice, especially since you were so active in using it to make yourself and others happy. I hope listening to music brings you joy. Although it's different, I can appreciate the loss of important natural skills. My sense of balance has deteriorated with MS as well as my vision. I try to compensate in other ways, but it makes many things I used to enjoy more challenging. Hugs to you.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 6 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish - No surprise that song writers would write about music--you share what is closest to your heart. I love music (mostly classical symphonic, chorals, and oldies from the 40's 50's 60s). I sang with a concert chorale in school, church choirs all through my adult life, and was a soloist at my church until 2 years ago. Now I cannot sing at all, or even speak for very long. It used to make me sad, very sad, but I have come to accept this as my new normal. I know when I go to Heaven my voice will be restored. This is a wonderful hub and thank you for sharing it.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Suhail - Thank you for the compliment. This one had lots of classics.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 6 months ago from Mississauga, ON

      Superb list!

      I have listened to and still listen to many songs from this list.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Martie - Thanks for your suggestions! It is fun, isn't it? Have a great weekend!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 months ago from South Africa

      Excellent playlist, FlourishAnyway! I would add "Thank you for the Music" by ABBA - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dcbw4IEY5w

      and Mariah Carey's Music Box

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucZR5o3XX_E

      and even Skeeter Davis' - The Little Music Box (1962)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_6hLSuqBOo

      This is fun!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      kallini2010 - I agree with you on those shades of blue; they are difficult to distinguish. I wish HP would make them more distinctive. With your knowledge of Russian songs, perhaps you should consider a music article about Russian songs in popular music or something similar? I travelled to the old USSR many years ago as a high school student and would love to go back to compare current Russia to what I recall from 1986.

      Thank you for commenting and sharing about yourself. Have a fabulous weekend!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Genna - It's wonderful you enjoyed this playlist this much. I was surprised at how many songs there are about music itself. I hope you have a beautiful weekend!

    • kallini2010 profile image

      kallini2010 6 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hello, Flourish - it always amazes me how you think about music. I never think what the song is about, but rather how it makes me feel. Maybe even "when I feel, I don't think".

      I struggles between two shades of blue in the poll - am I Blue as in being supported (in the background, mind you) with a supporting singer or am I Blue as in the Other category?

      I guess those are two different shades of Blue, my I am more fauceted than that. (yes, I talk like that).

      Music is ... I wonder how we all would feel if one day all the "supporting" part will disappear - like recordings, radio, television, playing devices, if we go back to not so distant past. Won't be that a rude awakening?

      But then we'll go back to - singing is the easiest - no need to create an instrument, then some music will be made on any material at hand, hands including - like rhythmically clapping and all that effort will surely be reflecting in singing - "See to what length we have to go to have music?"

      I think for musicians music is larger than music, it's the way of life and I would be surprised if they did not write about music, but then again I never think about it. We may not notice, but music bypass our reasoning brains, it cuts right through to our hearts - we have no resistance against it. No wonder musicians have a reputation of being in the world of their own.

      Writers often write about writers, hubbers write about "hubbing", we talk about language, but isn't language there to express something else than language itself?

      Anyway, I had to think to remember - what Russian songs about music I know and, of course, I cheated right away with google - I found two you may like.

      Very Russian:

      1. Andrea Bocelli and Bonnie Tyler - Live For Love (it's actually "Live for Her" (and "her" is music, in Italian, French, German and Russian - music is she) This song is a duet - Bocelli recorded it with a partner in Spanish, French, German and Portuguese ) - with Bonnie Tyler - the record was never released, but there is one short video clip on youtube (though of not such great quality).

      2. "Mr. Toot"(in English) - this song is just funny (I find it funny) - by a Norwegian comedy duo - Ylvis - Mr. Toot.

      Well, one song is serious and existential, the other is existentially funny - isn't what music is all about? Us?

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I can't imagine a world without music and singing. (Perhaps a world with robots and AI.) Music is our language, our spirit, the heart and soul of humanity, and our redeemer. What a beautiful list you've created. I thank you, here on this gray New England morning, for the music. My day is already brighter. :-)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Linda - I'm glad you found several songs that were familiar to you. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comments. Have a wonderful weekend ahead.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 6 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm familiar with several songs in your list and liked listening to them in the past. Thank you very much for the memories, Flourish. I enjoyed being reminded about the songs.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Louise - I love Billy Joel and wish he would create some new music, but he insists that he has said everything he needed to say through song and doesn't feel compelled to write further. What a waste. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Have a lovely weekend.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 6 months ago from Norfolk, England

      I'm glad you got Billy Joel in there. I think he's great. You've certainly done your research again on all these songs! I love listening to music. It always makes me feel good.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Dora - It's funny that songwriters would write about songs but I guess it's the same as writers who have characters in their books who are authors. It happens a lot because it's so familiar to them. I have yet to find a situation where a song wouldn't help somehow or reflect the feeling of the moment. Have a lovely weekend, and thank you for stopping by!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 6 months ago from The Caribbean

      Barry Manilow's lyrics are pivotal to the purpose of music--and the purpose of your article. There seems to be a kind of song or beat for every type of ailment as well as for happy occasions as well. Manilow writes songs that make the whole world sing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Heidi - It seems like Manilow has all but disappeared from the music scene, but I sure remember him. He was so big at one time. It does bring back the memories, doesn't it? Have a wonderful weekend.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Bill - I've added your suggestion at #52. Way to go and thank you. Age is more a mindset than a number. Remember that! Have a great weekend!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Devika - Thank you for stopping by. Music uplifts us all, and I'm glad it brings you the joy that it does. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 6 months ago from Chicago Area

      That Carpenters and Barry Manilow oldies wer the first ones I thought of when I saw your post title! The other Manilow tune I'd add is "Studio Musician." One of my faves. Now I want to dig out all my Manilow albums. Thanks for the memories!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      The first one I thought of didn't make your list..."Song Sung Blue" by Neil Diamond. Definitely aging myself now. :) Still, as always, I loved the list.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 6 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I enjoy listening to music and I like the way you shared your music here.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 6 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Music gives me more than just happiness. I enjoy listening and dancing to my favorite music. You shared a positive insight about music.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Kyriaki - Thanks for stopping by. There are some amazing classics on this playlist. If you're not familiar, I hope you have a chance to listen to them.

    • Kyriaki Chatzi profile image

      Kyriaki Chatzi 6 months ago

      Love music, love your writing, there was no doubt I wouldn't love this playlist!

      Also, I haven't heard most of the songs on this list. So, it'd be fun to get acquainted with some new tunes.