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71 Songs About Music and Singing

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Song TitleArtistYear 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

62. Tribute

Tenacious D

2002

63. I Go Back

Kenny Chesney

2004

64. I Was Jack (You Were Diane)

Jake Owen

2018

65. You Sang to Me

Marc Anthony

2000

66. I Could Use a Love Song

Maren Morris

2016

67. Silly Love Songs

Wings

1976

68. (Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song

B.J. Thomas

1975

69. Sing Your Life

Morrissey

1991

70. Old Time Rock and Roll

Bob Seger

1979

71 Don't Take Away the Music

Tavares

1976

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.

© 2017 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 13, 2020:

Sarah - Thanks for such a sweet comment. I've also added your song suggestion. Stay happy and be safe in these uncertain times.

Sarah on July 13, 2020:

What a wonderful, life enhancing list! Thank you. I also love “Don’t take away my music” by Tavares. Catchy tune and always makes me feel happy.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 21, 2020:

Peggy - Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed this playlist and found some songs that sparked fond memories.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 20, 2020:

Singing is not only fun but can be therapeutic as well. I enjoyed this list of songs because it brought back some memories of ones that I have not thought about in years. Thanks!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 06, 2020:

Jeff - Thanks for the suggestion which I have added.

Jeff on April 05, 2020:

Sing your life, the smiths or Morrissey

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 30, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 30, 2017:

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

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on March 30, 2017:

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

Great list.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on March 30, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 28, 2017:

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 from Daytona Beach, Florida on March 28, 2017:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 27, 2017:

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.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on March 27, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 27, 2017:

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

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on March 26, 2017:

Superb list!

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 26, 2017:

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

Martie Coetser from South Africa on March 26, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 25, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 25, 2017:

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 from Toronto, Canada on March 25, 2017:

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 from Massachusetts, USA on March 25, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 24, 2017:

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.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 24, 2017:

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.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on March 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 24, 2017:

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!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 24, 2017:

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 (author) from USA on March 24, 2017:

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!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on March 24, 2017:

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!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 24, 2017:

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.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 24, 2017:

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

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 24, 2017:

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

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 23, 2017:

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 on March 23, 2017:

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.