75+ Popular Inspirational Songs to Keep You Pushing Forward

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Anyone who thinks magic doesn’t exist outside of books and movies just hasn’t listened to the right song yet. Inspirational songs come in all shapes and sizes, and they power us through life’s most difficult challenges. Music is a form of time travel, transporting us through the years to bring us back to our favorite memories, places, and people. 

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If you need an extra push right now, there’s a soundtrack for you. These songs about time, change, and emotions remind us that we’re never alone in your feelings. Keep these songs close for when you need them most. These are the 50+ popular inspirational songs that will inspire you no matter the situation. 

Best Inspirational Pop Songs

Pop songs are naturally upbeat and happy, so it’s no wonder that they’re also powerful motivators. Add these pop classics and modern hits to your playlist!

1. "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles

This pop-rock classic by the Beatles is one of the most recognizable songs of all time, and it’s sure to get you singing along. 

2. "Rocket Man" by Elton John

Though somber at first, Rocket Man slowly builds into a triumphant melody about the lure of the stars and the universe. 

3. "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars

One of the funkiest beats of the past few years, Uptown Funk is guaranteed to get you dancing. 

4. "Hey Jude" by The Beatles

Another classic by the Beatles serves as a call to action, encouraging listeners to pursue your dreams and find love. 

5. "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon

Walk the Moon’s hit pop song has one simple message—get up and dance with me!

6. "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift

There’s nothing more motivating than Taylor Swift telling you it’s time to just “shake” all those bad feelings away. 

7. "Elastic Heart" by Sia

Sia’s “Elastic Heart” paints the picture of someone fighting against the odds for love. 

8. "I’m Still Standing" by Elton John

This 1980s classic was Elton John’s announcement to the world that he was back and better than ever after a battle with addiction.

9. "We Can’t Stop" by Miley Cyrus

A party classic, Miley Cyrus’ “We Can't Stop” reminds you that it’s your party, you can do what you want to. 

10. "Don’t You Worry Child" by Swedish House Mafia

This dance hall hit is not only a bop, but it’s also got an inspiring message about your life’s plan. 

Best Inspirational Rock Songs

If rock ‘n roll gets your heart pounding, these songs are for you. With a long history of overcoming obstacles and sticking it to the status quo, rock is the perfect way to feel connected to your past and power forward towards the future. 

11. "The Underdog" by Spoon

For all the underdogs out there, Spoon’s created your battle cry. 

12. "It’s Alright" by Mother Mother

This indie-rock favorite is all about self-forgiveness and feeling comfortable with yourself. 

13. "Simple Song" by The Shins

The Shins only promised a Simple Song, but they instead deliver an uplifting ballad to life and love. 

14. "You Only Live Once" by The Strokes

As the title implies, you only live once. It doesn’t matter what you choose, just that you live life on your own terms. 

15. "From Now On" by The Features

It’s unclear whether the singer in “From Now On” is only with his lover in his dreams, but that alone is enough for him. 

16. "Waterloo Sunset" by The Kinks

Written by lead singer Ray Davies, “Waterloo Sunset’ Is a lyrical song about the generation lost to World War II. What would happen if the war never happened? As long as they have each other, they’re in paradise. 

17. "Don’t Stop Me Now" by Queen

If you want to have the best night out, you have Freddie Mercury's full approval.

18. “Lithium" by Nirvana

Doctors use lithium to regulate the mood of patients with depression or other mood disorders. Kurt Cobain spins this meaning in “Lithium,” taking on a teasing tone. 

19. "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure

This dream-like song compares life to a dream, reminiscing on a lover and lost memories. 

20. "Sympathy For the Devil" by The Rolling Stones

This Rolling Stones classic serves as a history lesson. More importantly, it offers a unique take on the devil’s nature, implying that people aren’t often what they seem. 

Best Inspirational Rap and Hip-Hop Songs

Rap and hip-hop have long been used as a form of storytelling. These rappers below all have something important to say, and now it’s your turn to listen. 

21. "Life Is Good" by Future, Drake

This song by two of today’s top rappers is about standing up in the face of doubters. 

22. "Lucid Dreams" by Juice WRLD

As one of Juice WRLD’s many hits from before he died, this song is a form of therapy for the rapper who considered his relationship similar to a lucid dream.  

23. "Wow" by Post Malone

Post Malone uses this song as a celebration of his success, and he invites listeners to join him. 

24. "Lose Yourself" by Eminem

This rap classic is Eminem’s call to action, saying it’s your moment, so own it. 

25. "Just a Dream" by Nelly

“Just a Dream” proves just how powerful songs are when it comes to reliving past feelings and relationships. 

26. "God’s Plan" by Drake

Drake thanks God for his successful journey through the music industry. 

27. "It Was a Good Day" by Ice Cube

Written amidst the LA Riots of 1992, this song is about remembering the good days. 

28. "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z, Alicia Keys

“Empire State of Mind'' is an anthem for the Big Apple. If you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere. 

29. "Stronger" by Kanye West

This techno-rap mix has one clear message—what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

30. "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa

One of the most iconic dance hits of all time, “Push It” encourages listeners to get up and dance. 

Best Inspirational Country Songs

Country music evokes memories of simpler times without compromising on the feelings and themes of today. You don’t have to be from the country to fall for these classics. 

31. "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver

After receiving a postcard from West Virginia, John Denver was inspired to write a song about a mountainous, welcoming place. 

32. "Jolene" by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s strong voice begs Jolene not to take her man. Though she’s not optimistic, Parton isn’t afraid to fight for what she wants. 

33. "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by The Charlie Daniels Band

This song recounts the devil’s visit to Georgia where he challenges a boy to a fiddle duel. The boy plays for his soul (literally) and wins. 

34. "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" by Shania Twain

Womanhood isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but it does have its perks. Shania Twain celebrates women everywhere with this country classic.

35. "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton might have a joking tone with her “9 to 5” lyrics, but she makes a big statement about the inequality of women in the workplace. 

36. "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood

Who knew revenge could be so sweet? Carrie Underwood does, apparently. 

37. "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line

“Cruise” is a song about enjoying the simple things in life. 

38. "God’s Country" by Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton speaks directly to blue-collar workers in “God’s Country,” reminding them of how great it is to be alive. 

39. “Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw

After getting the news of his father’s life-threatening illness, the singer learns to live each day like it’s his last. 

40. "Red" by Taylor Swift

Some emotions are more powerful than others, and Taylor Swift sees her love burning red. 

Best Inspirational Songs for Students or Graduation

Graduation marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Let these songs ease the transition while reminding you that while the experiences were temporary, the memories are forever. 

41. "Ooh La La" by Faces

Is youth wasted on the young? This upbeat song is all about wishing to return to yesterday with the wisdom of today. 

42. "Stuck In The Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel

Written as a parody of a music industry cocktail party, this song pokes fun at spending time with different types of people. 

43. "You’re My Best Friend" by Queen

This Queen favorite is all about enjoying your time with your friends, no matter how limited. 

44. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana

There’s no song that’s more dedicated to teenage angst than “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” 

45. "Graduation" by Vitamin C

As the name implies, this is the ultimate graduation song. The lyrics are guaranteed to bring tears to everyone’s eyes. 

46. "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth

Goodbye isn’t really forever in “See You Again.” 

47. "Count on Me" by Bruno Mars

This song is a reminder that friends are forever.

48. "I Lived" by OneRepublic

OneRepublic argues there’s no room for regrets if you’re living life to the fullest. 

49. "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang

This 1980s classic is a reminder of the best times in life. 

50. "I’ll Be There for You" by The Rembrandts

No one ever told you that life would be this way, but the Friends theme song has an important message. Your friends will always be there for you!

Best Inspirational Workout or Running Songs

We could all use some help powering through our workouts. These songs work hard, so you can too.

51. "Titanium" by David Guetta

Titanium is one of the strongest metals, and this song is an anthem for strengths. 

52. "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man

Being a rebel has its perks, and Portugal. The Man surprises listeners from start to finish. 

53. "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers

An unofficial party anthem, this song is all about the mixed feelings of heartbreak. 

54. "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor

As the theme song to Rocky III, it’s no wonder this is an athletic call to arms. 

55. "Boom Clap" by Charli XCX

This pop mix is hard not to dance to, and its upbeat tempo is just what you need to feel the burn. 

Best Inspirational Love Songs

Love songs have inspired generations of people to say those magic words (“I love you”). From wedding dances to late-night drives, these are the most inspirational love songs to remind you of that special someone. 

56. “Your Song” by Elton John

As one of the most recognizable Elton John songs, everyone recognizes the tune to “Your Song.” Describing a choice point in a couple’s relationship, “Your Song” is about deciding to give your all to the one you love. 

57. “Yesterday” by the Beatles

This Paul McCartney favorite is one of the most famous love songs in the world, though its tune can often feel sad. What’s love without a bit of tragedy? “Yesterday” is a ballad about the breakup of a relationship. Once the narrator lost his lover, everything changed. 

58. “In My Life” by The Beatles

On its surface level, “In My Life” is a nostalgic ode to the past. Dig deeper, and you’ll discover that this is a song about living in the present and loving fully. 

59. “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie

One of the most popular songs of the 1980s, “Endless Love” is a sentimental love song for the ages. An endless love, according to this infamous song, is one that goes on forever. 

60. “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion

Lastly, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion was written for the motion picture classic Titanic. Not only does it capture the thrill of star-crossed lovers, but it also is a reminder that true love lasts beyond the grave. 

Best Inspirational Songs for Teachers

Whether you’re teaching students or you’re a teacher at heart, these inspirational songs are perfect for the classroom. From study sessions to collaboration, teachers dedicate their lives to encouraging others to be better. This is something worth celebrating. 

61. “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & the Waves

Sometimes life just seems to go your way, and you might as well be walking on sunshine. As the song goes, “I’m walking on sunshine, and don’t it feel good!”

62. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

Written to remind the artist to always believe in herself, “Fight Song” is an anthem to the fighters of the world. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is believe in yourself. 

63. “Happy” by Pharrel Williams

Is there anything more motivational than feeling euphoric happiness? As Pharrel Williams sings, sometimes you just have to embrace the sunshine and happiness. 

64. “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s music is all about inspiring others and being the truest version of yourself. In “Born This Way,” Gaga reminds listeners that we’re all unique, special, and important. 

65. “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfiled

Finally, “Unwritten” is a hit that encourages you to write your own story. Though sometimes it feels like you’re always worried about what comes next, you are more than your past. We are all the authors of our own stories. 

Best Inspirational Songs for an Ill Loved One

If a loved one is sick or struggling to recover from an illness, it’s important to keep spirits high. These inspirational songs for an ill loved one remind you that happy days are always ahead. If you just stay together, everything will be okay. 

66. “Believer” by Imagine Dragons

Most people like the song “Believer,” but did you know it’s about the lead singer’s struggle with chronic illness? Through his pain, he realized he needs to always believe in himself and what he can accomplish. 

67. “Head Above Water” by Avril Lavigne

If you’re struggling with an illness, it’s normal to be scared. Lavigne speaks openly about her experience with Lyme disease through “Head About Water,” encouraging herself to keep fighting. 

68. “Caves” by Jack’s Mannequin

After recovering from cancer, the singer-songwriter behind Jack’s Mannequin shares about his experience in the hospital. Though scary at times, the song ultimately turns triumphant at the end. 

69. “Won’t Stop Running” by A Great Big World

This song is a response to a doctor who encouraged Chad King of A Great Big World to continue taking his MS medication even when it caused severe side effects. Ultimately, this is a song about “living it all” and never giving up, no matter what doctors might say. 

70. “Remedy” by The Black Crowes

Cure your ailments on a bad day with “Remedy” by The Black Crowes. This southern rock band is all about getting the medicine you need to the beat of a bopping rock song. 

Best Inspirational Broadway Songs

It’s no surprise that some of the most inspirational performances happen on the stage. These inspirational broadway songs are sure to have you humming a new tune all day long, and you might discover a new favorite performance. 

71. “Non-Stop” from Hamilton

One of the shining stars of the Hamilton Broadway performance is “Non-Stop.” Sharing Hamilton’s unyielding ability to overcome every obstacle, the music roars to a crescendo, ending the first act on a high note. 

72. “Endless Night” from The Lion King

Sung by Simba after losing his father, this is a song about grief and sorrow. Though Simba wishes to hear from his father one more time, he is reminded that there is no such thing as an endless night. The sun must always rise, and the dawn will always break. 

73. “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl

Nobody has the power to make you feel any certain way. Though life might try to get you down, you can choose to hope and wonder in spite of it all. 

74. “Defying Gravity” from Wicked

This Wicked classic encourages you to do the impossible. When you partner with friends, you can always do the unimaginable. As Elphaba says, “There’s no fight we cannot win, just you and I defying gravity!”

75. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz

If raindrops keep tumbling down, you need only look over the rainbow to find a place where “troubles melt like raindrops.” Above all, keep your hope alive for blue skies and sunshine. 

Best Inspirational Songs for a Funeral or Memorial Service

While funerals are often somber affairs, they can also be an opportunity to reflect on the good times. These inspirational songs below are perfect for a funeral or memorial service. Not only do they honor someone you’ve lost, but they’re also reminders that brighter days are ahead. 

76. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

At its core, “Wish You Were Here” is a song about absence. It’s a tribute to better days, and it’s a reminder that you’re not alone. 

77. “Heroes” by David Bowie

This Bowie classic is a wistful fantasy about a better world. Though life might not always be perfect, “We could steal time just for one day.” 

78. “Spirit in the Sky” by Noran Greenbaum

This uplifting song is about finding peace and trust even in death. Though you might not be on earth anymore, you go to a place of rest. 

79. “Drops of Jupiter” by Train

Not only does this song remind you of a bright, open sky, but it is also an inspiring ode to wonder and hope. Written after the death of the lead singer’s mother, this song asks about her experience in Heaven. 

80. “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

Last but not least, this Dirty Dancing finale will have you itching to dance yourself. What better way to celebrate an amazing life and legacy?

Press Play on Your Inspiration

Music is a powerful tool for inspiration. Like our favorite life-changing books, these songs stick with you after they end. They loop in your head and keep you company in dark times. Whether you listen to pop, country, or everything in between, it’s time to get your motivation flowing. 

Let these inspiring songs empower you to take the next step towards a confident future. Start end-of-life planning to prepare for everything life has in store. 

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