25 Most Inspirational Songs of All Time

Inspirational Songs

Hi Celes, thank you for this post on movies. A great way to share/discover great inspirational movies. If I may request, can we have a post for list of most inspiring songs? – Rajesh G

Last month, I wrote a post with movies with important life lessons for us to take away. The response from all of you blew me away. 70 comments and nearly 200 RTs/shares for the post alone! Thank you everyone for sharing YOUR favorite, inspirational movies in the comments. For the other readers, be sure to check out the post as well as the comments for more amazing movies with life lessons to learn.

Today’s post is on the most inspiring songs (Thanks Rajesh for the wonderful suggestion!). Songs that motivate us and trigger us into action; Songs that remind us on the beauty of life; Songs that lift us up when we’re down; Songs that remind us of who we are. With hundreds and thousands of great songs out there, it is challenging to narrow it down the list.

In the end, I selected the top 25 inspiring songs of all time for this post and I hope you like them. All these songs have 1 thing in common – they inspire us to become better people. I’ve picked videos that come with lyrics where possible. Special thanks to the readers who shared their picks on Twitter and Facebook – you  may find your fav songs in the list :D.

This post has videos embedded which are not viewable via email. If you’re reading this via your email client, read the full blog post here.

Are you ready? Up your volume and switch to stereo mode before you continue on. :D You can have the songs playing in the background and get on with your regular internet surfing  while listening. Be sure to bookmark this page  – the songs are classics to be listened to over and over again, no matter how old we are.

Here they are – 25 most inspiring songs of all time:

25. Somewhere Over The Rainbow

This is an all-time classic. The song speaks of this magical place over the rainbow where things will be better. It refers to this other, better place compared to where we are now. If you feel down and out, and when things seem tough, this song will lift you up. Just remember that the better place isn’t “somewhere out there”, but here where we are. It’s up to us to make the best of what we have :).

The song was originally sung by Judy Garland in 1939 (Wizard of Oz) and has since been resung by many people. The version below is by Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole. His soothing vocals makes it a very peaceful and calming experience listening to the song.

[ by Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1bFr2SWP1I)

24. Chariots of Fire

Chariots is an instrumental theme often used as the theme song for sporting events. It was recorded in 1981 for the film Chariots of Fire. Listen to it and see if you don’t recognize it :D. The build up of the tunes throughout the song makes you feel invigorated just sitting and listening to it. This is a great pick me up that I use for some of my workshops.

[ by Vangelis | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYJzcUvS_NU)

23. It’s a Beautiful Day

No matter how bad your day may be, there is always something beautiful happening. This song reminds us that every day is a beautiful day by itself :D.

[ by U2 | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co6WMzDOh1o)

22. Walking On Sunshine

Quite possibly the happiest song ever! :D The upbeat tunes of the song brings a smile to anyone just by listening to it. :D Make sure to dance along as you listen to the song!

Some of you might recognize this as the opening of The Celes Show earlier this year. I’ve put the project on hiatus for the time being as I focus on blog development. :D

[ by Kartina & The Waves | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKh0dLIuIu8)

21. What a Wonderful World

One of the greatest hits of all time, this beautiful song reminds us to appreciate the beauty of everyday life. According to wiki, the song was “intended as an antidote for the increasingly racially and politically charged climate of everyday life in the United States”. It also has a “hopeful, optimistic tone with regard to the future, with reference to babies being born into the world and having much to look forward to.” Everything in life is a miracle. Let’s appreciate and give gratitude to all these things we have with us today :D.

[ by Louis Armstrong | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKh0dLIuIu8)

20. It’s My Life

It’s My Life was a huge hit when it came out in 2000 and remains a huge hit today. It’s all about personal empowerment, taking control of your life and being who you are because you only get to live once. As one of the lyrics say, “It’s my life… It’s now or never”.

Whose life are you living right now? When are you ready to start living your life? You only have one life – you’re not going to live forever. It’s either you start living it now or you’ll never live it. Stop waiting for a “tomorrow” or “next time”. It’s now.

[ by Bon Jovi | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SKFwtgUJHs)

19. That’s What Friends Are For

This is an all-time classic that has been sung and resung by many different artists. It’s about the beauty of friendship and how we can always count on each other no matter what happens, good times or bad times. That’s after all, what friends are for :D. Very, very beautiful song.

[ by Dionne Warwick, Steve Wonder, Gladys Knight & Elton John | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyTpu6BmE88)

18. You Get What You Give

This is one of my favorite songs and also recommended by reader Ashwin Gopal. It’s the ending theme of Click (one of my favorite inspiring movies) which is how I first knew about it. This song is an international hit and has been played over 1 million times on US radio.

At its core, this song is about being true to yourself in a world where everyone tries to be someone he/she isn’t. Don’t you ever, ever give up on yourself or your dreams, because you have what it takes to achieve what you want.

[ by New Radicals | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPAEFnVZVOs)

17. Return To Innocence

An extremely strong and powerful song that invokes powerful emotions. This song reminds you to be yourself. Don’t afraid to show your emotions – whether it’s perceived as being weak, strong, emotional, unacceptable, etc. Denying them is just denying who you are. While others may see revealing your emotions as an act of vulnerability, it’s only by embracing your emotions that you move a step forward toward being who you truly are.

[ by Enigma | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Get direct Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk_sAHh9s08)

16. Music of My Heart

This is a beautiful song that expresses gratitude to the people who have always been there for us whenever we need them. These people are the ones who made us who and what we are today; who taught us the amazing things in the world and made us bigger than we thought we could. It’s because of them that we can be where we are today. Without them, there can’t be us today.

Who are the people who have helped make you who you are today? Who have always been there when you’re down? Who opened your eyes to the world? Who guided you every step of the way? Where are they now? Have you stopped to thank them for what they have done? Take a moment and let them know how you feel. You owe them as much.

[ by N’Sync and Gloria Estefan | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-WlEfnPSrc)

15. Circle of Life

From The Lion King, one of my top inspiring movies. I get goosebumps whenever I listen to this song. This song tells us the grandiosity of life and where we stand in it. We’re all part of the circle of life – birth, growth, death, rebirth. Death does not signify the end – it’s the start to something new, something greater and bigger than what we’ve seen. It’s a delicate, symbiotic relationship that makes life possible.

[ Music by Elton John and Lyrics by Tim Rice | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4efZIHtiQQ)

14. Heal The World

This is one of the most popular songs by Michael Jackson. It reminds us of our responsibility to care for our world. Every day, there are people suffering and dying out there. Just because we’re not in contact with them doesn’t mean it’s not happening. It’s up to us to care for this world we live in. What can you do today to heal the world out there? It all starts with us.

[ by Michael Jackson | Lyrics | Get the Album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWf-eARnf6U)

13. You Raise Me Up

This is a touching piece that gives tribute to the people who raise us up to become more than who we can be. It was originally released by Secret Garden featuring Brian Kennedy in 2002 and since has been covered over 125 times. I’ve included both the original version below and the version by Josh Groban.

[ by Secret Garden, Vocals by Brian Kennedy | Lyrics | Get the album (by Secret Garden) ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UddLOA-QoqM)

[ by Josh Groban | Lyrics | Get the album (by Josh Groban) ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTl0svRr0tQ)

12. True Colors

The first time I heard this song was from an ad from Dove’s campaign for real beauty (which started back in 2006). I was enchanted by the song and the beautiful vocals. I later realized the ad version was a cover (by kids) and the original is by Cyndi Lauper (below).

This song is about not feeling fearful or small and to show who we really to the world. That’s when we reveal our true colors (analogy to the colors of the rainbow). It’s revealing these colors that we reveal our real beauty.

[ by Cyndi Lauper | Lyrics | Get the Album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPn0KFlbqX8)

11. When You Believe

This is an amazing song about the power of hope and faith in this world. If there are ever any times when you’re losing hope, hang in there. The miracles you want to create in life comes from first believing in yourself (and others). They couldn’t have chosen better singers for this song too – Whitney and Mariah are undoubtedly two of the best singers ever.

[ By Whitney Housten & Mariah Carey | Lyrics | Get the song ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFXuk3uvWHc)

10. Win

This is one of my personal favorites and also recommended by reader Kelvin Toh. The song is about overcoming all obstacles and never giving up in life. As long as we keep pushing, keep persisting, we’ll definitely achieve whatever we set out to achieve.

[ by Brian McKnight | Lyrics | Get the song ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDEi5hJ76-A)

9. You Gotta Want It

Recommended by reader TraveloCafe. Powerful song that will charge you up in the few minutes you listen to it. If you want to get what you want, you have to want it from the bottom of your heart and give all that you can give. As long as you have the burning passion, nothing will be insurmountable.

[ by Roberta Gold ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5Vp57T8eMI)

[ by Jordin Sparks ] – Thanks to reader Berta for telling me about the cover by Jordin Sparks!

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qczB54czvBM)

8. I Will Survive

This song is about how someone became stronger after experiencing a breakup with someone. Today, it’s used as an anthem of female empowerment, gay empowerment and HIV/AIDS awareness. It is one of the most famous disco songs of all time. (From wiki)

[ by Gloria Gaynor | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qczB54czvBM)

7. Dare You To Move

This song has different interpretations. It can refer to the part of you who is not doing anything about certain parts of your life. It can refer to the part of you who is in a state of stagnancy. It can refer to the you who is letting a past failure stop you from moving on. Are you ready to stop looking back and finally move forward?

[ by Switchfoot | LyricsGet the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOTcr9wKC-o)

6. Never Surrender

I first heard this song when I was watching Meteor Garden (Taiwanese version). I love the key message of this song, which is never to give up no matter how tough the situation may be. Because no matter what happens, no one can ever take away your right to fight. As long as you persevere, nothing’s impossible to achieve.


[ by Corey Hart | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4pg6Jh94Lo)

5. Hero

Recommended by reader Abu Sofian and my favorite song too. The song tells you you don’t have to be afraid of who you are. When you feel fearful and lost, look deep inside. The strength to do what you want, and the answers you seek for in life, have always been inside you all along.

There’s always been a hero in your life all along. The hero isn’t anyone else – it’s you.

[ by Mariah Carey | HeroGet the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IA3ZvCkRkQ)

4. I Believe I Can Fly

This is the theme song of 1996 movie Space Jam, which is also one of the most inspiring movies. This song is about how there are no goals and dreams that we can’t achieve. If we can see it, we can do it. It all starts with first believing in our ability :).

[ by R Kelly | Lyrics | Get the song ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16FdJrrAWSo)

3. Gonna Fly Now

This is the theme song of Rocky, also listed as one of the inspirational movies. To quote wiki,

Released in 1976 with the movie Rocky, the song became part of American popular culture after main character Rocky Balboa completed his daily training regimen while the song played. The song finishes as Rocky completes his famous run up the “Rocky Steps” of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and raises his arms in a victory pose.

I love this song :D. It’s not really a song as much as it’s a tune – there are only 9 lines of lyrics. It’s a powerful one at that – listen and see if it doesn’t get you all drummed up :D.

[ by Bill Conti | Lyrics | Get the Rocky Score ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioE_O7Lm0I4)

2. Reach

Reach is the official theme song for 1996 Olympics. This song is about doing our very best for the dreams. Don’t be afraid to reach out and give your everything. It’s only when you put your heart and soul into your goals that you live your life to the fullest.

[ by Gloria Estefan | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLQ64BTCH2E)

1. Eye of The Tiger

This is the one of the tracks for Rocky III and hands down one of the top motivational songs of all time. Not only is it my favorite, readers Dipal E and Lica Sever also give their top recommendation. Here’s an explanation on why the song is titled “Eye of The Tiger”:

At first, we wondered if calling it ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ was too obvious. The initial draft of the song, we started with ‘It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the spirit of our rival, and the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and it all comes down to survival.’ We were going to call the song ‘Survival.’ In the rhyme scheme, you can tell we had set up ‘rival’ to rhyme with ‘survival.’ At the end of the day, we said, ‘Are we nuts?’ That hook is so strong, and ‘rival’ doesn’t have to be a perfect rhyme with the word ‘tiger.’ We made the right choice and went with ‘Eye Of The Tiger. – Jim Peterik, co-writer of the song (Wikipedia)

The best way to listen to this song is to have your volumes at full blast. If it doesn’t charge you up into action, I don’t know what will! I used to use it in my personal development workshops to drum participants into action.

[ By Survivor | Lyrics | Get the album ]

(Direct link to Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPJPFnesV4)

If you like this list, be sure to RT/share with others via the links below. Thank you – I really appreciate it!

This is part of the Inspiration & Motivation series. Check out the other articles in the series:

  • http://www.imjustsharing.com Mitch

    That’s a pretty nice list, and I have to admit that I don’t know half of these songs. And I like how you mixed fast with slow; I probably wouldn’t have thought about that off the top of my mind. Great stuff; thanks for sharing.

    • Hutura

      Wonderful list. I would add Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.”

  • http://evolutionyou.net/ Dena

    Hi Celeste!

    You always think of such fascinating list posts to share — very original ideas. This is truly an INSPIRATIONAL collection of songs. Anyone having a bad day could tune into this & be smiling in no time!

    Thank you for taking the time to put this together & for sharing it with the world. Brilliant.

    Have a beautiful day.

    Dena :wink:

  • http://www.stradivarius29.blogspot.com SKZY

    Almost half on the list were my favorites. And Walking in Sunshine is the most played song on my iTunes. :) It’s like an energy drink for me. Haha.

    Thanks for sharing. Will go check the other songs that’s not on my playlist. ;)

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Thanks SKZY – let us know how you find the other songs after you listen to them :D

  • shweta jani

    Loved Your post. I am going to download all the songs & listen to them.
    One of my fav.inspirational song is ‘I made it through the rain’ by John Barrowman (it always encourages me & uplifts my mood) you tube link : http://m.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&client=mv-google&xl=xl_blazer&hl=en-GB&xl=xl_blazer&v=LsNzKZzWhmM

    Thank You for such a beautiful post.

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Hi shweta, It’s indeed a really beautiful song! Thanks so much for sharing :D I believe that’s a mobile link, so it doesn’t load up like the normal youtube site. Here’s the link for other readers:


  • http://glenn-thomas.com Glenn

    Hi Celes, an interesting selection of songs you’ve compiled here! Although I really don’t want say this, but most would easily make it onto my least inspiring list :-) Not because they’re bad songs or anything like that, but because they’re popular songs everyone knows that have been around for a long time. As a result when I hear them my mind will automatically associate them with all the commercial radio stations I know of who have been playing them for years alongside non stop commercials, news and traffic reports. Or worse still, weddings and other events I have been to in the past where you will find a number of drunk people singing along to the songs! I hope this makes sen

    With so many genres of music out there now, I think the kind of songs or music that inspire people will vary dramatically. For me it’s the music that matters the most, not the lyrics. The kind of music that will make me forget about all the negativity in my life and clear my mind so I can focus on what’s most important. This is so difficult to describe!

    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      Hey Glenn! :D You’re right – the kind of songs that inspire people will vary on each’s tastes and perferences. The key of this list isn’t to assign them as THE top 25 inspirational songs but to provide a starting place for others to find songs that resonate with them. Feel free to share your personal favorite inspirational songs!

      • http://glenn-thomas.com Glenn

        Too many to even think of :)

        • Billy

          I agee with glenn, a good new one is Remember the name by Fort Minor. Its amazingly inspriational

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    That’s a kick-ass list,

    Return of innocence and It’s a beautiful day by U2 are my favorites…by far !

    Although some of them are pretty cheesy (does that come with the territory ?), a lot of them are quite enjoyable and really bring some good vibes into your life.

    Whenever I work, I listen to inspirational music to keep the juices of creativity going and flowing.

    It’s also a grrreat kick-ass start into the day – you just feel this vibe and want to burn the world with your endless fire inside ;)

    Celes, have you ever heard of Angels and Airwaves ? They are my favorite band by far, and listen to them on a daily (hourly?) basis. Their music is pure magic, and I create the most awesome stuff when I listen to them.

    Check out their latest album “LOVE”. it’s free for download. Type in LOVE and Angels and Airwaves in Google and you’ll find my favorite magic. Seriously, their music is space-ish, inspirational and…intensely captivating. You have never heard something like this before.
    If you really listen to them, come back to me and tell me what you think !

    Have an eventful day with endless fire inside, Celes !

  • http://www.edenjournal.com Eric | Eden Journal

    Your number 25, Over the Rainbow, is my all time favorite “happy” song. I love to just sit still and close my eyes while listening to it. This is really a super list, many many of my favorites are on here.

  • http://www.gracefulbalance.com Clearly Composed

    Eye Of The Tiger can always make me do more sit-ups! I remember it from being a kid and it still just revs me up and gets me going. Excellent choices all around. :)

  • http://www.habitationintention.com AronSora

    When I’m Up by Great Big Sea

    This song kept me going in high school and keeps my momemtem up.


    Great Big Sea – Ordinary Day

    It is the best thing in the world to listen to if you are down, it reminds you of what you have and to keep moving


    The All-American Rejects – Move Along

    This song shouts “Never Give Up, Never Surrender” at the top of its lungs


    • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

      That’s fantastic – Thanks so much for sharing AronSora! These are incredible songs. I’m just listened to Move Along now and I love the groove of the song :mrgreen: The 2 songs by Great Big Sea are very uplifting too – listening to When I’m Up now.

  • http://webmaxitsolutions.com Cris

    I remember the EYE of the Tiger during my Elementary days.. During Boxing and it always played on the AM radio..

  • http://hollyhardwick.com/ holly

    Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful is real inspiring!

  • Kavin

    That’s wonderful list you have compile there. I really love the way in which you have written about each and every song. Love most of the songs in the list. Thanks. Here are a few :

    “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey


    “Say” by John Mayer


    “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann


    “Bad Day ” by Daniel Powter


    • Kavin

      A few more which i forgot to mention :)

      “Climb” by Milye Cyrus


      “Bring It All Back” by SClub7


      • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

        Kavin, this is fantastic! Thanks so much for adding more songs to the list. I’m listening to “Say” it now and really loving the melody. :mrgreen:

        • http://personalexcellence.co/blog/ Celes

          I just noticed “Say” is one of the OST for The Bucket List, which is one of the movies listed in “12 Meaningful Movies With Important Life Lessons To Learn From” post. Very fitting :D


        • Kavin

          You are welcome :) oh yea i forgot to mention that! Say is from the OST of the bucket list!! Fitting indeed !

  • http://riteverses.com Dipal

    Hey Celes, you’re such a star!

    Thank you so much for mentioning my name! You are a true champion! I’m totally inspired and excited!

    In Randy Pausch’s last lecture, he so brilliantly explains that everything is does not have to be about him and how he focuses on things outside of him. He then goes on to celebrate his wife’s birthday! it is the most touching moment for his family and especially his wife. I got that same feeling when I saw my name mentioned! :-D

    I hope and pray that you continue to be as great as you are and reach the pinnacles of excellence!

    Thank you again! :-D
    Best regards,

  • Aguu

    There’s a channel on YouTube called MotivationalPower, interesting too:

  • Melinda

    One of my favourites: I love the single version of Defying Gravity by Idina Menzel.

    It’s from a musical, Wicked, where the original (duet) version is about a turning point in the main characters life, a very, very emotional scene. In the single version, the song is a less dramatic, more harmonious version of the same decision.

    I’ve tried to find it on YouTube to link it here, but that version is not up right now (it was, but…); here’s the lyrics instead.



    PS: Eye of the Tiger is GREAT!!! One of my Come-on-let’s-do-it-NOW! songs. :-)

  • Gordie

    Another great song is from Rocky 4 called “Hearts on Fire”. Highly inspirational. The Rocky series surely had some inspiring music.

  • santo

    Vanessa Amorosi – The Power

    why i like this song?
    THE POWER TO BE ME !!!! :twisted:


  • http://www.improvedconfidence.com Kate

    This is fabulous!
    When I saw the title, the two which sprang to mind were somewhere over the rainbow (I adore wizard of oz) and Whitneys greatest love all all.


    Oooohh I know I am going to be thinking of loads more now!

  • http://www.improvedconfidence.com Kate

    M People, Proud.

    I I know my afternoon is going to be spent on this now!!

  • http://www.olevelchemistryexam.com Min Xian

    Hurray! Many of my personal favorites have been listed :)

    2 of my all-time favorites that were not included are Go The Distance from Hercules and If We Hold On Together from the Land before Time. Never fails to give me the extra strength, faith and courage to persist :)

    One of my recent favourites is “I Believe” by Katherine Jenkins and Andrea Bocelli. It speaks of standing up, showing up and making the world a better place for all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXzpSe-YEJg&feature=related

    Another song with a strong, beautiful and inspiring message is Michael Jackson’s Heal The World. :)