Motivational songs – music that motivates

Some songs have the power to motivate.  The lyrics can be as powerful as any motivational speech.  The music can get our hearts pumping.  The words and tune can play in our heads all day long.

Below is a list of some of the best motivational songs (mostly English, some French and Spanish).  It is far, far from being a complete list, so feel free to add your favorites to the list using the comments form at the bottom.

Man in Motion (from St. Elmo’s Fire)

Makin’ It (from the short-lived TV show of the same name)

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

The Greatest Love of All (the ultimate self-esteem song of all time)

Have a Happy (yes, Elvis)

Change of Habit (yes, also Elvis)

I Have Been Blessed (by Martina McBride)

Point of Light (the Randy Travers classic)

My Way (the ultimate classic motivational song by Paul Anka)

Et C’est Pas Fini (the theme song from Star Académie, 1996)

Peace of Mind (by Boston)

Standing Outside the Fire (by Garth Brooks)

Closer to the Heart (Canadian motivation )

Do You Know Where You’re Going to? (from the Mahogany)

There You Are (by Clink Black)

Une Promesse (by Cindy Daniel)

Lean on Me

Dream Never Dies (more Canadian Motivation)

Hold On (by Triumph…the song that helped me in my teen years)

Believe it or Not (from the Greatest American Hero TV show)

Una Cancion (RBD)

Living Out Loud (by Aaron Lines)

The Eye of the Tiger (from Rocky III, I believe)

All Fired Up (Pat Benetar)

Don’t Stop (another one that helped me during those roller coaster teenage years)

The Kid is Hot Tonight (by Loverboy)

If I rummaged through my MP3s, my CDs and my old record collection, I am sure I could find dozens of other motivational songs and possibly even some music that motivates without lyrics.  The one listed here are the ones that come to mind first for me.  But now, over to you.  What songs do you find most motivational?

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…added January 20, 2009:

What a Feeling (from the movie Flashdance)

I’m Alive (by ELO)

Hold on Tight (also by ELO)

Walk On (by Rea)

Swing on a Star (was that Bing Crosby)

On Top of the World (by the Carpenters)

I Will Survive (Gloria Gayner’s anthem)

Light in Your Eyes (by Leann Rimes)

We Are the Champions (by Queen)

Winning (by Santana)

Don’t Forget to Dance (by the Kinks)

We Shall Be Free (by Garth Brooks)

Free Will (by Rush)

The Rose (by Bette Midler)



  2. Ooh, I love all the songs you listed! Music is right up there with meditation.

  3. Mushy songs alert!

    “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

    “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips

    “One Moment in Time” by Whitney Houston

    “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie

  4. I Hope You Dance by Martina McBride

  5. Ryan Stevens says

    Lose Yourself -Eminem
    Remember the Name -Fort Minor

  6. The Future Will Blow Your Mind – Fans of Jimmy Century
    Shining Star – Earth, Wind, & Fire
    Kiss From a Rose – Seal
    Presence of Love – Simon Stinger

  7. Beautiful Day – U2

  8. The Theme from The Monkees.. You know.. Hey hey we’re the monkees… it is my happy song.. no matter how bad my mood I sing a verse or two and I feel better.

  9. I actually have made a playlist on my Media Player called “cheer” which includes this kind of songs. I’ve included some titles on my list by better-known artists below. There are also musicians who specialize in this kind of songs. A few who jump to mind are Melissa Phillippe, Daniel Nahmod and Karen Drucker.

    All Star Smashmouth
    Be Free Loggins & Messina
    Don’t Worry, Be Happy Bobby McFerrin
    How Can I Keep From Singing Enya
    I’ve Got the Music In Me Kiki Dee Band
    You Can Call Me Al Paul Simon
    Shower the People James Taylor
    My Music Loggins & Messina
    Our House CSN
    Peace of Mind Loggins & Messina
    Angelsea Cat Stevens
    The World We Love Raffi
    Tea for the Tillerman Cat Stevens

  10. I am alive – Celine Dion
    The song is simply terrific.

  11. Yes of course the music that we listen on the start of the day near about play in our heads all day long.But music really a source of motivation and in use for this purpose. But how much it depends upon the lyrics that you use for the song. If they are powerful then they must get their purpose.

  12. When I saw the topic of this article, the first song that came to mind was “We are the Champions”, but I see you already included that in your list . O.K… I just thought of one that I didn’t see on the list: How about “I won’t back down” by Tom Petty!! That gets me motivated. I also like “This Little Heart of Mine” and “You Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newmam (from Toy Story).

  13. Nice list there. I’d say my favourite on there is Lean on Me, which I find really uplifting. Another fav of mine would have to be My Friends by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

  14. I really liked all the songs which are listed here. I think music can be very effective in producing a very deep and healing state of relaxation and in the process, reduce stress and even promote sleep. Music can also be used to assist one in improving his or her self-esteem and furthering an individual’s personal growth and development, transformation and these songs really help to relax me.

  15. Simply the Best, Tina Turner

  16. kathleen says

    Oh What a Wonderful World……..Louie Armstrong
    That is the ultimate feel good song.

  17. All Paramores songs motivate my to play better. It makes that kind of feeling, like I’m a professional and that’s not bad 🙂

  18. Drive – by Incubus

  19. Its very true that motivational music motivates a lot.
    Lyricist have power in their word.
    I think its better to listen those music by which we can gain something.
    Music listed here it seems to be very nice.
    Thanks for giving us an informative stuff.

  20. It’s amazing that Lean On Me still holds up today. Bill Withers was an amazing song writer – it’s hard for a song to send a message that’s both profound and simple at the same time.

  21. Hey Hey Hey by Michael Franti is one of the most empowering songs I’ve ever heard.
    ‘no matter how life is today, I’ll never let another moment slip away’.

    His story is also a good one as he was adopted.

  22. Great list – I am not a fan of Trance music, but it is great to work to. If I have a report to write, I will put some on and before I know it the work is done.

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