No doubt you have favorite songs that help you start your day, give you that extra shove to try something new, tell someone off, or just console you after a letdown.
And oddly, it’s not the whole song that does it. It’s that magical line or two that speaks to you personally at just the right moment. At times an oasis, other times a ledge, the words are comforting, exhilarating, poetically sage.
Here are the top 12 songs for inspiration and motivation, and the jewels that lie within them:
1. The Times They Are A’Changing – Bob Dylan
“Then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone
for the times they are a-changing.”
Accountability cruelly simplified: Sink or swim.
2. Carry on Wayward Son – Kansas
“And if I claim to be a wise man,
Well it surely means that I don’t know.”
It’s strange how wisdom usually comes long after you have finished telling everyone how much you know.
3. I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
“You could stand me up at the gates of hell,
but I won't back down.”
It’s a battle you’ve chosen to take all the way. You’ll win it.
4. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
“Paying anything to roll the dice just one more time.”
Perseverance feels virtuous when you’re out of words, down to your last dollar and last punch.
5. Green Grass and High Tides – The Outlaws
“For you have to love, believe and feel
before the burst of tambourines take you there.”
Funny how you’ve got to align your heart with your head to get the most out of something.
6. King and Lionheart – Of Monsters and Men
“Howling ghosts they reappear in mountains that are stacked with fear
But you’re a king and I’m a lionheart.”
There are no phantoms so fierce that you and a good friend can’t overpower them.
7. Hold Your Head up – Argent
“And if they stare, just let them burn their eyes on your moving;
And if they shout, don’t let it change a thing that you’re doing.”
It’s lonely, but damn the crowd and the naysayers.
8. Behind Blue Eyes – The Who
“When my fist clenches, crack it open
Before I use it and lose my cool.”
Restraint is the wiser course, when the other path appears to lead to regret.
9. Have a Cigar – Pink Floyd
“It’s a helluva start, it could be made into a monster
If we all pull together as a team.”
Whatever that monster is, it is something indescribably grand and brought to life when everyone works together.
10. Any Major Dude – Steely Dan
“Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you, my friend.
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again.”
A reminder that troubles come. But they also go.
11. Let it Be – The Beatles
“There will be an answer, let it be.”
For all the things you can’t control. And some that you can, but shouldn’t.
12. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves
“I’m walkin’ on sunshine, and don’t it feel good.”
It’s surreal, but at times you can really feel a sunbeam on the bottom of your feet. It fades like a rainbow, so enjoy it while it’s there.
Cal Butera is the editor of Business Management Daily’s Office Manager Today, Manager’s Legal Bulletin, Managing People at Work and Communication Briefings newsletters. He has been with Business Management Daily since 2007 and worked 22 years for midsize daily newspapers as sports writer, news reporter, layout and design editor, copy editor and city editor.