Graduation is a special event that only comes around a limited amount of times in your lifetime. It marks a special milestone and represents new paths being opened and choices available. Due to all the changes it brings it usually marks the end of an era. Make sure you put a good bookend on the chapter and plan out a playlist that will excite and pull at the heart strings of the graduating class. Here are ten graduation songs that are sure to make everyone nostalgic and make for a very memorable evening.
1. "Changes," David Bowie (1971)
David Bowie is an absolute legend to so many people, the range and emotion in his voice is nothing short of incredible. “Changes” has beautiful high and low parts to it and a catchy meaningful chorus. It’s about going through changes and trying to face them head on but even though we are all going through changes constantly somehow we’re still ourselves afterwards.
2. "We Are Young" by Fun (2012)
“We Are Young” is great song to kick off your graduation. It is a requiem for what it is to be young, to go out and enjoy yourselves, to be able to stay up with your friends until the early hours of the morning and to just be plain silly before having to grow up. The chorus ‘tonight, we are young…’ will get the crowd right into the spirit of the evening. It is also easy to sing along to or dance to.
3. "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan (1999)
This song is a must for goodbyes and new beginnings. Sarah’s voice is so beautiful and full of emotion that it really transcends “I Will Remember You” to a whole new level. It captures a lot of the scary aspects of moving on while giving hope to a future by reinforcing you’ll always be remembered and also have good memories to carry you through.
4. "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" by Pink Floyd (1979)
Does “Another Brick in the Wall” really need any introduction at all? A classic song people of all ages love and relate to. It perfectly encapsulates feelings everyone goes through in high school and reminds of people what they’ve finished. Most people know these lyrics and will be jazzed up to hear this classic.
5. "School's Out" by Alice Cooper (1997)
This is the song that gets everyone pumped for leaving school. As soon as you hear the guitar building for the chorus you can feel the energy rising in you, compelling you to belt out ‘schools out for summer, schools out forever…’ along with the song. “School’s Out” is another song that’s well known and easy for a crowd to sing along to (at the very least everyone will know the chorus!).
6. "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day (1997)
You need at least one Green Day song in your graduation music list. Green Day have so many songs that completely bring you back to what it was to be a teenager from struggling with peer pressure to moving on. “Good Riddance” is a short song compared to others but it’s a powerful song that conveys its message about turning points and being at a crossroads very well. Its also an upbeat song that is wonderful to dance to.
7. "It's Time," Imagine Dragons (2012)
“It’s Time” is nicely paced song about growing up and moving on but still keeping true to yourself by not letting the world change who you are. It is a great message for people about to take the next step on their journey into the world and reinforces that everyone should be proud of who they are.
8. "Miles Apart," Yellowcard (2003)
“Miles Apart” is a great graduation song because it’s all about the connections we have between our friends. No matter how much we may want to stay in our comfort zones and be in an endless time loop with our friends, a time comes when we have to move on. This isn’t as bad as it sounds though as it reinforces how we carry important people and memories in our hearts and use that to propel us through the rocky times ahead.
9. “Firework" Katy Perry (2010)
One of my personal favorites, not only is it easy to sing and catchy it has such a beautiful message and music video. “Firework” is all about how no matter how lost, alone or worthless you feel there is a fire inside of you. You are special and talented and only need some confidence really shine like a star. The song is all about finding inner strength and beauty inside all of us and is a great message to send newly graduated people off with.
10. “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds (1985)
It’s only fitting the last song is a tear jerker. Not everyone gets to experience a graduation and it marks a huge milestone in your life. At the end of the night you want to go out with a bang, pick something memorable like “Don’t You Forget About Me”. Besides the obvious Breakfast Club flashbacks that are sure to get the waterworks going the song’s lyrics are also amazing. The song is about moving on but wanting to be remembered and wanting to remember your friends.