Every time I happen to hear any one of the 14 songs on The Cars’ self-titled debut album, I am emotionally transported back several decades into my friend Alex’s car. I rode shotgun next to Alex nearly every day for three years on our way to and from high school, with The Cars cassette loaded into the tapedeck providing the ever-present soundtrack to our commute. We sang and clapped along, letting the good times roll to set the tone for our day.
Music is magical that way, often providing a sort of portal into vivid memories and/or feelings. Some songs make us feel a certain way because of the style of the music, the lyrics, or even the title. But sometimes, it is the particular memory associated with a song that gives us our own customized emotional meaning. For me, any of those The Cars songs trigger a sense of youth and warm friendship because I associate them with Alex and the fun we had all those years ago.
Many songs are written about romantic love, but some great songs have been written about friendship. We have listed a few here, but please jump in with any of your own favorites in the comments!
- With a Little Help from My Friends: Written by the iconic John Lennon and Paul McCartney songwriting partnership for The Beatles’ Sgt.Peppers Lonelyhearts Club Band album in 1967, the original song was sung by Ringo Starr. Joe Cocker‘s bluesy version was released in 1969.
- You’ve Got a Friend: Originally written and recorded in 1971 by Carole King, James Taylor recorded his version of the song that same year. Both King and Taylor won Grammy awards that year for this same song, and many other artists have recorded their own versions including Michael Jackson.
- Lean on Me: Bill Withers wrote and recorded his soulful, classic ode to friendship in 1972. It was re-recorded in the late 1980s with a reggae jam by Club Nouveau.
- We’re Going to Be Friends: This sweet song from The White Stripes in 2002 is reminiscent of making friends in childhood, but still resonates with that unsure but optimistic feeling of getting to know someone new.
- Count on Me: This sweet and uplifting Bruno Mars tune was released in 2010 with his debut album. The lyrics are about being there for each other, and the essence of friendship, because sometimes you need someone to “be the light to guide you.”
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