Any list of this sort has to be personal, and so what I am offering is a list of songs, some of which you may readily recall, some of which may just be on the edge of your recollection… but songs that have a lyric which will promoted reflection and possibly inspire action.
Of course it would be easy to go for the obvious “You Lift Me Up” in its various incarnations or “I believe I can fly” which is rather obvious in its imagery, but I have decided to take this top ten list in a less obvious direction.
So without further ado
10: The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics
Written by Mike Rutherford and B.A. Robertson
This bitter-sweet song about a young man reflecting on the loss of his father and how he wished he had said more is really about the way we take for granted the people around us; never saying what we mean to or want to when we could or should.
The refrain “I wish I could have told him, in the living years” is a call to action for all those of us who need to tell those we care about how much we care. It is about doing that NOW. Inspiring ACTION.
9: If Tomorrow Never Comes by Garth Brooks
Written by Garth Brooks and Kent Blazey
I wasn’t going to include this as it’s very similar in theme to the song at number 10. Actually I think the Mike and The Mechanics song is a better song, but as this is supposed to be about inspiration and not loss, the sentiment of telling someone you love them when you want to tell them sits more comfortably in this list.
“if tomorrow never comes, would she know how much I love her”
The Garth Brooks version is superior to the Ronan Keeting version in my opinion.
8: You’re the Voice: John Farnham
Written by Andy Qunta, Keith Reid, Maggie Ryder and Chris Thompson
This anthem for self-actualisation is not only about recognising your own power and responsibility but a call for a generation to get involved.
“We have a chance to turn the pages over – to write what we want to write!!
It’s a call not simply to action, but a call to arms.
7: Be: Niel Diamond
Written by Neil Diamond
Jammed packed with underlying spiritual themes this song written for the film adaptation of Jonathan Livingston Seagull touches the heart. A call for us to BE…
“:Like a page that aches for a word, that speaks on a theme that is silent”
6: If Everyone Cared: Nickleback
Written by Danie Adair, Michael Kroeger, Chad Kroeger
A contemporary rock song which starts of as a declaration of love for another person and then moves beyond the feelings they have for each other and considering what the world could be like if we put some of the petty jealousy and ego behind us.
“if everyone cared and nobody cried, if everyone loved and nobody lied!
5: So Small: Carrie Underwood
Another country song, country artists can do this stuff so well. Here Carrie is asking us to step back and get some perspective on our problems and challenges. Good advice.
Carrie Underwood, Luke Laird, Hilllary Lindsey
“Cause sometimes the mountain you’ve been climbing is just a grain of sand!
4: In the Arms of an Angel: Sarah Mclachan
Written by Sarah Mclachlan
Adopted by so many of the New Age folk as a hymn to ‘the angels’ this song is far more than that. It is a song of longing, of being able to trust, to let go and take yourself away from the mundane. The angel can be a member of the heavenly hoard. it can be a lover or it can be the dream of someone who can be there for you.
“You’re in the arms of an angel, may you find some comfort here”
3: Holy Ground: Traffic
Written by Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood, Davey Spillane
The sound of the illean pipes open this song with so much longing, so much heart. It’s time we started to think about the land upon which we stand, the land upon which we build… the land that sustains, There is more, it is about the relationship we have with the land and how it is a mirror of the way we regard and respect ourselves and each other, We are our own holy ground.
“What are we doing to this sacred heart, the heart that beats for us all?”
2: Don’t Give Up: Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush
A song that is as relevant today as when it was written. A song of economic turmoil, loss of dreams, aspirations and careers. This song would be about depression if it were not for the refrain sang by Kate Bush. We are reminded not to ‘give up’. For me this song is about hope, inner strength and the strength we can give each other, the help and the support. The image in the video of Kate and Petter holding each other, signing this song is a simple, yet pwerful image of ‘togetherness’ and perhaps, the kind of relationship the romantic in me desires. Saying and meaning the words of support to each other – from the heart.
“Don’t give up because somewhere there is a place where we belong’
1. Kualan Kawaihae: Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Sometimes words are not important, it is the heart in the music that transcends language. Israel Kamaakawiwo’ole (IZ) had that something that moves you inside. It would have been far too easy to put his version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Beautiful World here, I just wanted to make you think beyond what may already know
So inspirational songs – songs that inspire feelings, provoke and promote positive affirmative action. That has been my approach to this list and I hope some of the choices will have promoted thoughts in you.
by Alan B Jones