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Graduation Music

Best Songs for Graduation and Commencement and Parties

Top 10 Graduation Songs - 2011

By , About.com Guide

1. My Chemical Romance - "Sing"

My Chemical Romance - "Sing"
Courtesy Reprise Records
This song is an anthemic call to raising your voice and being heard even when you face opposition. My Chemical Romance have created a great new song for helping celebrate a point in life in which self-identity is of utmost importance.

2. Katy Perry - "Firework"

Katy Perry - "Firework"
Courtesy Capitol Records
Katy Perry's #1 smash hit single is a clear call for positive self-esteem. It is a perfect upbeat song for graduation parties and ceremonies.

Watch Video

3. The Weepies - "Can't Go Back Now"

The Weepies - Hideaway
Courtesy Nettwerk
This song by the Weepies was featured in the film Adam. The underlying tone of the words is that moving forward can be scary due to the possibility of being alone. However, the song provides encouragement for the importance of taking those steps.

Watch Video

4. Boston - "Don't Look Back"

Boston - "Don't Look Back"
Courtesy Epic
Boston's rousing pop-rock anthem from the 1970s is still a powerful song for helping celebrate the "new day breakin'" that is represented by graduation.

Watch Video

5. Eminem - "Not Afraid"

Eminem - "Not Afraid"
Courtesy Interscope
There is rugged language in spots in this anthem from rapper Eminem. However, the center of the song is a rousing call to set aside fear and join together in forging a positive future.

Watch Video

6. Florence and the Machine - "Dog Days Are Over"

Florence and the Machine - Lungs
Courtesy Island Records
For those who have seen high school as something to be endured as much as enjoyed, this stirring hit from Florence and the Machine will provide an outstanding soundtrack for leaving high school behind and facing a brighter future.

Watch Video

7. The Beach Boys - "Graduation Day"

Beach Boys - Beach Boys Today
Courtesy Capitol
This Beach Boys song is somewhat rare. However, it is well worth hearing and adding to the mix of songs played at the time of graduation.

Watch Video

8. Van Halen - "Right Now"

Van Halen - For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
Courtesy Warner Bros.
Van Halen's classic 1990s hit is a call to grasp the moment and make progress toward your goals whatever they may be. The messages in the song and the accompanying video are just as relevant today as they were nearly 20 years ago.

Watch Video

9. Matisyahu - "One Day"

Matisyahu - "One Day"
Courtesy Epic Records
Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu looks toward a special day when negativity and violence will come to an end. It is a message well worth hearing on any special day of life celebration.

Watch Video

10. KT Tunstall - "Suddenly I See"

KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope
Virgin Records
KT Tunstall wrote this song about a specific person she found inspirational. However, it easily conveys the general importance of mentors and role models in life. Graduation is a perfect time for this reminder.

Watch Video

 

Top 10 Graduation Songs - 2010

By , About.com Guide

1. Idina Menzel - "Defying Gravity" from 'Wicked'

Wicked Original Cast
Courtesy Decca Broadway
Since its original release as a part of the cast recording of the hit Broadway show Wicked in 2003, the song "Defying Gravity" has been an inspiration for countless people looking to break out of boundaries and restrictions to find a new life of soaring free of the pull of gravity. It is a perfect song for celebrating graduation and looking forward to a new, exciting life.

Watch Video

2. Black Eyed Peas - "I Gotta Feeling"

Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feelin'
Courtesy Interscope
There is no better song to kick off an evening of celebration than this instant classic from the Black Eyed Peas. Use it to kick off your graduation celebration.

Watch Video

3. New Radicals - "You Get What You Give"

New Radicals - "You Get What You Give"
Courtesy MCA
New Radicals are a one-hit wonder, but the one song they gave us is a gem. Portions of the lyrics remain a bit controversial, but the basic point is a celebration of the power of youth. This makes it perfect for honoring the feeling of personal strength and readiness to take on the world after graduation.

Watch Video

4. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - "Learning To Fly"

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - "Learning To Fly"
Courtesy MCA
Graduation is just the first step into a world of the unknown. If you are going to truly soar, first you have to learn to fly.

Watch Video

5. The Script - "Live Like We're Dying"

The Script - The Script
Courtesy Sony BMG
Before American Idol champion Kris Allen made this song a hit in the US, the Irish band the Script recorded the original version. It is a call to live with purpose and let loved ones know how important they are. These are great sentiments to communicate to a new graduate.

Watch Video

6. Foo Fighters - "Times Like These"

Foo Fighters - "Times Like These"
Courtesy RCA
If you need a rock song for the graduation soundtrack, this classic hit from the Foo Fighters will fit the bill. It was a top 5 alternative hit in 2003, but extensive use of the song in TV, movies, and video games has helped keep it among the most memorable of Foo Fighters songs. The words speak of a new day in which you learn to live and love again.

Watch Video

7. Miley Cyrus - "The Climb"

Miley Cyrus - "The Climb"
Courtesy Hollywood Records
Miley Cyrus' big ballad became an instant inspirational classic when released in 2009. It speaks of keeping focused on the striving for achievement as the most important part of the journey to success. That powerful reminder is particularly appropriate when celebrating graduations.

Watch Video

8. 'Grease' Soundtrack - "We Go Together"

Grease Soundtrack
Courtesy RSO
This one is pure fun. Fear of losing the friends that helped us make it this point is one of the dark sides of graduation. This song reassures us all that the fear will never come to fruition.

Watch Video

9. Owl City - "Fireflies"

Owl City - Ocean Eyes
Courtesy Republic
Owl City's big breakthrough hit "Fireflies" simply celebrates the power and joy in fantasies and fantastical thinking.

Watch Video

10. Fleetwood Mac - "Don't Stop"

Fleetwood Mac - "Don't Stop"
Courtesy Warner Bros.
This 1970s classic still carries a very potent message. Simply put, don't lose sight on the ability to always look to the future and see tomorrow as a new day. The past is past and the future is what we will make of it.

Watch Video

 

Top 10 Graduation Songs - 2009

By , About.com Guide

1. Jordin Sparks - "One Step At a Time"

Jordin Sparks - One Step At a Time
Courtesy Jive Records
The biggest solo pop single so far from American Idol winner Jordin Sparks is a reminder that you can reach your dreams taking things gradually and always moving forward. There is no rush, but you can indeed show the world who you are.

Watch Video

2. Taylor Swift - "A Place In This World"

Taylor Swift - Taylor Swift
Courtesy Big Machine
This song by young country superstar Taylor Swift is most appropriate for female graduates. However, its air of quiet confidence in the face of the unknown coming ahead is certainly applicable for graduates of any gender.

Listen

3. Yael Naim - "New Soul"

Yael Naim - New Song
Courtesy Atlantic Records
Yael Naim sings about being a new soul in the world and the mistakes one is bound to make. However, she is forthright in stating this scary new place brings joy in adddition to fear.

Watch Video

4. Rembrandts - "I'll Be There For You"

Rembrandts - I'll Be There For You
Courtesy Atlantic Records
Everyone needs friends as they head from school into the "real world." This song is one of energetic reassurance among close friends as they face the tough moments ahead.

Watch Video

5. Alanis Morissette - "You Learn"

Alanis Morissette - You Learn
Courtesy Maverick
As the graduate contemplates the future, Alanis Morissette gives a reminder that life is about learning. Life education doesn't end when you walk outside of the classroom.

Watch Video

6. Nickelback - "If Today Was Your Last Day"

Nickelback - If Today Was Your Last Day
Courtesy Roadrunner
Nickelback gives a strong musical reminder to graduates to live every moment and approach life as if this day was your last. It also is filled with advice on focusing on what is truly important in life and letting the rest fall away.

Watch Video

7. Mariah Carey - "Hero"

Mariah Carey - Hero
Courtesy Columbia Records
Mariah Carey's hit "Hero" goes back some years, but graduation is a great time to be reminded that if you look deep inside, you can find powerful inner strength. Even if you feel alone, you can find someone within to support and guide you.

Watch Video

8. Jessica Andrews - "Who I Am"

Jessica Andrews - Who I Am
Courtesy DreamWorks
A touch of humility can also be a good thing at the time of graduation. Jessica Andrews sings of finding comfort and all that one needs in everyday life and the support of loved ones nearby. A life lived well is a life content with what we have.

Watch Video

9. Phil Collins - "On My Way"

Brother Bear Soundtrack
Courtesy Walt Disney
Phil Collins' song from the Brother Bear soundtrack is a strong ode to the excitement of life to come. Graduates may indeed see themselves in this song as they head forward seeking new friends and new adventures.

Watch Video

10. Lupe Fiasco featuring Matthew Santos - "Superstar"

Lupe Fiasco - Superstar
Courtesy Atlantic Records
Life is a stage. We rarely feel that so acutely as at transitional life moments like a graduation. If you are what you say you are, there is no need to have fear at these moments in the spotlight.

Watch Video

 

Top 10 Graduation Songs - 2008

By , About.com Guide

1. Mandy Moore - "Extraordinary"

Mandy Moore - "Extraordinary"
Courtesy EMI
Mandy Moore announced her step into the world of adult recording artists with this tremendous song about spreading one's wings and becoming truly "extraordinary." It works perfectly at that moment of leaving high school or college to take one's place in the larger world.

Watch Video

2. Rascal Flatts - "My Wish"

Rascal Flatts - "My Wish"
Courtesy Lyric Street
Last year's top prom song is also a perfect fit for graduation. Sung as a gift to a loved one, Rascal Flatts say nearly all there is to say about dreaming big for someone.

Watch Video

3. Bon Jovi - "Welcome to Wherever You Are"

Bon Jovi - "Welcome To Wherever You Are"
Courtesy Island Records
Bon Jovi's song is a reminder that we are who we are and a "miracle in their own way." It's a strong note of reassurance when taking those big steps forward in life.

Watch Video

4. Corey Smith - "I'm Not Gonna Cry"

Corey Smith - In the Mood
Courtesy Razor and Tie
This is a reflective song about what is left behind. The spirit is holding back the tears in expectation of the greater things yet to come.

Listen

5. Trace Adkins - "You're Gonna Miss This"

Trace Adkins - "You're Gonna Miss This"
Courtesy Capitol Nashville
Representing a different point of view at a time like graduation, Trace Adkins' song is a gentle reminder to enjoy things as they come and not cast one's eyes too far into the future.

Watch Video

6. R.E.M. - "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"

R.E.M. - "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
Courtesy I.R.S. Records
Some of the cultural references may be slightly dated, but the sentiment of this rock classic captures the spirit of graduation perfectly for many.

Watch Video

7. Celine Dion - "These Are the Special Times"

Celine Dion - These Are Special Times
Courtesy Epic
For a focus on the graduation day itself, Celine Dion reminds graduates to revel in the day as an unforgettable and precious one.

Listen

8. Tod Potter - "Graduation Day"

Tod Potter - "Graduation Day"
Courtesy WhiteWing Records
A father's musings on the day of his daughter's graduation.
 

9. Smashing Pumpkins - "Today"

Smashing Pumpkins - "Today"
Courtesy Virgin
With a rock edge, this Pumpkins classic states for many "Today is the greatest day that I have ever known."

Watch Video

10. Rusted Root - Send Me on My Way

Rusted Root - When I Woke
Courtesy Polygram
It's always an amazing sensation to gather others around to help send you forward in life's next great adventure.

Watch Video

 

Top 10 Graduation Songs - 2007

By , About.com Guide

1. Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten

Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten
Courtesy Arista Records (UK)
As you graduate, it makes perfect sense to sing, or shout "Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten..." Natasha Bedingfield's smash hit is destined to be a Commencement classic.

Watch Video

2. Nickelback - Photograph

Nickelback - All the Right Reasons
Courtesy Roadrunner Records
Nickelback struck a nostalgic chord with pop audiences on this hit single. Most all of the memories fondly cataloged in the course of the song are events from school years.

Watch Video

3. Carrie Underwood - Whenever You Remember

Carrie Underwood - Some Hearts
Courtesy Arista Records
Carrie Underwood is one of the most popular of all American Idol champions. Here she is in a mellow mood of remembering the past and preparing to move forward with heads held high.

Watch Video

4. Tom Petty - I Won't Back Down

Tom Petty - "I Won't Back Down"
Courtesy MCA
This Tom Petty classic is not only about defiance. It is also about gathering one's strength to face any difficulties that may arise while finding your way in this world. "I Won't Back Down" was one of a number of pop songs used as an anthem in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001.

Watch Video

5. 10,000 Maniacs - These Are Days

10,000 Maniacs - "These Are Days"
Courtesy Elektra
This 10,000 Maniacs classic from the band's years with Natalie Merchant as lead vocalist will help identify the time of graduation as a time when you'll know "that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you." The song closes with the hopefulness that awareness of direction for the future will make itself known in any moment.

Watch Video

6. The Ataris - In This Diary

Ataris - So Long, Astoria
Courtesy Columbia
If you're looking for a great graduation song with a bit more of a punkish edge, the Ataris nostalgic tune will do the trick.

Watch Video

7. Josh Groban - You Raise Me Up

Josh Groban - Closer
Courtesy Reprise
One of the key songs that introduced the world to the enormous talent of Josh Groban was also a huge hit in the UK for Westlife. Lyrically, the song is a simple hymn of gratitude to those who lift us higher than we may go on our own.

Watch Video

8. Sarah McLachlan - I Will Remember You

Sarah McLachlan - "I Will Remember You"
Courtesy Nettwerk
The tone is a bit wistful for celebrations, but at the heart of this gorgeous song is a promise among friends.

Watch Video

 

Top 10 Graduation Songs - 2006

By , About.com Guide

1. Vitamin C - Graduation (Friends Forever)

Vitamin C - "Graduation (Friends Forever)"
Courtesy Elektra
Colleen Fitzpatrick, the former lead vocalist for the group Eve's Plum, recorded under the name Vitamin C as a solo artist. This song was one of the standout cuts on the album Vitamin C, released in 1999. It was an instant graduation classic pulling in the power of memories in years to come and the value of friends forever. It works well sung live with a chorus as well.

Watch Video

2. Cast of 'Rent' - Seasons of Love

Original Cast - Rent
Courtesy DreamWorks
Songs that originated in Broadway musicals often work very well for ceremonial events like graduation. This ode to the measuring of time through love from Rent follows in the tradition of other past great graduation songs from A Chorus Line and Wicked.

Watch Video

3. Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway

Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
RCA Records.
This is probably the perfect graduation song for those who never felt they completely fit in during high school. However, Kelly Clarkson's inspiring expression of the desire to spread one's wings wide to escape the mundane has universal appeal

Watch Video

4. Green Day - Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

Green Day - "Good Riddance (The Time Of My Life)"
Courtesy Reprise
This is the only song which appears in both the graduation list and the prom songs list on this site. It is a great Green Day song for transitional events that appeals equally well to mainstream pop and rock fans.

Watch Video

5. Lee Ann Womack - I Hope You Dance

Lee Ann Womack - "I Hope You Dance"
Courtesy MCA Nashville
There is no other song that is better at reminding us of the importance of being totally engaged, keeping our sense of awe at the world, and recognizing the importance of fun in life.

Watch Video

6. Eve 6 - Here's to the Night

Eve 6 - "Here's To the Night"
Courtesy BMG
This lush, wistful ballad will leave many graduates misty-eyed thinking of the memorable moments of the years shared with their friends.

Watch Video

7. R. Kelly - I Believe I Can Fly

R. Kelly - "I Believe I Can Fly"
Courtesy Jive
If you have a choir at your graduation ceremony, this is the perfect song to give them to sing. It is pure inspiration for the future.

Watch Video

8. Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Baz Luhrmann - "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)"
Courtesy EMI
This spoken word novelty is one of the most unusual hit songs of the past decade. The nuggets of wisdom dispensed here still carry resonance.

Watch Video

9. Diana Ross - I'm Coming Out

Diana Ross - "I'm Coming Out
Courtesy Motown
This song simply gets more and more brilliant with passing time. Go back to the original Diana Ross recording and you'll be unlikely to find a better celebration of taking those important first steps into the wide world beyond school.

Watch Video

10. Boyz II Men - It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday

Boyz II Men - Cooley High Harmony
Courtesy Motown
This Boyz II Men classic is a perfect all-occasion goodbye song.

Watch Video

 

Top 40 Graduation Songs Of All Time

By , About.com Guide

40. Florence and the Machine - "Dog Days Are Over"

Florence and the Machine - Lungs
Courtesy Island Records
For those who have seen high school as something to be endured as much as enjoyed, this stirring hit from Florence and the Machine will provide an outstanding soundtrack for leaving high school behind and facing a brighter future.

Watch Video

39. Van Halen - "Right Now"

Van Halen - For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
Courtesy Warner Bros.
Van Halen's classic 1990s hit is a call to grasp the moment and make progress toward your goals whatever they may be. The messages in the song and the accompanying video are just as relevant today as they were nearly 20 years ago.

Watch Video

38. Boston - "Don't Look Back"

Boston - "Don't Look Back"
Courtesy Epic
Boston's rousing pop-rock anthem from the 1970s is still a powerful song for helping celebrate the "new day breakin'" that is represented by graduation.

Watch Video

37. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - "Learning To Fly"

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - "Learning To Fly"
Courtesy MCA
Graduation is just the first step into a world of the unknown. If you are going to truly soar, first you have to learn to fly.

Watch Video

36. Nickelback - "If Today Was Your Last Day"

Nickelback - "If Today Was Your Last Day"
Courtesy Roadrunner Records
Nickelback gives a strong musical reminder to graduates to live every moment and approach life as if this day was your last. It also is filled with advice on focusing on what is truly important in life and letting the rest fall away.

Watch Video

35. Carrie Underwood - "Whenever You Remember"

Carrie Underwood - Some Hearts
Courtesy Arista Records
Carrie Underwood is one of the most popular of all American Idol champions. Here she is in a mellow mood of remembering the past and preparing to move forward with heads held high.

Listen

34. My Chemical Romance - "Sing"

My Chemical Romance - "Sing"
Courtesy Reprise Records
This song is an anthemic call to raising your voice and being heard even when you face opposition. My Chemical Romance have created a great new song for helping celebrate a point in life in which self-identity is of utmost importance.

Watch Video

33. Taylor Swift - "A Place In This World"

Taylor Swift - Taylor Swift
Courtesy Big Machine
This song by Taylor Swift is most appropriate for female graduates. However, its air of quiet confidence in the face of the unknown coming ahead is certainly applicable for graduates of any gender.

Watch Video

 

32. Natasha Bedingfield - "Unwritten"

Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten
Courtesy Arista Records (UK)
As you graduate, it makes perfect sense to sing, or shout "Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten..." Natasha Bedingfield's hit is tailor made for events like commencement ceremonies.

Watch Video

31. Katy Perry - "Firework"

Katy Perry - "Firework"
Courtesy Capitol Records
Katy Perry's #1 smash hit single is a clear call for positive self-esteem. It is a perfect upbeat song for graduation parties and ceremonies.

Watch Video

30. Rembrandts - "I'll Be There For You"

Rembrandts - I'll Be There For You
Courtesy Atlantic Records
Everyone needs friends as they head from school into the "real world." This song is one of energetic reassurance among close friends as they face the tough moments ahead.

Watch Video

29. The Beach Boys - "Graduation Day"

Beach Boys - Beach Boys Today
Courtesy Capitol
This Beach Boys song is somewhat rare. However, it is well worth hearing and adding to the mix of songs played at the time of graduation.

Watch Video

28. Queen - "We Are the Champions"

Queen - "We Are the Champions"
Courtesy Elektra
This Queen classic never fails to provoke a warm, possibly tearful, singalong.

Watch Video

27. Nickelback - "Photograph"

Nickelback - All the Right Reasons
Courtesy Roadrunner Records
Nickelback struck a nostalgic chord with pop audiences on this hit single. Most all of the memories fondly cataloged in the course of the song are events from school years.

Watch Video

26. Celine Dion - "These Are the Special Times"

Celine Dion - These Are Special Times
Courtesy Epic
For a focus on the graduation day itself, Celine Dion reminds graduates to revel in the day as an unforgettable and precious one.

Watch Video

25. Foo Fighters - "Times Like These"

Foo Fighters - "Times Like These"
Courtesy RCA
If you need a rock song for the graduation soundtrack, this classic hit from the Foo Fighters will fit the bill. It was a top 5 alternative hit in 2003, but extensive use of the song in TV, movies, and video games has helped keep it among the most memorable of Foo Fighters songs. The words speak of a new day in which you learn to live and love again.

Watch Video

24. Rusted Root - "Send Me On My Way"

Rusted Root - When I Woke
Courtesy Polygram
It's always an amazing sensation to gather others around to help send you forward in life's next great adventure.

Watch Video

23. Jordin Sparks - "One Step At a Time"

Jordin Sparks - One Step At a Time
Courtesy Jive Records
Former American Idol champion Jordin Sparks reminds us that you can reach your dreams taking things gradually and always moving forward. There is no rush, but you can indeed show the world who you are.

Watch Video

22. Kelly Clarkson - "Breakaway"

Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
RCA Records.
This is probably the perfect graduation song for those who never felt they completely fit in during high school. However, Kelly Clarkson's inspiring expression of the desire to spread one's wings wide to escape the mundane has universal appeal.

Watch Video

21. Yael Naim - "New Soul"

Yael Naim - New Soul
Courtesy Atlantic Records
Yael Naim sings about being a new soul in the world and the mistakes one is bound to make. However, she is forthright in stating this scary new place brings joy in adddition to fear.

Watch Video

20. Miley Cyrus - "The Climb"

Miley Cyrus - "The Climb"
Courtesy Hollywood Records
Miley Cyrus' big ballad became an instant inspirational classic when released in 2009. It speaks of keeping focused on the striving for achievement as the most important part of the journey to success. That powerful reminder is particularly appropriate when celebrating graduations.

Watch Video

19. Eve 6 - "Here's To the Night"

Eve 6 - "Here's To the Night"
Courtesy BMG
This lush, wistful ballad will leave many graduates misty-eyed thinking of the memorable moments of the years shared with their friends.

Watch Video

18. Mandy Moore - "Extraordinary"

Mandy Moore - "Extraordinary"
Courtesy EMI
Mandy Moore announced her step into the world of adult recording artists with this tremendous song about spreading one's wings and becoming truly "extraordinary." It works perfectly at that moment of leaving high school or college to take one's place in the larger world.

Watch Video

17. Cast of 'Rent' - "Seasons Of Love"

Original Cast - Rent
Courtesy DreamWorks
Songs that originated in Broadway musicals often work very well for ceremonial events like graduation. This ode to measuring time through love is a great song to cap the years in high school or college.

Watch Video

16. Mariah Carey - "Hero"

Mariah Carey - Hero
Courtesy Columbia Records
Mariah Carey's hit "Hero" is a great reminder that if you look deep inside, you can find powerful inner strength. Even if you feel alone, you can find someone within to support and guide you.

Watch Video

15. Baz Luhrman - "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)"

Baz Luhrmann - "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)"
Courtesy EMI
This spoken word novelty is one of the most unusual of hit songs. The nuggets of wisdom dispensed here do have resonance.

Watch Video

14. Rascal Flatts - "My Wish"

Rascal Flatts - "My Wish"
Courtesy Lyric Street
This song is sung as a gift to a loved one. Rascal Flatts say here nearly all there is to say about dreaming big for someone.

Listen

13. The Script - "Live Like We're Dying"

The Script - The Script
Courtesy Sony BMG
Before American Idol champion Kris Allen made this song a hit in the US, the Irish band the Script recorded the original version. It is a call to live with purpose and let loved ones know how important they are. These are great sentiments to communicate to a new graduate.

12. 10,000 Maniacs - "These Are Days"

10,000 Maniacs - "These Are Days"
Courtesy Elektra
This 10,000 Maniacs classic from the band's years with Natalie Merchant as lead vocalist will help identify the time of graduation as a time when you'll know "that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you." The song closes with the hopefulness that awareness of direction for the future will make itself known in any moment.

Watch Video

11. Sarah McLachlan - "I Will Remember You"

Sarah McLachlan - "I Will Remember You"
Courtesy Nettwerk
The tone is a bit wistful for celebrations, but at the heart of this gorgeous song is a promise among friends.

Watch Video

10. Black Eyed Peas - "I Gotta Feeling"

Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feelin'
Courtesy Interscope
There is no better song to kick off an evening of celebration than this instant classic from the Black Eyed Peas. Use it to kick off your graduation celebration.

Watch Video

9. R. Kelly - "I Believe I Can Fly"

R. Kelly - "I Believe I Can Fly"
Courtesy Jive
If you have a choir at your graduation ceremony, this is the perfect song to give them to sing. It is pure inspiration for the future.

Watch Video

8. Cyndi Lauper - "True Colors"

Cyndi Lauper - "True Colors"
Courtesy Epic
Tailor made for those who have endured difficult years, Cyndi Lauper's 80's hit is also a warm reminder that all of us are beautiful.

Watch Video

7. New Radicals - "You Get What You Give"

New Radicals - "You Get What You Give"
Courtesy MCA
New Radicals are a one-hit wonder, but the one song they gave us is a gem. Portions of the lyrics remain a bit controversial, but the basic point is a celebration of the power of youth. This makes it perfect for honoring the feeling of personal strength and readiness to take on the world after graduation.

Watch Video

6. Lee Ann Womack - "I Hope You Dance"

Lee Ann Womack - "I Hope You Dance"
Courtesy MCA Nashville
There is no other song that is better at reminding us of the importance of being totally engaged, keeping our sense of awe at the world, and recognizing the importance of fun in life.

Watch Video

5. Josh Groban - "You Raise Me Up"

Josh Groban - Closer
Courtesy Reprise
One of the key songs that introduced the world to the enormous talent of Josh Groban was also a huge hit in the UK for Westlife. Lyrically, the song is a simple hymn of gratitude to those who lift us higher than we may climb on our own.

Watch Video

4. Idina Menzel - "Defying Gravity" from 'Wicked'

Wicked Original Cast
Courtesy Decca Broadway
Since its original release as a part of the cast recording of the hit Broadway show Wicked in 2003, the song "Defying Gravity" has been an inspiration for countless people looking to break out of boundaries and restrictions to find a new life of soaring free of the pull of gravity. It is a perfect song for celebrating graduation and looking forward to a new, exciting life.

Watch Video

3. Green Day - "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)"

Green Day - "Good Riddance (The Time Of My Life)"
Courtesy Reprise
This Green Day song relates directly to transitional events in life. It is a song where the band toned down punk influences and create a timeless track that appeals equally to pop and rock fans.

Watch Video

2. Vitamin C - "Graduation (Friends Forever)"

Vitamin C - "Graduation (Friends Forever)"
Courtesy Elektra
Colleen Fitzpatrick, the former lead vocalist for the group Eve's Plum, recorded under the name Vitamin C as a solo artist. This song was one of the standout cuts on the album Vitamin C, released in 1999. It was an instant graduation classic pulling in the power of memories in years to come and the value of friends forever. It works well sung live with a chorus as well.

Watch Video

1. Sir Edward Elgar - "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 In D"

Sir Edward Elgar
Photo by E.O. Hoppe / Getty Images
This work by English composer Sir Edward Elgar was first played in Liverpool, England in 1901. It was first played at a graduation ceremony in the US in 1905 when Elgar was invited to Yale University to receive an honorary degree. Today, the Trio section "Land Of Hope and Glory" that begins just under two minutes in is played as a processional at nearly every graduation ceremony across the country.

Listen

 

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Copyright 2000 Atlantic Coast Entertainment
Last modified: September 24, 2013