Gwnewch y pethau bychain

The Healing Power of Music

Music is a constant in my life. It’s a rare day that I go through without listening to or making music in one form or another.

And it occured to me on the way back from lunch with kitanzi this afternoon, as I cranked up a particular song, that there are some tunes that just never fail to make me happy.

Here are five of those songs, in no particular order:

Love Shack, B-52s
Sledgehammer, Peter Gabriel
Every Day I Write The Book, Elvis Costello
Got To Get You Into My Life, The Beatles
Linus and Lucy, Vince Guaraldi Trio

What are some songs that always leave you more cheerful than before? That make you dance in your seat? When you’re down, what music do you turn to to pick yourself up? What songs make you instinctively reach for the volume control to crank it up?

Share in comments. 🙂


Yes, Virginia…




  1. Songs that make me want to dance / turn the volume up are, amongst others “Don’t you (forget about me)” by Simple Minds and “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley. Don’t know why … for no particular reason other than those being “late teenage years” songs we used to dance to, I think … fun memories and all that. Still works today 😉
    More recently, a lot of the Indigo Girls songs make me feel good, and “Affirmation” by Savage Garden is a favourite, too.

  2. Right now it would have to be Maroon V’s CD All About Jane. LOVE it! (Which parodies would you like in the songbook, luv?)

  3. “Tangled Up In Blue” 🙂
    “Dumb, Dumb Dorothy”
    Hmmm. There are others, definetely. In many different genres.

  4. Love the One You’re With by S. Stills

    It’s Friday I’m in Love by the Cure

    I Want You to Want Me by Cheap Trick

    My Sharona by The Knack (is that right?)

    Viewmaster by Ookla the Mok

    London Calling by the Clash

    I’m Just a Girl by No Doubt

    and the Smooth Criminal cover by Alien Ant Farm

  5. Dancing In The Streets

    Money For Nothing

    Bohemian Rapsody

    “The King’s Beer” by Glass Hammer

    Any early Beatles stuff

    Those are the first five that come to mind.

  6. I’ll second the Beatles garage band period.

    Also Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.

    And Radar Love.

    OTOH, if I want to get depressed beyond all belief, I could haul out the turntable and put on Art Garfunkel’s “Breakaway” album. God, the man could depress a hyena…

  7. Got lots of these. The first few that come to mind are

    “Here Comes the Sun”
    “What’s So Funny (‘Bout Peace, Love, and Understanding”
    “Firth of Fifth” by Genesis (especially the bootleg live version with Peter Gabriel)
    “Viewmaster” and “Tiberius Rising” by Ookla the Mok (for volumen turn-up value, but not as much pickups emotionally)
    Lots of songs by Bruce Springsteen, preferably live, including “Born to Run” (yes, really!), “Thunder Road”, “Paradise by the C” (instrumental), “Rosalita”, and “My Hometown”

    I will note that all of the songs on your list would also be on mine.

  8. Brown-Eyed Girl
    Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie-Woogie Flu
    Little Woman Love
    Hot Summer Night (You Took the Words Right Out Of My Mouth)
    Don’t Answer Me
    Lucretia MacEvil
    Joy to the World
    I Just Want To Dance With You
    Orbiting Jupiter
    Common Land
    Dumb Dumb Dorothy
    Sitting In Limbo

    • Morlaine? Really??? *wide-eyed*

      • It rocks and I dig it.

        Thinking about this topic some more, I’d have to add stuff like From the New World, Pines of the Appian Way, and Mars. And for fun, drop in Jack You Dead, Trickle Trickle, I Got Stung, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Storms in Africa.

        These are all songs that hit me with the first note or two, regardless of mood.

  9. Great topic!

    Almost anything by Seal.
    S A F E T Y dance… can’t help it, the beat.
    Quite a bit of Van Halen, just good hard rock music.
    Lots of 80s pop music that at the time I didn’t think was anything special… like Cruel Summer by Bananarama for example. If a radio station is on their “80s hour”, I’ll be a happy guy.
    Good portion of Earth Wind & Fire.
    Elton John as well.

    I notice this tends to go more toward genres/artists for me, rather than specific songs.

  10. A hearty second to songs like Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Tangled Up in Blue, SAFETY Dance, 3 Dog Night’s Joy To The World (also the carol, but only in December).

    Other dance tunes would include YMCA, I’m Every Woman, We Are Family, RESPECT, What’s Going On (the dance mix), many tunes by Erasure and Pet Shop Boys, Right In The Night (Fall In Love With Music) by Jam and Spoon, ‘Rhythm Is a Dancer’ by La Bouche. Random others. What can I say? I have the dance music tastes of a gay 30 yr old club kid.

    Happy-making music includes anything by Harry Chapin; 24/7 that’s gauranteed to put me in a better mood. Most anything by Matchbox 20 and/or Rob Thomas will also put me in a better mood. Jethro Tull (especially off of Songs From The Wood or A Little Light Music) is another good bet. “Out of My Head” by Fastball. Most old Chicago, especially “25 or 6 to 4” or “Saturday In The Park”. Various random others.

    Thanks for asking 🙂 -H…

    • Happy-making music includes anything by Harry Chapin

      There are a couple of Harry’s songs that depress me greatly. (Which is good, since that was part of their intent.) The one that will do it to me every time is “Flowers Are Red.”

      Most old Chicago, especially “25 or 6 to 4” or “Saturday In The Park”.

      Yep. I have a Chicago’s Greatest Hits CD that’s housecleaning music — means it gives me energy and keeps me from getting upset at the dreck.

      Old Motown — almost all of the upbeat stuff — comes to mind for pick-me-ups.

      And, now that I think of it, Steve Goodman, especially “Lincoln Park Pirates” (live, by strong preference).

  11. What a great topic. 🙂

    The one’s that pop to my mind right now are:

    Suite: Judy Blue Eyes -- C, S, N (and sometimes Y)
    Crawlin’ From the Wreckage -- Dave Edmunds
    Teacher Teacher -- Rockpile
    The Mercury Blues -- David Lindley and El Rayo X
    -- actually, almost anything by David Lindley will do it, including “Redneck Friends” which is actually by Jackson Browne, but has David playing the slide steel.
    Roam -- B52s
    Hot Hot Hot -- Buster Poindexter
    And many many things by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

    • If you like Springsteen you must check out the “Kallet Epstein and Ciccone” cover of “My Hometown” that they recorded on their album “Only Human”. It’s a wonderful, wonderful folk cover that really takes a great song and gives it a whole new depth.

  12. If I’m depressed then I’ll generally go for instrumental music. Bach (OK, the Swingles’ “Jazz Sebastian Bach” is vocal, but it’s without words), Dave Brubeck, some Elgar (the “Pomp and Circumstance” marches, for instance). Or I’ll go for something loud (as loud as possible, if it doesn’t do damage to the building then it’s not loud enough!) like Meat Loaf or Vixen, or Die Toten Hosen, and hope that I don’t notice the words to some of the songs too much.

    What do I crank to 11? Well, those mentioned; Yngwie J. Malmsteen; Hawkwind; some classical pieces, particularly ones with lots of brass. Not Bach or other ‘clever’ composers, though, those I need to hear the strands of the music.

  13. This has been sitting in my window waiting for me to reply for too many days because -- well -- darn it -- how can I pick just a few??

    Music really is what keeps me going at the very worst of times in my life. I’ve made more than a few “love stinks” mixes for breakups and “this too shall pass” mixes for difficult times, and I’ve given them to others as well. I sang “Healing in this Night” at my father’s funeral (probably the most difficult singing job I’ve done so far).

    I finally decided that I like this topic too much to let it slip though so will answer more or less off the top of my head:

    Indigo Girls _ many but especially “Closer to Fine”, “Watershed”, “Gallileo” “Wood Song” “Power of Two”… oh heck -- lots of em.
    Oingo Boingo’s version of “You really got me”
    David Bowie “Changes”
    Lots of Beatles but esepcially “Here Comes the Sun” (gee -- and other songs I did on “Current Obsessions” I suppose!)
    Holly Cole’s cover of “I can see Clearly Now”! What an uplifting version!
    Peter Gabriel “Solsbury Hill”
    Argh… so many songs!!! More later… may have to steal this idea for a future post in my journal. 🙂 Must sleep -- must sleep…
    Ferron “Misty Mountain”
    Kristin Lems “Women Walk More Determined”
    Bonnie Raitt “Love me like a man”
    —- must sleep -- this is me going to bed now….
    Maddy Prior “Deep in the Darkest Night”
    Bob Franke “A Healing in this night”
    Jethro Tull “Life’s a Long Song” -- right -- definitely bed.

    • How could I forget “Blood and Fire” and “Prince of Darkness” by the Indigo Girls? When life was particularly bad I sang “Prince of Darkness” with a positively Janis Joplinesque fervor. Survival singing.

      Peter Himmelman “This too will pass”

      No -- REALLY -- I have to go get some sleep…. arughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  14. Crank it!

    Summer of ’69 -- Bryan Adams
    Time Warp -- Richard O’Brien
    Rock Lobster -- B-52s
    O Fortuna -- Carl Orff

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