Here is a subject every one of us can relate to in one way or another. For some, the feeling of wanting to give up can be overwhelming, and we need to find some support from somewhere.
That can be through music, which is why I am going to take a look at the best songs about not giving up. But, before you can do that, you need to confront the reason why you feel like you do.
- Why Do You Feel Like That?
- There Are Positives
- A Real Example
- Top 11 Best Songs About Not Giving Up
- I’m Still Standing by Elton John
- Hold On by Wilson Phillips
- Something Inside So Strong by Labi Siffre
- Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac
- I’m A Believer by The Monkees
- Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
- Don’t Give Up on Us by David Soul
- With A Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles
- Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
- The Show Must Go On by Queen
- Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles
- Looking For Inspirational Songs?
- Best Songs About Not Giving Up – Conclusion
Why Do You Feel Like That?
A broken relationship or possibly a big disappointment. Some find that the stress experienced at work can be a major factor. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I can’t do this anymore.”? Lots of people have.
There Are Positives
It might be hard to believe, but there can be plenty of positives that can be gained from going through a bad spell. One of these positives is overcoming it. Proving to yourself you are stronger than all those bad feelings and that you can beat them.
A Real Example
Some years ago, a good musician friend told me his dad was fighting cancer. He wasn’t that old, but the Big C doesn’t ask your age, does it? The doctor gave him 18 months to two years at the very most.
Five years later, he is still up and about and working in the house, and they are planning a family holiday to New Zealand. Fourteen hours on the plane.
He is a fighter and is not going to just lie down and feel sorry for himself. This first song is dedicated quite appropriately to him and others who are fighting adversity.
Top 11 Best Songs About Not Giving Up
I’m Still Standing by Elton John
Written with Bernie Taupin, this is a song that proved to be one of his most successful songs. It is certainly popular with his live audiences. It was taken from his album released in 1983, Too Low for Zero.
His struggles with his health and other ‘issues’ he had to confront have been well-documented. So, this is a poignant demonstration of defiance that he is still around. It is a great song about never giving up in so many ways other than its meaning.
It was recorded when his band, Davey Johnstone on guitar, Dee Murray on bass, and Nigel Olsson on drums, were still together. That was a unit that would drive along any song and does so here.
Most of all, it reinforces one of the points I made in the opening. We all go through bad times but overcoming them makes us stronger as individuals.
Watch out, New Zealand; he’s on his way soon. The Orcs had better start running; they haven’t got a chance.
Hold On by Wilson Phillips
On some rare occasions, you might get a group of people together with indisputable pedigree. Wilson Phillips was one of those rare occasions. One of my favorite tracks of the 90s, this was a group that consisted of two of Brian Wilson’s daughters. Add on to that, the other member was the daughter of Michelle and John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas. Some pedigree.
In many ways, it is a tragic song. But is also a song about finding hope and strength. Chynna Phillips wrote the lyrics. At the time, she was in the midst of a terrible struggle with a bad relationship and, if that wasn’t enough, substance abuse.
Fighting On Two Fronts
It can often be hard to fight one situation, but when it’s two, it becomes much harder. This is a song that encourages us to hang on and take one day at a time. Each day can be a new triumph that gives you the will to hold on for another day.
“Hold on,” it tells you, and things will get better. The proof of the pudding is what it did for her. The song struck a chord with many people. It was taken from their first album, simply called Wilson Phillips.
The single reached #6 in the UK and #1 in America. Good arrangement of a very good song with the added value that you are listening to a real situation. That can help.
Something Inside So Strong by Labi Siffre
Songs about carrying on and not giving up when they are about a problem you may have are one thing. But what about when your freedom has been taken away, and you have to fight to get it back?
All over the world, there are corrupt governments, often military-sponsored, who control, manipulate, and line their financial nests. To fight against them takes a different kind of desire and will.
This song was written by Labi Siffre, inspired by the injustices and corruption of the apartheid government in South Africa.
Not Personally Involved
He cannot lay claim, and never did, to have been amongst the South African people. He had a good education and lived a comfortable life in London. But, he saw a documentary about what was going on in South Africa. This song was the outcome and proved to be very influential.
Released in 1987, it became a part of the growing movement to get rid of the government and free Nelson Mandela. It became an anthem, a call to stand up and speak and not be afraid. It must be remembered the other side had guns. Dictatorships always do.
He wrote a line in the song, “The higher you build your barriers, the taller I will become.” A promise to overcome whatever obstacles are placed in front of you. If you want one of the best songs about not giving up, especially when all seem against you, this is it.
Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac
This was a track from what, in my opinion, was the second best album that Fleetwood Mac recorded in their last incarnation. There were those of us lucky to see the second incarnation after John McVie joined in the late 60s.
For Blues fans, most of what followed, apart from a few exceptions, just weren’t the same. They had become a pop-rock band. The days of “The Green Manalishi” were long gone.
Always a struggle…
It was always difficult to record them and get their sound, especially in those early days. But Peter Green was just yards better than the rest. And I do mean “the rest.” The only one who could come close at that time was Jeff Beck.
I lost track of how many different Fleetwood Macs there have been. Certainly over 20 different members to my knowledge. But, this album was very different from much of what had gone before.
You could call it a breakthrough or a break-back…
The first album with Buckingham and Nicks, just called Fleetwood Mac, was an exceptional piece of work. And, yes, at the expense of disagreements, better than Rumours, in my opinion, from where this track was taken.
‘”Don’t Stop” was one of the stand-out tracks from Rumours. Chugging along with a nice steady blues rhythm, it had a great sound. The song tells its own tale. Don’t stop believing in the future. “Yesterdays Gone” as they sing.
It didn’t stop making fans…
Written by Christine McVie, it’s a reflection on the breakup of her eight years of marriage to Bass player John McVie. It was released as a single and reached #32 in the UK and #3 in America.
Additionally, it was used by Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign. After winning the election, the band played the song at his inaugural ball.
I’m A Believer by The Monkees
This is a song that was written by Neil Diamond. It could be said to have two meanings concerning our current topic of not giving up.
First, the song is about a man who had had some bad relationships. This has made him think that he will never find the right person for him. But then he meets a woman who shows him that he should keep believing in himself, and he changes his mind.
The second meaning is the “band” itself, and I use the word band very loosely. Created by TV producers because America had nothing like The Beatles or Beatlemania, it was rather a farce for a while.
A Fictional Band
They chose four actors who had picked up some guitars years before and knew which end to hold. Apart from that, another issue was with “drummer” Micky Dolenz.
I don’t think he had ever seen a real drum kit before and had to be taught how to mime playing a kit. When they “played,” they were unplugged. In the recording studio, session musicians were used.
Of course, some saw through all this and even began not to believe the sort of rubbish to support their ridiculous claims. One was that they outsold The Beatles and The Rolling Stones together in the same year. Using my most sarcastic tone, “Of course, they did.”
They Had To Learn
But, there was momentum. So, they had to learn these instruments fast. Mike Nesmith ended up a decent guitarist, though he won’t worry Jimmy Page or Jeff Beck.
All of the successful songs they had, and there were a few, were written by established writers. So, the compilation albums, like The Monkees – Greatest Hits, looked quite good.
I suppose the message we get from the second meaning is that even though you can’t play, don’t give up. They haven’t been the only ones, of course.
Trying to be a band…
The Monkees at least had a go at forming a “real” band rather than a contrived one and just raking in the money. And, in the end, they made a success of it. That is worth some appreciation, I think, so well done to them.
Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
A song that has to be included here if we are discussing popular songs talking about not giving up. It was released in 1981 and peaked at #9 in America but only reached #62 in the UK. The message of the song is simple and contained in its title.
Structurally, it is an interesting song as it follows no recognized form. The first time you hear the chorus, it is at the end of the recording. That is also the first time the lyrics announce the song’s title. It is well-known, though, for its keyboard introduction.
As power ballads go, it is certainly not the best there has been. But, its inclusion here is justified by its message.
Don’t Give Up on Us by David Soul
David Soul’s early career had been as a singer, but he struggled to make an impact. Thereafter, he turned to acting and became most famous for his role in “Starsky and Hutch.” On the back of the success of that TV show, he returned to singing and produced hit records.
The song is by British writer Tony Macauley; it was released in 1976 and went to #1 in both the UK and America. A simple enough tune and message as the man is imploring his partner not to give up on what they have.
With A Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles
This track might seem a strange inclusion on this list of the best songs about not giving up. But, it is a gentle reminder to us all of how friends are the one thing we all need from time to time.
They are often the reason we don’t give up on things. I shall return to the importance of having friends around at difficult times a bit later in more tragic circumstances.
It was taken from the 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, where Ringo’s alter-ego “Billy Shears” takes the vocal. The Beatles’ version was released as a single as late as 1978. It wasn’t a great success reaching #63 in the UK and #71 in America.
There have been other covers, of course, most notably by the great Joe Cocker. His version featured Jimmy Page on guitar and was a much slower, heavier version, as you might expect. He performed his version at Woodstock in 1969 and brought the crowd to its feet.
It appears to be quite a low-key song, but it tells us of the importance of friends we can rely on. That is actual friends, not the plastic Facebook kind. Have you ever sat down with a good friend to discuss a problem, and they have helped you see through it and solve it? That is what this song is all about.
Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
Taken from their Eye of the Tiger album, some might argue it was just the soundtrack from a rather cheesy film. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that for those that like that sort of thing. However, what you can’t dismiss is that this song fits the film and the mood perfectly.
Certainly not a song or a performance that is going to worry too many of the top bands. As a rock song, it is simple but very effective. Simple straight-four drum beat with bass following the pattern exactly. Strong vocals along with it, and that is all you need, really.
It does send the message to keep going when all seems lost. Furthermore, it is not included here for any musical reasons. It is just a solid rock song with exactly the message we are talking about. It’s a well known song about not giving up when things get tough.
The Show Must Go On by Queen
In many ways, this is a song about the inevitable. It was written mainly by Brian May and was the last track on their 1991 album, Innuendo.
At the time, Freddie’s illness had not been confirmed, but there were plenty of rumors. Most of them were well-founded in the end. The song tells the story of his struggles against HIV/Aids, a battle he was always going to lose.
This song does give us an insight into the bravery of the man. He was able to carry on until it wasn’t physically possible anymore. Released just six weeks before he died, it charted at #16 in the UK and #40 in America.
The song was used as a promotional single for the forthcoming Queen’s Greatest Hits album. Furthermore, the first time it was played live was at Freddie’s Tribute concert in 1992 at Wembley Stadium. Where else? That night it was sung by Elton John.
It is hard to imagine having the strength to carry on and not give up in his situation. It would have been far easier to just accept it and slowly drift away. But not our Freddie, a showman till the end.
He Had The Support of Friends
Back to the importance of friends when we are in difficult situations. That is one way he managed to carry on. His dear friend and band-mate, Johnny Deacon, wrote these words with him for the song “Friends Will Be Friends“:
“When you’re through with life/And all hope is lost/Hold out your hands/Cause friends will be friends/Right till the end.”
He fought on until he couldn’t even stand up without help. Do you want a song about facing severe adversity and fighting it? Don’t look any further.
Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles
We have to finish somewhere, and this seems like an appropriate place. The song was written by George Harrison. He got fed up with all the in-fighting and those that were trying to assert control. He walked out, went to a friend’s house, and wrote this. It was included on the Abbey Road album.
Given that it was a very difficult time in his life, the positivity is remarkable. The Beatles had been all he had known for most of his adult life, and it was crumbling right in front of him. But still, he could see the future and knew everything would be better once it was all over.
A new dawn was coming…
He captured the icy relationship that now existed in the line that talks about the end of a “long cold lonely winter.” He follows that up with another figurative line about the “ice is slowly melting.”
The sun that accompanies springtime is coming. His future was becoming clearer. The message in the song is clear. When there are bad times, just wait, and things will get better. It might take a while, but they will. Interestingly, today this is one of the most streamed songs in The Beatles’ catalog.
Looking For Inspirational Songs?
We can help with that. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Heroes, the Best Songs About Friendship, the Best Songs about Fighting, the Best Songs About Change, the Best Songs About Brothers, and the Best Songs About Hope for more incredible song selections.
Of course, you’ll want to hear those songs. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best True Wireless Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Bass Earbuds, and the Most Comfortable Earbuds you can buy in 2023.
Best Songs About Not Giving Up – Conclusion
It can be an easy thing to say when confronted by adversity in all its forms, but it is usually harder to do. But, sometimes, it helps to take inspiration from songs such as the ones I have included here. You never know; if you are struggling, it might just be the help you need.
Until next time, happy listening.