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Top 149 Pop Songs With Violins

I wonder what Antonio Stradivari, Alessandro Gagliano, or Andrea Amati would have thought? Their treasured works of art being used in pop songs with violins? Not being played in La Scala in Milan, the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, or the Royal Albert Hall in London.

I doubt they could have imagined it, but they are, and they add so much. Violins can be light and joyful, or they can be serious and almost intimidating. Furthermore, violins can be used to build drama or can create a melancholy feel to the song.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the violin can do it all. It has always been a magical instrument, so let’s see what magic it can give to some notable pop songs that feature the violin.

Pop Songs With Violins


Top 149 Pop Songs With Violins

1 Dust in the Wind by Kansas

Most Rock or Pop bands use the violin as an ‘extra.’ Something they use occasionally when a song demands it. For Kansas, the violin is a part of their sound, and “Dust In The Wind” isn’t the only song of theirs that features it.

It was released in 1977 from their album, Point Of Know Return. It reached #6 in America. Their only top-ten record.

A Favorite

“Dust in the Wind” has been a fan favorite since its release. The song talks about how life is precious and very fragile, and the message can be quite oppressive.

The violin in the middle section increases the feeling of melancholia and demonstrates the power of the instrument in the right setting to create a dramatic effect.

An Interesting Use Of The Song

A Burmese composer named Naing Myanmar took the melody and added his own lyrics entitled “We Won’t Be Satisfied till the End of the World” or, in Burmese, “Kabar Makyay Bu.” It was used as a protest song in 1988 against the unelected military government.

It has since been revitalized by the people after the military coup d’etat of 2021. The army removed the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. It is used as a symbol of disobedience and protest once again by the people against an unelected regime, and it is sung during protests.

2 Our House by Madness

Madness was a British band that had various influences. One of which was Ska music, and this is a good example. It was released in 1982 from their album, The Rise & Fall.

They were a breath of fresh air in the 1980s…

That’s because musicians and bands from just about everywhere put on this act of “aren’t we important.” Actually, no, you are not. 

Madness did not take themselves seriously at all. They were fun and lighthearted and made music to be enjoyed. The inclusion of the violin part in this song emphasizes that point. It made it fun.

The song reached $5 in the UK and peaked at the band’s highest position in America at #7. The song was used during Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Jubilee celebrations in London.

3 Come On Eileen by Dexy & The Midnight Runners

This is an interesting pop song with a violin and, in many ways, an unlikely success. The use of certain instruments was different, to say the least. These included banjo, accordion, and, of course, violin. 

I say unlikely success because it struggled to fit into any set genre. The tempo, unexpected key changes, and the repeated chorus added a variety to the song that wasn’t as recognizable as other songs of the time.

The song was taken from the band’s second album, Too-Rye-Ay. The single reached #1 in the UK and America and was the UK’s top-selling single of 1982. The violin part was based on an old Irish folk tune.

4 Runaway by The Corrs

I can’t think of any family group that could match The Corrs, either for their outstanding musicianship or their songwriting skills. There were a few “manufactured” family efforts that did well, of course. But they don’t compare musically with The Corrs.

Get some great musicians, great songs, and outstanding voices, and you have something very special. The Corrs were special. They first arrived on the scene in the film “The Commitments.” Although they had been playing together for a while in Ireland before then.

“Runaway” was their first single taken from the album, Forgiven, Not Forgotten.

The song wasn’t a huge success commercially… 

It was released in 1995 and reached #49 on the UK chart. Sharon Corr, once a member of the National Youth Orchestra, played violin on this and their other violin-featured tracks.

They sold 40 million albums in a few short years. But then, they went off to raise their families and to get involved with their philanthropic activities. Great music, a great group, and nice people. They made quite a change.

5 She’s Leaving Home by The Beatles

Taken from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, this was another step forward for The Beatles.

They had included violins and other orchestral instruments before, but not to this extent. The arrangement used a violin played by Jose Garcia and two violas played by Stephen Shingles and John Underwood. There were also cellos and double bass.

A Different Effect

The violin and violas are used here for a different effect from “Our House” and “Come On Eileen.” Here they are used not for fun and to give off a happy vibe. Instead, the violins are used to convey the feeling of tragedy and despair as parents realize their daughter has run away.

It is usually hard enough to let go of your child as they venture into the outside world as it is. Watching them go to University or get married is never easy. Leaving suddenly and without warning is a different emotion. And the violin and its cousins create that emotion of helplessness perfectly.

Who Wrote It?

Not a McCartney-only composition as has been intimated. He wrote the verses and John the chorus. This song, though, gave us another example of the rift and “control freak” mentality that was emerging from within.

Sir George Martin, the “fifth Beatle,” was busy recording elsewhere when this was finished. McCartney wouldn’t wait for his return and used Mike Leander instead for the orchestration arrangement.


He had been with them from the beginning, but evidently, loyalty is not important in some circles. Sir George was alienated, as were the other members who weren’t informed. The resulting recording was good, but the relationship with someone who had supported them for years deteriorated.

6 Rock This Country by Shania Twain

Canadian Shania Twain had this image of the “homespun Country music singer.” But, she loved a bit of Rock n Roll and often “crossed over.” And she often took her fair share of criticism for it. 

There is plenty of pace and drive to the song. And it has enough “Chuck Berry-esque” guitars to make it sound right. But there are also enough violin parts to make it feel just a little bit Country. It was taken from her hugely successful album, Come On Over.

It only had a limited release as a single, and with very little marketing, it wasn’t what you would call a great commercial success. However, a good example of adding some violins in a Pop song and how it can make a song have a certain feel to it.

7 Fisherman’s Blues by The Waterboys

The Waterboys are an Irish, Scottish, Folk-Rock band. This track was the lead song from their album Fishermans Blues.

Released in 1988, it was a song that led them to a change of style. They had been a semi-Rock band, but this became a new sound with much more of a Celtic folk sound to it.

Some appreciated the change; others didn’t… 

But, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. You only have to listen to hear what a great sound they create with plenty of folk music influence. And, that creative violin part played by Steve Wickham is ever-present. 

It is a song about wanting to be a fisherman, and it has a brilliant style to it mixing violin and mandolin. It has the feel of a Bob Dylan track, probably encouraged by the vocals. The album reached #13 in the UK and #76 in America.

8 Kashmir by Led Zeppelin

This is one of those tracks that many Led Zeppelin fans consider one of their epic performances. It was released on the album Physical Graffiti in 1975 and is one of the best Pop songs with violins.

It is a song that has drawn much attention over the years. Jimmy Page tuned his guitar to a Celtic traditional tuning of D, A, D, G, A, and D, which he had used before. But, on “Kashmir,” the chord patterns used this tuning to full effect.

A further point of interest… 

The guitar is played using a triple meter while the vocals are in quadruple meter. Add to this John Bonhams’ restrained but thunderous drumming, and you have the makings of an epic performance.

The violin seems to appear gradually but has a great effect when it does. It was played by Robert Rozler. 

There is something about this song… 

It is almost hypnotic, indescribable in a way. And, given Plant and Page’s fascination for the occult, witches, and wizards as shown on Led Zeppelin III. Maybe that has manifested itself again here.

It was John Paul Jones who arranged the brass and orchestral parts that lifted the song to higher levels. The violin sounds possessive and almost threatening at times. Something for which it was not designed, but an emotion it can create, as we hear on this track.

9 The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band

Whether you like Country music or not, this violin focused song always gets the toes tapping. And the violin is one of the reasons. It was released in 1979 and was a track on their album Million Mile Reflections. It reached #14 in the UK and #3 in America.

The story, we all know, is a play on the “Crossroads” tale where the Devil is trying to buy the soul of a young guitarist. In this song, it is a young fiddle player. However, if you haven’t seen the film, it was a worthwhile couple of hours, if only for the guitar parts.

In the song… 

The young violinist and the Devil swap violin solo breaks, trying to outdo each other. This produces some great country-style violin, or should I say ‘fiddle‘ playing.

It isn’t often that the violin takes the lead part in a song and can hold it all together. But it does here. This is a great example of a popular song driven by very good violin playing.

10 The Hurricane by Bob Dylan

Nothing that Bob Dylan likes writing about more than social injustice. And this story was tailor-made for him to get his guitar into. It was taken from his album, Desire. But this is much more than just an album track.

It is a song about the accusation that Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and his friend John Artis had murdered three people in a diner in New Jersey in 1966. Carter was a pro middleweight boxer who would undoubtedly have been a world champion.

The song details the corruption… 

And the racial prejudice aimed at Carter to ensure he remained in prison. This was the 1960s in New York, not the 1920s in Alabama. He was finally released in 1985 and lost twenty years of his life.

It would be wrong to say that the song was the reason the decision was overturned. But it sure raised the profile and attention to Carter’s plight.

Of course, one of the great aspects of the song was the violin part. Heard throughout the song, it had a real impact. The violin was played by Scarlet Rivera.

11 Baba O’Riley by The Who

If you had to imagine the least likely Rock band that used a violin in one of their songs, it might be The Who. But, it was the violin at the end of this song that brought the frantic finale to a close and provided a fitting end.

The song was taken from the Who’s Next album, which started life as Townshends’ “Lifehouse” project.

The song is noted not only for its violin solo at the end but also at the beginning. Technically known as an “ostinato.” The ideas were inspired by spiritualists Meher Baba and Terry Riley, whose approach to life and music Townshend became fascinated with.

The first time around…

The song had only a limited release and wasn’t a commercial success. But, after “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “I Can’t Explain,” it is their most popular song at live concerts.

Additionally, they have often invited talented violin students to play with the band at their concerts and finish the song. A great gesture for aspiring musicians.

12 Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles

And so, to the last of my Pop songs with violins. However, as with “She’s Leaving Home,” the violin was only a part of the overall string sound. This was taken from the album, Revolver.

Their previous album, Rubber Soul, had sowed the winds of change. They suddenly showed us how good they were.

By the time we get to Revolver, they are in a different league from everyone else. And, The White Album and Sgt. Pepper’s were yet to come.

“Eleanor Rigby” was way out in front of everything… 

McCartney wrote the song, and socially it goes back to post-war Britain. The image of a wife or mother as she “waits by the window,” possibly for a soldier husband or son to come home who isn’t coming.

It is a song with a pathetic truth to it. Lonely people. Father McKenzie tending the church that no one now comes to. And then, there are the violins. The sadness of the instrument gives an ache to the sound that is all-encompassing.

If you are ever in Liverpool…

John met Paul at St. Peter’s Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool, in 1957. Visit the church and take a walk around the graveyard. There you will find both Father McKenzie and Eleanor Rigby. The very moving string arrangement was by Sir George Martin.

13 Secrets by OneRepublic

14 Rather Be by Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne

15 Viva la Vida by Coldplay

16 Airplanes by B.o.B feat. Hayley Williams

17 Human by The Killers

18 Counting Stars by OneRepublic

19 Get Lucky by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams

20 The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga

21 Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye feat. Kimbra

22 Rolling in the Deep by Adele

23 Pompeii by Bastille

24 Fireflies by Owl City

25 Ho Hey by The Lumineers

26 Safe and Sound by Capital Cities

27 Hey, Soul Sister by Train

28 All of Me by John Legend

29 Riptide by Vance Joy

30 Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

31 Budapest by George Ezra

32 Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

33 Can’t Stop the Feeling! by Justin Timberlake

34 I’m Yours by Jason Mraz

35 Rather Die Young by Beyoncé

36 Love Story by Taylor Swift

37 Happy by Pharrell Williams

38 Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera

39 I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas

40 Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

41 California Gurls by Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg

42 Teenage Dream by Katy Perry

43 I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles

44 Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses

45 Thunder by Imagine Dragons

46 Wake Me Up by Avicii

47 Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson

48 We Are Young by Fun. feat. Janelle Monáe

49 Titanium by David Guetta feat. Sia

50 Just Dance by Lady Gaga feat. Colby O’Donis

More 99 Pop Songs With Violins

    1. It’s My Life by Bon Jovi
    2. I’m Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado
    3. Price Tag by Jessie J feat. B.o.B
    4. Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon
    5. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith
    6. Say Something by Justin Timberlake feat. Chris Stapleton
    7. This Love by Maroon 5
    8. Apologize by OneRepublic
    9. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson
    10. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
    11. Somebody Told Me by The Killers
    12. Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer
    13. Best Day of My Life by American Authors
    14. Ironic by Alanis Morissette
    15. Budapest by George Ezra
    16. Chandelier by Sia
    17. Royals by Lorde
    18. Poker Face by Lady Gaga
    19. Royals by Lorde
    20. Just Give Me a Reason by Pink feat. Nate Ruess
    21. Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
    22. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
    23. Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin
    24. 7 Years by Lukas Graham
    25. I Don’t Wanna Live Forever by Zayn & Taylor Swift
    26. Sugar, We’re Goin Down by Fall Out Boy
    27. Story of My Life by One Direction
    28. Ho Hey by The Lumineers
    29. Issues by Julia Michaels
    30. A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
    31. Don’t Stop the Music by Rihanna
    32. Shape of My Heart by Backstreet Boys
    33. Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
    34. Somewhere Only We Know by Keane
    35. When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars
    36. Love on Top by Beyoncé
    37. Try by Pink
    38. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
    39. Rude by MAGIC!
    40. Budapest by George Ezra
    41. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
    42. Royals by Lorde
    43. Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
    44. Demons by Imagine Dragons
    45. Mirrors by Justin Timberlake
    46. Brave by Sara Bareilles
    47. What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction
    48. Love Runs Out by OneRepublic
    49. Counting Stars by OneRepublic
    50. The Nights by Avicii
    51. Paradise by Coldplay
    52. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
    53. I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas
    54. All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor
    55. Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
    56. One More Night by Maroon 5
    57. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars
    58. Budapest by George Ezra
    59. Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars
    60. I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles
    61. Treasure by Bruno Mars
    62. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
    63. Grenade by Bruno Mars
    64. Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People
    65. I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry
    66. Roar by Katy Perry
    67. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars
    68. A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay
    69. Take a Bow by Rihanna
    70. Hey, Soul Sister by Train
    71. Love Story by Taylor Swift
    72. All of Me by John Legend
    73. Love Yourself by Justin Bieber
    74. Ho Hey by The Lumineers
    75. Sugar by Maroon 5
    76. Riptide by Vance Joy
    77. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
    78. Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
    79. Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton
    80. Say Something by Justin Timberlake feat. Chris Stapleton
    81. This Love by Maroon 5
    82. Royals by Lorde
    83. Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
    84. Chandelier by Sia
    85. Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon
    86. Best Day of My Life by American Authors
    87. Ironic by Alanis Morissette
    88. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
    89. Budapest by George Ezra
    90. Story of My Life by One Direction
    91. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith
    92. Somebody Told Me by The Killers
    93. Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer
    94. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson
    95. Style by Taylor Swift
    96. Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin
    97. It’s My Life by Bon Jovi
    98. We Found Love by Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
    99. Get Lucky by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams

Are You An Aspiring Violin Player?

If so, take a look at our handy articles on What Popular Songs Can I Play On The ViolinEasy Violin Songs for BeginnersTips For Better Violin BowingTips For Tuning Your Violin, and How Can I Learn to Play the Violin on My Own for more helpful information.

Also, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Cremona Violins, the Best Violin Rosins, the Best Violin Strings, the Best Violin Bows, and the Best Violin Cases you can buy in 2023.

Pop Songs With Violins – Final Thoughts

Roll over Stradivari and tell Gagliano the news. As I said at the beginning, they could never have imagined their instruments being used in such an environment. 

I am sure they were not in any doubt as to the quality of the sound that they had created. But, it is the application of that sound that would have shocked them. 

How it could be used for emotion and tragedy and also for fun and a lighthearted spirit. But I suppose that is why it is such a great instrument and offers so much. We have seen the violin create every emotion in these songs.

Until next time, happy listening.

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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