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Top 120 Best Songs About Change to Motivate Yourself

Now, this is a subject that often creates some controversy. It is also a very misunderstood process. Change is not necessarily about rebellion, although it can be. Ideally, where human rights are concerned, it should be.

All change for the good is often preceded by chaos. The people that have control don’t want change. They see that it has a personal effect on them. So, they resist it. But if we don’t change, we don’t grow and get better. And if we don’t grow, we are not really living.


Self First

But if you want to make a difference, you cannot change others unless, first, you change yourself. Life and the society that we live in is in a constantly changing situation. That is inevitable and sometimes, for society to catch up to change is necessary.

But there are reasons for change, perhaps more important reasons than just keeping pace with what is going on about us. There is still enough poverty, human rights violations, greed, and corruption in the world to be dealt with. And flying off to make another life on Mars is not the answer.

Playing For Change

There are plenty of songs about change and the need for it in all the areas I have mentioned and more. The great poets and songwriters have all turned their hand to it. 

There are also different aspects to change. Change the world, our lifestyle, our partners, and just about everything. Songs were written about all of them. Let’s take a look at what they have had to say about just one such aspect from the many.

Top 120 Best Songs About Change to Motivate Yourself

1 All Things Must Pass – George Harrison

George wrote this song about how things change and must change by necessity. It allowed him the chance to let his Buddhist teachings come to the fore. They had never been allowed to in his Beatle days. Understandable to a point.

He understood that Buddhism is not a religion and more a life philosophy. It is, therefore, ironic that many “so-called” Buddhist countries are racked with as much corruption and greed that non-Buddhist countries experience.

Life Is Fleeting

It is not only a song about change and how we can improve, but about life itself. He reminds us that sunrise is brief, a storm doesn’t last all day and life moves along. 

It was inspired by the death of his mother in some part. But, it is impossible to not recognize the end of the Beatles in the words and sentiments.

A Wake-up Call?

Is it a call to act now while we still can? Possibly. It would certainly fit in with how he saw himself and his life. I said earlier about changing yourself first. George did that.

2 Changes – David Bowie

I was never sure about David Bowie as an artist. Cue incredulous complaints. He was a great songwriter of that; there is no doubt. But the repeated reincarnations of alter-ego characters left me a bit cold.

And sometimes, I don’t think he gave Mick Ronson the credit he was due. There is a plot behind the scenes in that situation we can’t go into here. Needless to say, when Mick died, Bowie never went to the tribute concert. I digress.

An Autobiography

“Changes” is Bowie writing about the changes in his own life. The early struggles with novelty songs like “The Laughing Gnome” through to “Space Oddity” and the album Hunky Dory. This is where we find the original version of “Changes.” It was here that he finally found his groove.

For me, it was his album Aladdin Sane that was his real breakthrough. Featuring, of course, the track “Jean Genie” and Mick’s track-making guitar.

Changes give us a little clue to how desperate Bowie was in his early career as he tried to find his way. He revisits Dylan’s “Times They Are A-Changing” theme in the lyrics. Talking about how society was changing. A song that is certainly worth its place on this list.

3 Ramble On – Led Zeppelin

Perhaps not immediately recognizable as a song about change, but it is how it can be interpreted. It is written about medieval travelers who would go from place to place and constantly change their environment.

The song teaches that change is inevitable and is often necessary. And it won’t be as painful as you might think it will be. I like the way Robert Plant includes a couple of references to Tolkien, of whose writings he is a great fan of.


In some ways, this could also be considered an autobiographical song. After Led Zeppelin had ceased to operate as a permanent musical function, he made plenty of personal changes in his own life. He was not one to sit on his laurels and sing “Stairway” until he was 90 milking every last penny. He changed from one project and then on to the next. Respect to him for that.

I must hold my hands up in guilt and admit there is another reason this song is included. If you haven’t already, take a listen to John Paul Jones’s bass line. Was there ever a more creative, melodic, and harmonic bass player than him? I doubt it.

4 What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye

I took a lot of stick in some circles for liking Marvin Gaye. If you played rock music, you weren’t supposed to like Motown, although don’t tell The Who that. 

Motown, all sweet smiles, sharp suits, and trite dance steps. But, also some great songs and artists. Marvin Gaye was one of them. So, when he released this song asking what on earth is going on in the world, I was even more impressed.

A Challenge

He was one of many black American artists at the time that began to challenge the establishment. And he and the others frightened the life out of them. This song was and still is a great example.

For the first time, he got involved in the songwriting process along with one of the Four Tops and songwriter Al Cleveland. They threw down the gauntlet in some ways, and the message was simple. Change. That was against the grain for the Motown brigade.

And he had a go at plenty of issues… 

It is interesting how, if the song were released again today, how much is still relevant.

  • Going into Space – “Mindless moonshots, spend it on the have nots”- a few people around today could consider that one.
  • The Tax Situation (those that paid it) – “We make our money, before we see it, you take it”
  • The Endless Wars – “Bills are sky-high; let’s send that boy off to die.”
  • Crime – “Crime is increasing, trigger happy policing”- no need to comment on that one.

His answer was for people to find a way to love each other rather than hate. Haven’t gone too far with that one yet in some circles. One of the greatest songs about change with great sentiments and a brave condemnation at a time when it was dangerous to question.

5 A Change is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke

From Sam Cooke’s 1964 album Ain’t That Good News, the title and lyrics speak for themselves. It was originally released as a single also in 1964 as the B-side to “Shake.”

It is a song inspired by a personal situation that Sam had experienced with his wife. They turned up at a motel with his backing band and were met with a “Whites-only” sign. They were refused entry. No comment necessary, but it spawned what could be the most popular song about change that struck a chord with a lot of people.

6 Peace Train – Cat Stevens

Taken from his album Teaser and the Firecat, this is a simple song that can be rather vague in its meaning. Essentially, it is about the importance of supporting peace and changing yourself to feel that way. He likens the peace movement to a train steadily moving towards its destination. A destination that will include resistance to war and hatred in all its manifestations.

After the 1960s ended, Cat Stevens released this song. Celebrating the hope that society would change and continue to become more peaceful for everyone. The album was released in 1971 as the sixties, and all its trials and tribulations had ended. 

He hoped in the message of the song that we could all now move forward. No doubt he will have been disappointed at the outcome.

7 The Times They Are-a-Changin – Bob Dylan

How could I not include this? One of the classic anthems about change from my youth, from one of the world’s great poets. This could be called the most important song of the early 60s. 

Inspired by the Civil Rights movement, Dylan sings, “You had better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a stone.” Join us or else. He follows that up with, “The old world is rapidly changing, get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand.” Ouch!

It was the title track from his 1964 album of the same name. This song was no accident. He sat down to upset a few people and write an anthem to contribute to change. It was influenced in many ways by some Celtic ballads he had heard.

The Night After

Released in 1965 as a single in the UK, it reached number 9 on the chart. It was played to a standstill in my house. That after some long into the night and early morning sessions with my friend Chris. It was not released as a single in the US.

On Saturday, November 23, 1963, Bob Dylan opened his concert with this song. It was the night after JFK had been gunned down. “For the loser now will be later to win.”

8 Waiting On The World To Change – John Mayer

Not many people seem to use the words “protest songs” anymore. Prevalent in the time of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, the phrase seems to have gone out of fashion. But that is exactly what this excellent song is.

We Don’t Trust Our Leaders

That is the message that comes across, and when you look around, who can blame him. In this song, he complains about the endless wars that some countries insist on fighting. He ridicules the media and its deliberate bias. 

As he says, “When you own the TV channels and the newspapers, you can say what you like.” And the problem is some people actually believe it. 


That is exactly how he sees it because you can’t beat a system that is corrupt in the first place. He and his generation are just Waiting On The World To Change. And, of course, one day, it will. An excellent song with the sort of content about change that we might expect from a Dylan or a Baez.

9 Imagine – John Lennon

Somehow, whatever subject you discuss, it always seems to turn to this song from John Lennon. As someone I know said, “the song that McCartney wishes he’d written.” So, no surprise this ends our list of songs about change.

But is it about change? Of course, it is. That is the deep-rooted meaning of what John was saying. A call to change and to lead a different life. A call to change, to be better.

Sometimes the message gets lost and is criticized for being anti-this and anti-that. And to be fair on the face of it, it is anti-religious, and it is against extreme nationalism. It is against the extremes and excesses of capitalism, some of which are performed by his peer group.

Give Peace A Chance

John was a fervent opponent of any war. “Give Peace A Chance,” he advocated. He was just highlighting that without religious conflicts caused by perceived differences and nationalism, there would be no need for wars. 

That, if the super-rich had any sense of moral duty at all, then just a fraction of their wealth could be used to benefit the poor and hungry, rather than indulge themselves in headline-grabbing games.

The Message In Imagine Can Get Lost

The message also sometimes gets lost because people hear the beauty of the song and don’t then don’t hear the meaning of the words. They will sit back and get swept away by it without hearing what John and Yoko were meaning and what they were trying to say. A great song, of course, and a fitting way to end a list of songs that talk about change.

10 Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

11 Beautiful – Christina Aguilera

12 You Can’t Stop the Beat – Hairspray Cast

13 Ch-ch-changes – The Wallflowers

14 A Brand New Day – The Wiz Cast

15 One Day More – Les Misérables Cast

16 Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper

17 Better Things – The Kinks

18 Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

19 Don’t Give Up – Peter Gabriel (feat. Kate Bush)

20 Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman

21 We Are the Champions – Queen

22 A Change Would Do You Good – Sheryl Crow

23 In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins

24 The Power of Love – Huey Lewis and the News

25 Things Can Only Get Better – Howard Jones

26 Changing – The Airborne Toxic Event

27 Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day

28 Time of Your Life (Good Riddance) – Green Day

29 Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2

30 Out with the Old – Kina Grannis

31 The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades – Timbuk 3

32 Everything Has Changed – Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran

33 High Hopes – Panic! At The Disco

34 End of the Line – The Traveling Wilburys

35 Change Your Life – Little Mix

36 Rise Up – Andra Day

37 The Future – Leonard Cohen

38 Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season) – The Byrds

39 The Greatest Show – The Greatest Showman cast

40 Hall of Fame – The Script ft. will.i.am

41 Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

42 Carry On – Fun.

43 Come Together – The Beatles

44 The World I Know – Collective Soul

45 Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

46 The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan

47 Time – Pink Floyd

48 Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd

49 Change My Needs – Scissor Sisters

50 Change the Game – Jay-Z ft. Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek

More 70 Songs About Change

    1. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
    2. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield
    3. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
    4. Fly – Nicki Minaj (feat. Rihanna)
    5. Born This Way – Lady Gaga
    6. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
    7. I’m Still Standing – Elton John
    8. Change – Taylor Swift
    9. Everybody’s Changing – Keane
    10. The Climb – Miley Cyrus
    11. Changes – Tupac
    12. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
    13. Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine
    14. I Am Changing – Jennifer Hudson
    15. Wind of Change – Scorpions
    16. Hold On – Wilson Phillips
    17. It’s a Beautiful Day – Michael Bublé
    18. Seasons of Love – Rent Cast
    19. Dancing Queen – ABBA
    20. Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson
    21. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
    22. The River – Bruce Springsteen
    23. Learning to Fly – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    24. I Will Remember You – Sarah McLachlan
    25. Never Give Up – Sia
    26. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
    27. Dream On – Aerosmith
    28. Change the World – Eric Clapton
    29. I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly
    30. Shine – Collective Soul
    31. Touch the Sky – Brave Soundtrack
    32. Turn! Turn! Turn! – The Byrds
    33. I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash
    34. Riptide – Vance Joy
    35. Nothing Stays the Same – Luke Sital-Singh
    36. Shifting – Andy Grammer
    37. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
    38. A Change – Tracy Chapman
    39. The Middle – Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey
    40. Everybody’s Changing – Keane
    41. Fight Song – Rachel Platten
    42. I’m Still Standing – Elton John
    43. I’ll Be There – The Jackson 5
    44. I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross
    45. New Horizons – Flyleaf
    46. Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2 – Pink Floyd
    47. Revolution – The Beatles
    48. The Changing Man – Paul Weller
    49. I’ll Stand by You – The Pretenders
    50. Evolution – Ayreon
    51. One Day – Matisyahu
    52. I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross
    53. Change My Mind – John Berry
    54. Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
    55. Transformation – David Bowie
    56. The Promise – Tracy Chapman
    57. Tomorrow – Alicia Morton
    58. Change is Hard – She & Him
    59. Brave – Sara Bareilles
    60. We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
    61. Change in the Weather – John Fogerty
    62. Change Gonna Come – Otis Redding
    63. Change It All – Goapele
    64. Change Your Name – Brett Young
    65. Change of Seasons – Dream Theater
    66. Change Your Ticket – One Direction
    67. Change Your Stars – Laura Osnes
    68. Change the Way – Rob Thomas
    69. Change Me – Justin Bieber
    70. Change Is Everything – Son Lux

Searching for Meaningful Music?

We can help with that. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Walking, the Best Songs about Fighting, the Best Songs About Friendship, the Best Songs about Friday, the Best Songs About Clouds, and even the Best Songs About Ice Cream for more memorable music.

Of course, you need to hear all these wonderful songs. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Bass Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones with Volume Control, the Best Headphones Under $200, and the Most Comfortable Headphones you can buy in 2023.

Songs About Change – Final Thoughts

Of course, if you were to read all this and listen to all this, you would think we had no chance at all. These songs are just highlights. They portray things that are not right in the eyes of the writer. Not all would agree, of course. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion.

But songs can have a positive impact. It makes us think about what could be done if we set our minds to it. Just, “Imagine.”

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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