The word “friends” has evolved in recent years, and in many ways, not in a very positive way. Zuckerberg and his crew of cronies have made sure of that. When I use the word, I am talking about “real friends,” not pretend ones that people have never even met.
If you look back on your life, most of us have had special friendships. Be it with a male or female, it doesn’t matter, but it was special. Sadly, there are often not that many deep friendships in our lives.
- Lean On Me – Bill Withers
- Friends Will Be Friends – Queen
- That’s What Friends Are For – Dionne Warwick
- The Boys Are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy
- Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
- Lonely People – America
- You’re My Best Friend – Queen
- Never Without You – Ringo Starr
- With A Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles
- You’ve Got A Friend – Carole King
- In My Life – The Beatles
- Old Friends – Simon and Garfunkel
- Looking for more Interesting Songs?
- Songs About Friendship
Hard To Define At Times
A romantic relationship is easier to define than a friendship. With a romantic relationship, there is an explanation that you could term as biological.
That doesn’t exist with the kind of friendship that we are looking at in music. They are platonic. Nothing asked, just given, probably how a romantic relationship is supposed to be.
Some have written songs about these relationships…
Love and all that goes with it is probably the most written about subject. Possibly friendships and the effect they have on us may come second.
So, here are twelve songs about friendship that I think are special. Two of which fall into another category relating to friendship. I will come to those soon. And I will finish off with my three favorite friendship songs. So, let’s get going with…
If you asked most people to make a list of songs about friends, then this would be likely to be on it. This 1972 release by Bill Withers has become a favorite for those who need support and kindness. It is a song that celebrates the togetherness that real friends experience.
Friends Will Be Friends – Queen
A poignant song, to say the least. Most people may not know that bassist John Deacon and Freddie Mercury were closer than the other band members in Queen. They say opposites attract. Recorded in 1985 and finally released in 1986, the words are credited to Freddie Mercury and the music to John Deacon.
Freddie didn’t have long to live. He knew, but John didn’t. The lyrics may have been trying to soften the blow of his inevitability. “When you’re through with life and all hope is lost.” Great song, with typical Queen vocals and harmonies and a big solo from Brian May.
Of all the great female singers, and there have been plenty, Dionne Warwick was always one of my favorites. In Newcastle in the UK in 1975, she produced one of the great concerts that any who was there will never forget.
This song was originally written for a movie in 1982 by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. Rod Stewart recorded it for the film. Dionne recorded it in 1985, along with some help from a few friends, including Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, and Elton John.
A song that is a reminder that a friend is there in both the high points and the lows.
A reminder that sometimes when you are younger, you have “mates.” A few people you are close to and with whom you go through a lot in growing up. This song is telling us just that.
It could just as easily be called the “Girls” are back in town. The message would be the same. Sometimes we build friendships when we are young that stay with us for life.
So, let me digress in the way of friendships. I said earlier there’s another category. What about people that have no friends to fall back on. A lack of friendship if you like. There have been a few great songs written about that tragic situation.
So, what about when there are no friends around?
One of the great pieces of music, it is more than just a song from the album Revolver. This was a time that the Beatles were leaving all of their contemporaries way behind. It is a song that is shrouded in mystery and some debate.
The song tells of two lonely, friendless people, Father McKenzie and Eleanor. Furthermore, it is a reflection of post-war Britain. It was a common site as women “waited by the window” for husbands or sons to return from the war. Some never did, and we are to assume Eleanor’s didn’t.
It also carries a McCartney-esque dig at Christianity with its “no one was saved” line. People have wrestled with the identity of this Eleanor for years. Most believe it was named after actress Eleanor Bron who was in the film Help.
But here is a thing…
If you happen to live near St. Peter’s Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool, pay a visit. It is where Paul met John for the first time. Have a wander around the graveyard and read the names on the headstones. But don’t get freaked out. A memorable friendship song and piece of music that reminds us of the value of friendships.
Another song about loneliness and being friendless and not having anyone to turn to. There is a story here that is linked to that same St. Peter’s church in Woolton.
America was an American band, no big secret there…
What might be less well-known is that they formed in West London. They were the sons of US military personnel stationed there. They also worked with some UK musicians of their own age. As they progressed, “Horse With No Name” was recorded at Morgan Studios in West London. “Lonely People” as a song was an answer, born out of the optimism of youth, to the tragedy of Eleanor Rigby.
It contains sentiments that you are not alone; there is always a friend to help. Well-written, it includes the line “This is for all the Lonely people” and “thinking life has passed by.”
And guess who was on the session when it was recorded?
Sir George Martin. Small world, isn’t it? If you happen to feel down, then this is a great song to listen to. Now then, let’s go back to friendship rather than a lack of it.
This is an interesting friendship song in a few ways. It was written by John Deacon to his wife. Can your partner also be your best friend? To him, it seems certain, yes.
The death of Freddie Mercury affected him deeply. Roger Taylor and Brian May have kept performing under the Queen name. John has retired quite happily into anonymity to be at home with his best friend. A tribute to her and in many ways to them as a couple of “friends.”
Have you ever had a dear friend that has left your life forever for whatever reason? Then you will be familiar with the sentiment of this song. Written by Ringo about his dear friend George Harrison, it is one of those songs that says it all in its lyrics.
Friendships bring memories, and memories never die. In this song, Ringo remembers George.
This is a song that needs little introduction. The second track on the mighty Sgt Pepper featured Ringo singing “live” as his alter-ego Billy Shears. You could put forward a case for this being the most well-known song about friendship.
It is a song that emphasizes how friends help you overcome loneliness. He is asked lyrically, “Are you sad because you’re on your own?” He answers, “No, I get by with a little help from my friends.”
There have been other great versions of this song, including a staggering effort by Joe Cocker. But it is Ringo’s simple but pleading vocal that captures the mood perfectly. So, here we are. Let’s go to my top songs about or relating to friendship.
From one of my favorite albums, “Tapestry,” this is a song that talks about friendship without any boundaries. I was given this album by a singer who wanted me to learn “It’s Too Late” for her. This track stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it. It has that effect on you.
Something is reassuring and comforting about the lyrics. It has been said that it was the song that pulled James Taylor away from his own depression demons. He later recorded it himself.
Most songs about friendship are written from the perspective of someone thanking someone for their friendship. This has a different approach, just reassuring someone they are there. Nice thought.
Apart from a piece of absolute genius, this would have been my winner. It seems a shame to drop it to second. Never mind, still, a song by another genius.
This is one of John’s greatest. In 1965 The Beatles released the album “Rubber Soul.” A vastly underestimated album, and in some ways, the album where George came of age in the band. This was the stand-out track. It expresses the emotion that wherever you may be, wherever you are, there is one friend who will always remain special.
Some like to put forward the thought they were the driving force behind the Beatles during those heady days. Those close to the band know it was John who drove them on and was the creative driving force. This is John at his best. “In My Life” shows a sensitivity between people that only can exist in true friendships.
And so to my top song about friendships. Arguably one of the greatest songwriters of the century, Paul Simon, captures a unique set of emotions in his song.
Like so many of his songs, it is beautifully crafted, full of imagery and meaning…
He refers to two friends sitting on a park bench like bookends. And what sits between bookends at home? Books and stories. Two friends with a lifetime of stories between them.
They sit at peace with each other realizing “how terribly strange to be 70”. Casting their minds back to a “time of innocence, a time of confidences.” Sat together, they are “silently sharing the same fears.” Lyrically magical.
Has there been a more descriptive, more heartfelt sentiment in any song ever? If there is, I can’t think of one. A story of a friendship that has lasted years and one that inevitably will soon be gone.
Looking for more Interesting Songs?
We can help with that. Check out our handy articles on the Best Jazz Albums of All Time, Funny Songs to Sing with Kids, Best Sing-Along Songs, and the Top Songs About Home for more great music to add to your library.
Of course, you need to listen to all these songs. So, have a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Music Streamers, the Best Digital Audio Players, the Best All In One Stereo System With Turntable, the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Sonos Speakers, and the Best Smart Speakers you can buy in 2022.
Songs About Friendship
So there we are, but these are just my top choices. I could have included so many others. When we have a friendship as deep as some that have been described here and in other songs and verses, we are lucky. Treasure it; they don’t come along very often.
Until next time, happy listening.