Being thankful for someone and showing them gratitude are natural things to do. Thanking someone is a nice experience, and this has not been lost on the songwriters who have warmed to this most natural and rewarding of human emotions.
Songs about gratitude and expressing thanks to someone are relatively common. There have been some excellent songs about being grateful. Music is linked to human emotion; we know that because we can feel it. Music can, therefore, be linked to gratitude and thanks.
So, let’s take a look at some of the songs that have been written to express gratitude and thanks, starting with the classic…
- Top 11 Songs About Gratitude
- Thank You For The Music by Abba
- Thank You Girl by The Beatles
- You’re My Best Friend by Queen
- Your Song by Elton John
- I Thank You by Sam and Dave
- How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) by Marvin Gaye
- Thanks For The Memory by Bing Crosby
- God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
- In My Life by The Beatles
- Thank You by Led Zeppelin
- Days by The Kinks
- Looking for More Great Music?
- Songs About Gratitude – Final Thoughts
Top 11 Songs About Gratitude
Thank You For The Music by Abba
Probably no better place to start a list of songs about thanks and gratefulness than with one of the best pop bands we have ever known. This Swedish sensation also had two of the best songwriters of our generation. The results were always going to be spectacular.
A Christmas gift?
“Thank You for the Music” was originally included on the band’s fifth studio album from 1977, entitled, The Album. It reached #1 in the UK and fourteen in America.
It was due for release in time for Christmas in 1977. But, the advance orders were too much for the pressing plants, and release was delayed until January 1978. The single, paired with the song “Eagle,” was less successful.
This was presumably because everyone had already got the song on the album, but it still reached #33 on the UK chart. “Eagle” itself was a great track. You could even call it ‘progressive.’ Great melody and powerful backing with, of course, great vocals.
Full of sincerity…
The minor key it is written in adds to the suspense and emotion. In my opinion, a style they maybe should have explored a little more than they did. If you haven’t heard it, then listen; you may be surprised.
“Thank You for the Music” is a simple song of gratitude with great lyrics and melody. Benny and Bjorn always seemed able to capture the mood of their songs in the writing and production. This is a great example of that.
A joie de vivre…
Indeed, there is joyful happiness in the song as it expresses thanks. This is the four members being thankful for being able to create and have music in their lives. And, of course, being able to give it to us.
“Thank you for the music – the songs I’m singing – Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing – Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty – What would life be? – Without a song or a dance, what are we? – So I say thank you for the music – For giving it to me.”
A great sentiment from a band that brought happiness the world over.
Thank You Girl by The Beatles
Let’s continue the theme of songs from the greats. Lennon and McCartney wrote “Thank You Girl” as a song to say thank you to their female fans. Originally, they thought it could be a potential single, but it ended up as the B-side to their third single, From Me To You.
It wasn’t included as an album track on any UK album initially, but it was placed on a later American release. And it was included in a UK album, Rarities, released in 1978.
As a song, it has a simple enough message, even if it is rather basic as a piece of music. They were still finding their feet in these early days. A nice touch to use a song to say thank you directly to those who at the time worshiped them.
You’re My Best Friend by Queen
This is a song that John Deacon wrote for his wife. It was included on the album Night at the Opera. It reached #7 in the UK and #16 in America. John rarely was forceful enough with his ideas about songs he had written. Most Queen songs were either Mercury and/or May compositions.
However, John wrote their biggest selling single of the 80s, “Another One Bites The Dust.” This song, though, as I said, is all about his wife.
John married Veronica in the mid-70s, and they have been together ever since. That is around 45 years. They have six children. Not bad for a marriage of someone working in a band.
In the song…
He talks about the joy she brings to him and the knowledge that she is always going to be there. The gratitude is obvious in his choice of words to describe how he feels.
“You’re the best friend that I ever had – I’ve been with you for such a long time – You’re my sunshine.”
A song that exudes joy and happiness, and he shows what she means to him.
Your Song by Elton John
I have always felt that this song was special from the very first time I heard it in a club in Manchester, England. It was early in his career, but he and Bernie Taupin came up with one of his greatest works.
Interestingly, Taupin may have been protecting himself against the music critics. He writes to excuse himself and any inadequacies he thinks he may have in completing the lyrics.
“I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss – Well, a few of the verses, well, they’ve got me quite cross.”
I think you get the picture…
It was released in 1970 and was recorded at Trident Studios in London and included on his first album, Elton John. The piano, of course, creates the atmosphere. He seems to half stumble lyrically through his confession of gratitude to have the person in his life, which only adds to the effect.
Despite any self-perceived inadequacies in his writing, Taupin includes a great line to express the feeling of gratitude. “How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.” Is there a better expression of thanks and gratitude to someone?
I Thank You by Sam and Dave
Not all great songs of gratitude and thanks need to be ballads, as is the case with this song from the great Sam and Dave. This was a Soul song from 1968 produced by Isaac Hayes and David Porter. It was from a time when the Stax Records machine was almost as big as Motown.
“I Thank You” was in the same style and was one of their most popular songs. It reached #34 in the UK and #9 in America. However, it was their last release on Stax Records as the distribution deal between them, and Atlantic collapsed.
It sounded the death knell…
…especially for many of the artists signed with or loaned from Atlantic to Stax. The song was covered by ZZ Top on their 1979 album, Deguello, and released as a single, which reached #34 in America. A simple enough song with a simple message of thanks from a man to his lady.
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) by Marvin Gaye
This is a song from the Motown songwriting team of the Holland brothers and Lamont Dozier. This was one of their earliest hits that was also included on the 1965 album from Marvin Gaye of the same name.
The single was released in 1964 and charted in 1965. It reached #49 in the UK and #6 in America. Although it was early in Marvin Gaye’s career, at the time, it became his most popular song.
It is a simple lyric about a man who is so pleased to be with his lady. It is a medium-tempo song and jogs along at a nice pace. There are plenty of good feelings from music and words, and it has a memorable piano track.
Plenty Of Covers
Over the years, the song has been covered by plenty of people. But the best of the bunch was by James Taylor. This was recorded with his then-wife, Carly Simon, on backing vocals. It reached #5 in America. It was also included on his album, Gorilla, from the same year.
In those early Motown days, this is one of the songs that stood out. The message is clear and unusual for Marvin Gaye. And along with being one of the best songs about gratitude, it is also a love song.
Thanks For The Memory by Bing Crosby
Let’s go back in time a bit as we move towards the end of this list to include this track from Bing Crosby. It was sung first by his great friend Bob Hope in 1938. Crosby covered it in 1956 for his album, Songs I Wish I Had Sung The First Time Around.
It is an interesting song…
One that has had a few variations in its lyrical content depending on who was singing it. And there have been plenty of cover versions, as you might expect.
But, essentially, it is one person talking to a dear friend and remembering all the great times together. They are simply saying thanks for the memories. And memories, as Paul Simon says, “Are all that’s left us.”
A great song that brings up memories of a very special era in music. And, of course, some very special artists. Bing was certainly one of them.
God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
This is a song that looks at gratitude in a slightly different way. This is a track from Brian Wilson’s masterpiece Pet Sounds from 1966. It was written by Wilson with Tony Asher.
Listening to the song today, it seems incredible that it is nearly sixty years old. Mr. Wilson was a long way ahead of his time, not only in the construction of the song but in its production.
More Than Just A Love Song
It is known for being a love song and about trust, but it is so much more than that. In the lyrics, he shows his gratitude for having her in his life. And using the terminology of saying god only knows what he would be if he didn’t have her with him.
The lyrics carry a certain ambiguity in some of the phrasing. Some of them even allude to suicide if she leaves him. But those are extreme interpretations. I think he is just trying to emphasize how important she is to him.
The First Time
As young musicians trying to master our instruments, this song came as a shock. True, we were all only 16, but Wilson was only 24 when he wrote it. It laid down a new style and new meanings.
There were new harmonies to take in and even new instrumental sounds. It left you breathless. For its time, it was a masterpiece. The thing is, if it was written and produced today, we would all still be in awe of it.
But, once you’ve got past the writing and the production, you can settle into what the song is about. The lyrical content is well constructed. And the gratitude and emotion of the meaning of those lyrics are quite clear to hear.
In My Life by The Beatles
Talking of band members’ masterpieces, here is another one. Written by John, it is a song where he exposes his inner feelings about the past, “Though I know I’ll never lose affection – For people and things that went before.” It is taken from their album, Rubber Soul.
In my opinion, it was the first of The Beatles’ “great four” albums. The albums where they started to do what they wanted and experiment and develop themes. The other three albums are Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the best of the lot, The White Album.
In the song…
He remembers past places and people but then says that none of them can compare to whoever he is speaking to. “But of all these friends and lovers – There is no one compares with you.”
It is a thank you song as well as a love song. In many ways, the sentiments overlap, and they do here. He closes the song with another affirmation of thanks, “I know I’ll often stop and think about them – In my life, I love you more.”
We loved the first few albums and the films they had made. But, it was with Rubber Soul that the class of The Beatles started to show through. The point when it started to get musically and lyrically serious. And “In My Life” was the standout track on that momentous album.
Thank You by Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin, of course, produced some memorable tracks. They were able to cross genres quite easily, which is surprising given their three-instrument line-up. But, having said that, they had John Paul Jones, and with him around, anything is possible.
This is a track taken from what was, in my opinion, the best album they made, Led Zeppelin II. The song was written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. It is also one of the most underrated songs they ever did.
Jimmy Page’s 12-string dominates the early part of the song, but you are immediately carried away by the lyrics. “And so today, my world, it smiles – Your hand in mine, we walk the miles – And thanks to you it will be done – For you to me are the only one.”
As for the song itself…
We have a nice 12-string guitar from Page and great lyrics sung with emotion by Robert Plant. But, there is so much more to this song that makes it something very special.
John Paul Jones’ contribution is enormous, and he had a defining role in the finished product. His keyboard arrangements for the Hammond Organ and input into the final Page production are vital. His input takes this song to another level.
If you want a heartfelt song about gratitude to have another person in your life, this is worth listening to.
Days by The Kinks
So, we reach the end of this list of songs about gratitude. As usual, I have saved my personal favorite until last. It was first released by the band in 1968, and it was written as usual by Ray Davies and reached #14 on the UK chart.
It was also released on a limited edition European-only album entitled, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society.
There is a little bit of a backstory to this song…
The Kinks, after a couple of magical, influential years, were struggling. It was more to do with internal squabbling between brothers Ray and Dave than anything else. But, it affected the music and, therefore, their success.
“Days” had been planned to be used as an album track, but the single “Wonder Boy” had just flopped commercially. Not surprisingly, it was a single rushed out to satisfy the demands of Pye Records.
When it crashed, and with fortunes fading, they needed another single quick, but this time a good one. “Days” was chosen.
It was a temporary quick-fix…
While it reached #12 in the UK, it didn’t help the next singles, none of which were successful. As a creative, innovative force, The Kinks were just about finished at this point.
They did return briefly with a bang and a big success with “Lola” in 1970. But, we all knew that one of the best live acts the UK had produced in the 60s, behind The Who and the now defunct Yardbirds, was fading.
Just One of Many
“Days” was just one of the memorable songs that Ray Davies wrote. Don’t forget this is the band that probably started Hard Rock. They influenced Led Zeppelin and just about everyone else anywhere, Van Halen included, with their cover of the classic, “You Really Got Me.”
On the other hand…
Ray was able to write melodic songs that moved you that only Lennon and McCartney at the time could better. “Waterloo Sunset” was one of those, and “Days” became another. The song is a heartfelt thank you to a loved one now gone.
“Thank you for the days’ – Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me – I’m thinking of the days’ – I won’t forget a single day, believe me.”
Some might say it was a love letter to his brother as it was clear there was animosity between them. Whoever inspired those words, though obviously touched Davies very deeply.
A Great Cover
A good song will always sound good with a great performer, and so it is with this song. It was covered by British singer Kirsty MacColl. It was released from her album, Kite, and reached #12 in the UK. Ray Davies’ “Days” is a great song that goes a stage further than just showing gratitude and thanks.
Looking for More Great Music?
Well, then take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Hope, the Best Songs About Missing Someone You Love, the Best Songs About Not Giving Up, the Best Songs About Friendship, and the Best Songs About Heroes for more awesome song selections.
And, you’ll want to hear them. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Bass Earbuds, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Headphones for Music, and the Most Comfortable Headphones you can buy in 2023.
Songs About Gratitude – Final Thoughts
Some people might see showing gratitude as a sign of weakness, but the opposite is true. To show thanks and express gratitude is the most natural thing we can do. It demonstrates something about our character, our attitude to life, and our feelings for those around us.
These songs have been written to do that. To extend to people our appreciation for them, to give them a thank you. And depending on the circumstances, there are many different ways of showing gratitude.
It is a nice thing to receive some thanks and gratitude. It’s also nice to give it. We should all try to do it a bit more often.
Until next time, my many thanks to you, and happy listening.