Top 10 Survival Songs

Script written by George Cimurt. When life gives you lemons…squeeze them in your fist and raise it triumphantly in the air. For this list, we’re taking a look at songs that deal with themes of survival or songs that inspire us to persevere, overcome obstacles, and make it through tough times, whether due to health, relationship, or other problems. Sorry Bee Gees fans, we’ve excluded “Stayin’ Alive” because it doesn’t fit in with the rest and is ultimately not about overcoming one’s troubles. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 survival songs. Special thanks to our user Georgiano for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by George Cimurt.

Top 10 Survival Songs


When life gives you lemons…squeeze them in your fist and raise it triumphantly in the air. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 survival songs.

For this list, we’re taking a look at songs that deal with themes of survival or songs that inspire us to persevere, overcome obstacles, and make it through tough times, whether due to health, relationship, or other problems. Sorry Bee Gees fans, we’ve excluded “Stayin’ Alive” because it doesn’t fit in with the rest and is ultimately not about overcoming one’s troubles.

#10: “Stronger” (2007)
Kanye West

This hip hop song is known for being one of Kanye West’s first number one singles as well as one heck of a catchy song. West has said that the track was a form of liberation for him, a rumination on the mistakes of his past, and the chorus references Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous dictum “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” That, along with Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” sample makes this a song that pumps you up and makes you feel like you can take on the world.

#9: “Don’t Stop” (1977)
Fleetwood Mac

This is a cheery tune for anyone who has ever had a hard time letting go of the past. Written by vocalist and keyboard player Christine McVie, it was inspired by her desire to move on after her separation from the band’s bass guitarist. The song reminds us that yesterday is gone and that despite our pessimism, tomorrow will likely be a better day. Such optimism is probably what makes it one of the band’s most enduringly popular songs.

#8: “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” (2012)
Kelly Clarkson

Another song centred on the famous Nietzsche quotation, Clarkson scored big with this electronic-dance-pop-rock medley that has become her most popular single to date. Dealing with themes of heartbreak and subsequent recovery, Clarkson sings that even though her ex left her in what she thought was irreversible pain and heartbreak, she is not fazed. The song’s overall sound was praised, yet its lyrical content was considered tired because of its use of the Nietzsche phrase.

#7: “Don’t Stop Believin’” (1981)
Journey
Of course an awesome power ballad by Journey had to make this list! With lyrics that recount our inborn search for love and the fear of loneliness, thesong acknowledges that most of us are strangers and try to fill our emotional voids in different ways. The song’s use in pop culture caused it to return to the charts in the late 2000s and it has become one of the bestselling catalog tracks in digital history, most likely due to its timeless and relatable message.

#6: “Hero” (1993)
Mariah Carey

Considered by many as Mariah’s signature song, this inspirational ballad became a chart-topper and was re-released in the aftermath of 9/11. No matter what the setback or difficulty, the tune encourages us to look inside ourselves when hope is gone and to be strong, since a hero lies in all of us if we search for it. Apparently, Carey has received many letters thanking her for the song, from people claiming the track has time and again saved their lives and the lives of various family members.

#5: “The Warrior” (1984)
Scandal

Sung enthusiastically by lead singer Patty Smyth, this song chronicles the tempestuous relationship between her and her flame at the time. Mainly recognized because it blends so well with the competitive, survive-and-conquer attitude of the sports world; the fierce cry of “I am the warrior!” has also resonated with many who are surviving a broken heart, especially with lyrics that encourage “shootin’ at the walls of heartache.”

#4: “Survivor” (2001)
Destiny’s Child

During a tumultuous time in the band’s history, with member after member dropping out of the R&B group, Beyoncé was inspired to pen this song, a hit that declared that they would soldier on despite the line-up mishaps. With lyrics that can apply to a breakup of any sort, and a music video that shows the three band members surviving on a desert island, Beyoncé reassures us that after of all of the darkness and sadness, soon comes happiness.

#3: “The Show Must Go On” (1991)
Queen

Written about lead singer Freddie Mercury’s efforts to continue performing as part of the English band while he was dying of AIDS, the song’s intense instrumental composition along with Mercury’s powerful voice gives us goose bumps. Although he was extremely sick and could barely walk at the time, Mercury insisted on singing the song and nailed it. It was released as a single just six weeks before Mercury passed away and served as an apt tribute to a tremendous life.

#2: “Eye of the Tiger” (1982)
Survivor

Commissioned by Sylvester Stallone to compose a theme for the third film in the “Rocky” series, Survivor wrote an anthem for the everyday man who must fight to survive. Speaking about going the distance and rising up to the top, this song has everything we need to feel like surviving. The track ended up becoming bigger than the film it was written for, and total sales now top 9 million copies, making this hit single one of the best-selling of all time.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Titanium” (2011)
David Guetta feat. Sia
- “I Believe I Can Fly” (1996)
R. Kelly
- “Fighter” (2003)
Christina Aguilera
- “Survival” (2013)
Eminem
- “I Won’t Back Down” (1989)
Tom Petty

#1: “I Will Survive” (1978)
Gloria Gaynor

Was there any doubt that this song would be at the top? It’s a top-selling song, a disco anthem, a symbol of female empowerment and a Grammy winner. Speaking about the initial devastation from her failed romance, Gaynor picks up and declares that she’s got all her life to live and all her love to give. Resonating not just with women but also with minority groups everywhere, Gaynor’s hit about surviving tough times is just as motivational today as it was when it was first released.

Do you agree with our list? What survival songs have helped you through the tough times? For more inspiring top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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