We sing acapella in the shower. We sing along with the radio in the car. We sing with beautiful instrumental accompaniment at church. We sing. We sing to multiply our joys, dispel our fears, and diminish our sadness. Even people who think they can’t sing, sing!
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love to sing. We didn’t have a radio in the car when I was little, but we always sang wherever we went. Eventually we did have a car with a radio, and when I was old enough I had my own record player and eventually a stereo with a tape deck. I sang in the choir in elementary school, around the campfire with my Girl Scout troop, and in the youth choir at church. As an educator I used songs to teach content, from the Preamble to the Constitution to the “be” verbs to prime numbers. Now I love to sing on the back porch with friends and guitars, and of course, I never stopped singing in the car. I think the best singing is when a concert audience in a huge sports arena spontaneously sings along. Under what other circumstance would you ever find tens of thousands of people so connected?
A few weeks ago the acapella group, Pentatonix, released a new album. My favorite track is called “Sing,” and it’s what prompted me to think about singing today. Here is my top 10 list of favorite songs for singing along:
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt – Few things are more satisfying than yelling “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” at the top of your lungs after singing each verse quieter and quieter and quieter.
If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song) – This might be my very favorite song on this list. There’s just something about the sing-along power of a Pete Seeger protest anthem.
These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ – This was the first song I learned from the radio. I was only five, but I had a pair of white go-go boots just like Nancy Sinatra. Are ya ready boots? Start walkin’!
Karma Chameleon and My Sharona – Okay, I know these are really two songs. Just consider one a bonus track. I put them together because they are great sing-alongs for the same reason; the percussive repetition of syllables is just fun!
Deep in the Heart of Texas – Sing the first line of this song any place in Texas or in the presence of any Texan and watch what happens. In fact, if you ever need to escape the clutches of a Texan, sing this song and be prepared to run when clapping commences. And it will. It always does. Always.
Build Me Up Buttercup – Can’t remember lyrics? This echo song is a perfect sing-along for you!
Bohemian Rhapsody – We’ve been singing along with BR for 40 years, experiencing every musical genre and a whole host of emotions all in six minutes. Magnifico!
You Are My Sunshine – My grandmother sang this song to my cousins and me when we were little. We just sang the chorus, so I was an adult before I realized what a sad song it really is. I still just sing the chorus. And maybe the first verse.
We Didn’t Start the Fire – You have to bring your A game to sing along with this one. I was so determined to learn this song that I wrote down the lyrics by hand hitting the pause button every so often to write. After I finished, I realized the lyrics were printed in the liner notes. Now we have the internet, and singing along is so much easier!
Me and Bobby McGee – Whether you prefer Kristofferson or Joplin, singing along to a song about singing along just makes sense, and it makes you feel good. And, well, feelin’ good is good enough.
You’ll notice this list isn’t numbered. It was difficult enough to pick only ten. I’m pretty sure it would take weeks to rank them, and by then, I’d have some new favorites.
Maybe you found yourself singing a line or two as you read this post. Maybe you have some sing-along favorites of your own. If so, please share them in the comments so we can all sing along!