We all turn to different songs at different times. There are ones we’ve turned to over the years when feeling down to lift up our spirits. Here’s six of my favorites for this very purpose. In pondering which to include, I listened to many old favorites which still rang that bell for me as they did once. Some did immediately. Others, not really. Now not.
Of course, there are countless great songs for other occasions. But these are all chosen specifically for that injection of joy. It’s just not easy to feel down, try as you might, when one of these is playing.
The Beatles, “Hey Bulldog”
By John Lennon & Paul McCartney, 1968.
2. Michael McDonald, Phoebe Snow & Donald Fagen, “Knock On Wood”
Written by Eddie Floyd & Steve Cropper. Live at the Beacon, 1991
3. Stevie Wonder, “Higher Ground.” 1973
4. Talking Heads, “Take Me To The River,” 1978.
Written by Al Green & Mabon “Teenie” Hodges.
5. Donovan, “Sunshine Superman”
6. Manhattan Transfer, “Soul Food To Go” by Djavan and Doug Fieger.
On their great 1987 album Brasil, Manhattan Transfer invited some great American songwriters to write lyrics in English to the glorious melodies of Brazilian songwriters Ivan Lins, Djavan and others. This has music by Djavan with great lyrics by the late Doug Fieger of The Knack, who also wrote “My Sharona.”