Whether you’re looking to renovate your oldies playlist or completely start from scratch, I’m here to recommend some of my favorite classics!
“Harvest Moon” — Neil Young
I cannot verbally express the love I have for “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young. Whenever I hear this song, it paints an image in my mind of two lovers dancing under the moon. At first inspection, “Harvest Moon” is elegant, beautiful, and romantic; but as you listen more closely, it has an underlying angelic, almost-ethereal shimmer.
“Nevermore” — Queen
This is also one of my favorite romantic classic rock songs. It perfectly encapsulates the heartbreak of being cast aside by a lover (or even a close friend). In one minute and eighteen seconds of reflection, the storyline of a perfect relationship that was completely destroyed is recounted — and certain elements of the song are universally relatable.
“Rag Doll” — Aerosmith
On the happier side of classic rock, “Rag Doll” by Aerosmith will definitely put some bounce into your step. Apart from this song being ridiculously catchy and fun, it’s also a major mood-booster. This is that type of song that raises your confidence, forcing you to let loose and sing along!
“In My Life” — The Beatles
“In My Life” always relaxes me and puts me in a reflective mood. As Paul McCartney sings about past friends, lovers, and experiences, it is nearly impossible not to remember certain people in your life. For that reason, I love this song — it makes me think about people I haven’t thought of in years.
“All My Loving” — The Beatles
“All My Loving” is another one of those upbeat, carefree, classic-sounding Beatles songs. If you like other Beatles classics with spunky tones — such as “Twist and Shout,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” and “Back In The U.S.S.R” — “All My Loving” will quickly become another one of your favorites.
“Leather and Lace” — Stevie Nicks (with Don Henley)
Simply put: this song is utterly captivating. “Leather and Lace” is easily one of Stevie Nicks’ best songs. Her voice blends perfectly with Don Henley’s in a way that is meditative and peaceful — perfect for a calm Sunday afternoon drive.
“Autumn in New York” — Frank Sinatra (cover by Billie Holiday)
Both Sinatra and Holiday present a masterful version of “Autumn In New York,” with each version having a unique tone. Sinatra’s version is slower and has a pensive tone, while Holiday’s version is slightly faster with a warmer, shimmery tone. Typically, I lean towards Billie Holiday’s version, but you can decide which version you will listen to based on personal preference!
“You Send Me” — Sam Cooke
“You Send Me” is an irresistibly charming, soul-filled song that revolutionized the pop and soul genres alike. This is one of those songs you wish was written about you, for you. “You Send Me” tells the story of a young individual who has just come to realize that they want to marry their partner. It’s one of those fuzzy, feel-good songs that brings an unconscious grin to your face, especially if you can relate to the lyrics!
“Drown in My Own Tears” — Ray Charles
Every note and lyric in Ray Charles’ “Drown in My Own Tears” fills the atmosphere with vibrancy. Apart from its catchy tune, Ray Charles simply has one of the warmest, most welcoming voices I’ve ever heard. I’m absolutely in love with the tone of his voice; I have yet to find another artist who conveys such emotion through vocal runs as Charles does.
“Annie’s Song” — John Denver
Written for John Denver’s lover, Annie, this song is full of idyllic metaphors. The emotionally raw lyrics of “Annie’s Song” convey a genuine, deep-rooted love unlike any other song I’ve heard, making it one of my favorite songs. If you do not listen to any of the other songs I am recommending, please do yourself a favor and listen to “Annie’s Song!”
“Rich Girl” — Daryl Hall & John Oates
Warning: this song will get stuck in your head. It is very well correlated and put-together, from the background vocals, to the instrumentals. “Rich Girl” is one of those songs you can’t resist bobbing your head to — put it on the playlist you listen to when you’re in a good mood!
“Saturday Night’s Alright” — Elton John
“Saturday Night’s Alright” is exciting, lively, and entertaining. This song reminds me of having a fun outing with your friends, as the song suggests. Its high-spirited, unafraid, and bold nature is guaranteed to encourage you to get out of the house and have a great night on the town!
Pro tip: after adding these songs to a playlist on Spotify, use Spotify’s “Create a Similar Playlist” feature and keep experimenting with classic rock, soul, and pop. Enjoy your fresh, new sound!