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Top 10 Classic Songs To Play on New Year’s Eve

Whenever New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, we all start sifting through our playlists in search of some classic songs to play on New Year’s Eve. Because who wants to stop in the middle of the celebrations to look for a perfect piece to play, right?

So, here we have put together the top ten classic songs to play. Add these to your New Year playlist, and get ready to rock and roll.

Top 10 Classic Songs

1. Auld Lang Syne – Mariah Carey (1st among the songs on New Year’s Eve) 

If someone cannot find a New Year’s anthem – a poppy dance version of Auld Lang Syne by Mariah Carey might be the right choice. It was released in 2010 as part of her second Christmas album – Merry Christmas II You.

The original song is a traditional Scottish 18th-century ballad written by Robert Burns and sung at midnight. This has been added to the New Year’s playlist since.

It was made famous by Guy Lombardo (Canadian and Italian) band singer in the 20th century. Many singers have remixed it since then, from a rock music version to a sweet melody.

Despite receiving criticism for Carey’s more peppy and modern version, she added her lyrics to the liking of the young generation, such as – ‘Happy new year baby,’ and ‘Have a drink on me.’ The song entitled Lang Syne itself reminds one of the nostalgic memories of the past year.

2. I Want to Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston 

Imagine being with someone on New Year’s Eve, trying to enjoy all the glamour of the last few minutes left to end the year. The dance song perfect for this occasion would be – I Want to Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston.

It was released in 1987 as part of Houston’s second album – Whitney. Having to follow up on the success of her first hit – the writers Shannon Rubicam and George Merill did a pretty good job, as the song hit all the right emotions with a dance-pop number.

Although the song received criticism for being non-risky as it was similar to Houston’s first hit, it achieved remarkable success after its release, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Top 100, Hot 100 Singles Sales chart, and Hot 100 Airplay chart pretty soon.

So, an audience favorite, if you already could find someone for dancing, this should be on the songs to play on the New Year’s Eve list. 

3. What are you doing on new year’s eve by Ella Fitzgerald

Have you ever been hesitant to ask a love interest out? Then ‘What are you doing on New Year’s Eve’ By Ella might just be the pick for a fresh start, especially on New Year’s Day if you wish to begin with someone you like.

Frank Loesser wrote this New Year’s Eve song in 1947, first popularized by the Orioles, a group from Maryland specializing in the doo-wop genre. Later, Rod Stewart recorded a duet with Ella Fitzgerald.

But if anyone’s looking for a slow dance version with enough jazz, the 1960 version found in her Album, ‘Ella Wishes You a Singing Christmas, needs to be played.

Don’t miss out on this coming new year to record a slow-motion romance with your partner! The couples must have this on their songs to play on the New Year’s Eve list. 

4. Let’s Start the New Year Right by Bing Crosby 

To find the past pleasant and a new year positive requires the attitude that is brilliantly encouraged in the song – Let’s Start the New Year Right by Bing Crosby. Written by Irving Berlin, it was released in 1942 as part of the Musical – Holiday Inn and in 1979 as a separate soundtrack.

Despite being released secondary to the singer’s massive hit- White Christmas- this can be one of the top songs in any New Year’s soundtrack.

There is something so moving about the lyrics: Crosby urges people to start the new year right, not just wishing a happy new year but holding out old and new hopes in a fresh light within a minute left in his slow melodic voice.

 Your expectations might just get better with this on the songs to play on the New Year’s Eve list. 

5. My Dear Acquaintance by Regina Spektor 

When starting a new year at a social gathering, one might wonder what may be the perfect song to hold a kind note to everyone present on a new year – My Dear Acquaintance by Regina Spektor might be the best fit.

It was first recorded in 1983 and released by Peggy Lee in 2006. Regina’s version came along a year later. Inspired by the 90s alternative/indie version, it’s sung with a piano tune in a sweet manner.

The lyrics simply put in this song is to raise your glass with love and care that we hold for our dear ones and new acquaintances.

6. New Year’s Day by U2

One should not forget to include New Year’s Day by U2 in their New Year’s playlist. The Irish rock band released this song as their third track (lead single) of the album War’ in 1983.

Although it was taken as a love song, the lyrics held a political meaning, indicating the persecution of Lech Wales, the leader of the Polish solidarity movement. Whether music influenced the change in Polish laws is not directly known, but martial law was soon abolished.

The lyrics might have mixed meanings, starting with being with someone on New Year’s Day and moving on to the scenario of a social movement; nevertheless, it was a huge success.

It became an international hit, ranking 53 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 427th in ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’ (Rolling Stone’s list) in 2004. The famous tune even took up Thriller’s Spot (Michael Jackson).

7. New year’s day by Taylor Swift

All Taylor Swift‘s fans know that each song holds deep meaning to her own life. She thrives on her memories, turning them into hit songs. In all of her hits, New Year’s Day makes a list.

In 2017, this acoustic ballad was the last song in her Reputation Album. She is also known for writing songs related to her old lovers; however, this one was just a thought about how the romance would show permanence if someone stayed for the aftermath of a New Year’s party, not just the beginning of it.

Her co-writer, Jack Antonoff, also mentions how Taylor Swift is great at bringing out emotions in a song, and its result is seen in the country chart, where it ranked 33.

To the Swifties and those wanting to listen to this top singer’s releases, try it out on New Year’s Eve and the start of a new year. We all crave permanence, so get it added to the songs on New Year’s Eve. 

8. Thank U, Next by Ariana Grande 

The pop singer Ariana’s song holds the meaning of loving yourself. Its popularity was well-defined when its music video reached 1 million views, becoming the first to do so quickly.

Just watching the video, released in 2018, would be a pure pleasure because of the ample reference to famous teen romcoms like Mean Girls and Legally Blonde, as well as the known cameo stars from Kris Jenner to the singer Troye Sivan. One may be able to see some of her exes.

Wondering why this song is on the New Year’s Eve list?

The lyrics themselves hold deep meaning, from thanking her exes for all their lessons to getting herself through tough situations of the past year; one can’t help but get lost in the soulful voice that inspires her to be a better version. Looking ahead with the strength of the past, this one should make the songs to play on the New Year’s Eve list. 

What better lesson does one need than keeping all the strengths of the past and improving oneself for the new year? 

9. Fireworks by Katy Perry 

Are they looking to end the year and start New Year’s Day with a big bash and a dance jam? Katy Perry’s Fireworks, released in 2010, would be a good choice.

This song is a single from her third studio album – Teenage Dream. Inspired by her then-boyfriend, Perry states this was one of her favorites in her album. Her idea was to live and go from this wonderful world as a firework – referencing it as her “epitaph.”

Though related to her death, she wanted this song to inspire everyone to ignite their firework by crossing all their doubts and just living life fully. Isn’t this a wonderful Happy New Year message? To be amidst the fireworks and to think of your life as one might make the songs to play. 

10. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

If anyone wants to start a New Year’s Day on a dance floor with a song pointing towards having an exciting and rich social life – Uptown Funk is the real deal with its funk and disco-pop tunes. It might just be an all-night-long jam.

The song was released in 2014 as part of Ronson’s fourth album – Uptown Special. Its immediate success came forth when it hit 1 in Billboard’s Top 100 charts and the UK singles chart. The artist received great applause for winning the British Best Single of the Year. It became an international success in many charts of places like New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.

Making the song, however, was not an easy task. Both the singers had to take breaks and think of natural lyrics. Ronson even had to follow Bruno Mars on his tours. But, in the end, it was worth it.

Other interesting facts about the song are: It was the first song with the title word ‘funk‘ to reach the Billboard Top 100 lists, and a copyright issue also arose with another band who took part in the profits.

The lyrics give a sense of a carefree masculine attitude in the elite, yet the beats hit all the right parts. It is so catchy that even Beyonce jammed into it. Can any dance challenge in today’s social media reels not be popular? This one inspired many such videos.

Party like there is no tomorrow with this among songs.

2. Other recommendations on the songs to play on New Year’s Eve (equally classic)

Don’t worry if you didn’t find any music to your taste in the above list; here are some suggestions. Below listed are songs that are suitable to be played as both New Year’s Eve songs and on the New Year:

2.1 The New Year – Death Cab for Cutie 

For those who feel sad towards a new year starting, this song just helps one voice all the mixed feelings. 

It was released in 2003 as the rock band Death Cab’s first track of the fourth album – Trans Atlanticism.

It captures the feelings of being in a strange setting, thinking of old memories, and trying to gather all the good vibes about the road ahead. Don’t we all feel like that sometimes?

2.2 Don’t Stop Believin by Journey

Imagine optimistic music; one realizes hope always exists. Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin exactly does that. It’s definitely on the list of songs to play. It was released in 1981 as part of the rock band’s Escape album. 

The story of how this song came to be is that of a father encouraging his son to still believe. Luckily, it worked out great for the singer Jonathan Cain and his band.

It soon reached 9th on the Billboard Singles chart and was used in many famous TV series like Glee and Sopranos. The users provided the rating themself when it was the first song that was most downloaded in the 20th century.

Don’t miss out on playing this at the next New Year’s Eve dance party to brighten the mood. 

2.3 2012 (It Ain’t the End) – Jay Sean ft. Nicki Minaj

This one is a party playlist item – With Jay Sean wanting to party like it is the end of 2012 (The year that was predicted as the end of the world). It brings an amazing hip-hop tune with Nicki Minaj’s vocals as well.

Released in 2010, as the first single from Sean’s album – Hit the Lights, the singer was inspired by the movie 2012, which he then realized could be taken as a life lesson of how any difficulty faced can be conquered if we just live life like it is the last day.

But, one just has to press play on the video track to realize it’s also about having a grand celebration party.

Even though the world isn’t ending, this can be on the songs to play.

2.4 Happy New Year – Justin Bieber ft. Jaden Smith

Of course, 2012 from the start wasn’t a bad one – the hope of being together with one’s close group and spending it with just you and your significant other is all captured aptly in the track Happy New Year.

It can be considered part of the New Year’s Eve songs, released on 31st December 2011. Bieber posted it on his socials, wishing everyone a better year ahead. A reference is made in the lyrics to the Mayans lying and how a couple being together might just mean everything will be alright.

This pop-rap was also released as a video on 2019’s New Year’s Eve. There won’t be a regret in making it part of the New Year’s Eve songs. 

2.5 Champagne Kisses by Jessie Ware

For all the die-hard romantics, the ultimate song choice would be Jessie’s Champagne Kisses, released as part of her 2014 album Tough Love.

The music video, directed by Chris Sweeney, looks quite artistic, and it goes well with the pop lyrics where the singer seems lost in her lover’s thoughts, fondly remembering all of the kisses they shared.

Every couple, especially those planning to go long-distance this new year, add this to the songs to play. 

2.6 Bringing in a Brand New Year by Charles Brown

Bringing in a Brand New Year is the perfect New Year’s song to capture all the blues ahead. Released in 1964, Brown’s song brings in the funk and soul version of all the glamor that comes with a new start.

Don’t forget to add this to the songs on New Year’s Eve. You may be able to listen to the track that also gives a Christmas feel.

2.7 New year’s day by Pentatonix

We started this article with a New Year’s Day anthem. We will end it with one that might as well be the same, with singing along in the spirit of Auld lang Syne. Pentatonix (the famous acapella and vocal group) provides a song that tells us to let go of the past and look out for a great future.

Released in 2015, the baritone singer Scott was moved by the finished product despite initially being doubtful whether it fit their style. The song starts with the famous acapella tuning of the singers, later turning quite light and poppy.

Even if the songs to play on the New Year’s Eve list are full, definitely make this a choice. 

Two other recommendations would be The Black Eyed Peas – beginning album and the famous father-daughter duo Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus’s song, Butterfly Fly Away. Both of them vary from homely feels to party songs.

Final Say

Of course, there are many songs left that might remind us of spending a good New Year’s Eve. Depending on our mood, we picked out the fan favorites here.

Infographic That Explains How Do Americans Celebrate The New Year Eve
USA Tales


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