The last several decades of music history are full of classic songs that everyone must own. If you’re 40 and over, here are some must-have songs you have to own.
Stevie Nicks – Landslide
Like so many great songs from Nicks and her former band, Fleetwood Mac, this one was born from her tumultuous relationship with Lindsey Buckingham.
AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
The fact that this song is enjoyed even by non-rockers and is a standard at wedding receptions elevates it past some of their other, harder rocking songs.
Beach Boys – God Only Knows
The Beach Boys are a much-beloved band by Baby Boomers, but even those who are a little younger will love the harmonies in this one.
Fountains of Wayne – Stacy’s Mom
Sure, we’re not teenagers lusting after a friend’s mom anymore, but we can all still enjoy the perfect pop-rock stylings of this song.
Tom Petty – Runnin’ Down a Dream
This song will pump you full of energy, make you feel like hitting the open road, or both.
Muse – Knights of Cydonia
Muse is a popular band by now, but if you haven’t heard them, this is the perfect entry point.
Michael Jackson – The Way You Make Me Feel
Sure, we all know Michael’s greatest hits. This one often gets overlooked and can always make you feel good.
John Mayer – Waiting On The World To Change
Mayer’s a fine blues guitarist, and there’s a hint of that here. Besides that, anyone who lived through the 60s and 70s can identify with the sentiment.
The Beatles – In My Life
Those who are over 40 will understand this song in a brand new way, which only adds to its beauty.
The Outfield – Your Love
Sure, the 1980s were a bit hit and miss when it comes to music (and everything else), but this one holds up.
Eagles – Hotel California
Sure, we’ve all heard it a thousand times, but there’s a reason for that. It’s still a great tune to this day.
Frank Sinatra – Once Upon a Time
This Sinatra classic is perfect for anyone feeling a bit nostalgic about the old days.
Candlebox – Far Behind
Not everyone has great memories of the 90s, but this song is an excellent ode to that special someone who moved on without you.
Queen – Somebody to Love
An equally great song for lamenting your love life or remembering how lucky you are to have found that somebody.
Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels
Everyone loves “Shout,” but this song about unrequited love is the band’s true masterpiece.
David Bowie – Changes
We can all appreciate what David was singing about in this one, can’t we?
Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me)
Three words: The Breakfast Club. One of the best uses of a song in a movie ever.
Next – Too Close
This is as infectious as R&B club music got in the 90s. Plus, it’s pretty original subject material, to boot.
Talking Heads – Burning Down the House
This is as accessible as the band got. For a little extra energy, go for the live version from their excellent concert film.
Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls
One of their more accessible early songs, and a welcome departure from their slower sound that began with the black album.
Bob Seger – Like a Rock
Forget about the commercials. This song is all about remembering your younger days, and nothing tops the emotion of the guitar solo. One of the must-have songs for sure.
Wyclef Jean – Guantanamera
Many people mourned the breakup of The Fugees, but Jean gave us an underrated classic of an album with an eclectic sound that hasn’t been matched since.
Neil Young – Harvest Moon
Harvest Moon, like all of Young’s songs, has a real sense of emotional depth to it that will resonate with you.
J.Lo – I’m Real (w/Ja Rule)
Ja Rule was only really tolerable in collaborations with female R&B singers, and this song is Exhibit A of that fact.
Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock
No playlist is complete without a little Elvis. For our money, this is one of the must-have songs as one of Elvis’ best cuts.
Prince – Raspberry Beret
Prince’s catalog is full of must-have songs, but Raspberry Beret is an often-overlooked classic.
Emmylou Harris – C’est La Vie
There are multiple versions of this song, but Harris’ is probably the best rendition of them all.
Eagles – Tequila Sunrise
This song has a more wistful feel to it than a lot of their work and is perfect for reminiscing.
The Bangles – Hazy Shade of Winter
“Walk Like An Egyptian” may have been gimmicky, but The Bangles’ take on this song holds up after all these years.
Cheap Trick – Surrender
No list of must-have songs is complete without a little classic rock. Cheap Trick really hit all the right notes with this chart-topper.
Warren G – Regulate
Chances are, you still know the words to this one. If not, your friends do, so throw it on and watch them excitedly recite them.
George Jones – He Stopped Loving Her Today
If you dig old school country, you’ll love this cut. Even if you don’t, you’ll want to make an exception.
Stevie Wonder – Lately
You may remember the live version of this song by Jodeci, but the Stevie original is one of the must-have songs you should own.
Buffalo Springfield – For What Its Worth
Those who were born around the time of Vietnam or lived through it themselves will identify with this legendary song.
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
It’s not exactly a deep cut, but this song is one that belongs in everyone’s collection, fan or not.
Dionne Warwick – A House Is Not a Home
Warwick belted out this song back in 1964, but it still hits home to this day.
Black Keys – Tighten Up
The Black Keys have done everything from the blues to guitar-driven rock. This is one of the must-have songs because it brings together both worlds.
Patsy Cline – Crazy
Cline provides a surprisingly bluesy take during this Willie Nelson-penned hit.
Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
Try to listen to this infectious hit from the 80s without snapping your fingers or smiling. We dare you.
Joni Mitchell – Little Green
Mitchell was always extremely honest in her songs, and this classic is certainly no exception.