How to Pick a few Birthday Songs

A Guide to Choosing Birthday Songs

To set the mood for any celebration, music is essential.  Birthday songs are a great addition to parties and can really liven up the occasion.  Taking the time to make a birthday setlist for the guest of honor is a nice way to show that you have taken the time to deal with the details, and care!  With millions of songs available to choose from, how do you go about choosing the perfect tunes to create a birthday playlist?  The first suggestion…sneakily acquire a peek at the playlists they have on their iPod!  Just make sure it’s not the workout mix you settle on.

Traditional Birthday Songs

birthday songsTraditional birthday songs are those made especially for birthdays. It’s a given that you would want to incorporate a few of these into your playlist. Be careful, though, that these don’t make up the majority of your playlist. If your whole list is only birthday songs, it can feel less like a personal mix, and more like a pre-made compilation CD.

Many artists have sang the traditional Happy Birthday song, so choose an artist from the guest’s favorite genre of music. Add some funny birthday songs to lighten the mood. Adam Sandler’s “Birthday Song” is a great choice for adults. Silly songs like “The Funny Happy Birthday Song” by Earl Wayne are more appropriate for children.  Of course you don’t have to stop here.  These suggested birthday songs are really only good for about three minutes of entertainment before you need to start filling out the rest of the evening’s playlist.

Birthday Songs by Age

Birthday SongsThe best birthday songs are, perhaps, the ones that aren’t birthday songs at all. There are thousands of songs whose title or lyrics revolve around an age. If you can find a song that correlates to the birthday girl or guy’s age, it’s a nice way to add some variety to the birthday songs list. It also helps make it more personal and less like a canned compilation.  The Paul McCartney song “When I’m 64” is an example of a song that mentions literal age. Other songs make note of particular months, which can work if you’re unable to find something with the year included. An example of this would be “September Song” by Willie Nelson. Even songs that make reference to getting older, but don’t mention any specifics, can add to a birthday mix, like Toby Keith’s “As Good As I Once Was.”

Birthday Songs by Year

Many songs mention years, or are even titled after a year. If the lyrics are also appropriate for a celebration, these can be great, and a way to personalize the list even more for the birthday guest. Choose a song that mentions or is named after the year in which the person was born. “Summer of ‘69‘ by Bryan Adams is a song reminiscing about years past, so it’s appropriately upbeat. Prince’s “1999” provides a positive dance theme.  Even if the lyrics don’t necessarily match the occasion, the guest would likely still get the reference, like with the song “1979” by Smashing Pumpkins. Other choices include “1984” by David Bowie, and “21st Century Boy” by T. Rex.

Birthday Songs by Name

Songs that include the name of the honored guest are obvious choices, especially with birthday songs for kids. This may only be an option for some of the more common names, and if you are struggling to find a match… try a nickname.  Songs with girl’s names as the title include…but is definitely not limited to:

  • “Amazing Grace’ – Sang by various artists over the years
  • “Bette Davis Eyes’ – Kim Carnes
  • “Adrienne’ – The Calling
  • “Meet Virginia’ – Train
  • “Julia’ – The Beatles
  • “Mustang Sally” – Wilson Picket
  • “Maria” – West Side Story
  • “Layla” – Eric Clapton
  •  And many, many more!

Don’t leave out the boys! There are plenty of songs with their names as well, such as:

  • “Moses” – Coldplay
  • “Timothy” – Jet
  • “My Name is Jonas” – Weezer
  • “Captain Jack” – Billy Joel
  • “Mickey” – Toni Basil
  • “Daniel” – Elton John
  • “Michael” – Franz Ferdinand
  • “Teddy Boy” – Paul McCartney

Don’t be shy – you could also create your own song using your friend’s name, and record it. They won’t care if your singing voice isn’t stellar. They’ll truly appreciate the effort and thought that you put into the song.  Remember that comment about karaoke?

Favorite Songs of the Guest

Birthday Songs ListAll of the songs on this list don’t have to reference the fact that it’s the guest’s birthday. Simply adding some songs that you know the guest loves is a fantastic way to personalize the list. Who doesn’t love hearing a favorite song, no matter the occasion?

Literal, sentimental, and funny birthday songs all have their place in a truly great playlist. Take a few songs from each of these categories. You can time the songs to play at appropriate moments during the party, or simply set up the music in the background and let it play as the party goes on. Either way, these birthday songs will liven up the celebration.

written by Ashley, birthday July 24th

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