pop songs with violins
Entertainment & Playlists

35 Best Pop Songs With Violins

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Written By Will Fenton
Entertainment & Playlists

35 Best Pop Songs With Violins

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Being a versatile instrument that can evoke many feelings there are many examples of great pop songs with violins. 

It isn’t an instrument reserved for the orchestra or chamber.

We think of commercial pop as being synthesized and electronic.

While it’s true many tracks today use a simulated string sound, plenty of songs still utilize the real McCoy.

Violins can add emotion, be it a pensive or uplifting introduction, a splendid solo sec section, or simple details that add interest.

Join us as we take you through some of the best pop songs with violin.

1. “Love You More” by Celine Dion

We are opening with one of the biggest singers of all time and a track that remains to this day the second biggest-selling song by an international artist.

Behind the stars’ incredible vocal prowess lies a euphoric soundscape that is bolstered by a beautiful violin melody.

The instrument joins after the initial verse and shares the limelight with Celine, duetting gloriously with her throughout the rest of the powerful track.

During her Falling Into You Around the World Tour violinist Taro Hakase accompanied her.

2. “Rock This Country” by Shania Twain 

Second in our sights; is a track hot off of Canadian country music star Shania Twain’s Come On Over album.

The violin is prevalent in “Rock This Country”’.

As the title of the track suggests it had a rockier edge with a relentless guitar rhythm driving beneath the track.

But there is something about the violin that gives a lot of pop and rock a country edge.

In fairness, this one is more countrified than the majority of pop songs we have on our list.

A simple but sweet violin motif emphasizes the chorus section.

Filling the song out.

3. “Skyfall” by Adele

Right on to another singer with a mega-voice known for her emotional ballads.

This dramatic track was the result of Adele being invited to sing a Bond theme.

A high honor only offered to respected and talented vocalists,

The production features a range of instruments but the violins are what shine through in the top notes of the orchestral backing.

They compliment her lower pitch and echo the themes of previous Bond themes.

Bringing the piece to a rising crescendo and peak.

4. “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit

There are more modern electronic songs that use violins than might initially spring to mind. 

While many use them as a background element to fill the space or create an atmosphere this one gives the violin centre stage.

The violin dances boldly and wildly throughout swimming in and out of the melody line of the hook of the song.

It leaps all over the driving dance beat sporadically and is one of the stand-out elements of the production.

That is, aside from the soulful vocals provided by Jess Glynne!

5. “Firework” by Katy Perry 

This one was a huge hit for Perry and featured on her third album.

Everyone knows how stirring “Firework” is. 

The climbing vocals that build up from the verse to the chorus are what give it the anthemic vibes it is remembered for.

But that change in mood is instigated by dramatic staccato violin bowing.

The build-up is bolstered by the stringed instrument and as Perry climbs so does the intensity of the accompanying violin.

It is a powerful piece that would be missing a certain je ne sais quoi without the violins present.

6. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri 

This one is an intimate pop ballad that uses violins passionately to capture the emotion perfectly.

It was written and recorded for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.

Given the popularity of the franchise, the 2011 track quickly became a big deal for Christina Perri.

She had huge commercial success that propelled her into the limelight.

Though the violin isn’t pride of place in the mix, it elevates the track.

You can hear the difference between the empty start of the song in which the violins are absent.

7. “Untouched” by The Veronicas 

The stringed instrument is far more prevalent in this violin-pop song.

The Aussie alt-pop duo use it to dramatic effect in the opening bars of their fast-paced infectiously catchy track “Untouched”.

The violin elements are well utilized, reserved where they need to be letting the high-tempo beat pump and unleashed when needed. 

The 2007 track was a hit for the Brisbane-dwelling identical twins and has seen many placements thanks to the energy and drama it provides.

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8. “Runaway” by The Corrs

From one sibling set with a violin in tow to another now…

Not everyone will remember this one but British audiences will!

The Irish family trio with their folksy pop slid into the charts for a short while back in the early nineties.

One of the siblings, Sharon Corr was a member of the National Youth Orchestra and brought her violin skills to the table in many tracks. 

This song was one of the more popular and has been licensed a lot despite not ever charting very highly.

It has a wholesome feel that draws on her Irish roots rather than orchestral. 

The motif used throughout is beautiful when it chimes in and out between the verses filled with close harmonies.

The solo is pleasant and charming too.

9. “C’est la vie” by B*Witched 

Another Irish girl group that also used traditional Irish elements in their cheesy pop music was B*witched. 

There was also a family element in this foursome as well with twin sisters Edele and Keavy Lynch in the mix.

The group was short-lived but UK audiences will remember them well with their double-denim and bubblegummish commercial hits.

“C’est la vie” was a terrible but catchy pop track that is cringy to watch that incorporated a huge violin solo accompanied by traditional Irish dancing by the girls!

10. “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s 2010 release of Alejandro has an evocative electronic violin that plays almost mournfully in the introduction.

Lady Gaga uses spoken word effectively to introduce it and the lamenting violin helps set the scene before it departs and the song evolves into something entirely different.

It disappears only to rejoin the mix later on although far further from the spotlight.

At the drop-out, we get to hear its bittersweet tones again.

The synth-pop track was well received and is distinctly different from many of the star’s other songs, namely because of the violin feature.

11. “Symphony of Hearts” by Boyzone

Boyzone had a huge following and many popular tracks.

This one wasn’t one of their more famous ones but it did use violins anthemically to inject energy into the track.

The track was from the group’s seventh and final album Thank You & Goodnight which was recorded many years after member Stephen Gately unexpectedly died.

Although, the lead track of the album featured his vocals post-mortem.

With a title like “Symphony of Hearts,” it unsurprisingly had some orchestral elements but the violins are inarguably the driving instrument.

The track ends in an unfinished manner as abruptly as the singer’s death came.

12. “Our Song” by Taylor Swift 

We already said that violins give a pop track a countrified tinge.

“Our Song” by Taylor Swift is a good example of just that.

The pop star demonstrates a bit of country charm assisted by the southern-sounding violin elements in this one…

They start the track off, babble blow her vocals during verses, and accompany the banjo in the chorus lines rhythmically.

It has a lot of charm and isn’t overbearing.

The legato parts are sublime and the ascending notes slide into the short but sweet solo 

13. “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton

Something of a one-hit-wonder Vanessa Carlton brought us this well-constructed pop hit back in 2002.

The composition is pretty simple but genius. 

For the most part, we are treated to a repetitive earworm of a piano riff alongside her sweet voice. 

But she uses some dramatic violin stabs to outline her pre-chorus lyrics and from there we are transported to the chorus.

As the song hits the second chorus they are given more of a presence and backed by an electric guitar.

The motifs develop and we go from a darker vibe with low bowed notes to soaring and piercing sounds.

The violin has a regal-like quality and the dynamics of the song and violin levels in the production are commendable.

14. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran 

One of many hits for Ed Sheeran, incidentally one of a handful that helped the songwriter break a record previously held by Frankie Laine in 1953. 

He occupied the top five spots of the charts simultaneously, one track being “Perfect” a romantic ballad written for his wife.

The sincerity of the lyrical content is cemented by the violins which are used very constructively in the production.

Sweet and soaring they have a blissful feel that emphasizes the lyrical content in a wholesome way.

There are moments when they are subtly placed and others where they are given the opportunity to shine.

Some of the more ornamental motif developments are simply beautiful.

15. “Toxic” by Britney Spears

A track from her fourth album produced by Swedish duo Bloodshy & Avant made for a distinct change in style for The Mickey Mouse Club singer.

The track was high-energy and a little darker than she had previously delved.

There was a rockier edge to the music behind the pop-princess.

It features a sampled Bollywood riff that is added to the mix with electronic and synth violin. 

It is distinct and returns throughout.

If you listen closely there are lots of orchestral influences too, “Flight of the Bumblebee” supposedly inspired some of the faster- elements.

16. “Little L” by Jamiroquai

A further example of an uptempo dance track that uses violin elements to perfection is “Little L” by Jamiroquai.

Now while many find him a little contrived he knows his stuff when it comes to music productions and structural composition. 

This one kicks off with a high-speed, near-shrieking, ascending violin motif and it’s infectious.

The strings also play a descending pattern that is far more legato and brings some gravity to funk-filled verses.

Their placement ranges from subtle to spotlight as they jump in and out at just the right moment.

The groove is great and it is a pop song with violins to have on any playlist.

17. “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay

The first few bars showcase the violins that pump throughout this Coldplay track.

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The strings carry the backbeat and also liven the melody line.

Above the foundations are lively violins pitched up higher that propel the song and add an honest sentiment. 

They rise and fall with the track and change form from long legato notes to quicker phrases.

They peak right before the choral “woahs” begin, the vibrato is divine and as smooth as the vocals they are paired with.

“Viva La Vida” is a timeless track that leaves an impression.

18. “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve

Of course, if we are talking pop songs with violin-led introductions then one that sticks in the mind is “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve.

The violin parts in question, however, are sampled from an orchestral cover by The Andrew Oldham Orchestra of “The Last Time” originally by The Rolling Stones.

So is the majority of the track, in general, it was simply pitched up and a few instrumental lines were added to enhance it.

As beautiful as the song is, The Verve gets no real royalties from it despite its popularity and success.

Nonetheless, it’s a pop song with violins where the instrument glows.

19. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2

Next up, U2’s “Not a rebel song” Sunday Bloody Sunday a pop-rock track with a politically laced edge that condemns war.

Though Bono tries to stay neutral it was originally inspired by turmoil surrounding the Irish Republican Army and British troops.

Atypically for U2 there is a violin in the mix. 

It is not only a nod to the Irish roots as a traditional folk element but serves to stir emotion.

The violinists playing is a little erratic at times and pleads and wails along with them reemphasizing the themes.

20. “Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex

A leftfield track now, the remix of an old country track that found its way into the pop charts in 1995.

Because of its country roots inevitably there is a heavy violin focus within the track!

The album that it was featured on was crudely yet aptly titled “Sex & Violins” so you expect a heavy violin presence.

The upbeat swing-your-partner track backed with cheesy 90 beats and synth sounds isn’t easy on the ears.

The additional rap section that the Swedish Eurodance group decided to slide in is questionable!

But whatever floats your boat eh?

No matter your opinion, it’s a foot-stomping love-to-hate song.

21. “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas 

Now we are moving ever so slightly outside of the confines of true pop music. 

This seventies rock group was no stranger to the violin.

They incorporated it regularly in their tracks but perhaps most famous of all was “Dust In The Wind”.

While the genre is not strictly pop it was popular enough to be considered popular music by technicality.

The iconic song speaks of life and its fragility, the lyrics are poignant even with their apathetic edge.

The thought-provoking words leave space for a splendid violin solo smack bang in the middle of the track. 

The vibrato beneath the final verse quickens and becomes almost ominous under the words of the title giving them additional impact.

22. “Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners 

Dexy & The Midnight Runners gave us this gem on their 1982 release Too-Rye-Ay. 

There are so many elements about this song that simply shouldn’t work together but it somehow became an unlikely timeless hit for the group. 

With fiddles, pianos, banjos, accordions, and brass blended together into a strange brew it could have been a recipe for disaster.

It isn’t only the instrument selections that are odd either.

There are tempo changes throughout and key changes too. 

Somehow it sounds great and is a real crowd-pleaser and earworm!

The violin is prevalent from the first bar playing a huge part.

23. “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles

To be fair The Beatles have a few songs with violins that we could have chosen. 

But given its sad narrative and the way the instrument helps create that melancholia, we settled for “Eleanor Rigby”.

The sad track was musically inspired by Vivaldi, one of the greatest concerto composers and violinists of his time.

You can hear that the song was initially structured around the chamber of strings it had in mind. 

With four violins, two violas, and two cellos used to record, The Beatles orchestrated this masterpiece for their cutting lyrics.

24. “Our House” by Madness 

Something far more chipper to cheer you up after the loneliness explored in the miserable track above now…

Madness was known for their fun-loving ska rekindling in their pop tracks.

Some are less serious songs than others. 

“Our House” is actually a rather sweet and wholesome track with lyrics that center around a family spending time together.

Musically it is a little flat when compared to their other upbeat tracks. 

Aside from the heavy bass piano stabs and brass, the biggest level of interest is the violin motifs that drive the structure indicating the changes between sections. 

It is fun and light and the violins inject the perfect uplift to fit the song’s themes.

25. “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band 

This is yet another entry on our list that blurs the definition of a pop song.

But we can hardly discuss violins in popular music without mentioning the iconic track by The Charlie Daniels Band.

Reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart “The Devil Went Down To Georgia “ simply had to have a spot.

You are probably all familiar with the concept of the song’s narrative.

It tells of Johnny betting the Devil himself that he can play the fiddle better.

As the two battle with their violins, we are audibly treated to soloing that gets more complex after each verse.

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Spoiler alert: the cocky underdog wins.

There is probably no other “pop” song in which the violin is more prevalent.

26. “When Will I See You Again” by The Three Degrees

This seventies soul song is another that puts the violin to great use.

Although they are well below the vocal levels they play in a very lively manner beneath the girls.

There is no grand solo in the middle like some of the pop songs with violin we have already delved into but the instrument still feels vital to the track.

The strings are not just there for ambience, they play a multitude of motifs and hold an important place in the song.

27. “Look At Me Now” by Electric Light Orchestra

Another track for the seventies to discuss is “Look At Me Now”.

The rock song is considered a Halloween song with its dark lyrics. 

The narrative follows a woman meeting her executioner in a forest.

It is a great demonstration of how different the mood you can achieve with a violin can be.

We have seen many happy songs, euphoric songs, and fun songs, this is altogether much darker.

ELO are known for their interesting arrangements due to being multi-instrumentalists.

Their songwriting is often complex.

The string quartet is integral to the song, jolting, piercing, and strident.

Again this is not strictly a pop song with violin but given the popularity of the group and their repertoire, it earns itself a place in our rundown. 

28. “Young At Heart” by The Bluebells

Something less jarring than the ELO track above, more akin to the Rednex track we featured is “Young At Heart” by The Bluebells.

It is an uptempo track with a joyous feel.

The upbeat musical arrangement suits the lyrical content to a “T”.

The original track was by Bananarama and is decidedly different, but the happy nostalgic track was a hit for both groups.

The genre change has a country/folk-pop edge and so we get to hear some more traditional instruments than we do in the synth Bananarama version.

The fiddle is played throughout the rhythms are fast and intricate, it has a chipper tonality to it.

It almost sounds like it is smiling and laughing.

The instrument makes the track, it would be lacking something without that violin intro.

29. “Tripping Billies” by Dave Matthews Band

To say that DMB is a rock band is far too simple for the complexity and diversity of the music they make.

So we are including “Tripping Billie” in our list of pop songs with violins. 

The violin energetically cruises throughout the verses and takes the spotlight to let loose in the breaks between lyrics. 

It whisks and has an elating effect, it is high-tempo and high-spirited.

Giving the track a real celebrative and festive feel.

30. “Fly Robin Fly” by Silver Convention

The seventies brought us a diverse range of genres creeping into popular music.

But disco was inescapable.

With boogie rhythms, this soulful trio of divas brought us a fun mid-tempo track.

The violin riff is like the icing on the cake.

There are some lovely streaks throughout and stabs which would later go on to influence today’s pop and dance music.

A lot of disco music was far more energetic and high tempo, the violins are what give this one its energy. 

The song can be thought of in two sections, the dramatic change is almost like a shift to a separate track and the violin takes pride of place in both!

31. “Daddy Cool” by Boney M

While we are in disco territory we can’t forget the epic earworm of a violin riff that everyone recognizes in an instant with this one!

Released in ‘76 on the group’s Take the Heat off Me album it is one of their best-known and best-loved tracks. Though they have many!

The strings set the wheels in motion with a bold proud riff that continues throughout.

It develops later with some stunning flourishes.

32. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson

In a similar vein, we have a disco-style track from the King of Pop MJ, that also lets the violin shine in all its glory.

The track begins with a spoken-word intro over a bass and percussion break that creates anticipation.

What are we anticipating?

That magnificent violin motif.

It is powerful with a great presence in the mix and the tones are superb.

The violin really stands out against the short, rhythmic, funky playing of the other instruments.

33. “Fairytale” by Alexander Rybak

This one might not spring to mind for everyone but this pop song with violin won the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest for Alexander Rybak.

The youngster represented Norway and brought his fiddle along to impress the judges.

The violin is on the show right off the bat.

It is bowed beautifully in a glorious manner in the intro and chorus and plucked beneath the verses adding rhythmic diversity.

As with all Eurovision entries, it has a catchy pop vibe but still has a traditional folksy feel. 

Perfect considering the song’s lyrics are inspired by a creature of Scandinavian folklore known as Hulder. A beautiful female who lures young men and leaves them cursed!

34. “Hurricane” by Bob Dylan 

There was a time when rock was pop music before it morphed into the more commercial entity that we now know it to be. 

Bob Dylan was never a heavy rocker, anyway more of a wordsmith than anything else.

This 1976 track features violins and was hugely popular following its use in Dazed and Confused.

It was a protest song with a specific topic in mind.

Written about boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter who was wrongly imprisoned for three murders and spent 20 years of his life in prison. 

His arrest was motivated by racist cops, still a problem prevalent today sadly making Dylan’s words as relevant as it was fifties years ago.

The violin in the mix is sorrowful but serious, perfect for the track, and the solo is beautiful.

35. “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin 

We are finishing with a song that is a certified rock track, yes we know, the article is titled best pop songs with Violin but this concert staple is so iconic we couldn’t help ourselves!

The 1974 masterpiece from Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti album is one of the group’s most famous.

There are “violins o’ plenty” in its orchestral-style arrangement. 

The violins pulsate and lead the main sections of the track adding drama with every chromatically lifting triple stab.

We also get a sweet relief provided with a softer flourish that is far less weighty than the core chromatic builds and triumphant descents.

It is critically heralded and considered among the best songs of all time by many institutions.

Best Pop Songs With Violins – Final Thoughts

The violin is incredibly versatile as you will hopefully have seen demonstrated in the many pop songs with violin we have presented today.

A violin can be used subtly or dramatically to add an ambiance.

It can be supportive of the instrumentation and arrangement or steal the show with memorable riffs and virtuosic soloing.

We have had to bend the “pop” song rule a little to slip in some of our selections.

But we are sure you’ll forgive us when the violin playing is so integral to the track!

You may also like: Best Slow Pop Songs of All Time

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Will Fenton

Introduced to good music at a young age through my father. The first record I remember being played was "Buffalo Soldier" by Bob Marley, I must've been six years old. By the time I was seven, I was taking drum lessons once a week. The challenge but the euphoric feeling of learning a new song was addicting, and I suppose as they say the rest was history. Favorite album of all time? Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones Best gig you've ever been to? Neil Young at Desert Trip in 2016 Media mentions: Evening Standard Daily Mail

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