Ready to reminisce? Looking for the best songs for a memory video or old-times songs for a mixtape?
You’re in good company!
Prepare yourselves as we present our top 35 best songs about memories. Songs about good times to take you back to your youth or help drown out a present-day worry.
With lyrics full of memories talk a walk back to yesteryear as we recount songs about the past from all genres.
Countless songwriters draw on their personal experiences for song inspiration, and many of them do so looking back, the result is an abundance of music centered around enjoying the days gone by.
Though many are personal we can all find something to enjoy in each of these songs about reminiscing and memories.
1. Elvis Presley – “Memories”
A classic from the fifties hip-shaking crooner himself, chock-full of similes and comparisons that give his memories a bittersweet tinge.
He reminisces on past love and describes his memories as aging like fine wine. At the end of the day, they are all w really have and it is nice to look back from time to time.
2. Queen – “These Are The Days Of Our Lives”
“You can’t turn back the clock you can’t turn back the tide
Ain’t that a shame
I’d like to go back one time on a roller coaster ride
When life was just a game”
Queen gives us a walk down memory lane as they reflect on simpler times when the bad days were few and far between.
The lyrics remind us that we are making memories constantly and should remember that “these” could be the days of our lives that we reflect on later…
3. The Beatles – “In My Life”
We attach memories of people and specific moments to objects and places where we spent time together.
When it comes to songs about memories none explain the way that we still hold the same affection for people in our past quite as honestly.
“There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain”
4. Bruce Springsteen – “Glory Days”
Many songs about memories highlight trying to recapture your youth, something we are all guilty of trying every now and then.
This one does just that! It tells the narrative of a couple of friends from times gone by.
“Glory days well they’ll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl’s eye
Glory days, glory days”
We often think of acquaintances when we look back on good times.
5. Barbra Streisand – “The Way We Were”
Some memories are painful to relive, we can torture ourselves mentally. One of those meatier songs about memories that endeavors to present some of the trickier questions that can plague a mind when you look back…
“Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we?
Streisand delivers the emotion like a pro, and the lyrics are very poetic;
Of the smiles we left behind”
6. Bryan Adams – “Summer Of ’69”
“Those were the best days of my life”
We all have memories of the days we hold dear, the greatest moments or periods in our lives. Those are the memories we like to relive the most.
Adams’ power ballad recounts a fictional summer filled to the brim with memories.
7. Bon Jovi – “(You Want To) Make A Memory”
In what was one of the most soulful deliveries Bon Jovi has ever given us, we hear about an emotional memory-filled exchange between past lovers. Bon Jovi seductively asks “You wanna make a memory?” as he trawls through old photographs.
Nostalgia aside, it never hurts to want to make new memories.
8. Michael Jackson – “Remember The Time”
A fusion track released by the Prince of Pop…
Similar to Jovi reminiscing about past love, Jackson gives us his version of events with an upbeat, urban-infused mixture of edgy (for the time) R&B-come-hip-hop dance song about memories.
“Do you remember the time
When we fell in love?”
9. Earth, Wind & Fire – “September”
A dazzling disco track full of infectious grooves from seventies sensations Earth Wind & Fire. As you would expect it’s lively and infused with their unmistakable horn section.
The memories recounted in this one center around a specific date, which the writer says was simply chosen for the way it sounded rhythmically. His wife later shared that it was their son’s due date.
“Do you remember
The 21st night of September?
Love was changin’ the minds of pretenders
While chasin’ the clouds away”
10. David Guetta Feat. Kid Cudi – “Memories”
Kid Cudi lays down some memory-fuelled l bars over David Guetta’s track. He expresses the desire to let go of everything for one crazy right and make memories that last a lifetime.
Often the nights we remember are the ones that stand apart from the rest. His sentiments resonate with the youth of today, grab life and live it to the max …
Who doesn’t want a truckload of stories to tell when they are past their glory days?
11. Adele – “When We Were Young”
Adele gives us a reflective soul ballad, though the singer-songwriter has many songs about memories, we settled on this one as musically it has a real seventies vibe and it is nice to hear something different from the artist who has built herself a real household-style.
The lyrics are deep and provoking;
“Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were scared of getting old”
12. Maroon Five – “Memories”
This song about memories is in fact more of a song about loss. The lyrics speak of memories throughout and we can all relate to the opening lines conceptually speaking. The singer says the following;
“Here’s to the ones that we got
Cheers to the wish you were here, but you’re not”
To dub those who are no longer in our lives as “the wish you were here, but you’re not’ evokes strong imagery and heavily resonates. But, those we are missing who only live in our memories, don’t necessarily need to be dead, just old friends and acquaintances that have moved on.
13. Shawn Mendes – “Memories”
Memories are something we all have to hold on to so it should come as no surprise that the word itself is a strong one and needs very little explanation.
We all know what memories are, they are unique to the individual but a mutual idea, this is probably the reason for so many songs nostalgic songs being titled simply with the word memory or memories.
Mendes sings to his partner and encourages them to write their own story and leave their mark on this world in this pop-rock track.
“Let’s hang our pictures on the wall
All these precious moments
That we carved in stone
Are only memories after all”
14. Corinne Bailey Rae – “Put Your Records On”
The joyfully sweet tones of Corinne Bailey Rae trickle like honey all over this cute track with its lackadaisical guitar and urban-flavored beat.
She sings about her youth, playing double-dutch and enjoying life encouraging her ‘girlfriends’ to put their favorite records on and live life.
15. Sarah McLachlan – “I Will Remember You”
From the soundtrack of the movie “The Brothers McCullen”, this song about remembering is full of rhetorical questions and promises. Sometimes we reflect on relationships that ended for the wrong reasons. We regret walking away.
“Remember the good times that we had?
I let them slip away from us when things got bad”
The lyrics describe this well and are very deep in places.
16. Miranda Lambert – “Automatic”
Whilst the majority of songs about memories are personal and emotional reflections that statement doesn’t apply to this one.
Sure it is still packed to the rafters with retro references and is a past-tense playground but the topic of discussion centers around technology.
It is fair to say that tech evolves rapidly and the last couple of generations have seen enormous changes. Lambert reflects on the “Automatic” nature of the world we now live in comparing it to days gone by.
“If you had something to say
You’d write it on a piece of paper
Then you put a stamp on it
And they’d get it three days later”
17. Weezer – “Memories”
This track was written about the band’s downtime between shows, you go from the exhilarating rollercoaster peaks of touring and gigging to not really doing much at all. For the singer, this is when the memories are most important and they come flooding in.
A few of the members of Jackass lent their vocals for the backing of this one and after Ryan Dunn passed the video became super popular for featuring the skater.
18. John Denver – “Back Home Again”
Often we get a song written in the past tense when it is reflecting upon memories but Denver gives it to us in the present in real-time as he sings about the feelings you get when you go back home to visit and the memories stain the landscape.
“Hey, it’s good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend
Yes, ‘n, hey it’s good to be back home again”
19. Simon & Garfunkel – “Bookends”
From the soundtrack of “The Graduate”, Simon and Garfunkel deliver us a haunting song that lyrically only contains four lines that warn us to preserve our memories…
“Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories; They’re all that’s left you”
The lines are si poetic but simple and to the chilling point.
20. Dierks Bentley – “Every Mile a Memory”
This one is a potent country track that secured Bently his 4th number one record. The lyrics have a typical country style, with classic old dirt road themes.
They take the listener on a journey of reminiscing as the driver passes places that hold deep-rooted e memories of one girl in particular.
Like many of the other songs about memories that we have included in this round-up, the recurring theme is that there is a strong bond between location and the memory imprinted upon it.
21. Corey Tynan – “Hold Onto The Memories”
This one also goes by the title “The Graduation Song” because it is focused on that transitional period in life, a reflection of youth, and the embarkment on the adventure of adulthood.
“The sun has set
On everything we know
Friends we’ve made
I don’t want to let go”
The protagonist seems lost in his feelings, on the one hand, there is a sense of sadness and on the other, he asks if he keeps their memories can he use what he has learned as guidance for life ahead.
22. Thomas Rhett – “Remember You Young”
A nostalgic country song that the singer has filled with personal family references, delivered in a way that doesn’t alienate a listener outside of his circle.
The lyrics have a friendly, tongue-in-cheek feel as the protagonist acknowledges how all of his “buddies” have grown up into responsible adults but he still dares to remind them that not so long ago they were far from it.
The takeaway sentiment is that he will always remember them “young” because those were the good times.
23. Keith Urban – “Making Memories of Us”
This is one of those songs about memories that looks towards the future and promises to make memories that are fulfilling with the one he loves.
Keith Urban gives us some sweet lines full of romance as he confesses his undying love for the apple of his eye.
“And I’m gonna love you
Like nobody loves you
And I’ll earn your trust
Makin’ memories of us”
Some very strong promises (no seriously he declares he wants to die in her arms someday!).
24. Randy Houser – “Senior Year”
Most of us attend some sort of education and being a huge rite of passage it regularly crops up in our memory bank from time to time.
Randy Housner gives us a cheeky peek back at youth with this one which discusses poor, but ultimately fun decisions…
“Skippin’ school, smokin’ out
Spring break hell you can’t even talk about”
25. Leonard Cohen – “Memories”
This song is a little more sex-centered than many of Cohen’s tracks, it tells the narrative of teenage lust and trying to navigate the world of love during that time when you are not quite an adult…
He propositions a beautiful tall blonde girl in a high-school gym at a dance and tries his luck.
The lyrics are more risque than you might be used to from the singer;
“Just dance me to the dark side of the gym
Chances are I’ll let you do almost anything
I know you’re hungry, I can hear it in your voice
And there are many parts of me to touch, you have your choice”
26. Green Day – “Good Riddance”
Billy Joel urges us all to;
“Take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories, and dead skin on trial”
Our memories should be cherished, especially the good ones, he boils down his reasoning, hoping that at the end of the day, we will be able to say that we have had the time of our lives.
A top song about the good times for any nostalgic playlist in anyone’s books.
27. Amnesia – “5 Seconds of Summer”
Of course, we can’t have an article full of songs about memories without including one that expresses the memories you’d like to forget. When love ends abruptly, for whatever reason the memories left can be painful.
“5 Seconds of Summer” tells us that they are “not fine at all” and wonder how the other could have moved on so quickly as they remember things differently.
“The pictures that you sent me they’re still living in my phone
I’ll admit I like to see them, I’ll admit I feel alone”
28. OneRepublic – “Kids”
This electro-pop-rock track draws inspiration musically from the popular genres of the 80s decade.
Ryan Tedder explains that despite the uncertainty of what lies ahead he will never change and refuses to believe that the good old days have passed by yet!
The lyrics are very reflective making it one of those grade-a songs about memories with a personal touch.
We were sleeping in cars, we were searching for OZ
We were burning cigars with white plastics tips ’til we saw the sun”
29. Fall Out Boy – “Thnks fr the Mmrs”
This disemvoweled hit was a huge success for the band at the time. It is a song that focuses on the negative sides of fame.
The title was shortened sarcastically because the label had criticized the length of the band’s titles in the past.
“I’m looking forward to the future
But my eyesight is going bad
And this crystal ball
It’s always cloudy except for (except for)
When you look into the past (look into the past)”
As well as reminiscing it has this no-fear vibe in regards to the future whatever it may be.
30. Fun – “We Are Young”
This one was a surprise hit for the gang as the first recording was nowhere near as well-received, but in round two with fresh production and a new direction, it is a pumping anthemic track that reminds us to enjoy our days.
The narrative was initially inspired by a heavy night of drinking which didn’t end favorably. Though the song takes things in a different direction.
The drumbeat throughout is falling it is almost reminiscent of a call to arms, life and the memories we make are worth fighting for.
31. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – “Good Old Days”
“I wish somebody would have told me babe
Some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret”
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis take us through their thoughts, they echo a Joni Mitchell-style sentiment. Sometimes we don’t know what we had at the moment until we reflect upon it later.
Although it seems on the surface to be a little negative and tinged with regret it still presents an optimistic edge.
32. Babara Streisand – “Memory”
Typically songs from musical theatre don’t go down as well in the mainstream music industry, but this track was a big hit for Streisand.
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote this tune for ‘Grisabella’ an old moggy who is well past her prime as she reflects on when she was younger.
The words have a darkness to them and are in places depressing but paint a picture that many older women, in particular, may feel resonates.
The lyrics for “Memory” were adapted from “Rhapsody on a Windy Night” by T.S Elliot.
33. Nickleback – “Photograph”
Love them or hate them Nickelback’s “Photograph” is without a shadow of a doubt one of those songs about memories we had to include. You’ll simply have to accept it or pardon us, not sure which!
The lyrics are autobiographical and draw heavily from the singer’s real-life experiences.
He talks about his childhood and teen years and mentions many silly memories, which after all are the ones that spring to mind first when you think about y the friends of your youth.
34. Van Morrison – “Brown Eyed Girl”
“Hey, where did we go?”
As we grow up it is only when we reflect that we see how far we have come, we change on a subtle basis as people and sometimes we get to a point where we are no longer who we were. Van gives us some of his pressing questions in this sing-along, crowd-pleaser.
To Tuesday and so slow?”
35. Elton John – “Crocodile Rock”
Finally, we have saved a spot for this rock and roll number chock-full of nostalgia from none other than Sir Elton.
With delicious fifties flavoring, he gives us a fast-paced, rendition that reflects upon the earlier days of rock and roll which he believes brought better music.
“I remember when rock was young
Me and Susie had so much fun”
The Crocodile Rock in question is the signature sound that evolved into something totally different. It oozes Nostalgia for anyone who lived through the decade.
“But the years went by and the rock just died
Susie went and left us for some foreign guy”
Best Songs About Memories – Final Thoughts
And with that, we wrap our memories music playlist up and encourage you to dig through your own music to reminisce.
A song about memories will have you feeling nostalgic in no time. The throwback styles of music, expressions that may have long since gone out of fashion, and the shoutouts to items that are no longer in production.
The music videos that accompany them are also usually great fun to watch as well.
If you find yourself needing to throw together something commemorative, hopefully with our eclectic list of songs about memories you will have the soundtrack you need to accompany your retro pics!
Why do songs remind us of memories?
Songs can evoke memories and emotions due to the way our brains process music. The auditory cortex, which processes sound, is located close to the hippocampus and amygdala, brain regions that are responsible for memory and emotions. When we hear a song that we associate with a particular event or time in our lives, the brain connects the music to the memories and emotions associated with that experience. This is why hearing a certain song can trigger vivid memories and feelings from the past, even years after the original event occurred.
Why does a certain song remind you of someone?
A certain song can remind you of someone due to the strong emotional associations that music can create. If you heard a particular song frequently with someone you know, it can become linked with that person in your mind. Additionally, if the lyrics or melody of a song evokes memories of a shared experience with that person, the song can trigger associations with them. Furthermore, the emotions associated with the person or experience may become linked with the song, so hearing it can bring back those emotions and memories. The combination of these factors can cause a particular song to become strongly associated with a specific individual in your mind.
What are some songs about memories with friends?
Some good songs about memories with friends are “What About Your Friends” by TLC, “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen, and “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts.