More Songs About Following Your Dreams

I love big, loud, inspiring songs about pursuing your dreams–whatever dream matters most to you.  Apparently quite a few other people do too, because my post on the subject has been one of my most popular.  So I thought–why not a follow-up?

My last post featured two of my favorites, “A Piece of Sky” sung by Michael Crawford, and “Santa Fe” from Newsies.  Here are a handful of other particularly inspiring ones!  As usual with songs, links will take you to a song video.

It’s a Long Way Up” by Barry Manilow

If Barry Manilow has any recurring theme in his songs besides “I loved her and I lost her” it’s about chasing dreams, and “It’s a Long Way Up” is just about perfect–loud, defiant, determined.

“Don’t give up the dream, you know it’s dark before the dawn.
When you think you just can’t take it, you see, that’s when you’ll make it.
But you got to fight a little harder, you got to push a little more,
You got to gamble everything you’ve got to get you through the door,
‘Cause it’s a long way up when you’re coming from nowhere.”

Just apply it to whatever you’re struggling with, and sing it loudly!

Just Around the River Bend” from Disney’s Pocahontas

I love Pocahontas’ exhilarated singing as she thinks about choosing a safe path, but can’t resist the call of her dreams somewhere in her future – “why do all my dreams extend, just around the river bend?”

Before the Parade Passes By” from Hello, Dolly

A large-scale production number about stepping out and embracing life: “I need a goal again, I need a drive again, I want to feel my heart coming alive again…before the parade passes by.”  In this clip, Streisand doesn’t get properly enthused until 3:40 into the video, but it was the only one I could find.

Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl

Another Streisand song, this is all about charging ahead even if you fail–and don’t let anyone deter you: “Don’t tell me not to fly, I’ve simply got to.  If someone takes a spill it’s me and not you.  Who told you you’re allowed to rain on my parade?”

Defying Gravity” from Wicked

This song did more to make me like and understand Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, than Maguire’s entire 500 page book.  Elphaba has decided to cast off ties, cast off restraints, and set out to change her life and the world, defying all limits along the way.

“I’m through accepting limits because someone says they’re so.
Some things I cannot change, but ’til I try I’ll never know…

And so if you care to find me, look to the Western sky.
As someone told me, they believe everyone deserves a chance to fly.
And if I’m flying solo, at least I’m flying free.
To those who’d ground me, take a message back from me–
Tell them how I am defying gravity.
I’m flying high, defying gravity!”

A surprising predominance of soundtracks, which I didn’t realize until I assembled this list–maybe it means I need to look farther afield.  What would you recommend? 🙂

About cherylmahoney

I'm a book review blogger and Fantasy writer. I have published three novels, The Wanderers; The Storyteller and Her Sisters; and The People the Fairies Forget. All can be found on Amazon as an ebook and paperback. In my day job, I'm the Marketing Specialist for Yolo Hospice. Find me on Twitter (@MarvelousTales) and GoodReads (MarvelousTales).
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4 Responses to More Songs About Following Your Dreams

  1. I’d heard them all except the Manilow one. Good choices. Funny that both Streisand songs are about parades!

    Garth Brooks is my favorite singer, and he does this sort of song well. “The River” and “Standing Outside the Fire” are two of my favorites.

    Then there’s this one, which I consider to be the greatest and most quintessential country song:
    Amarillo by Morning” by George Strait.

    It’s about doing what you love even if it doesn’t give back anything to you. It’s actually a sad one, but there’s hope at the end, as this line always gets to me:
    “I ain’t got a dime but what I got is mine. I ain’t rich, but Lord I’m free.”

    • Thanks for sharing your favorites too! I especially liked “Standing Outside the Fire.”

      You know, I didn’t even put the two parades together…maybe because “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is so much more metaphorical. But you’re right, parades in both! Why didn’t I think of that? 🙂

  2. dianem57 says:

    Those are all so inspirational! You’ve got a good cross-section there. I guess many come from movie or theater sound tracks because they fit in with the story being told. Inspirational songs aren’t usually “stand alone” pop standards – they need a context. Great choices.

    • Good point–a lot of stand-alone pop standards cover a limited range of themes, mostly about romantic love. Sometimes we need the context of a soundtrack to explore something different.

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