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Top 10 Friendship Songs

Love songs seem to be everywhere in pop music. Songs about friendship, a special type of love, are a little more rare. However, there are still many to choose from. Enjoy this list of 10 of the best, and share any of your favorites that you think are left out.

1. “You’ve Got a Friend” – James Taylor – 1971

James Taylor - Mud Slide Slim and the Blue HorizonCourtesy Warner Bros.

This song was written by Carole King and included on her landmark album Tapestry released in 1971. The definitive version was recorded by King’s friend James Taylor and his recording of “You’ve Got a Friend” hit #1 in 1971. It is Taylor’s only #1 pop single.

“You’ve Got a Friend” has been recorded many times since by artists ranging from Barbra Streisand to Yemeni singer Ofra Haza. Few other songs come close to this song’s simple poignance of friends helping and supporting each other.


2. “Thank You for Being a Friend” – Andrew Gold – 1978

Andrew Gold - All This and Heaven TooCourtesy Asylum Records

An entire generation knows this song as the theme song to the TV show Golden Girls from a version recorded by Cindy Fee. However, the song first entered the public conscience in a 1978 version by the song’s writer, pop musician Andrew Gold. The song is a perfect expression of gratitude to those treasured people we call friends.


3. “Lean On Me” – Bill Withers – 1972

Bill Withers - Still BillCourtesy Sussex Records

Soul legend Bill Withers introduced this song in the early 1970’s It went straight to #1 on the pop chart and became a contemporary pop standard. Club Nouveau took it back to #1 in 1987 with a more upbeat version.


4. “I’ll Be There for You” – The Rembrandts – 1995

Rembrandts - I'll Be There For YouCourtesy Atlantic Records

Best known as the theme song for the TV series Friends, “I’ll Be There for You” was written specifically for the show by Michael Skloff and Allee Willis. There were no plans initially to release the song as a single, but demand from fans eventually forced the Rembrandts to record a full-length version and the song, in a commercial version, reached the pop top 20. In a similar vein to the show, “I’ll Be There for You” celebrates the humor in friendship.


5. “Put Your Records On” – Corinne Bailey Rae – 2006

Corinne Bailey RaeCourtesy EMI

The song that brought Corinne Bailey Rae to the attention of pop fans around the world is a glowing tribute to friendship. Only a true friend would sing to you a song of support like this.


6. “That’s What Friends Are For” – Dionne Warwick and Friends – 1986

Dionne Warwick - FriendsCourtesy Arista

This classic affirmation of the support friendship provides was first recorded by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack to the movie Night Shift in 1982. The song was written by legends Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. Dionne Warwick entered the studio with Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder to record the song as a benefit for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, and pop music history was made. The single spent 4 weeks at #1 and earned 2 Grammy Awards.


7. “Wind Beneath My Wings” – Bette Midler – 1989

Soundtrack - BeachesCourtesy Atlantic Records

This song had a rather humble beginning. It was written by Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar and was first recorded in 1982. Lou Rawls brought it into the pop singles chart at #65 in 1983. Country singer Gary Morris took it into the country top 10 the same year. However, it was Bette Midler’s performance of the song as a eulogy for a friend in the movie Beaches that made the song an unforgettable classic. “Wind Beneath My Wings” won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.


8. “With a Little Help From My Friends” – Beatles – 1967

Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club BandCourtesy Capitol

Yes, indeed, friends can help get you through times of romantic trouble. Just ask Ringo. “With a Little Help From My Friends,” in its definitive version by the Beatles, was never released as a single. However, Joe Cocker took a version of the song onto the pop charts in 1968.




9. “Umbrella” – Rihanna – 2007

Rihanna featuring Jay-Z - UmbrellaCourtesy Def Jam

There is a bittersweet tone to Rihanna’s megahit “Umbrella,” but at the core of the song is a salute to the enduring power of friendship.


10. “Kind & Generous” – Natalie Merchant – 1998

Natalie Merchant - OpheliaCourtesy Elektra

“Kind & Generous” is a multi-purpose thank you song, but it works as an elegant and eloquent thank you to friends.




October 22, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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