I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor

"I Will Survive" was originally released in 1979 as the B-side to Gloria Gaynor’s disco version of the old Righteous Brothers’ "Substitute," but became a worldwide hit when radio disc jockeys played it instead. The song's lyrics describe her discovery of personal strength following an initially devastating breakup and is delivered with increasing confidence and backed by a stirring instrumental accompaniment – but no backup singers, unique during that period. One of the most famous disco songs of all time, it remains Gaynor's biggest hit – and an anthem for those determined not to be defeated by lost love.

-R. Kerby

Chariots of Fire Theme - Vangelis

“Chariots of Fire” is the haunting 1981 musical score by Greek composer Vangelis for the inspiring movie of the same name which won four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Original Music Score. The piece, actually named “Titles,” topped the Billboard 200 for four weeks and stayed on the list for 97 weeks, selling three million copies. Vangelis played all the instruments, including synthesizers, acoustic piano and percussion -- and recorded the score himself in his small studio in London. He performs in public rarely, only six known times since 1986 – each time performing “Chariots of Fire” although he has multiple other movie themes to his credit.

-R. Kerby

Don't Stop Believin' - Journey

This song is considered, by most, as Journey’s signature song. Blockbuster hits like The Wedding Singer and Bedtime Stories and episodes of Glee and Family Guy have aired the free spirited anthem. The song was released in 1981 and has continued to inspire people to keep believing and never giving up no matter what happens. Everyone has a story and is trying to make their way in life. Today, the epic song is still one of the top ten most downloaded songs. The words don’t stop believing have the ability to resonate with anyone that has a dream or goal that they want to achieve in life.

-A. Guzman

I'll Be There - Jackson 5

Everybody needs a friend – someone to come along side you and say, “No matter what, I’m stickin’ with you.” Songs that express that sentiment always touch my heart and “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5 is on the top of that list. In the song, the young Jacksons pledge their devotion to a loved one to help them, come what may. My favorite part of the song is this: “And oh, I'll be there to comfort you / Build my world of dreams around you… / I'll be there with a love so strong / I'll be your strength / I'll keep holdin' on.” It brings a smile to my face and reminds me to give that kind of loyalty to the ones I love.

-J. Jones

Hero - Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff collaborated to write the song which was originally intended for Gloria Estefan. Initially, Mariah did not feel like the song fit her and was her style but her musical team encouraged her to keep the song and make it her own. After adding more of a pop and R&B feel to the song, Mariah recorded it and it is now one of her most famous songs. Even though we may feel discouraged or down at times, in reality we are heroes if we look within and channel our individual inner strength. Even though it may be challenging at times, if you’re patient you will find your way.

-A. Guzman

All You Need Is Love - The Beatles

This chart topping hit by The Beatles has a strong and encouraging message that everyone should believe in. Love is the foundation for everything and if you have love then anything is possible. It’s uplifting to think that love, something invisible to the eye, is such a strong force that can change lives and inspire us to be better human beings. Love can help you do whatever you dream of or want out of life. The great thing about love is that it can be between anyone and still be an inspirational driving force that changes lives. Everyone falls in love with the idea of love because it evokes adrenaline and preservation from within the soul because The Beatles are right, “All you need is love.”

-A. Guzman

Stand By Me - Ben E. King

I believe everyone is looking for that one person in life who will never leave your side and stick even closer when things get tough. The 1961 hit by Ben E. King put that feeling into music with “Stand By Me”. In the second verse, he sings, “If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall / Or the mountain should crumble to the sea / I won't cry, I won't cry, no, I won't shed a tear / Just as long as you stand, stand by me.” The comfort of a forever friend inspires us to seek those relationships that can weather any storm and endure the impossible with grace and love.

-J. Jones

Eye of the Tiger - Survivor

The song was written at the request of actor Sylvester Stallone, after he was denied the permission to use Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” for the Rocky III movie. The song embodies survival and encourages everyone to never give up your fight no matter what obstacles are presented. “It’s the eye of the tiger It’s the thrill of the fight Risin’ up to the challenge Of our rival And the last known survivor.” These lyrics embody the will to keep fighting and to never let things get in your way of achieving a goal. The song will forever live as an iconic song for the Rocky series; moreover for anyone who is willing to overcome any obstacles that they face.

-A. Guzman

I Believe I Can Fly - R. Kelly

I think that everyone can relate to “I Believe I Can Fly” because everyone has moments where they feel like nothing in life is going right and that nothing makes sense. If we all took a moment to self reflect, then we would be able to make the change and gain the inspiration that’s necessary to achieve our goals and aspirations. The key to our dreams and success is to believe and dream about ourselves. In order for the world to realize the self worth that we’re capable of, we must first recognize and acknowledge that something special about ourselves before others can see and appreciate it. The great thing about this song is that it is inspirational to everyone and resonates with the average person that is having issues and needs guidance.

-A. Guzman

You've Got A Friend

I remember exactly where I was when I picked up a copy of Carole King’s landmark album Tapestry. I was in my early 20s in a now defunct bookstore chain in Tulsa, OK. The moment I took the album home and played it, I knew I was listening to a part of music history. Of all the epic, career-making songs on that album, including "I Feel the Earth Move", "So Far Away" and "It's Too Late", tucked away in the middle of Tapestry is the original version of “You’ve Got a Friend”. It’s an ode to friendship and being there when the world comes crashing in. The first verse gives hope that such a relationship can “brighten even the darkest night”. She sings, “You just call out my name / And you know wherever I am / I'll come running to see you again / Winter, spring, summer or fall / All you have to do is call / And I'll be there / You've got a friend”.

-J. Jones

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