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Music is a universal time machine. It has the power to transport us back to significant moments in our lives, allowing us to relive those memories.
Songs can also remind you of significant people, whether they are still present in your life or no longer part of it.
Even though you may have already moved on, just hearing the opening notes of a song can bring back a flood of memories associated with former relationships.
The experiences you’ve had and people you’ve met along the way have helped shape who you are right now.
In today’s article, we’re sharing a collection of songs about memories to help you celebrate and honor the most important part of who you are.
If you’re ready, let’s take a walk down memory lane.
1. Glory Days, Bruce Springsteen
“Glory days, yeah, they'll pass you by. Glory days, in the wink of a young girl's eye.”
Let’s start with a song that was on Billboard’s Hot 100 when it was released in 1985.
In this song, a man recalls, with bittersweet nostalgia, his days in high school. He thinks of the people he knew during that time.
This song is about that point in time when we recount our past experiences, perhaps with a tinge of regret and nostalgia. We reminisce about how good those times were.
“Memory, all alone in the moonlight I can dream of the old days. Life was beautiful then. I remember the time I knew what happiness was. Let the memory live again.”
This song is a cover of the show tune with the same title composed by Andrew Lloyd Weber, which was one of the songs for the Cats musical, first shown in 1981.
In this song, the narrator reminisces about when she had a good life. She recounts the moments when life was beautiful and she was happy. She also begs to be accepted by her peers.
“So, it's the laughter we will remember whenever we remember the way we were.”
This song won a couple of Academy Awards in 1974.
It is a bittersweet song, where a woman reminisces about a past relationship that was tumultuous and often filled with pain.
However, the narrator chooses to remember the happy memories she made together with the person she once loved.
“Remember when we said when we turned gray, when the children grow up and move away. We won't be sad. We'll be glad for all the life we've had. And we'll remember when.”
Alan Jackson took inspiration from his family life when writing this song. It takes the form of a conversation with his wife.
In this song, he recalls a time in the past when they talked about how they’d feel when their children were grown. Now, they are at that point where they can actually reminisce about those things.
“Campbell's chicken noodle soup when you stay home from school. Remember watching MTV when there was still music for you? Just a kid on Cholla Street from my city built in the sand. My father said, ‘You'll be a man, be a man, be a man.’”
If you grew up in the 1990s, this song might make you nostalgic. It has a number of references to popular culture icons and events of that decade.
This song is also about the painful realities of life and growing up.
6. Memories, Maroon 5
“Here's to the ones that we got. Cheers to the wish you were here, but you're not. ‘Cause the drinks bring back all the memories of everything we've been through. Toast to the ones here today. Toast to the ones that we lost on the way. ‘Cause the drinks bring back all the memories. And the memories bring back, memories bring back you.”
Here’s a song that honors the people who were part of our lives, but are no longer with us. It is also a reflection on past experiences.
“With all those pictures hanging side by side, forgotten memories from another time. And all the places that I've been before, couple magnets, recipes, and Polaroids. Yeah, but that's my life on the ‘frigerator door.”
Our lives can sometimes be summarized with a montage of photographs.
In this song, a man reminisces about his life, and the time when several items, including old pictures and some recipes, were placed on his refrigerator door.
These items may seem trivial to others, but to the man, they represent treasured memories from his life.
“All my best memories come back clearly to me. Some can even make me cry just like before. It's yesterday once more.”
This song demonstrates the power of music to transport us back to memorable moments in our lives.
According to this song, music has the power to evoke deep emotions in us, even moving the narrator to tears with the lyrics and melody.
“Once beneath the stars, the universe was ours. Love was all we knew, and all I knew was you. I wonder if you know, I wonder if you think about it. Once upon a time, in your wildest dreams.”
We can’t help but remember the people who were once part of our lives. This song is about wondering how a former romantic partner is doing after years of being separated from them.
There is a hint of wistfulness as the narrator wonders if his former lover also thinks about him from time to time.
10. I Remember You, Skid Row
“Remember yesterday, walking hand in hand. Love letters in the sand, I remember you. And through the sleepless nights, through every endless day I'd wanna hear you say, I remember you.”
A good number of songs about memories are about moments shared together with past loves.
This song recalls a special person that the narrator definitely hasn’t forgotten, even after all the years that have passed.
“Every mile, a memory, every song, another scene from some old movie going back in time, you and me. Every day, a page turned down, every night, a lonesome sound. Like a freight train rolling through my dreams, every mile, a memory.”
This song alludes to the adage, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”
In it, the narrator misses someone and reminisces about their time together. The lyrics take inspiration from Bentley’s life, at the time when he was newly married and had to leave home to tour as a musician.
12. Some Things Never Change (Frozen 2 OST), Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff
“Some things never change. Turn around and the time has flown. Some things stay the same, though the future remains unknown. May our good luck last. May our past be past. Time's moving fast, it's true. Some things never change and I'm holding on tight to you.”
This song is about the passage of time, the experiences we’ve shared with loved ones, and the hope that things will stay the same in the future.
It is a reminder to cherish each moment you spend with loved ones to tide you over when times change.
“Everything is very quiet. Everyone has gone to sleep. I'm wide awake on memories. These memories can't wait.”
This is an urgent call to remember the past. It’s almost as, if we don’t pay attention to the memories, they’ll forever disappear and be forgotten.
14. I Will Remember You, Sarah McLachlan
“I will remember you. Will you remember me? Don't let your life pass you by. Weep not for the memories.”
This bittersweet song is about a person’s memory of someone she cared about in the past. Even though the person is gone from her life, she still remembers them.
The narrator expresses her regret that the two of them weren’t able to express what they truly felt for each other when they were still together.
Nevertheless, she understands that the memories they shared shouldn’t stop her from moving on.
“Old photographs and places I remember. Just like a dying ember that's burned into my soul.”
In this song, the narrator is aware of the passage of time and reminisces about a person he used to love. He also remembers the good old days, when life was simpler.
These memories are kept fresh in his mind by the photographs he keeps of those times.
“Every memory of looking out the back door. I had the photo album spread out on my bedroom floor. It's hard to say it, time to say it. Goodbye, goodbye.”
Here’s another song where pictures serve as the gateway to the past. Here, the narrator reminisces about his hometown and childhood/youth, and several old photographs help jog his memory of those years.
This song is also a reflection about choices. The narrator wonders if life would have been better if he’d made different choices or if it’s better to accept things as they are, finally saying goodbye to the past?
“Even when love has come and gone and our hearts have moved along, I will remember. There was a time we had the trust and that always was enough. I will remember. I will remember you.”
This song is a recollection of a former love. Even when the relationship is over, the narrator vows to always keep the person in his memory.
“When I think about you, I think about 17. I think about my old Jeep. I think about the stars in the sky. Funny how a melody sounds like a memory, like the soundtrack to a July Saturday night. Springsteen.”
In this song, a guy remembers a former girlfriend. A particular song triggers the memory of those days, once again validating the power of music to transport us to another time.
There are many allusions in this song to Bruce Springsteen, including his song Glory Days, which is also about memories of the past.
“I dug up this old photograph. Look at all that hair we had. It’s bittersweet to hear you laugh. Your phone is ringing, I don’t wanna ask.”
In this song, the narrator catches up with a former romantic partner. He shows a photograph of the two of them and bittersweet memories come flooding in.
Tithe narrator invites his former partner to stay with him, offering to write her a song just so she can stay a bit longer.
“I, I’ll keep a picture of you on the wall, of you on the wall and choke on the memories. I’ll keep a message of you if you call, of you if you call and choke on the memories.”
The memory of a loved one who’s gone from our lives can make us choke up.
This song is about remembering a former romantic partner. The relationship is over, but the narrator still hangs on to the possibility that this person will contact them again.
Even if their interaction would bring back bad memories, they will cherish the idea of a possible reunion.
“Let's write our story. And let's sing our song. Let's hang our pictures on the wall. All these precious moments that we carved in stone are only memories after all.”
This song is about remembering the times you shared with someone special.
Everything that happens will one day be a memory—even those experiences and emotions we once thought were permanent.
“Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind. Memories, sweetened through the ages just like wine.”
This song is a tribute to the memories we share with special people in our lives. There is often a wistfulness to return to those happy moments.
Those happy memories become a salve as the years go by, and they can be recalled with happiness.
“We were wannabe rebels who didn't have a clue. In our rock ‘n' roll T-shirts, and our typically bad attitudes. Had no excuses for the things that we'd done. We were brave, we were crazy, we were mostly young…”
Ah, to be young and free from responsibilities! This song reminisces about youth and those carefree days when no one expected you to be responsible.
You were free to be yourself and make mistakes that became lessons for growth.
“And I'm on my way, I still remember these old country lanes. When we did not know the answers. And I miss the way you make me feel and it's real. We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill.”
In this song, the narrator recalls heartwarming memories about his youth spent in a place where he felt he truly belonged. This song is also about longing to go back to that place one considers to be their home.
“Now I'm far away, these memories still remain. Now I'm far away, you stay with me the same.”
In this song, the narrator reminisces about the wonderful times he shared with friends. Even when they are far apart, the memories of their time together keep their friendship strong.
“Those were the days of our lives, yeah. The bad things in life were so few. Those days are all gone now, but one thing's still true. When I look and I find I still love you.”
This song reminds us to cherish the beautiful moments in our lives. They will be a source of joy in the years to come.
This song also acknowledges that we will all encounter difficult moments. But hopefully there’s won’t be a lot of them!
“As we go on, we remember all the times we had together. And as our lives change, come whatever, we will still be friends forever.”
This is the quintessential graduation song, where the shared experiences of a graduating class are honored, along with their individual dreams.
Even when friends go their separate ways to fulfill their personal goals, they promise to remember the times they’ve shared and remain friends.
“We're gonna have some good times with good friends, making good memories. A little bit of sunshine and good vibes. Yeah, that's all we need. And we ain't gonna worry, ain't in a hurry. Everything is going our way. We're gonna have some good times with good friends, making good memories.”
This song pays tribute to good friends and the wonderful memories shared with them. It reminds us that these wonderful memories often come from the simplest activities, where the emphasis is on being present in the moment.
“Though summer turns to winter and the present disappears, the laughter we were glad to share will echo through the years. When other nights and other days may find us gone our separate ways, we'll have these moments to remember.”
This song is about a group of friends who shared a lot of good times together. These experiences create enough wonderful memories to last them a lifetime.
More importantly, the experiences keep their bond strong, even when they go their separate ways.
“We keep this love in a photograph. We made these memories for ourselves. Where our eyes are never closin', hearts are never broken. And time's forever frozen still.”
In this song, a photograph serves as a reminder of a loved one who’s gone away.
The relationship may have gone through some ups and downs, but there is a wish for time to stand still and only happy memories to be preserved, just like in a photograph.
“Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end. We'd sing and dance forever and a day. We'd live the life we choose. We'd fight and never lose. For we were young and sure to have our way. La la la la…”
This is a recollection of those times when a person was young and carefree, without a thought for what the future might bring. However, young people eventually grow old. Now, the singer finds themselves dealing with the demands of life.
When they meet with their friends again, they reminisce about the good times they shared in the past.
“Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play? I don't remember growing older. When did they? When did she get to be a beauty? When did he grow to be so tall? Wasn't it yesterday when they were small?”
In this song, a father has a fond recollection of the time when his children were still little. Now, he realizes—with a certain amount of pride—that they’ve grown.
He also realizes that he’s getting older. He marvels at the passage of time and the cycle of the seasons of life.
“The laughter and the tears, the shadows of misty yesteryears. The good times and the bad you've seen and all the others in between. Remember. Do you remember the times of your life?”
This song encourages listeners to look back on their lives and recall significant moments.
What moments were joyful? Which periods of their lives were more sorrowful than others?
Expressing gratitude is one way of honoring those moments.
“There are places I'll remember, all my life, though some have changed. Some forever, not for better. Some have gone and some remain.”
This song is a stroll down memory lane. In it, the narrator shares his recollections about the places he’s been, as well as memories of a person he loved and cannot forget.
“After taking every detour, gettin' lost and losin' track so that even if I wanted, I could not find my way back. After drivin' out the memory of the way things might have been. After I'd forgotten all about us, the song remembers when.”
Sometimes, we wish to erase a memory because of the pain it brings.
However, this song shows the power of a song to bring even the most unwelcome memories back.
In it, a woman tries everything in her power to forget a failed relationship and a lost love. However, when she least expects it, she hears a song that brings back all the memories of this painful part of her life.
“Hurry, don't be late. I can hardly wait. I said to myself when we're old, we'll go dancing in the dark, walking through the park, and reminiscing.”
While the narrator in the previous song has to deal with a painful recollection, this next song is quite the opposite. It is about a happy memory of the past shared with the person one loves.
In it, the narrator recalls with joy the early days of his relationship with his girlfriend. Years have passed since then, and the happiness he feels hasn’t waned.
“Deep in December it's nice to remember, although you know the snow will follow. Deep in December it's nice to remember, without the hurt the heart is hollow. Deep in December it's nice to remember the fire of September that made us mellow. Deep in December our hearts should remember and follow.”
This song is a reminder that difficult experiences are important. We need to appreciate those painful memories, as they are necessary for us to develop inner strength and the capacity to love deeply.
“I keep holdin' on to yesterday. I keep holdin' on enough to say that I'm wrong, wrong, wrong to keep holdin' on. My yesterdays have all gone by.”
Sometimes, we feel a deep regret for things we did or didn’t do in the past.
In this song, the narrator finds that his actions in the past are now haunting him. The realization that he made a mistake by letting go of a person he truly loves comes too late.
“Did lovers really fall in love to stay and stand beside each other come what may? Was a promise really somethin' people kept, not just somethin' they would say? Did families really bow their heads to pray? Did daddies really never go away? Whoa-oh, Grandpa, tell me 'bout the good old days.”
Seeing how people struggle in today’s society can often make one wish to go back to the “good old days,” when many people believed in family values.
In this song, a girl pleads for her grandpa to tell her about wonderful days when families did things together and parents were both present in the child’s life.
“Thinkin' 'bout those sunsets that bled into jean jacket nights, those tangled up mornings lost in paradise. Still drunk on the feeling when I close my eyes. You're pulling me closer, your head on my shoulder. We'd never let go and we'd never be over.”
This is a wistful song about a relationship that has long been over. However, the narrator wishes he was still with the person he loved, so he recalls the happy memories he shared with her.
“Well, I'm not the kind to live in the past. The years run too short and the days too fast. The things you lean on are the things that don't last. Well, it's just now and then, my line gets cast into these time passages. There's something back here that you left behind Oh, time passages. Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight.”
This song is about remembering things from the past.
These memories may or may not be important, but the mind churns out this movie about who you were, and you’re the only one who can decide what lessons to take from those past experiences.
Music has the power to evoke emotions, spur us to action, and even take us back to the past.
Hopefully, this collection of songs about memory inspired you to celebrate your past, because it has had a major influence on the person that you are today.
If you enjoyed today’s article, you might want to check out the following posts featuring songs compiled for a specific topic:
- 43 Best Songs About Happiness and Good Times
- 57 Best Songs About Home: Leaving, Missing, and Coming Home
- 41 Best Songs About Life & the Lessons Along the Way