10 classic songs to pump you up


Daniel Bethke

Original logo design and illustration by Paula Scher and Roger Huyssen for the band Boston’s 1976 debut record.

Daniel Bethke, Staff Writer

1. “Peace of Mind”- Boston

With its freewheeling guitar riff, soaring vocals and stellar harmony, there’s no song more rich and fulfilling than this one. Remarkably, this song was actually recorded and mixed (though not played) by only one person, Tom Scholz, in his basement home studio. Even the lyrics themselves contain a powerful message: that life is not about a rat race to the top of the corporate ladder and is instead about being at peace with oneself and enjoying the ride. Overall, this tune is an incredibly catchy and powerful one that’s sure to brighten up your day.

2. “Don’t Stop”- Fleetwood Mac

This song is quite jovial and inspiring — it was even played at the 1993 inaugural ball. Not only the lyrics sound inspiring, though. Even the rich guitar tone is inspiring enough to immediately draw someone’s attention. Thanks to this song’s extraordinary quality, it is very difficult to resist the temptation to clap or sing along.

3. “Fantasy”- Aldo Nova

Rarely does a song have more power and energy than this one. Perfect for playing loudly, this tune has an intense melody with delicate and sharp, punctual singing. The synthesizers blend with the booming guitars to create a simply unparalleled musical tone. Combining arena and progressive rock, “Fantasy” is a fantastic rock radio staple.

4. “Owner of a Lonely Heart”- Yes

This song is a production masterpiece! All the parts of the song flow together quite smoothly. The powerful guitar work combined with encouraging lyrics creates a calming yet very motivational tune. As a bonus, there are even a plethora of sound effects which makes this sound like it could be part of an action movie soundtrack.

5. “Take Me Home Tonight”- Eddie Money

An epic 80s pop hit, “Take Me Home Tonight” starts out relatively calm and tempered, but it quickly transitions into a galvanizing, hopeful work of art. The song features guest singer Ronnie Spector and turns into an easygoing, impactful song. If anything from this song will stay with you, it will be the extremely memorable chorus.

6. “Rainbow in the Dark”- Dio

When it’s dark, there are no rainbows. Here, you might as well be completely alone. Ultimately, that’s what this song is about — isolation. Just like the title itself, the character in the song feels trapped and isolated, unable to release their tremendous potential. One can hear this in the ‘toughness’ of the song and the rapid synthesizer rhythm. It conveys a sense of urgency and tenseness, something essential for personal motivation.

7. “I Can’t Drive 55”- Sammy Hagar

This song, known in equal quantities for the music video and music itself, is simple and yet wonderful in its delivery. The main ‘story’ behind the song is that someone despises the current speed limit and wants to live according to their own rules. “I Can’t Drive 55” is just a fun song with a huge, attack-heavy tone. Truly, this is the perfect song to listen to while driving on a highway… until you get pulled over for speeding, of course.

8. “Crazy on You”- Heart

In this song, Heart manages to convey the common song theme of romance in a dramatic, pioneering way through the combination of a soft acoustic sound and a loud, crunchy sounding electric guitar. The punctilious guitar work in this song, coupled with the perfect synchronization of vocals by singers Ann and Nancy Wilson overall creates a jolting rhythm sure to stick with you.

9. “Livin’ on a Prayer”- Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi’s signature song, “Livin’ on a Prayer” follows hard-working couple Tommy and Gina as they work to persevere through their life struggles. The bassline and percussion on this work not only give this song a roaring, biting sound, but they also make this tune the perfect stadium or arena chant. “Livin’ on a Prayer” is a wonderful rock song, especially for anyone who finds relatability in the characters’ struggles.

10. “867-5309/Jenny”- Tommy Tutone

Finally, this last song is another powerful 80s pop song that features very innovative guitar work. The main riff is actually played a quarter step high, meaning that the song can reach musical pitches and intervals that are incredibly rare in standard Western music. Combining this with the incredibly memorable, easygoing chorus makes “8675309/ Jenny” a tune that motivates and positively influences its listeners beyond the capacity of most others.