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Top 40 Graduation Songs Of All Time

The Best Songs for Graduation and Commencement Ceremonies and Parties


10. Black Eyed Peas - "I Gotta Feeling"

Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feelin'
Courtesy Interscope

There is no better song to kick off an evening of celebration than this instant classic from the Black Eyed Peas. Use it to kick off your graduation celebration.

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9. R. Kelly - "I Believe I Can Fly"

R. Kelly - "I Believe I Can Fly"
Courtesy Jive

If you have a choir at your graduation ceremony, this is the perfect song to give them to sing. It is pure inspiration for the future.

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8. Cyndi Lauper - "True Colors"

Cyndi Lauper - "True Colors"
Courtesy Epic

Tailor made for those who have endured difficult years, Cyndi Lauper's 80's hit is also a warm reminder that all of us are beautiful.

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7. New Radicals - "You Get What You Give"

New Radicals - "You Get What You Give"
Courtesy MCA

New Radicals are a one-hit wonder, but the one song they gave us is a gem. Portions of the lyrics remain a bit controversial, but the basic point is a celebration of the power of youth. This makes it perfect for honoring the feeling of personal strength and readiness to take on the world after graduation.

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6. Lee Ann Womack - "I Hope You Dance"

Lee Ann Womack - "I Hope You Dance"
Courtesy MCA Nashville

There is no other song that is better at reminding us of the importance of being totally engaged, keeping our sense of awe at the world, and recognizing the importance of fun in life.

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5. Josh Groban - "You Raise Me Up"

Josh Groban - Closer
Courtesy Reprise

One of the key songs that introduced the world to the enormous talent of Josh Groban was also a huge hit in the UK for Westlife. Lyrically, the song is a simple hymn of gratitude to those who lift us higher than we may climb on our own.

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4. Idina Menzel - "Defying Gravity" from 'Wicked'

Wicked Original Cast
Courtesy Decca Broadway

Since its original release as a part of the cast recording of the hit Broadway show Wicked in 2003, the song "Defying Gravity" has been an inspiration for countless people looking to break out of boundaries and restrictions to find a new life of soaring free of the pull of gravity. It is a perfect song for celebrating graduation and looking forward to a new, exciting life.

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3. Green Day - "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)"

Green Day - "Good Riddance (The Time Of My Life)"
Courtesy Reprise

This Green Day song relates directly to transitional events in life. It is a song where the band toned down punk influences and create a timeless track that appeals equally to pop and rock fans.

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2. Vitamin C - "Graduation (Friends Forever)"

Vitamin C - "Graduation (Friends Forever)"
Courtesy Elektra

Colleen Fitzpatrick, the former lead vocalist for the group Eve's Plum, recorded under the name Vitamin C as a solo artist. This song was one of the standout cuts on the album Vitamin C, released in 1999. It was an instant graduation classic pulling in the power of memories in years to come and the value of friends forever. It works well sung live with a chorus as well.

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1. Sir Edward Elgar - "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 In D"

Sir Edward Elgar
Photo by E.O. Hoppe / Getty Images

This work by English composer Sir Edward Elgar was first played in Liverpool, England in 1901. It was first played at a graduation ceremony in the US in 1905 when Elgar was invited to Yale University to receive an honorary degree. Today, the Trio section "Land Of Hope and Glory" that begins just under two minutes in is played as a processional at nearly every graduation ceremony across the country.


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