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21 Best Songs About Surviving

Find the strength to endure with these iconic survival songs



Best Songs About Surviving

The best songs about survival encourage their listeners to find the necessary inner strength to rise to the challenges of life and emerge victorious.

A hugely popular subject across many genres, it’s something that has been sung about by everyone from classic rock bands to modern-day pop icons.

This playlist brings you a broad selection of survival-themed songs to help inspire you to face up to life’s challenges and thrive in the face of adversity.


The 21 Best Songs About Surviving

Songs that revolve around the subject of survival can be found throughout the years, from rock ballads of the 1980s to chart-topping hits from leading female vocalists.

We’ve included a broad selection of music to reflect this diversity, placing these great songs in their proper context and covering their performance in the charts when first released.

Here’s our playlist of the 21 best songs about surviving:


21. “It’s My Life” – Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi’s classic rock anthem “It’s My Life” proved to be one of the biggest hits from his discography and is a great piece of music if you need uplifting.

It’s all about taking control of your life and owning up to your flaws, so you can take risks with confidence and become a better person.

Bon Jovi has released many hit tracks over the years, including one of the best songs of all time, “Livin’ On a Prayer.”


20. “Break My Stride” – Mathew Wilder

Mathew Wilder’s catchy new wave hit from 1983, “Break My Stride,” is another upbeat tune that explores the topic of surviving.

In it, the song describes a dream sequence about his girlfriend’s turbulent past, with the lyrics “Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride.”

It’s one of the best songs about surviving for anyone who wants to feel emboldened and a powerful celebration of becoming resilient.


19. “Gonna Fly Now” – Bill Conti

Bill Conti’s song “Gonna Fly Now” will be familiar to anyone who has seen the Rocky movies, which played while the titular boxer made his comeback.

The famous lyrics begin, Gonna fly now, flying high now,and continue with, “Feelin’ strong now, won’t be long now.”

Released in 1977, this song encourages listeners to overcome adversity and self-doubt to become the best they can be in spite of the challenges they face.


18. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson explores the concept of survival with her popular hit song “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You), released in 2011.

It’s a song that understands how life throws unexpected curve balls in our direction., particularly when we go through a bad relationship.

Kelly Clarkson released this song on her album Stronger, which won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album.


17. “Born To Run” – Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” is another uplifting song about overcoming adversity and escaping from a world full of troubles.

In this song, the lyrics encourage listeners to break free from their metaphorical cages and the hardships of life to embrace all the good in the world.

Bruce Springsteen wrote many hit tracks over the years, with an impressive twelve top ten hits on the American Billboard Hot 100 charts.


16. “Dog Days Are Over” – Florence + The Machine

Florence + The Machine delivered another great song about surviving with an uplifting message, “Dog Days Are Over.”

This song featured an excellent official music video that combined their energetic music with powerful visuals that hammered home its underlying message.

The song speaks to everyone who has gone through adversity in life and will appeal to those who have come through tough times and lived to tell the tale.


15. “Jesus Take The Wheel” – Carrie Underwood

Country singer Carrie Underwood takes on surviving from the perspective of a young mother in her hit song “Jesus Takes the Wheel.”

The lyrics recount how this mother failed to pay attention to the road while driving, with her life flashing before her eyes in the face of tragedy.

Carrie Underwood sings about her own struggles with a catchy chorus that complements the ultimately empowering lyrics.


14. “When You Believe” – Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey

Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, two titans of the music industry, joined forces for the duet “When You Believe.”

Their song, which was written as the theme song for the movie The Prince of Egypt, explores overcoming adversity and the potential for miracles to happen.

Whitney Houston also sang two of the best karaoke songs of all time, “I Will Always Love You” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”


13. “Heroes” – David Bowie

The iconic singer-songwriter David Bowie released many popular songs, but few are as well-known as his best-selling track “Heroes.”

It’s a powerful rock song that encourages listeners to discover their inner hero and continue fighting the good fight no matter what obstacles they face.

Bowie was inspired to write “Hero” by the affair music producer Brian Eno was having with a German woman at the time, although this fact didn’t emerge until thirty years later.


12. “Eye Of The Tiger” – Survivor

Returning once again to music featured in the Rocky movie series with “Eye of the Tiger” from the aptly-titled band Survivor.

Familiar to millions of people around the world, it’s one of the best songs about rising to face difficult challenges and overcoming the odds to succeed.

Unsurprisingly given the popularity of the Rocky franchise, “Eye of the Tiger” was a huge hit in the charts, landing at the top spot when it was released in 1982.


11. “I’m Still Standing” – Elton John

Surviving against all the odds and emerging unscathed is something worth shouting about, as Elton John’s song “I’m Still Standing” proves.

This song is about emerging from a broken relationship to become a better version of yourself and was released along with a vibrant official video.

With dozens of hit releases over the years, Elton John sang about many topics and released one of the best songs about birds you can listen to, “Skyline Pigeon.”


10. “Rain On Me” – Lady Gaga Ft. Ariana Grande

Whitney Houston and Maria Carey aren’t the only hugely popular singers to have joined forces for a powerful song about survival.

“Rain On Me” by Lady Gaga, featuring Ariana Grande, is another great entry on this playlist that showcases the combined talent of two amazing singers.

Unsurprisingly, “Rain On Me” was a huge hit in the charts, reaching number one in both the United States and the United Kingdom when it was released in 2020.


9. “Roar” – Katy Perry

Another popular singer who has dominated the charts also chimed in on the topic of survival with the song “Roar.”

In this song, Perry follows up her divorce with the empowering lyrics, “If you believe it then you can … There’s no reason that this life can’t be (electric)”.

Katy Perry has matched her chart successes with critical acclaim, in addition to an impressive thirteen Grammy Award nominations over the course of her career.


8. “The Climb” – Miley Cyrus

Sticking with iconic modern pop star singers for our next entry on this playlist with “The Climb,” a great song from Miley Cyrus.

In this track, Cyrus merges pop music with country ballads to sing about overcoming obstacles in life and triumphing in the face of tough times.

Miley Cyrus has enjoyed great success over the years, and “The Climb” is also considered one of the best songs about hope you can listen to.


7. “Dare You To Move” – Switchfoot

If you’re looking for an inspirational rock song to help you overcome life’s challenges and survive, then look no further than “Dare You To Move” by Switchfoot.

This song describes the need to break free from our comfort zones and take a risk if we want to excel in life and achieve one’s goals.

Switchfoot originally released “Dare You To Move” as part of their album Learning To Breathe, which they released in 2000 to critical acclaim.


6. “Warrior” – Demi Lavato

Demi Lovato understands that survival is easier when you adopt a warrior mentality and confront challenges head-on.

“Warrior” explores Lovato’s experiences as a teenager and moving forward after dealing with trauma.

It’s a powerful anthem that Demi Lovato released in 2013 and a rallying cry for everyone to develop a thick skin so they can become stronger than ever before.


5. “Fighter” – Christina Aguilera

While there are many songs that feature lyrics thanking a friend for their help, Christina Aguilera bucked the trend with her great song “Fighter.”

This song sees Christina Aguilera thanking the person who turned her life upside down for the growth she gained from the experience.

It’s a song that can be read in various ways, with some fans viewing “Fighter” as one of the best songs about revenge you can listen to.


4. “Don’t Stop Believin’” – Journey

“Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey is an impressive power ballad that speaks to universal truths such as persevering even when it seems like everything is going wrong.

Co-written by singer Steve Perry, “Don’t Stop Believin” was inspired by his experiences living in South Detroit, where crime and poverty dominated.

A top ten hit in 1981, “Don’t Stop Believin” has been widely used in movies and television shows, notably as the closing scene’s music for The Sopranos.


3. “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor

Arguably the most popular song of Gloria Gaynor’s career, “I Will Survive,” is a powerful anthem for anyone holding their head high in the face of challenges.

It’s a soulful disco-funk classic that encourages listeners not to take life for granted and to view themselves with self-love and respect.

Gloria Gaynor drew upon her own personal hardships and desire to remain strong as she went through her divorce in 2005, stating how “I Will Survive” helped her through these difficult times.


2. “Titanium” – David Guetta Ft. Sia

This EDM classic from David Guetta, featuring the lyrical talents of Sia, is another powerful song that encourages us to strengthen our resolve when challenged.

“Titanium” blends Guetta’s impeccable production values with Sia’s smooth vocals to create a track with considerable power and presence.

As well as its own excellent official music video, “Titanium” has been featured in a number of films, including Pitch Perfect.


1. “Survivor” – Destiny’s Child

“Survivor” is the biggest hit from Destiny’s Child and a fitting song to wrap up this guide to the greatest songs about survival you can listen to.

The lyrics relate to the aftermath of a broken relationship and how people can overcome the negativity that follows if they keep an optimistic perspective on life.

Destiny’s Child has enjoyed many chart successes over the years, including one of the best songs about lies, “Say My Name.”



So there you have it, our complete guide to the greatest songs about survival that will inspire anyone going through tough times to focus on a positive vision of the future.

It’s a topic that has been covered by artists and musicians of all styles, with the many pop music hits on the subject complemented by more obscure country and rock gems.

These songs all feature lyrics that help deliver a powerful message to anyone facing struggles, equipping them with the skills to survive through hard times.

What’s the best song about surviving, in your opinion? Leave a comment below. 

Andy has been producing music since the early days of Cubase and spent much of the 2000s mixing house and techno with his trusty Technics 1200s. Fast forward two decades, you'll find him in his home studio experimenting with the latest music production software, tinkering with Ableton plug-ins, and occasionally trying (and failing) to complete Cuphead for the hundredth time.