Music can have tremendous power in our lives. It can bring back memories from long ago. It can mark momentous occasions in our lives. And certain songs can evoke a range of emotions from sadness to great unbridled joy. Simply, music is a difference-maker in our lives.

It certainly has for me. Whether it was my rock star dreams in the '80s or making music with my friends Tom, Jeff, Bill, and Neil. Listening to my favorite radio station while cruising on the lakefront. Or hearing the most perfect encore at a great concert. Music has played a huge role in my life.

So today, I share with you in no particular order. Ten songs that pick me up and make me feel happy when I hear them. I think they'll pick you up and make you happy too. Because that's the power of music.

Free Ride - Dan Hartman 

I was today years old when I learned that this isn't Dan Hartman covering an Edgar Winter Group song. Nope, Dan wrote the song and actually sang on the Edgar Winter Group's performance of the song. Many were exposed to Dan's more disco version of the tune that appeared in "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie".

Personally, how can you feel bad listening to this epic version of the song complete with lasers and sound effects? I just start grinning ear to ear anytime I hear this song.

 Lovely Day - Bill Withers

It might be the pleasant mid-tempo vibe, the mellowness of the song, or the song's message/lyrics:

Then I look at you
And the world's alright with me
Just one look at you
And I know it's gonna be
A lovely day (lovely day, lovely day, lovely day, lovely day)

Or maybe it's how long Withers holds that sustained note at the end. He holds it for 18 seconds according to Wikipedia. Whatever it is, this song definitely improves my mood every time I hear it.

Twist and Shout - The Beatles

Maybe it's the fact the song was introduced to children born in the '70s by inclusion in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" in a very fun parade/dance scene. Or maybe it's the message about twisting and shouting and having a good time that resonates if you don't pay too close attention to what the singer is saying, or what he wants the young lady to do. (It's not THAT bad, it was an early '60s song, but still...) "Twist and Shout" became an unlikely '80s hit for the band going to #23 in September of 1986.

Ballroom Blitz - Tia Carrere

Look, Wayne's World is a fun movie. And Ballroom Blitz, whether I'm listening to the Sweet version or the Tia Carrere version from the movie, it's one of those tunes that make me happy. It's a fast song, with a fast beat, and while I can't quite put my finger on why, I feel happy hearing it. The Tia Carrere Wayne's World video is funny too.

Don't Fight It - Kenny Loggins & Steve Perry

This is a song that implores you:

Don't fight it
Don't fight it
Don't fight it
Don't fight it

It also tells you to enjoy some brew, raise some hell, and turn the music up because it'll do your heart so good. That's something I can get behind. It also includes soaring guitar, an earworm of a hook, and great vocals from Perry and Loggins. According to Wikipedia Loggins and Perry co-wrote the song with Dean Pitchford, who would go on to write the movie "Footloose".

As for the tune, Perry and Loggins got Pat Benatar's guitarist and husband Neil Giraldo to play on the track. And if this song isn't a mood elevator for you, I'm not sure anything on this list will work.

Love Shack - B-52's

From the big sunflower at the start of the video to Fred Schneider's Chrysler which seats about twenty. The Love Shack sounds like a place I want to party. And that's thanks mostly to the party vibe of the song. Some of the nonsense lyrics. And the party it seems the band is having while performing this song.

Or maybe it's the memory I have of Jennifer Loftus hanging out of my parents '76 lime green Cutlass screaming "speed turns me on" to absolutely no one while this song played on my jambox. Anyway, this song is definitely a pick me up.

Dancing On The Ceiling - Lionel Richie

When this song first came out I wasn't a fan. I didn't like it as much as "All Night Long" but over the years I've warmed up to the song a lot. I mean who can't get behind a party where everyone's, as Lionel tells us, dancing on the ceiling.

The way the song is arranged, the crowd in the background, and the lyrics. It just screams good times. I'll be right back, I'm going to hit the bar and get myself a cocktail. Bonus points for Rodney Dangerfield at the end of the video.

 Celebration - Kool & the Gang

Kool & The Gang are literally telling us to celebrate good times. And to bring our good times and laughter too. And they want everyone around the world to celebrate. This song, like "Don't Fight It", is one big earworm. Once it gets in your head, it's hard to get out. And it's also not hard to turn up the radio when this tune comes on the radio. I don't know about you, but it's difficult for me to NOT be happy when this song is playing.

Viva Las Vegas - ZZ Top

I'll be honest, a lot of ZZ Top's "Eliminator" era music makes me happy. Don't get me wrong. These guys are amazing players. And their brand of Texas rock 'n' roll never disappoints, especially the stuff that pre-dates "Eliminator".

Yet, whether it's "Legs", "Gimme All Your Lovin'", or this cover of the tune Elvis Presley made famous. It's hard not to tap into some of ZZ Top's mystique and magic and be happy. ZZ Top of the late '80s celebrating Elvis in Las Vegas, somehow just works. The band also sampled elements of Michael Jackson's "Jam" in the track, which also makes me smile.

Cruel Summer - Bananarama

Bananarama's "Cruel Summer" isn't a song that should make you happy. Not with lyrics like this:

It's a cruel, (cruel) cruel summer
Leavin' me here on my own
It's a cruel, (it's a cruel) cruel summer
Now you're gone

The city is crowded, my friends are away
And I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle, so I got to get up and go
Yet with its bouncy beat, and accompanying video where the band commandeers a semi-truck and throws banana peels at a Boss Hog-like figure in the streets of a sizzling hot New York make it a fun song  The video's culmination, a dance party on a New York rooftop help accentuate the bouncy, fun, nature of the music.  And any thoughts taking you back to the growing pains of teenage summer nights when your boyfriend or girlfriend was on vacation, or that first apartment in a new place where you didn't know anyone are banished.

And replaced by happy thoughts of summer heat, the pool, and endless hot summer nights having fun. Note to self, someday I need to attend an '80s themed rooftop party in New York City.

And there you have it. Ten songs that make me happy, that hopefully make you happy too. So the next time you're feeling blue, dial up a few of these songs from your streaming service. Drop the needle on some of these 45s if they're in your collection. Or turn 'em up loud when they pop up on the radio for some mood elevation.

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