Are you in search of some good songs for a retirement party or event?
If so, you’ve landed in the right spot because we’ve curated a list of the best tunes to put on a retirement playlist for a party, slide show, video, or personal mix to play whenever.
Every song won’t be a favorite for every person, but we hope you find a few novel song gems that fit the bill.
Let’s jump right in and look at some retirement songs.
- How To Use Retirement Songs
- 21 of the Best Songs for Retirement
- 1. When I’m 64 by The Beatles
- 2. My Way by Frank Sinatra
- 3. Celebration by Kool & The Gang
- 4. Hello, Goodbye by The Beatles
- 5. Let the Good Times Roll by Ray Charles
- 6. I Got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown
- 7. Happy Trails by Van Halen
- 8. Bang the Drum All Day by Todd Rundgren
- 9. Beautiful Day by U2
- 10. Take it Easy by The Eagles
- 11. Escape by Rupert Holmes
- 12. Raise Your Glass by Pink
- 13. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
- 14. Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz
- 15. I’m Alright by Kenny Loggins
- 16. Life Is A Highway by Tom Cochrane
- 17. Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees
- 18. Happy by Pharrell Williams
- 19. Walking On Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves
- 20. End Of The Line by The Traveling Wilburys
- 21. The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars
- How To Choose Songs for a Retirement Party
How To Use Retirement Songs
Music is a universal balm. It’s comforting when life pitches a nasty curveball and a cheerful companion when things are going well.
So how can retirement songs be used?
- Retirement Slideshow Songs: Are you creating a video to commemorate the retiree? Make it extra special by adding a soundtrack.
- Playlist for a Party: If you’re having a party, you’ll need music!
- Personal Mix: Creating a playlist for a beloved retiree in your life is a thoughtful gift that they’ll use and cherish. One of the perks is that you can personalize it to their musical tastes and sensibilities.
21 of the Best Songs for Retirement
What songs work for a retirement party, slide show, or mix?
Let’s look at 21 fun options.
When I’m 64 by The Beatles is a staple tune at retirement parties. And while it may be cliche at this point, it never gets old, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.
Paul McCartney wrote the song for his father’s 64th birthday party, but over the decades, it’s become an homage to the joys of “living la vida silver.”
Few songs make your confidence soar and sense of self stand at attention quite like Frank Sinatra’s My Way. While several famous artists, including Elvis Presley, did a version, Sinatra’s is iconic.
The song itself is a french tune called Comme d’Habitude. Paul Anka wrote the English lyrics, and the rest, as they say, is musical history.
No matter the occasion, if it’s time to party, it’s time for Kool & The Gang’s Celebration! Whether a bar mitzvah, quinceanera, or retirement gathering, the decades-old song remains a staple of the North American party oeuvre.
Some people instinctively want to exclude the “cliche’d” track. But sometimes things are popular for a good reason, and Celebration is one of those songs that continues to make people smile, generation after generation.
A late-1960s Beatles hit, Hello, Goodbye isn’t one of the band’s most critically admired tunes, but the lyrics work for a retirement party.
After all, the guest of honor is saying goodbye to their working life and hello to a time of leisure and self-directed experiences.
Beatles Trivia: Hello, Goodbye was first released as a single in 1967, with I Am the Walrus as its b-side track.
A big-band sound, with Ray Charles’s infectious voice leading the way, is never a bad idea. Let the Good Times Roll is just that, and it’s a rhythmic addition to any retirement song collection.
Be aware, though, that it’s not the same song as Shirley and Lee’s similarly titled Come On Baby Let the Good Times Roll. Although, that song might also fit the right retiree’s playlist.
Do you know anyone who doesn’t start tapping their feet when James Brown’s iconic “I Feel Good” comes on? It’s rare because the song transcends space, demographics, and time, tickling the human “happy place.”
What many people don’t know, though, is that the song’s title is actually I Got You.
Is the retiree in question a stadium-rock fan? Will they forever defend the mulleted music stars of the 1980s and early 90s? If so, Van Halen’s Happy Trails may be a fun addition to your list of retirement songs.
The group did a remake of the old-western barbershop-quartet-esque tune, and their harmonies are impressive!
Theoretically, banging on a drum all day is a viable option for retirees — (if your neighbors don’t make it difficult). Todd Rundgren’s song advocates for perpetual percussion activity over working, and the upbeat melody makes it a joyful choice for a retirement playlist.
U2’s evocative and lyrical Beautiful Day doesn’t commonly land on retirement song lists, but the tune hits the spot on several levels.
For starters, its melodic crescendo fills listeners with hope. Plus, the lyrics serve as a reminder to enjoy life’s little things.
And regardless of how you feel about Bono, it’s a super song.
Few bands are beloved by people worldwide of all backgrounds and musical tastes, but The Eagles are one such anomaly — and Take it Easy is one of the group’s iconic singalong tracks.
What’s its link to retirement? Taking it easy after decades of work is a big part of what the silver years are all about!
Some people raise their eyebrows at the song’s premise, but Rupert Holmes’ Escape continues to be a much-loved tune thanks to its sweet ending.
For many retirees, it’s a clarion call to rekindle their love for their spouse as they embark on what could potentially be one of the most self-determined, exciting times of their lives.
Pink is known for her high-flying acrobatics and party songs, but Raise Your Glass is a sentimental ode that could work well on the playlist of a recent retiree.
Gloria Gaynor’s famous anthem is usually associated with women living their best life after a bad breakup. But with a little justification, it could also be used to say adios to an awful job.
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Is your retiree 65 going on 35? If so, this indie punk-funk diddy by Gorillaz, which first hit the airwaves in the early aughts, is an off-beat addition to a list of retirement songs.
Is the celebrant a traditional person with a deep love of Barry Manilow’s music? Then this probably isn’t for them.
But if you’re honoring a retiree on the more avant-garde-to-hip end of the spectrum, Feel Good is a deep-cut bop that injects a shot of cool into the standard retirement playlist while simultaneously staying on theme.
Calling all Caddyshack fans! Loggins’s theme for the comedic classic hits the musical spot for someone retiring in the mid-21st century.
It’s upbeat and recalls a beloved film of the generation, plus it fits in with the retirement theme of “feeling awesome” when a professional life comes to a close.
Is the retiree planning to hit the road in their post-work life?
Whether they’re buying an RV and heading out for long hauls or becoming weekend road-trip warriors, Cochrane’s ballad-esque ode to the vagaries of life is perfect for serenading a retiree who’s hitting the pavement in their third act.
People who like good music love the Bee Gees’ massive single Stayin’ Alive — and with good reason!
The 70s hit is infectious and fills a room with a welcome and familiar celebratory vibe. How does it relate to retirement? Arguably, Stayin’ Alive is an ode to surviving the proverbial rat race.
Sure, when the song first came out, it morphed into a maddening, inescapable earbug. But we’ve got our collective cool together on the Happy front, reigned it in, and an occasional “spin” around the table is once again acceptable.
But please be cautious. Happy is highly addictive, and moderation is required.
Walking on Sunshine is one of the most upbeat, optimistic songs ever to hit the scene. It’s another one of those tunes that make it impossible to refrain from beeping and bopping along with it, making it a solid pick for a joyous event.
The Traveling Wilburys’ End of the Line has the ideal lyrics to qualify as a retirement song.
This track is excellent for accompanying a media montage or slide show. It’s got the right pacing and mellow-yet-upbeat quality.
Retirement can be an exciting time of life, but the other great thing about it is not having to do anything you don’t want to!
The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars captures that energy perfectly while being a fun tune to play at a party.
How To Choose Songs for a Retirement Party
You’re hosting a retirement party, and hiring a professional DJ is outside the budget, so you’re in charge of the music.
To pull it off, follow these three easy song-choice tips.
- Keep it Comfortable: If the crowd is sizable, keep things comfortable by not playing anything too controversial. Stick to jovial and sentimental tracks. If you want to stick to a theme, play songs about retirement.
- Mind the Speed: If the goal is to get people dancing, pay attention to the pacing of the songs. Ideally, you want to keep it similar and gradually slow down and speed up instead of snapping people from slow to fast every other track.
- Keep Things Celebratory: Retirement can be a difficult transition for some people. Keep retirement music compilations on the celebratory side of the scale to avoid sad breakdowns and encourage looking on the bright side.
If you’re the one retiring, we wish you the best of luck. Congrats on making it to one of the most vibrant times of your life.
If you’re DJing for an upcoming retirement party, make sure you give folks a great time! They’re counting on you to find fun retirement songs, and we hope we’ve lent a hand in that mission.