10 Songs that Every Boomer Knows by Heart

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10 Songs that Every Boomer Knows by Heart

Every generation has a soundtrack that has helped define growing up. For the gen-x crowd, it’s the 1980s. The baby boomer crowd, those born between 1946 and 1964 also had some incredible musical moments. The birth of rock ‘n’ roll, American Bandstand, and even The Beatles helped define this era. Songs can help us remember times and places we might have otherwise forgotten. 

With this in mind, it’s safe to say that boomers know plenty of music by heart. However, there are only a few songs that we can confidently say every baby boomer knows by heart. It’s because of this we must take a look at some of the most memorable songs of this incredible generation.

Jailhouse Rock

The music of Jailhouse Rock is known as one of Elvis’ most famous songs.

Ranked as the 67th best song of all time according to Rolling Stone, “Jailhouse Rock” is a song every boomer knows by heart. Sung by beloved rock and roll star Elvis Presley, there is just something about the jam of this song every boomer instantly recognizes. Created for the movie soundtrack of the same name, “Jailhouse Rock” reached the top of music charts in the U.S. for seven weeks in 1957.

The Twist

When it was released, The Twist was a hugely successful dance track.

Sung by the beloved Chubby Checker, “The Twist” had a catchy tune that swept the nation. What most people don’t know is that Chubby Checker’s 1960 version of the song was actually a cover version of a song from two years prior. Between 1961 and 1962, The Twist saw the song skyrocket in popularity as a dance classic that was incredibly popular with adults.

California Girls

California Girls is one of the best-known songs written and performed by the Beach Boys.

Released in 1965, “California Girls” is a famous song performed by the American rock band, the Beach Boys. Originally released as a single, California Girls reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Beach Boy’s easygoing music style instantly popularized California Girls and is one of the group’s most commercially successful songs.

Twist and Shout

The Beatles have a ton of hits but Twist and Shout is one of their most memorable.

What might shock most people is that the original version of “Twist and Shout” is not a Beatles original. However, the group’s cover of Twist and Shout is absolutely one song boomers know by heart. The Beatles recorded version was released in 1964 where it reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The 1986 lip-sync version in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off helped popularize the song for a whole new generation like yours truly.

Dancing Queen

Dancing Queen is one of the most famous songs to come out of the 1970s and disco era.

It’s hard to be a baby boomer and not instantly know the moment the tune to “Dancing Queen” starts playing. During its 1976 release, many boomers were already in or coming out of high school. Even so, “Dancing Queen” by Abba was a song that helped define boomers in the 1970s. At the height of Disco’s popularity, the Grammy Hall of Fame inducted the song in 2015. Of course, “Dancing Queen” unsurprisingly became a worldwide number-one hit in more than 12 countries.

Pretty Woman

Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman has a terrific hook and was inspired by his wife.

Best known for the Julia Roberts movie, the Pretty Woman, “(Oh) Pretty Woman” song by Roy Orbison is a true baby boomer favorite. Released in 1964, the song would spend three weeks atop the charts between August and September of the same year. The song, later used in the 1990 movie, was inspired by Roy Orbison’s wife.

My Girl

The Temptations are the best Motown records group ever to release music.

There is a very good chance the moment “My Girl” starts to play, a baby boomer will stop whatever they are doing and sing. Released by the Temptations in 1964, the song became the group’s first chart-topping hit. Looking back on the song’s release today, it’s arguably the most successful song out of Motown records.

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

The Rolling Stones are one of the most famous bands of all time.

Rolling Stone magazine considers “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”, one of the biggest hits of the English rock band, the Rolling Stones, as the 31st best song of all time on the 2021 list. By 2006, the song had gained so much popularity that the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress entered it forever.

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys has an excellent hook and makes the baby boomer want to dance.

Another Beach Boys classic, “Good Vibrations” is a 1966 song that is both a critical and commercial hit. The song would hit the top of the charts in both the U.S. and the United Kingdom soon after its release. Rolling Stone ranks the song as high as number 6 on its list of the best songs of all time on the 2004 and 2010 editions of the list. Beach Boys lead singer, Brian Wilson, wrote most of the song and composed its music prior to recording.


Aretha Franklin’s Respect cover is widely considered the best song of all time.

Aretha Franklin had a sound larger than life and nowhere is that more true than “Respect”. Memorable for its lyrics of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, the 1967 song is a cover of a 1965 version by Otis Redding. This version of the song was number one on Rolling Stone’s best songs of all time in 2021. Most importantly, this song continues to be Aretha Franklin’s signature sound. Baby boomers remember this song well.

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