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10 Best Prom Songs

Chris Brown / Justin Timberlake / Green Day
Michael Loccisano / Kevin Winter / Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

It’s time for prom songs. It’s that time of year that high school kids look forward to (and dread) like clockwork each spring. It’s often associated with anxiety, panic and life-altering decisions. Are we talking about final exams? College admissions? Summer camp plans? No, it’s something that causes even more stress. Prom time.

Whether it’s who to ask, how to ask, what to wear and making all necessary plans for the evening, one’s prom night is a high school rite of passage. Everything that signifies all things of what it means to be young is packed into a single evening, often with high expectations for all those involved. It’s no wonder that we, as youths, place so much thought and preparation into turning one night into a lifetime memory.

Luckily, one thing that stays constant each year is the music selection. We’ve rounded up the the 10 best prom songs that people tend to go with each year and have also assembled them into a Beats Music playlist. So check out our selections, listen to these prom songs on our playlist and let us know your own favorites in the comments below.


Cyndi Lauper, 'Time After Time'

 
 

Cyndi Lauper's 1984 hit 'Time After Time' is not only one of the best prom songs -- it's one of music's most famous love ballads and is still heard on many soft rock radio stations 30 years later. The light, dreamy melody set to Lauper's heartfelt lyrics makes it an ideal slow dance song, a joke that was awkwardly portrayed in the 2004 indie-comedy 'Napoleon Dynamite.'

 

Vitamin C, 'Graduation (Friends Forever)'

 
 

Vitamin C (the stage name for Colleen Ann Fitzpatrick) topped music charts in the late-'90s when the industry was looking for the next Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera. Unfortunately, she never had much success as an artist past 2001, but she has one song that will forever be played at prom. 'Graduation (Friends Forever)' was released in June of 2000 as a single off her major debut studio album 'Vitamin C' and became an instant teen favorite. The song is set to the famous classical string piece 'Pachelbel's Canon.' with lyrics that reflect the many sentiments of high school seniors moving on to their college years. "As we go on / We remember / All the times we / Had together / And as our lives change / Come whatever / We will still be / Friends forever."

 

Eve 6, 'Here's to the Night'

 
 

Pop-punk band Eve 6 topped the charts in 1998 with 'Inside Out,' but it was their 2001 single 'Here's to the Night' that will perhaps be the more everlasting one. The ballad is often associated with high school graduations and proms for its lyrical salute to sharing memories with friends, and moving on. "Here's to the nights we felt alive / Here's to the tears you knew you'd cry / Here's to goodbye / Tomorrow's gonna come too soon."

 

Alphaville, 'Forever Young'

 
 

This 1984 rock ballad from German group Alphaville has become a prom song and one of the music staples of the '80s synthpop era. The song about celebrating one's youth has been used in many movies and TV shows over the years, and has been covered several times by artists such as the Killers and One Direction. "Let's dance in style, let's dance for a while / Heaven can wait, we're only watching the skies," the song begins before heading into the familiar chorus: "Forever young, I want to be forever young / Do you really want to live forever, forever and ever?"

 

Black Eyed Peas, 'I Gotta Feeling'

 
 

The pop-dance track by the Black Eyed Peas will forever be used as a theme for weddings, parties and any other celebratory moment, which is what makes it one of the best prom songs, too. Prom lasts for one night only, so why not make the most of it? That's what 'I Gotta Feeling' is all about. "I know that we'll have a ball / If we get down and go out and just lose it all."

 

Chris Brown, 'Forever'

 
 

Chris Brown's 'Forever' is another joyful prom song that evokes a sense of nostalgia and capturing a moment for life. The song was used as a wedding dance intro that famously went viral on YouTube in 2009 and has since been a popular party and wedding favorite. "It's like I've waited my whole life for this one night / It's gonna be me you and the dance floor / Cause we've only got one night / Double your pleasure / Double your fun and dance."

 

Boyz II Men, 'It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday'

 
 

While prom is a cause celebration, it can also be a sad reminder that high school is coming to a close and the friends made during the past four years will all be going our separate ways. Boyz II Men's 1991 cover of a G.C. Cameron song perfectly captures the sentiment of a passing of an era. The somber R&B track is often used for funerals, but 'It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday' can also easily mourn the end of an experience most of us live through only once: high school.

 

Justin Timberlake Feat. Jay-Z, 'Suit & Tie'

 
 

Prom is all about dressing up and looking snazzy, and Justin Timberlake's 'Suit & Tie' embodies the spirit of a glamorous night out and wearing one's best. The track was well-received as JT's first single off 'The 20/20 Experience' and was lauded for being reminiscent of a throwback R&B tune. "All pressed up in black and white / And you're dressed in that dress I like / Love is swinging in the air tonight / Let me show you a few things." Well said, JT.

 

Sarah McLachlan, 'I Will Remember You'

 
 

Sarah McLachlan's 'I Will Remember You' has been used over the years as a goodbye song, and like Boyz II Men's 'It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,' it's a sentimental track that's known to have caused a teardrop or two. The 1995 ballad's lyrics make it a perfect prom song. They read as a farewell letter, with Sarah singing, "I will remember you / Will you remember me? / Don't let your life pass you by / Weep not for the memories."

 

Green Day, 'Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)'

 
 

This 1997 rock ballad from Green Day's 'Nimrod' album has become one of the most quintessential prom songs and a high school graduation theme. Unlike Green Day's usual punk rock sound, 'Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)' was written to be much different than the band's usual sound. The legacy of the song surprised even the band, and to this day, a prom rarely goes by without this song being played usually towards the end. After all, the song's chorus pretty much sums up the high school experience in one sentence: "It's something unpredictable, but in the end that's right / I hope you had the time of your life."

 

Next: See Celebrity Prom Pictures!

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