If there was ever a creature that perfectly embodied freedom, hope and music, it’s the bird. Birds are inherently musical creatures, so it’s not surprising that so many musicians relate to their whimsical nature and complicated songs.
Countless songs have explored using birds to represent something greater, but these 10 songs are among the best ever created.
“Free as a Bird” — The Beatles
Back in 1995, the Beatles released a “new” song about 25 years after their breakup — “Free as a Bird.” The song, which was originally recorded as a demo by John Lennon in 1977, beautifully equates the carefree flight of birds with freedom. The amazing video also gives you a glimpse of what it’s like to be a bird soaring through the landscape, albeit the landscape of the Beatles history. It may not be as highly regarded as some of the Beatles’ original work, but it’s definitely a lovely song about being free as a bird. The best music blog around the web would definitely agree.
“Three Little Birds” — Bob Marley & the Wailers
The peaceful lyrics of “Three Little Birds” and the reassuring nature of the message makes the song feel earnest and hopeful. The focus of the song is three little birds that wake the narrator with sweet melodies. The song has strong religious overtones, but the symbolism of the birds cannot be overlooked.
“I Like Birds” — The Eels
Featured prominently in The Big Year, “I Like Birds” is a pretty straightforward song about liking birds. It’s a very light tune with a chorus that any birder would love to croon. Take a look at the video made by Birds and Blooms.
“Free Bird” — Lynyrd Skynyrd
It would be impossible to mention songs with “bird” in the title without acknowledging the epic, southern ballad “Free Bird.” In the song, Lynyrd Skynyrd runs with the popular idea that birds are free creatures with no strings attached. We all know that’s not the case for most species, but it’s always fun to belt out “I’m as free as a bird now!” as you’re driving down a highway to an unknown destination.
“Mockin’bird Hill” — Les Paul and Mary Ford
Although most people better know Patti Page’s version of the George Vaughn Horton-penned tune, Les Paul and Mary Ford’s interpretation of the song is fun and upbeat. The chorus uses the playful trills of a mockingbird to advance the song and create a pleasant tune.
“Sparrow” — Simon and Garfunkel
Simon and Garfunkel’s debut album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. featured some fairly dark subject matter, including this sad song about a poor sparrow that was forsaken by everything but the earth. The little sparrow is tired, hungry and weary, but no one is willing to help. Fortunately, thanks to the many bird lovers here, all birds have a place to stop and feed.
“Bluebirds Over the Mountain” — Ritche Valens
Written by Ersel Hickey, “Bluebirds Over the Mountain” was covered by artists like the Beach Boys, but young Ritchie Valens’ version had a lamenting tone that better suits the song. In the song, the narrator is pleading with the bluebirds and seagulls to bring his lover back to him. It’s an interesting use of birds as helpful creatures.
“Rockin Robin” — Bobby Day
This is an oldie but goodie. “Rockin’ Robin” along with “Surfin’ Bird” remains one of the benchmarks for songs about birds. The song name-drops Orioles, Chickadees, Swallows and other species, making it one of the most upbeat and rocking songs about birds out there.
“Fly Like An Eagle” — Steve Miller Band
Even though we already have a few songs about wanting to fly or be free as a bird, this song from Steve Miller Band is a low-key but highly hopeful song that uses the eagle to symbolize idealism, freedom and perspective. What more can you say about it?
“Blackbird” — The Beatles
This is the second mention of The Beatles, but the song is by far one of the greatest songs about birds, though it’s obviously about much more. Paul McCartney wrote the song in 1968 as a reaction to the racial tensions taking place in the United States. Blackbirds are usually considered unwanted species, but “Blackbird” tries to empower the subject.