25 Best Songs About Growing Up

Growing up is an experience in which we lose some of our innocence to gain experience. 

Yes, for most of us, the growing-up years are paramount for the adult person we’re to become (or have become).

That arduous process usually leaves behind a myriad of different feelings, anecdotes, and a good bunch of people to call friends. 

It is no wonder that artists from around the world have made poetic (and not-so-poetic) statements about these turbulent times.

These are 25 of the many, many songs that reflect on growing up and becoming this version of ourselves we see in the mirror every day.

1. Kids in America – Kim Wilde 

“Kids in America” was released as the debut single of English pop singer Kim Wilde in 1981.

  • This celebration song for America’s youth was written by Marty Wilde and Ricky Wilde. The latter one also produced it. They’re Kim’s father and brother respectively.
  • A viral video of an impromptu and rather drunken performance of this song by Kim Wilde on a tube train made it to YouTube in 2012.
  • Among the many bands that covered this song, some notable acts are Billy Joe Armstrong (Green Day) and Foo Fighters among others.

2. We’re Going to Be Friends – The White Stripes 

”We’re Going to Be Friends” was written and recorded by The White Stripes and it appeared in their album White Blood Cells, released in 2002.

  • With a nostalgic, simple, minimalist approach, the song manages to evoke the feelings of youth by telling the story of meeting a new friend at the beginning of the school year.
  • Jack White, the song’s composer, and The White Stripes guitarist and singer, takes a first-person perspective of a kid who befriends a fellow schoolgirl by the name of Suzy Lee.
  • The character Suzy Lee makes more than one appearance in other albums by the rocking duo.  

3. 1979 – The Smashing Pumpkins 

“1979” was the second single of Smashing Pumpkins’ third studio album, the epic Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It was released in 1996.

  • The transition from the teenage years to adulthood is depicted in this song through the lyrics and also the overall nostalgic feeling. Billy Corgan talks about finishing high school and having grown-up responsibilities like a car and a job but still depending on his parents.
  • According to Corgan, the year choice for the title was that it rhymed with many other words in the song.
  • Billy Corgan once said to the media in a joking tone that the band had written the song for Michael Jackson but found that he wasn’t able to perform a moonwalk dance to it.

4. Wake Me Up – Avicii 

Swedish DJ and producer Avicii released “Wake Me Up” as the lead single to promote his debut album, True.

  • The lyrics and the vocals featured in this song belong to Aloe Blacc, a soul singer from the USA.
  • “Wake Me Up” was the outcome of a jamming session; it took only two hours to be completed.
  • This song was the first song in history to reach the 200 million streams mark on Spotify.

5. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac 

Stevie Nicks wrote “Landslide” to perform it with her band, Fleetwood Mac. The song belongs to the album Fleetwood Mac (1975).

  • The song talks about the relationship between a daughter and her father as the girl is growing up. The singer claimed she wrote it on guitar in about five minutes.
  • The name of the song came from the possibility of a natural disaster. Yes, the singer was surrounded by mountains and thinking that if all the snow around her just came tumbling down, there was nothing she could do about it. It can be thought of as a metaphor for growing up and time.
  • For “The Dance” tour, Fleetwood Mac’s comeback in 1997, Stevie Nicks sang this song with the sole companionship of Lindsey Buckingham while the rest of the band left the stage.

6. When I’m 64 – The Beatles

“When I’m Sixty-Four” was written by Paul McCartney and included in The Beatles’ celebrated 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

  • Paul McCartney wrote this song when he was 14 years old. According to the English star, it was one of the first songs he wrote in his life.
  • The idea of growing old together with his lover is the main theme of this song’s lyrics written in first person.
  • Ironically, when Heather Mills and Paul McCartney separated on May 17th, 2006, Paul was one month away from being 64. Therefore, Heather could answer the questions in the song with a big no.

7. I Wish – Stevie Wonder 

“I Wish” was the lead single to promote Stevie Wonder’s eighteenth studio album, Songs in the Key of Life (1976).

  • Despite the overall upbeat feeling of the song, the singer talks about going back to his childhood years during the ‘50s and ‘60s and his desire to go back in time and relive them.
  • This idea of reliving his childhood came from a Motown-organized picnic that took place in 1976. During that afternoon, the singer participated in contests and games that felt like a trip to the past. 
  • A voice can be heard in the song saying “You nasty boy!” That is Renee Hardaway’s real voice, she’s Stevie Wonder’s sister.

8. Forever Young – Rod Stewart 

“Forever Young” is a timeless hit written by British singer Rod Stewart. It was released as part of Out of Order, the album Stewart released in 1988.

  • The English singer is very proud of this tune and has said to the media that it represents his feelings of always being there for his kids.
  • The guitar solo for the song was performed by Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) who was also the co-producer of the album along with Stewart.
  • Although the song went on to become something close to an anthem in the USA, it wasn’t a big hit in England.

9. Disco 2000 – Pulp 

“Disco 2000” belongs to Different Class, the album the British band released in 1995 to critical acclaim. 

  • The childhood memories of an old love that never came to be, flood the lyrics of this song with nostalgia. The girl’s name was Deborah Bone, she was Jarvis Cocker’s friend but he could never impress her.
  • The song’s narrator’s feelings for the girl intensify as they reach puberty and she becomes a full-grown woman.
  • The appearance of the number 2000 on the song’s title and lyrics is a clear reference to the millennium. Thus, the band decided to pull its synchronization license in early 1999 to avoid its use in countless promotions and adverts for the upcoming millennium.

10. Welcome to Paradise – Green Day 

11. When You Were Young – The Killers 

12. Growing Pains – Alessia Cara 

13. The Circle Game – Joni Mitchell 

14. Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen 

15. Stressed Out – 21 Pilots 

16. When I Grow Up – Garbage 

17. Teenage Kicks – The Undertones 

18. Boys Will Be Boys – Dua Lipa 

19. When I Grow Up – NF  

20. 7 Years – Lukas Graham 

21. Losing My Edge – LCD Soundsystem  

22. Growing Up – Macklemore and Ed Sheeran  

23. Patience – Tame Impala  

24. I Don’t Want To Grow Up – Ramones   

25. Ready, Set, Don’t Go – Miley Cyrus And Billy Ray Cyrus