Water is one of the most interesting substances on planet Earth. It covers more than 70% of our planet, yet water evokes evocative feelings, thoughts, and emotions that are unmatched by any other substance or natural phenomenon. Water can be considered for its chemical properties as well as its optical, thermal, electrical, acoustical, and biological properties. For centuries, and even millennia, poets and artists have used the word water as a universal metaphor for describing emotions and feelings. Here we celebrate 20 of the greatest songs about water.
Waterfalls – TLC
This TLC classic was released in 1995 and stayed on the top of Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-hop charts for ten weeks straight. The song was recorded and produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface, who were also known as super-producers during that time period due to their tracks on TLC’s debut album, Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip (1992). The song also reached number 7 in the UK and number 17 on the US Hot 100.
(Sittin On) The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding
This song was the only single released by legendary singer-songwriter Otis Redding posthumously. He died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967 before it became a number 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, staying there for four weeks straight. It also reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart.
Water Under The Bridge – Adele
This song was the first single for Adele’s third studio album, 25 (2015). It was written by Adele along with Greg Kurstin and its producers, Max Martin and Ruth-Anne Cunningham. The song became a number one hit on Billboard Hot 100.
Take Me To The River – Al Green
This soulful song was written by soul singer Al Green, Mabon Hodges, and Al Jackson Jr. for his 1972 album, I’m Still in Love With You (1972). The song became an instant hit on the US Hot 100, peaking at number 27.
Have You Ever Seen The Rain? – Creedence Clearwater Revival
This rock song was released on April 12, 1970 as a single from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fifth studio album, Cosmo’s Factory (1970). The song became a number 4 hit for the band on Billboard Hot 100 and reached number 8 on the UK Singles Chart.
Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
This rock song was released in 1972 as a track from their album, Machine Head (1972). It became one of the group’s most popular songs in years. The song is based on a true story when, during an early concert at the Montreux Casino, Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention were playing when some fans started a fire. The fire mistakenly set off the venue’s guns and ammunition, prompting a police raid.
Beyond the Sea – Bobby Darin
This song was written by Charles Trenet and Jack Lawrence for the French film, Si Versailles M’était Conté (1954). It was also sung by John Lennon on his 1975 album, Rock ‘n’ Roll (1975). Bobby Darin’s version of this song reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 9 on the UK Singles Chart.
Drink The Water – Jack Johnson
This song was released on Johnson’s studio album, Brushfire Fairytales. The first version of the track had an island beat with steel drums. Jack Johnson included his own lyrics to this remake that he heard while visiting Belize.
Down By The River – Neil Young
This song was written by Neil Young and appears on his 1969 album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The song became a classic rock staple thereafter because of the live performances during the 1970s. It reached number 30 on Billboard Hot 100.
Cake By The Ocean – DNCE
This modern pop song was released as the lead single for their debut studio album, Swaay (2016). The song also reached number 9 on Billboard Hot 100. It has been featured in several films, television shows, and advertisements.
Rivers of Babylon – Boney M.
This reggae song was released on May 1978 as a track from their album, Nightflight to Venus (1978). The song became an instant success in the UK Singles Chart reaching number 1 that year. It also topped the charts for the Netherlands and Belgium.
Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake
This song was released on November 11, 2003 as the second single from Timberlake’s debut solo studio album, Justified (2002). It is a pop and R&B track that became number one for six weeks in the US Hot 100.
Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
This song was released on January 26, 1970 as the title track for their fifth studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Water. It was also listed by Rolling Stone at number 36 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time (2010). The song reached number 1 in several countries including US, UK, Australia, and Ireland.
Purple Rain – Prince
This pop song was released in June 1984 as the first track of the album, Purple Rain. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks and became an international hit that earned several awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
I Am A River – Foo Fighters
This alternative rock track was released as the second single from their eighth studio album, Sonic Highways (2014). The song became a top 20 hit in several countries including US, Australia, Canada, Belgium, New Zealand, Sweden.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea – Ella Fitzgerald
This song was released on January 23, 1956 as the first track of her album called Ella Sings Gershwin. It reached number 2 in the US Billboard R&B chart becoming Fitzgerald’s most successful single.
Where the River Goes – Stone Temple Pilots
This song was released on November 12, 2015 as the first track of their album, High Rise. It is a rock song that became an instant success reaching the top 100 in the US charts.
River of Love – George Strait
This country song was released on January 27, 1986 as the first single of his album called Whispering Hope. It reached number 1 in US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
Big River – Johnny Cash
This song was released as a single from his album, Ride This Train (1960). It reached number 86 in the US charts becoming Johnny Cash’s first solo hit. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it No. 146 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard
This song was released on June 20, 2003 as the second single from the album, Ocean Avenue. It reached number four in Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart and is Yellowcard’s most successful single.