What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?* If you’re looking to give your audience a great party soundtrack, check out these New Year’s Eve songs across several music genres.
There’s a lot of great music for New Year’s Eve to attract listeners who prefer radio above a self-made playlist or streaming service. And, when you promote it well, also in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, your party soundtrack might help you gain positive music images and increased audience reach during the holiday ratings sweeps!
One of those magic radio songs for New Year’s Eve
10. Kid Rock – Happy New Year
Happy New Year? In a list of songs for New Year’s Eve? Well, Kid Rock is singing: “When that ball drops on New York City… When that clock strikes I’ll pull you near… Just to wish you Happy New Year” — so it is not the new year yet. In fact, near the end, it’s revealed that this story is actually taking place way before the holiday season: “Yeah it’s September, but with you here… Every night is a Happy New Year”. However, as most lyrics are about the anticipation of a new & better year ahead, we think this song from his album Rebel Soul is a great one for New Year’s Eve (and New Year’s Day).
9. Prince – 1999
There are several songs with the year 1999 (and 2000 or 2012) in the title, and some people might argue that these are (literally) outdated by now. As there never was a serious millennium bug, and there never was an apocalypse, Will 2K and 2012 (It Ain’t The End) seem more like ‘nice to haves’ than ‘must haves’ on a New Year’s Eve playlist, indeed. We would like to make an exception for Prince’s 1999, the iconic title track from his (1982) album of the same name & fame. Thanks to several re-releases, including in its namesake year, 1999 has become a popular New Year’s Eve anthem.
8. Wendy & Lisa ft. Seal – The Closing Of The Year
A less familiar, but, we think, touching New Year’s Eve (and Christmas) theme comes from two ladies who once toured with Prince as part of his band The Revolution, before becoming a successful solo act and hitting the charts with Waterfall and Are You My Baby. In 1992, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman teamed up with Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel (a.k.a. Seal) for The Closing Of The Year on the soundtrack of the fantasy/comedy film Toys. Also thanks to additional vocals from the movie’s musical cast, it’s one of those magic radio songs for New Year’s Eve.
An optimistic New Year’s Eve song
7. Sugarland – Maybe Baby (New Year’s Day)
Just like Kid Rock’s Happy New Year, this track by the American Country duo Sugarland tells a holiday-related love story that is taking place somewhere before Christmas, as Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush are singing: “Maybe, baby… I’ll see you this Christmas… What do you say… Or maybe, baby… Ill see you on New Year’s Day”. Maybe Baby (New Year’s Day) is therefore suitable to be played before & during Christmas, as well as on New Year’s Eve (and on New Year’s Day).
6. Van Morrison – Celtic New Year
‘Van the Man’ has created a massive musical heritage over the years. Who doesn’t know rock classics such as Brown Eyed Girl, or acoustic ballads like Have I Told You Lately? One of the Belfast Cowboy’s less-known hits can be nice for New Year’s Eve, as he sings “I want you to come back home in the Celtic New Year” (even if Samhain actually starts November 1st). A radio station in Ireland, where many listeners will be familiar with this Gaelic tradition, would probably feature this track from the album Magic Time around the end of October (and beginning of November).
5. Barry Manilow – It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve
Despite a melancholic sound, this is an optimistic New Year’s Eve song. “We’re not alone, we’ve got the world you know… And it won’t let us down, just wait and see… And we’ll grow old, but think how wise we’ll grow… There’s more you know, it’s only New Year’s Eve” is what the singer-songwriter says on the record. If your station already spins Mandy, I Write The Songs and Looks Like We’ve Made It on a regular basis, It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve might be a nice one to add to your music rotation for the last day of the year.
Another less conventional New Year’s Eve anthem
4. Mary Chapin Carpenter – New Years Day
Country, Folk and Soft Rock are music styles blending in many songs by Mary Chapin Carpenter. The singer-songwriter peaked in the 1990s with no less than ten Top 10 singles on the Country chart, including Shut Up And Kiss Me (number 1 in ‘94), and with her album Come On, Come On (four million copies sold). A more obscure song in her repertoire is New Years Day from the 2012 album Ashes and Roses. The song’s tale begins on New Year’s Eve (“We are sitting at a table in a bar in Baltimore… It’s the last night of December”), and ends on New Year’s Day.
3. MØ – New Year’s Eve
More Indie & Alternative is the end-of-the-year song of Karen Marie Aagaard Ørsted Andersen (better known as MØ) from 2014 . “We forget about our problems… We got time to share all of those things in the New Year… Got a problem, baby let it be, hopped up on my back… Have a happy New Year’s Eve”, the Danish singer-songwriter says in this almost hypnotic song full of synth & electro sounds. We think that it can be a nice fit for modern alternative or progressive formats, as well as refreshing for some current mainstream stations.
2. Snoop Dogg ft. Marty James – New Year’s Eve
Another less conventional New Year’s Eve anthem comes from hip hop artist Snoop Dogg and singer-songwriter & record producer Marty James — one of the co-writers of the worldwide hit Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber. We’re actually surprised that New Year’s Eve was only released as a promotional single in 2010, and didn’t make Snoop Doggs following album Doggumentary. It’s a pretty cool track, especially when you’re a Rhythmic or Urban station (for which it might be more of a challenge to find suitable holiday songs).
May it be the same for you
1. Dina Carroll – The Perfect Year
Our Top 10 of songs for your New Year’s Eve playlist ends on a high note: a feel-good ballad with a positive outlook, trusting that next year will be one full of love. “Ring out the old, bring in the new… A midnight wish to share with you… Your lips are warm, my head is light… Were we in love before tonight?”, Dina Carroll sings before heading to the chorus: “We don’t need a crowded ballroom, everything we need is here… If you’re with me next year will be the perfect year.” May it be the same for you!
* What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? (mentioned in the intro) is a New Year’s song from 1947, penned by Frank Loesser and recorded by many artists, including Ella Fitzgerald in 1960, and Diana Krall in 2005. Together with Bing Crosby’s Let’s Start The New Year Right (One Minute To Midnight), also from 1947, it is the oldest New Year’s song in modern recording history that we have been able to find. These were not included in this Top 10 as their sound is more traditional than most stations would play nowadays — even if these standards are basically timeless songs about New Year’s Eve.
Header image: Thomas Giger, Atlantic Records, Geffen Records