25 Of The Best Songs About Fighting And Fights

Written by Dan Farrant

Fighting is not always about physical battles. It can also mean personal struggles, societal issues, or emotional turmoil. Whatever the reason, the theme of fighting has found a prominent place in many songs.

These often serve as a rallying cry, offering solace and strength to those amid their own battles. The lyrics can be a source of inspiration, encouraging us to keep pushing, never give up, and stand our ground no matter the odds.

In this article, we’re going to delve into 25 of the best songs about fighting. So, once your fighting spirit is ready, read on!

1. “Kung Fu Fighting” By Carl Douglas

We’re starting this list with an upbeat track to get the fighting spirit pumping. “Kung Fu Fighting,” by Jamaican singer Carl Douglas, emerged in 1974. It captured the world’s fascination with martial arts and delivered a catchy beat that had people dancing worldwide.

The song’s narrative describes “funky China men from funky Chinatown” kung fu fighting. They have lightning-fast moves, expert timing, and intense energy. The entirety of the song can be taken as a metaphor to convey a sense of excitement, dynamism, and power.

“Kung Fu Fighting” capitalized on the martial arts craze sweeping across the world during the early 1970s. The song became synonymous with martial arts in popular culture. It was often used in movies, commercials, and TV shows whenever there was a reference to these themes.

2. “Eye Of The Tiger” By Survivor

Released in 1982, Survivor‘s “Eye of the Tiger” quickly climbed the charts and became an anthem worldwide. The song was written as the theme for the film Rocky III. Its pulsating rhythm and inspiring lyrics perfectly complemented its storyline.

The lyrics are about rising above challenges and fighting to survive. The protagonist in the song is depicted as getting back on his feet and taking his chances despite the odds.

The phrase “eye of the tiger” represents the focus, determination, and strength necessary to face adversity and come out on top. It’s the thrill of the fight that keeps the character going, driven by the will to survive.

3. “Fussing And Fighting” By Bob Marley

In the rich discography of Bob Marley, a particular track stands out for its powerful message and reggae rhythm. “Fussing and Fighting” is one such song that mentions fighting as a metaphor to address societal issues.

As the title suggests, it speaks about the constant bickering and disagreements among individuals. Marley uses his lyrics to shed light on the futility of such conflicts and the need for unity and peace.

“Fussing and Fighting” can be seen as a call to action against unnecessary conflict. The fighting here symbolizes the discord and turmoil within society. Marley’s plea is for people to stop this “fighting” and come together.

4. “Tubthumper” By Chumbawamba

In 1997, the British rock band Chumbawamba released a song that would become an anthem for resilience and tenacity. “Tubthumping,” also known as “I Get Knocked Down,” was the band’s most successful single and continues to be a cultural touchstone.

Its lyrics are not about physical combat. Instead, it uses the metaphor of fighting, getting knocked down, and rising again to convey resistance and determination.

The chorus, “I get knocked down, but I get up again,” is a powerful statement of resilience. It embodies the spirit of fighting back and not allowing setbacks to keep you down.

“Tubthumping” resonated so much with listeners worldwide. It topped numerous charts, including Australia, Canada, and Billboard‘s Mainstream Top 40 Chart.

5. “Can’t Hold Us” By Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Ft. Ray Dalton

When you think of songs that embody the spirit of resilience and determination, one track that might come to mind is a hit by the American hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: “Can’t Hold Us,” featuring singer Ray Dalton.

The fighting spirit in this song is not about physical battles but about overcoming personal and societal obstacles. It’s about the struggle to achieve your dreams, no matter the hurdles in your path. The lines “This is the moment / Tonight is the night, we’ll fight ’til it’s over” encourage listeners not to give up when faced with these stumbling blocks.

Upon its release, “Can’t Hold Us” quickly gained recognition and acclaim. Its infectious beat and empowering message shot it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

6. “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” By Elton John

Our next song is one infused with a distinctive rock-and-roll vibe. “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” by Elton John became a high-energy track that paints a vivid picture of youthful exuberance and rebellion.

This song isn’t about fighting in the literal sense. Instead, it uses fighting as a metaphor for letting loose and breaking free from societal norms and expectations.

The lyrics speak of a young person’s eagerness to rock, have fun with friends, and enjoy life to the fullest. That is to say, even if it means getting into a bit of trouble along the way.

Released in 1973 from Elton’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)” has left a significant cultural imprint. It’s been covered by artists like Nickelback, Queen, and Fall Out Boy. It was also featured in the 2011 film Gnomeo & Juliet.

7. “Battlefield” By Jordin Sparks

In the realm of music that captures the complexities and struggles of love, one song stands out. “Battlefield” by Jordin Sparks is a heartfelt exploration into the tumultuous world of romantic relationships.

The song tells the story of a relationship that can quickly go from good to bad. It’s about two strong, passionate personalities clashing, leading to situations where they have to “battle it out.”

In the song, “fighting” in the lyrics is metaphorical. It represents the conflicts and disagreements that often occur in a relationship. The battlefield, in this case, is the emotional landscape where these conflicts play out.

8. “Fight The Power” By Public Enemy

Up next is the hip-hop hit “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy. It has become a significant touchstone in the genre’s history and protest music. It is a powerful, politically charged track that has resonated with audiences.

At its core, the song is a call to action, a rallying cry against societal and systemic injustices. It’s about fighting for change and standing up against oppressive power structures, inequality, and racism.

“Fight the Power” was conceived at the request of film director Spike Lee, who wanted an anthem for his movie Do the Right Thing. This association with a film that dealt with racial tension and police brutality further cemented the song’s status as a protest anthem.

9. “Survivor” By Destiny’s Child

The American group Destiny’s Child emerged from a storm of personal and professional turmoil. Their timeless classic, “Survivor”, reflects this experience. The track is about overcoming adversity and defying negative expectations. It’s also about finding inner strength in the face of challenges.

The song, inspired by the reality TV show of the same name, features lyrics that mirror the struggles the group faced during a tumultuous time in their journey.

The lines “I’m not gon’ give up… / not gon’ stop… / gon’ work harder” are a testament to their fighting spirit and will to survive and thrive despite the odds stacked against them.

Released in 2001 from the album of the same name, “Survivor” became an anthem for resilience. It topped the UK Singles Chart and landed at #2 on Billboard‘s Hot 100.

10. “Till I Collapse” By Eminem

In the pantheon of hip-hop, one song exudes a strong fighting spirit — “Till I Collapse” by Eminem. Released from his fourth studio album in 2002, it features the vocals of fellow American rapper Nate Dogg.

Like the songs above, the fighting in the song is metaphorical. It is about pushing oneself to the limit and refusing to give up, no matter how hard the struggle becomes. It speaks to the theme of persistence, of continuing to fight even when you feel weak and tired.

Interestingly, “Till I Collapse” was never released as a single. Nevertheless, it has achieved enormous popularity and commercial success. This is a testament that its powerful message continues to inspire and motivate.

11. “Kiss With A Fist” By Florence And The Machine

The indie rock band Florence and the Machine made their mark in the indie rock scene and released a track that is both raw and energetic. “Kiss with a Fist” is their debut single, a part of their first studio album, Lungs.

The song, at its core, is about a tumultuous and passionate relationship. Its lyrics depict a back-and-forth exchange of blows, both physical and emotional. This suggests a love that is as fiery as it is destructive.

“Kiss with a Fist” remains one of Florence and the Machine’s most popular songs. While it may not be a traditional love song, it offers a compelling exploration of passion, conflict, and the complexities of love.

12. “Fighting My Way Back” By Thin Lizzy

The Irish rock band Thin Lizzy has many standout tracks. “Fighting My Way Back” is one of them, which is featured on their fifth studio album, Fighting, in 1975.

A song with “fighting” in the title, the track is perfect for this list. At its core, it is about resilience and tenacity.

In the song, the narrator has been knocked down many times in life. However, he refuses to stay down. He’s “tough, rough, ready” to “pick [him]self up from under [the] table.”

This determination has resonated with many listeners. And though the song itself wasn’t released as a single, it helped establish Thin Lizzy’s signature sound and style.

13. “Times Like These” By Foo Fighters

From the repertoire of the renowned American rock band Foo Fighters comes “Times Like These.” Released in 2002, this emblematic track hails from their fourth studio album, One by One.

At its heart, the song is about finding hope and strength in difficult times. It captures the essence of fighting, not in a physical sense, but rather as a metaphor for overcoming personal struggles and challenges.

The song was written during a turbulent period in the band’s history. Internal conflicts and disagreements threatened to break them apart. Frontman Dave Grohl stated that the song was inspired by this period of uncertainty and strife. This makes it a testament to the band’s determination to overcome their internal struggles and continue making music together.

14. “Never Say Never” By Justin Bieber

From the discography of pop sensation Justin Bieber, “Never Say Never” stands out as an empowering track. Featuring Jaden Smith, it’s about the determination to fight back and overcome whatever life throws at him.

Its lyrics echo the sentiment of never giving up, no matter how challenging the circumstances. The narrator “will never say never” and “will fight ’til forever,” underscoring this message of perseverance and tenacity.

Released in 2010, the song is the theme for the film The Karate Kid, in which Smith also starred. ” “Never Say Never” was also the title of Bieber’s 2011 3D concert film and documentary.

15. “Mama Said Knock You Out” By LL Cool J

The award-winning “Mama Said Knock You Out” is next. This powerhouse track is from the repertoire of American rapper LL Cool J.

The song was released in 1991 as the fourth single from the rapper’s album of the same name. Despite its aggressive title, the song doesn’t promote violence. Instead, it uses boxing metaphors to convey the struggle of proving oneself in the face of criticism.

At the time, LL Cool J was struggling to keep his career afloat. His grandmother encouraged him to go on and “knock out” his naysayers. He did just that. “Mama Said Knock You Out” went on to win him a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.

16. “This Is War” By 30 Seconds To Mars

From the creative powerhouse of 30 Seconds to Mars emerges a song that epitomizes the essence of conflict. This track navigates the complexities of war, both in the literal and metaphorical sense.

The song’s narrative is not just about physical warfare. It expands to encompass internal and societal conflicts as well. It delves into the struggles for success, the battles against evil, and the fight for what one believes in.

The lyrics portray a world where conflict is inevitable, with lines like “A warning to the people / the good and the evil / this is war.” The fighting spirit in the song is palpable, not just in the lyrics but also in the intense, driving music that underscores them.

17. “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt. 1” By The Flaming Lips

Let’s immerse ourselves in the vividly imaginative world of The Flaming Lips. Their 2003 song “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt. 1” stands out for its unique narrative and engaging sound.

This song takes us into a fantastical scenario where Yoshimi, a city worker with “a black belt in karate,” is tasked with defeating pink robots. The tune is an ode to the fighting spirit, albeit in a surreal, sci-fi setting. The battle isn’t merely physical; it’s symbolic, representing the struggle against life’s adversities.

Yoshimi’s disciplined body and her determination to defeat the robots could be seen as metaphors for resilience, self-discipline, and the courage to face daunting challenges.

18. “Still Fighting It” By Ben Folds

From the talented musician Ben Folds comes a poignant tune that beautifully encapsulates the bittersweet journey of growing up. “Still Fighting It” is an ode to childhood and the inevitable pain that comes with maturing.

The song is a heartfelt message from a father to his son. It’s about the struggles of growing up, the lessons that come with age, and the love that binds a parent and child together.

The “fighting” in this song isn’t about physical battles. Instead, it refers to the internal struggle of accepting the realities of adulthood while trying to retain the innocence and simplicity of childhood.

19. “What I’m Fighting For” By Matisyahu

In the diverse world of reggae music, Matisyahu stands out for his unique blend of spirituality and rhythm. This vocalist has created a song that resonates with many due to its profound message and captivating sound: “What I’m Fighting For.”

The track is from his 2006 album Youth. It’s a poignant representation of the artist’s internal struggles and his quest for meaning and purpose in life. The song is about a metaphorical battle that symbolizes the fight for values “worth far more than silver and gold.”

This could be interpreted as the struggle for integrity, authenticity, and spiritual fulfillment. These are often more challenging to attain than material wealth.

20. “Face Off” By Tech N9ne Ft. Joey Cool, King Iso, And Dwayne Johnson

From the world of rap and hip-hop, we have a track that gained significant attention for its unique collaboration and powerful message. “Face Off” is by Tech N9ne and features Joey Cool, King Iso, and Dwayne Johnson.

It’s an energy song intended to pump up listeners, making it a popular choice for workout playlists. Its lyrics reflect a fiery spirit, likening the protagonist to a lion ready to face any enemy.

In terms of fighting, “Face Off” doesn’t speak of physical battles but rather the internal struggles one faces on the path to success. It’s about the fight within oneself to stay hungry, to persist, and to devour challenges in the pursuit of one’s goals.

21. “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” By Beastie Boys

Imagine a world where rebellion meets rhythm, and you’ve entered the landscape of the smash hit “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party).” This catchy track is a creation of the American hip-hop group Beastie Boys.

The song is essentially a satirical take on party anthems. It delivers a parody of the teenage “party hard” mentality. The element of fighting is a metaphorical battle for the right to let loose and have fun.

It talks about youthful rebellion and the desire for freedom. It narrates the story of a protagonist who wakes up late for school and would rather party than adhere to rules. Intended to be a parody, “Fight for Your Right” instead ended up becoming an anthem for the very attitude it was mocking.

22. “White Riot” By The Clash

Emerging from the punk rock scene of the late 1970s, “White Riot” has since become synonymous with rebellion and social unrest. This song is an early work of the English band The Clash.

“White Riot” is a product of a tumultuous time in British history. It was inspired by the Notting Hill riots of August 1976, in which band members Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon found themselves caught up.

The song serves as a call to arms for white youth to stand up against societal injustices. The lyrics echo a call to action against apathy. It urges listeners to riot — a metaphor for standing up and making one’s voice heard.

23. “Seven Nation Army” By The White Stripes

Up next is a battle cry that fans of The White Stripes would know. “Seven Nation Army,” released in 2003 from their album Elephant, weaves a tale of struggle and defiance.

The song is not about fighting in the physical sense. Instead, it presents a struggle with one’s thoughts and memories. The “seven nation army” could be interpreted as the internal voices or demons that one grapples with.

The fight could be against societal injustices or even against the fear of standing up for what’s right. This universal appeal is perhaps why the song continues to endure, inspiring new generations to carry on their fight.

24. “Street Fighting Man” By The Rolling Stones

Penned by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, “Street Fighting Man” by The Rolling Stones is a song that captures the spirit of civil unrest. It took place in 1968, a time of significant upheaval. Student riots in London and Paris and widespread protests in America opposed the Vietnam War.

The song became an anthem for change, a musical representation of the fight for justice and equality. Its lyrics vividly depict the chaos of the era, giving listeners a sense of the marches and protests taking place on the streets.

In essence, “Street Fighting Man” is more than just a rock classic. It serves as a reminder of the transformative power of music and its ability to echo societal struggles and inspire action.

25. “Love Is A Battlefield” By Pat Benatar

Ending this list is a song that captures the spirit of fighting…for love. “Love Is a Battlefield,” by Pat Benatar, sings of the conflicts and battles one must face in relationships.

The lyrics tell a story of emotional turmoil and heartache — “Heartache to heartache we stand / No promises, no demands.” Yet it urges listeners to stand strong amid these trials. This highlights the resilience and determination required when navigating romantic relationships.

“Love Is a Battlefield” solidified Benatar’s status as a rock icon. The song’s blend of pop and rock, combined with its powerful message, made it a hit among fans. It topped the charts across the globe, including Australia, Netherlands, and Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock Chart.

Summing Up Our List Of Fighting Songs

As you have read, the theme of fighting has inspired countless songs that have become anthems for resilience and determination. These songs have captured the hearts of listeners for their ability to instill a sense of strength and courage in the face of adversity.

As we continue to explore the vast musical landscape, we’re sure there are more empowering anthems out there that deserve recognition. So let us know if we missed a song so we can add them here for you!

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.