11 Of The Best Songs About The Morning To Get You Up

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

For some people, the start of the day feels rejuvenating and full of hope. Seeing a glorious sunrise can be one of the most breathtaking experiences one will ever have.

Of course, not everyone loves the feeling of waking up to an alarm and the obligation of going to work. Whether you’re an early bird or not a morning person, there’s sure to be a song that fits your mood.

Keep reading for the 11 of the best songs about the morning. You might discover a new favorite that helps you get going with a positive outlook.

1. “Lovely Day” By Bill Withers

It’s impossible to discuss the music of the 1970s without a mention of Bill Withers. “Lovely Day” from his album Menagerie has stood the test of time as one of the most notable morning songs.

The message of “Lovely Day” is optimistic. The singer remarks that it makes him feel hopeful when he sees his lover first thing upon waking up. That when things feel like going downhill, just one look at her and he knows it’s going to be all right.

That speaks a lot about the woman’s role in the singer’s life. From the lyrics, we can tell she infuses him with joy and motivation to get through the day.

2. “Here Comes The Sun” By The Beatles

This iconic tune by one of history’s most influential bands no doubt deserves a place on our list. The Beatles released “Here Comes the Sun” on their groundbreaking Abbey Road album in 1969.

The lyrics are literal in the sense of a morning sunrise. But it’s also metaphorical. The singer reassures his “little darling” that after the long winter months, the sun is out again. After the cold and dark of winter, the sun brings light and a new day.

The introductory riff is recognizable to guitar students everywhere, even before the words kick in. “Here Comes the Sun” is one of the Beatles’ most-covered songs of all time, after “Yesterday.”

3. “Oh What A Beautiful Morning” By Gordon McRae

You don’t have to live in the Midwest to sink into this gorgeous piece of music by Gordon McRae. The opening scene from the Broadway show Oklahoma! plays “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” as a cowboy guides his horse through the cornfields.

His appreciation for the bright and sunny landscape around him is clear. He takes note of “the golden haze on the meadow” as well as the corn that seems to climb up to the sky.

The singer also appreciates the gentle breeze and the sounds of the morning. To him, these “are like music” to his ears.

In this way, he pays respects to nature. He feels everything will go well for him at the beginning of a promising day.

4. “Sunrise” By Norah Jones

Our next song is a soft acoustic track from Norah Jones’ debut album. “Sunrise” became one of her earliest and biggest hits. Her buttery jazz voice blends with piano, bass, and light percussion for a gentle song evocative of an easy morning.

As the verses roll by, it appears that the narrator might not be singing about the sunrise after all. Since waking, she’s spent the entire day with her love interest. They realize it’s closer to the night than the morning.

Regardless of the scenario, “Sunrise” has become a musical staple that seamlessly blends R&B, jazz, and soul for a beautiful tune.

5. “Light Of A Clear Blue Morning” By Dolly Parton

Next on our list is a song that mentions “morning” in the lyrics. Global entertainer Dolly Parton still showed her traditional Appalachian heritage in her music. “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” is proof.

Here, the song uses only a piano to underline her famous country-tinged vocals. Then a full band joins in to support them both.

One of music history’s most uplifting messages appears wrapped in a package of Parton’s expert songwriting. Like many songs about the morning, her song describes both the actual start of a day and also the metaphor of starting anew in life.

From the lyrics, it seems like she comes from a dark place. The arrival of “a brand new day,” of a new morning, signals her freedom from things that bound her in the past.

6. “Morning Has Broken” By Cat Stevens

The British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens is no stranger to folk music. He achieved success with some albums and songs that reached the top of several charts. His “Morning Has Broken,” specifically, became popular and reached #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.

“Morning Has Broken” was a natural choice for Stevens to record. It began as a children’s hymn written by a poetry writer. While Stevens did not write the song, he put the chords into it.

The lyrics incorporate religious themes into observations of the natural world. The words talk about giving thanks for each new day. But despite the positive meaning, the hymn is often sung in funeral services.

7. “Chelsea Morning” By Joni Mitchell

We have another folk music staple on the list, Joni Mitchell. Her output parallels Stevens in the realm of singer-songwriters who perform on guitar. In “Chelsea Morning,” her strumming patterns form a simple basis for colorful lyric imagery.

The song finds the singer observing the borough of New York in all its bustle and complexity. We can tell how much she loves living in Chelsea. Here she wakes up in the morning and sees “the sun through yellow curtain.”

She invites her lover to enjoy breakfast with her and stay long enough that the day gives way to night. With the way she describes living in Chelsea, we’re bound to fall in love with the place, too.

8. “Amarillo By Morning” By George Strait

Our next song that mentions “morning” in the title is one by country singer George Strait. He recorded “Amarillo by Morning” in 1982 and included it in his album Strait from the Heart.

In the song, a rodeo cowboy ponders his life and work as he drives through the night. Clearly, he’s encountered relationship struggles and physical challenges. Even then, he remains thankful for what he has and doesn’t regret his lifestyle.

The understated, Western-honky-tonk flavor of this song has wide appeal. In fact, the song peaked at #4 on the US Hot Country Songs and became one of Strait’s signature songs.

9. “Tequila Sunrise” By The Eagles

There are not many classic rock fans who don’t recognize the opening guitar chords of “Tequila Sunrise.” One of the Eagles’ best-loved songs, it was the primary single from their 1973 album Desperado.

The title refers to a popular cocktail that mixes tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup. However, the song does not refer to this. Rather, it’s about a man who drinks tequila until sunrise.

From the lyrics, we can tell it’s not an easy life for the character of the song. At night, he’s “just another lonely boy in town.” He falls hard for a woman who’s really not into him and uses him. He “takes another shot of courage,” though it doesn’t seem to do him any good.

10. “Another Grey Morning” By James Taylor

While songs about the morning usually evoke a positive vibe, James Taylor‘s “Another Grey Morning” is different. This is an underrated track from Taylor’s 1977 album JT.

This is a song that mentions “morning” in a sad light. Even then, Taylor treats even the most painful subject matter with tenderness. His silky vocals and the gentle rhythm weave a comfortable blanket to wrap around yourself on a rainy day.

From the lyrics, this song portrays a woman grappling with postnatal depression and loneliness. We can only imagine how depressing it can be for the song to say, “the sun doesn’t want to shine.” The woman here is trying to reach out to someone, saying, “no more grey morning.”

11. “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” By Johnny Cash

We are wrapping up our list with Johnny Cash‘s “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.” Though written by Kris Kristofferson, Cash’s version became a #1 hit.

The lyrics describe a man who is broken and battered as he faces the early part of the day. Most interpretations say it details a hangover from a night of partying, complete with cigarettes and drinking.

After a beer or two for breakfast, he finds himself walking through the streets. It happens to be a Sunday morning, and his observations of his surroundings remind him of something he lost. Perhaps it’s a family or a loved one. But whatever it is, it left him feeling alone.

Summing Up Our List Of Morning Songs

It seems that songs about the morning fit into two extremes. On one end, the singer is full of hope for a new day. A new morning equates to a new start or opportunity.

On another end, the singer is feeling down and stuck in a frustrating routine. But only because the morning reminds them of an experience that left them feeling lonely.

Regardless of which end it is, may these songs remind us to enjoy every morning that comes. It’s always a chance for us to do something good with our lives. And while you’re at it, listen to the compilation we have prepared for you. We hope you discovered something new on our list!

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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.