25 Of The Best Songs That Start With The Letter S

Written by Dan Farrant

Without the alphabet, communication wouldn’t be easy. Songs perhaps would not even exist! In fact, letters have inspired many hits across the globe, through various genres and eras.

Here, we have the letter “S”-starting songs that have captivated listeners with their melodies and stories. From classic tracks to rock and dance hits, each one is unique, so you’re sure to find a track you’ll love.

So if you’re ready to add to your daily playlist, continue reading 25 of the best songs that start with the letter “S.” Enjoy!

1. “Sorry” By Justin Bieber

Let’s start with a multi-chart-topping hit by Justin Bieber called “Sorry.” A dancehall pop, the song took the airwaves by storm when it was released in 2015 from his album Purpose.

“Sorry” marked a significant departure from Bieber’s earlier teen pop works. It embodies a mature artist seeking redemption personally and musically.

It is a dazzling concoction of tropical house beats infused with reggae fusion and dancehall elements — a stark contrast to the bubblegum pop that defined Bieber’s early career.

The lyrics are deceptively simple, yet they carry a weight of sincerity. In it, the narrator pleads for forgiveness after hurting his beloved. He hopes to reconnect “’cause [he’s] missing [her] more than just [her] body.”

2. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” By Nirvana

One of the most iconic and influential songs of the 1990s alternative rock era is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. Penned by frontman Kurt Cobain, it became an anthem for Generation X and propelled Nirvana to mainstream success.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a potent blend of grunge, punk rock, and pop. It reflects the disillusionment and apathy prevalent among young people at the time. The cryptic lyrics contain fragments of disconnected imagery and enigmatic phrases that resist easy interpretation.

Upon its release in 1991, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” revolutionized the music industry. It epitomized the grunge movement and paved the way for alternative rock’s mainstream crossover in the early 1990s. Even decades later, the song remains a cultural touchstone and continues to resonate with audiences worldwide.

3. “Shallow” By Lady Gaga And Bradley Cooper

Performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, “Shallow” is more than just a song. It’s a cultural phenomenon that transcends its origins in the film A Star Is Born. This powerful ballad has amassed over 1.6 billion views on its official music video on YouTube.

“Shallow” is a dialogue between its two protagonists, played by Gaga and Cooper in the movie. It explores themes of longing, dreams, and the search for authenticity in an often superficial world.

With lines like “Are you happy in this modern world / or do you need more? / Is there somethin’ else you’re searchin’ for?” the song resonates with anyone who has ever questioned their place or purpose.

The song’s impact was further solidified by its live performance at the Oscars, where Gaga and Cooper’s palpable chemistry and emotional intensity brought the audience to its feet. This performance helped “Shallow” win the Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

4. “Señorita” By Shawn Mendes And Camila Cabello

Up next is a captivating collaboration between Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello. Released in 2019, “Señorita” is a sultry and seductive pop duet that served as the lead single for Mendes’ self-titled third studio album.

“Señorita” tells the story of a passionate romance between two lovers. The lyrics vividly evoke the excitement and intensity of newfound attraction. Mendes and Cabello trade verses and chorus lines filled with suggestive imagery and longing.

Upon its release, the song became a commercial juggernaut. It topped the charts worldwide and earned critical acclaim for its infectious melody and the undeniable chemistry between Mendes and Cabello. It helped propel both singers to new heights of fame.

5. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” By Guns N’ Roses

In 1987, Guns N’ Roses debuted with the album Appetite for Destruction. It contained their signature track, “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” which shot the band to fame.

The song is primarily about frontman Axl Rose’s girlfriend at the time, Erin Everly, whom he later married. Its lyrics were inspired by his feelings for her, and it is often considered a heartfelt expression of love and adoration. The iconic guitar riff and soaring chorus contribute to the song’s emotional depth and timeless appeal.

The song’s success was astronomical, reaching the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Its accompanying music video features candid footage of the band rehearsing in a ballroom. It became a staple on MTV, further cementing the song’s popularity.

6. “Stitches” By Shawn Mendes

Up next is the pop-rock anthem that shot the Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes to fame. “Stitches,” released in 2015 from his debut album, became one of the singer’s signature hits.

The lyrics vividly depict the aftermath of a painful breakup. Mendes sings about feeling betrayed and emotionally wounded. Lines like “I thought that I’d been hurt before / but no one’s ever left me quite this sore … / You watch me bleed until I can’t breathe / shaking, falling onto my knees” capture the visceral anguish he experienced.

“Stitches” was a commercial success, taking the top spot on the UK Singles Chart and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also helped introduce Mendes to a broader audience, paving the way for further success in his career.

7. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World” By Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Sometime in the late 1980s, the Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, known as Iz, recorded a heartfelt track that has touched millions worldwide. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” stands out for its gentle ukulele accompaniment and Iz’s soulful voice.

As you might have guessed from the title, this is a medley of two classic songs: “Over the Rainbow” from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”

Since its release in 1990, the song has achieved widespread acclaim, becoming a global hit. It’s been featured in numerous films, like Meet Joe Black and 50 First Dates, helping to immortalize Iz’s legacy.

8. “Save Your Tears” By The Weeknd

Blending synth-pop, R&B, and electronic music, The Weeknd created one of the best tracks of the 2020s. “Save Your Tears,” from the singer’s After Hours album, explores themes of heartbreak, regret, and self-reflection.

The lyrics vividly depict the aftermath of a failed relationship, as he sings about his regret over abandoning his lover. Lines like “I broke your heart like someone did to mine” and “Girl, take me back ’cause I wanna stay” capture the anguish and longing he feels in the wake of the breakup.

“Save Your Tears” topped several charts across the globe, including the UK Hip Hop/R&B chart.  It also earned The Weeknd numerous awards and nominations.

9. “Sign Of The Times” By Harry Styles

Up next is another debut hit, this time by Harry Styles. “Sign of the Times,” released in 2017, marked a significant departure from his previous work with the boy band One Direction. The song draws inspiration from artists like David Bowie and the Rolling Stones.

The song’s narrative is profoundly poignant. It is conceived from the perspective of a mother imparting final words to her newborn child. It speaks of hope, resilience, and the human capacity to endure in the face of adversity.

This theme of resilience struck a chord with audiences worldwide. It helped propel the song to commercial success and critical acclaim. It debuted at #1 in the UK and received a BMI Pop Award.

10. “Symphony” By Clean Bandit Ft. Zara Larsson

Dance to the beat of the beautiful “Symphony.” This is a 2017 collaboration between Clean Bandit and Swedish singer-songwriter Zara Larsson. The track quickly emerged as a significant entry in contemporary pop music, topping the UK Singles Chart.

“Symphony” is a great example of Clean Bandit’s signature style, which blends classical music elements with electronic pop. The addition of Larsson’s vocals enhances the song’s appeal. It further shows off the synergy between the artists.

The thematic focus on love and loss resonates deeply with listeners. It articulates the longing to be part of someone’s life so profoundly that their presence harmonizes like a symphony.

11. “Stayin’ Alive” By Bee Gees

Movies often have songs that become classics. One such song is “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees, from the late 1970s film Saturday Night Fever.

“Stayin’ Alive” talks about the struggles of life and the importance of surviving, no matter what challenges come your way. With its upbeat rhythm, the song urges you to stay alive even when you “feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’.”

This disco track became one of the Bee Gees’ biggest hits. It not only reached high positions on music charts worldwide. It also became a symbol of the disco era, often associated with the 1970s and the dance culture of that time.

12. “September” By Earth, Wind, & Fire

Another disco track hit takes a spot on our list of “S”-starting songs. “September,” by the American band Earth, Wind & Fire, quickly became one of the group’s most beloved tracks after it was released in 1978.

The song is famous for its catchy chorus, “Do you remember the 21st night of September?” which has been sung by countless fans around the world. The lyrics reminisce about a romantic relationship that began on that specific date, filled with dancing, love, and unforgettable memories.

With its catchy beat, it’s not surprising that “September” achieved significant success. It charted well in several countries and landed in the top 10 of Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart.

13. “Summertime Sadness” By Lana Del Rey

From dance beats, we move on to a melancholic pop ballad. Lana del Rey‘s “Summertime Sadness” was released from the singer’s Born to Die album in 2012.

Its lyrics speak of a deep sadness intertwined with the beauty of summer as the narrator sings a bittersweet farewell to her beloved: “Kiss me hard before you go / summertime sadness / I just wanted you to know / that, baby, you the best.”

“Summertime Sadness” was well received by fans and critics alike. It landed in the top 10 of many music charts across the globe, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

14. “Shivers” By Ed Sheeran

Shifting yet again to a dance beat, we have Ed Sheeran‘s “Shivers.” Released in 2021, it is a vibrant and infectious track that can get you dancing as soon as you hear the first note.

The song talks about the exhilarating feeling of falling in love, capturing the essence of youthful romance and the physical sensations associated with deep affection. The lines “I wanna kiss your eyes / I wanna drink that smile / I wanna feel like … / my soul’s on fire” convey all this.

“Shivers” was so well-received that it reached the top spot on many charts, including the UK and Germany. It garnered many award nominations and received a BMI Most Performed Songs of the Year in 2022.

15. “Sometimes” By Britney Spears

Mixed emotions are not uncommon when it comes to love. This is perfectly captured in Britney Spears‘ 1999 single “Sometimes.” From her album …Baby One More Time, the track was a milestone in Spears’ burgeoning career.

It depicts the hesitancy and vulnerability experienced in the early stages of a romantic relationship. The protagonist expresses her desire to open up to her love interest, but she’s hesitant: “Sometimes I run / Sometimes I hide / Sometimes I’m scared of you / But all I really want is to hold you tight.”

“Sometimes” helped solidify Spears’ status as a pop sensation and a significant figure in the music industry during her debut. It continues to be beloved by fans, especially those who have experienced the uncertainties of young love.

16. “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely” By The Backstreet Boys

Here’s a song that proves some “S”-starting songs can be deep and heartwrenching. “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely,” by the boy band Backstreet Boys, shows you what longing means in the face of loneliness.

In this mid-tempo ballad, the narrator aches to be with his beloved, but for some reason not stated in the song, he can’t. He laments instead his loneliness: “Tell me why I can’t be there where you are / There’s something missing in my heart.”

The critical and commercial response to the song was overwhelmingly positive. It landed in the top 5 of charts across the world, cementing the Backstreet Boys’ status as one of the leading acts in the late ’90s pop music scene.

17. “Summer Of ’69” By Bryan Adams

Now celebrate rock with us with a classic by Bryan Adams. “Summer of ’69,” released in 1985, evokes the spirit of youthful exuberance and the longing for days gone by. Despite its title, the narrative has sparked various interpretations over the years.

Initially, many listeners interpreted “Summer of ’69” as a reflection of the summer of 1969. The lyrics recount the story of a young musician’s experiences with his first real six-string (guitar), playing in a band, and navigating early romances.

However, after some time, Bryan Adams has provided more insight into the song’s lyrical content. He revealed layers of meaning that go beyond a simple reminiscence of the year 1969. He has described the song as having a more provocative meaning, hinting at innuendos hidden in the song.

18. “Still Into You” By Paramore

A pop-punk anthem of enduring love is up next. “Still Into You” is an energetic song by the American rock band Paramore. Released in 2013, this track stands for its vibrant rhythm and introspective lyrics.

The song conveys a straightforward message. Even after many years together, the narrator is still very much in love with her significant other. Their journey “was not a walk in the park,” but for her, the man is “worth it.”

Upon its release, “Still Into You” received widespread acclaim from fans and critics alike. Its infectious melody and relatable message made it one of Paramore’s standout tracks.

19. “Shout” By Tears For Fears

When English pop-rock band Tears for Fears released “Shout” in 1984, they had no idea it would be a monumental success.

It claimed the top spot on the music charts of multiple countries, including the US, Australia, and New Zealand. The song has since become one of the band’s most iconic tracks.

Written by Roland Orzabal and Ian Stanley, the lyrics encourage listeners to express their frustrations and feelings. The chorus is notable for its repeated calls to “shout” and “let it all out.” It serves as a cathartic release, embodying the song’s message of empowerment through vocal expression.

20. “Stairway To Heaven” By Led Zeppelin

Our next song, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, is one of the most iconic and enduring songs in the history of rock music. It was released in 1971 as part of their untitled fourth studio album, often referred to as Led Zeppelin IV.

Lyrically, the song touches on themes of longing, existential reflection, and spiritual questing. The enigmatic nature of the lyrics has led to much speculation and interpretation over the years. It contributed to the song’s mystique and enduring appeal.

“Stairway to Heaven” achieved massive popularity and became a staple of rock radio. It has been covered by numerous artists, including Frank Zappa, Heart, and Mastodon.

21. “Saving All My Love For You” By Whitney Houston

Originally recorded by Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. in 1978, “Saving All My Love for You” was given new life by Whitney Houston in 1985. The song quickly ascended the charts and became one of the singer’s signature hits.

The song’s lyrics tell the story of a woman who is involved in an affair with a married man. He promises to run away with her, but she knows “that’s just an old fantasy.” Despite this, she continues to save all her love for this man.

The song received widespread acclaim and topped both the UK and US charts, among others. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, further testament to its impact and Houston’s talent.

22. “Say You, Say Me” By Lionel Richie

Our next song, “Say You, Say Me,” is a timeless classic by Lionel Richie. He wrote and recorded it in 1985 for the film White Nights. It achieved significant commercial success, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The song’s universal message of unity and understanding resonates deeply. It encourages listeners to “Say you, say me/ say it for always / That’s the way it should be,” promoting a vision of togetherness and mutual support.

Richie’s performance of “Say You, Say Me” was met with critical acclaim. It earned him an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song. This accolade highlights the song’s impact not only on popular culture but also on the cinematic world, marking it as a significant achievement in Richie’s illustrious career.

23. “Sometimes When We Touch” By Dan Hill

In 1977, Canadian pop-rock artist Dan Hill released “Sometimes When We Touch.” Since then, this ballad has resonated deeply with audiences.

The song’s lyrics explore the complexities of intimacy and vulnerability in a relationship. One particular poignant line stands out: “I want to hold you until the fear in me subsides.” It captures the essence of the song’s theme: the struggle to express one’s true feelings to a loved one.

“Sometimes When We Touch” reached #1 in Canada and South Africa. It also made a strong impression on the charts in the United States, peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Over the years, it has been covered by various artists across different genres. Renditions by Mark Gray and Tammy Wynette and Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao further attest to its broad appeal and the universality of its message.

24. “Superstition” By Stevie Wonder

After “Fingertips – Part 2” in 1963, Stevie Wonder did not have another chart-topping hit until a decade later. This iconic song would be “Superstition,” a foot-tapping, head-bopping funky track from his Talking Book album.

The genesis of “Superstition” lies in its distinctive clavinet riff, played by Wonder himself. It immediately grabs the listener’s attention. The song’s arrangement is a masterclass in rhythm and groove. It features a blend of funk, soul, and rock elements that were groundbreaking at the time.

Lyrically, “Superstition” explores the dangers of blindly following superstitions. It encourages listeners to think critically rather than succumbing to irrational fears.

The song was a commercial success upon its release. It also earned Wonder a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance (Male) and Best Rhythm & Blues Song.

25. “Sweet Home Alabama” By Lynyrd Skynyrd

Our list will not be complete without “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It is an iconic track that encapsulates the spirit of the American South. Released in 1974, it quickly became a defining track for the band and remains a beloved anthem to this day.

The song was written in response to Neil Young’s “Southern Man” and “Alabama.” These songs criticized the southern states for their history of slavery and racism. Through “Sweet Home Alabama,” Lynyrd Skynyrd expresses their pride in their Southern roots. At the same time, they acknowledge the complex and troubled history of the region.

Despite the controversy surrounding its lyrical content, “Sweet Home Alabama” was commercially successful. It reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also remains one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most recognizable and beloved songs.

Summing Up Our List Of Letter “S”-Starting Songs

In exploring our compilation of songs today, we’ve traversed a wide range of genres and decades. We’ve uncovered gems that have resonated with music enthusiasts across the globe.

While it’s impossible to capture every great “S” song in one list, we hope that our selection has given you a taste of what this iconic letter has brought to the world of music.

That said, what “S”-starting track have we missed? Share them with us, and we’ll be sure to add them here!

Photo of author

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.