Friendship is a complicated thing. It can save your life — like when a good buddy gets you through a bad breakup — or it can drive you absolutely nuts. After all, some friends lie and let you down, and if they’re not secretly plotting your demise, they might be harboring romantic feelings that threaten to destroy the relationship. Or maybe it’s you doing the crushing. Either way, pop musicians feel your pain. Over the years, everyone from strutting stadium rockers to steely gangsta rappers have penned songs on the subject. Read on to see what 20 odes to friendship rank among our favorites.
8.“Count on Me” Bruno Mars
This is definitely a guy you want in your corner. If you’re “stuck in the middle of the sea,” he’ll throw down the guitar and bongos and hop in a rescue boat, post haste. When your lights go out, dude’s got a flashlight. He’ll even help you get to sleep when you’re “tossin’ and you’re turnin’,” possibly by playing this sunny, snoozy lullaby.
9.“Best Friend” 50 Cent
(Hot 100 Peak: No. 35; Peak Date: May 13, 2006)
It’s a fine line between friend and lover, and here, it takes Fiddy two filthy lines to render the thing invisible. He’s not looking for a buddy to fly kites with in the park. He’s looking to fly his private jet a mile high and do freaky things that’ll get commercial planes diverted.
(Hot 100 Peak: No. 12; Peak Date: Sept. 29, 2012)
This G.O.O.D. Music posse cut plays like a gangsta “Lean on Me.” When times get rough, Big Sean’s got Hova’s back, and he, in turn, helps Rihanna, Beyonce, and LeBron James shoulder their burdens, such that they have any. Yeezy, meanwhile, is hanging with Tom Cruise and former CIA boss George Tenet. This may be the only clique in the world that can drop bangers, preach the gospel of L. Ron Hubbard, and overthrow South American governments.
11.“My Best Friend” Weezer
Being Rivers Cuomo’s bestie sure would be great. He’d let you borrow hisKISS bootlegs and 12-sided die, and were you to ask him when Weezer is going to make another record as good as their first two, he wouldn’t take offense. (Hopefully, he’d say Oct. 7, the day Everything Will Be Alright In the End drops, and genuinely mean it.)
12. “All My Friends” LCD Soundsystem
When the drugs run out, and there’s nothing to distract from the fact you’re not 20 anymore, and you can no longer rage into the wee hours — that’s when you find out who your real friends are. Props to James Murphy for realizing this and writing a killer seven-minute party jam about it.
13.“Wind Beneath My Wings” Bette Midler
(Hot 100 Peak: No. 1; Peak Date: June 10, 1989)
Real friends elevate and inspire you, and you can always count on them for simple acts of everyday heroism. You know, like not ratting you out for crying like a baby whenever “Wind Beneath My Wings” comes on the radio.
14. “Thank You For Being a Friend” Andrew Gold
(Hot 100 Peak: No. 25; Peak Date: April 15, 1978)
Although this soft-rock nugget reached No. 25 on the Hot 100 back in 1978, it’s Cynthia Fee’s version, the theme song from the sitcom Golden Girls, that everyone knows and loves. Just try to spin it without thinking of sarcastic Dorothy, saucy Blanche, unfiltered Sophia, or sweet, naive Rose.
15.“I’ll Be There For You” The Rembrandts
(Radio Songs: No. 1 for 8 weeks; Peak Date: June 17, 1995)
Hop in a fountain. Swill coffee all day. Get a pet monkey. If your buddies are really your buddies, they’ll be cool with these and other poor life decisions, and they’ll sing you sweet power-pop tunes like this one when you’re hung up on that cutie across the hall you’re destined for but just can’t seem to get with.
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