Birds have been on earth for over 60 million years. There are debates about birds flying around with the dinosaurs, but either way, fossils prove they’ve been flapping their wings for at least 60. There are approximately 10 thousand species of birds on the planet, so it makes plenty of sense that birds of all sizes have inspired a vast number of great songs over the decades. Here are the best songs about birds that have made their mark in history.
1. Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
In the 70s, Lynyrd Skinner gave the world a song about a roaming man who was impossible of change. The song was long and doubted to be a hit single. However, Ronnie Van Zant stood by the song, saying that the song was all about freedom. And isn't that what the USA is all about. Although Lynyrd Skynyrd’s other singles top the charts, Free Bird became a cult classic in the rock realm. So much so that it’s a guarantee that someone will always call out the words, “Free Bird” during any live music performance.
2. Rockin' Robin by Bobby Day
Rockin’ Robin, written by Leon René and performed by Bobby Day, was an instant hit as it charted at number two on Billboard Hot 100. The song was so peppy, bringing good spirits to teenagers around the country. In 1972, Michael Jackson recorded a cover of the song, which became a sound-round hit for Rockin’ Robin.
3. Skylark by Linda Ronstadt
There are about 40 cover versions of the hit song, which was initially written in 1941. Although Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Bette Milder, Bob Dylan, and many more incredible artists have sung about the beautiful, guiding Skylark, Linda Ronstadt’s version was nominated for a Grammy Award. The song appeared on Ronstadt’s Round Midnight album.
4. Fly Like an Eagle by The Steve Miller Band
The 70s were part of its own kind of Revolution as the movement was preaching freedom and love. The Steve Miller Band sang a song as part of a message for the people to stand up for the people and to clothe, feed and house those in need. The album Fly Like an Eagle hit 445 on Rolling Stones Greatest Albums of All-time.
5. Snowbird by Anne Murray
The Snowbird needs to take the snow and get out of town, so spring and love come back in this complicated lost love song written by Gene MacLellan. Several artists covered Snowbird, but when Anne Murray recorded the track for her Snowbird album, it became a hit worldwide, especially in Canada and the US. Murray re-released the song in 2007 for Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends album.
6. The Bird by George Jones
George Jones has been called the Greatest Country Singer of All-time by fellow artists. His wit and constant use of double entendres paved the way for many future artists in all genres. The Bird is about fading love, an indiscretion, and a literal bird, but it then turns into a possible flipping-off situation with hand gestures. The funny tune hit #26 on the US Country Charts.
7. Mockingbird by Carly Simon & James Taylor
The novelty song based on the children’s nursery rhyme hit number five on the charts when Carly Simon and James Taylor took a crack at the Inez and Charlie Foxx piece. Taylor wanted to recreate it after having memories of him and his sister singing the song when they were children. A fun fact is that a young Carly Simon overcame stage fright to perform Mockingbird with Taylor in 1975. Talk about a mockingbird rescue!
8. Free as a Bird by Beatles
After the band had broken up for 25 years and John Lennon had passed away, Paul, George, and Ringo released Free as a Bird as a single to promote The Beatles Anthology. The song about being free after a meaningful relationship was originally recorded in 1977, but didn’t win a Grammy until 1997 for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
9. I'm Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado
It was the first single released off of Nelly Furtado’s debut album, Whoa, Nelly. The song that tells the story about the fear of love was a popular hit worldwide. It reached number nine in the US and received a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Furtado said after hearing that it is still performed at karaoke and played by cover bands, she’s proud to have a “hairbrush” song.
10. Time for Me to Fly by REO Speedwagon
Time for me to fly was released in the 70s and hit number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100. Decades later, it was used in the popular series Ozark and landed back on the charts, reaching number 34. The song is a tragic tale of one-sided love and knowing it’s time to leave instead of enduring it any longer.