Songs starting with C are comparatively popular, with many of the most popular songs of the last few decades using this letter to start. Here are some of the most popular songs beginning with the letter C from different genres.
“Counting Stars” by OneRepublic
Song Year: 2013
OneRepublic’s hit pop rock song from their album Human, Counting Stars, mixes calm and upbeat sections into a smooth and iconic melody. Although a little newer than most other songs on this list, its memorable lyrics made it easy to recite even years later once the basic beat drops.
“Closer” by The Chainsmokers
Song Year: 2016
Starts and stops aren’t unusual in songs, but Closer by The Chainsmokers goes much further than usual with its attention-grabbing intro. Humans are hardwired to notice changes in our environment, and the composition uses that trait to outstanding effect in a song from one of the most well-regarded bands in the world.
“California Gurls” by Katy Perry
Song Year: 2010
Discussions of the East and West coasts of the United States are a little more common in rap than pop, which might be why Katy Perry got rapper Snoop Dogg to feature in this celebration of California style. It’s not to be confused with the similarly-named California Girls by The Beach Boys, which uses their iconic rolling style as a good song in its own right.
“Cursed Night” by Calliope Mori
Song Year: 2020
Although mainly known for her raps, including a chart-topping EP, virtual singer Calliope Mori’s single Cursed Night quickly amassed millions of listens online after its debut in late 2020. The song features her signature lyric writing, including seamless transitions between English and Japanese and complex rhyme structures.
“Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas
Song Year: 1976
Arguably their most famous song, Carry On Wayward Son features long guitar sequences mixed with a stylish melody. It also helped propel the band to fame, becoming their first song to break into the Top 40. Unusually, radio stations at the time preferred to air the album cut instead of the shorter single version.
“Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Song Year: 2000
Although their eventual music video featured graphics that can only be described as dated, the namesake alternative rock song of the Californication album is iconic. The song references a wide selection of topics but focuses on Hollywood and the topic of culture spreading, which has an interesting undertone given the sheer popularity the song maintains at their shows.
“Come Together” by the Beatles
Song Year: 1969
Although the lyrics seem almost nonsensical at times, this slow blues rock song from a band that needs no introduction got its start from a promise by John Lennon to government candidate Timothy Leary. It’s a rare song that may take several listens, and possibly reading the lyrics alongside, to understand a little better.
“Can You Feel The Love Tonight” by Elton John
Song Year: 1994
The animated version of Disney’s The Lion King was a hit in its time, and this iconic song from its soundtrack earned Elton John both an Academy Award and a Grammy for its sterling vocals. Although technically a pop song, many people cite it as closer to a ballad, with John’s powerful vocals giving it a hard-to-duplicate human quality that stands out from the crowd.
“Come as You Are” by Nirvana
Song Year: 1992
Grunge has never been as popular as some other genres, but Nirvana broke through stylistic barriers to become a household name in the early 90s. Although not quite as iconic as Smells Like Teen Spirit, it still managed to become their second and final Top 40 hit in America, and Top 10 in the UK.
“Come Sail Away” by Styx
Song Year: 1977
Mixing a calmer opening with heavy guitar in its second part, Come Sail Away uses the ideals of sailing as a metaphor to discuss reaching for dreams. Reaching an impressive #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, it ultimately helped its album hit multi-platinum status and remains one of the top hits of Styx’s career.
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen
Song Year: 1979
The first #1 single on the Hot 100 in the US, Crazy Little Thing Called Love features a distinctive rockabilly style and smooth, relaxing lyrics that almost fade into the background behind its pop-out guitar songs. It was also Freddy Mercury’s first concert performance with Queen, whose already-notable trajectory would shoot forward shortly afterward.
“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne
Song Year: 1980
Ozzy Osbourne’s debut single remains one of his most famous songs of all time, with an iconic riff that remains a literal textbook example of what guitarists can do with the minor scale. The lyrics themselves focus on the Cold War, which was in full swing at the time, and it remains a potent reminder of the emotions of the past.
“Creep” by Radiohead
Song Year: 1992
Considered one of the best debut singles of all time, Radiohead’s Creep wasn’t even planned for the original release. However, the producers pushed for it, and after a dull initial run it ended up becoming a major worldwide hit with a 1993 release. The obsessive, almost self-destructive lyrics stand out, especially as the band changed genres for their later releases.
“Changes” by David Bowie
Song Year: 1972
Although not his most well-known song, David Bowie’s art pop song Changes is in many ways a representation of his entire musical career. Featuring a selection of different styles, it discusses both art and changes in life. Although initially something of a flop, listeners eventually came to regard it as one of Bowie’s top hits, and it was the last song he performed on stage.
“Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin
Song Year: 1973
Harry Chapin’s only chart-topping song is a soft folk rock song about the relationship between a father and son as they grow. Notably, the father is constantly unable to spend time with his son, eventually leading to the realization that his son truly is following in his footsteps. Chapin noted that the song was about his relationship with his son, and somewhat frightening in its realism.
“Cars” by Gary Numan
Song Year: 1979
Gary Numan’s debut solo, Cars is an iconic new wave song with a distinctive use of analog synthesizer that stands out. He cited the inspiration as a case of road rage, and rather than leaning into complex lyrics, his lines sound almost artificial. Somewhat unusually, Cars lacks any section that can be called a chorus, which is rare in a chart-topper.
“Chop Suey!” by System Of A Down
Song Year: 2001
Although it begins with a slower section, System Of A Down’s signature alternative metal song soon progresses to a more upbeat style before flexing into several other styles. Its lyrics notably change between regular singing and a more distinctive whispering.
This song ended up more political than expected, as it was high on the charts during the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City. Despite recommendations to avoid playing it, it remained a moderate success and is still emblematic of the band’s discography.
“Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners
Song Year: 1982
Originally released as a single from a studio album, Come On Eileen bounces between several genres, ultimately reaching #1 in both the United States and the UK. More unusually, it features several different versions, including different intros. It also famously stopped Michael Jackson from having back-to-back number-one hits, interrupting Billie Jean and Beat It.
“Cadillac Ranch” by Chris LeDoux
Song Year: 1992
A mix of Country and Rock and Roll, Cadillac Ranch tells the story of converting a farm into a party spot. Its upbeat style emphasizes the value that can come from changing something precious to people, which is a notable standout for a hit in a genre that often praises tradition. Although not a general chart-topper, it still performed quite well for its time and style.
“Classical Gas” by Mason Williams
Song Year: 1968
Classical Gas is a particular standout among songs starting with C, as it’s a rare instrumental track. It hit #2 on the Hot 100 despite its lack of lyrics and #1 on both the Easy Listening and Cash Box Top 100. It was eventually converted into a quicker-tempo version for television stations, which saw it as a great song for opening news themes.
“Chronicle Key” by Akiko Shikata
Song Year: 2006
Although not nearly as well-known as any other song on this list, due to being part of the soundtrack for a relatively obscure Japanese video game, Chronicle Key is a powerful and introspective song for one of the major characters.
It’s also impossible for almost anyone to understand merely by listening to it, as the game’s creators invented an entirely fictional language to sing songs in. That alone makes it a curious outlier, and worth a listen if you love music.
“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Song Year: 2011
Carly Rae Jepsen’s pop song wasted no time shooting to the top of multiple international charts, making it one of her most recognizable songs. Its lyrics focus on the hope for success in a new crush, with a steadier background beat that runs throughout the song. Today, it remains one of the most popular singles of all time.
“C.R.E.A.M.” by the Wu-Tang Clan
Song Year: 1994
Although not one of the most commercially-successful songs from the Wu-Tang Clan rap group, it’s one of their more critically-approved releases. Originally the third single from their debut studio album, it features a calmer and steadier beat. Band member Raekwon eventually noted that the beat was much older than the song, but producer RZA had saved it at his request.
“Cowboys from Hell” by Pantera
Song Year: 1989
Although the song name might make you suspect Country music, Cowboys from Hell is a groove metal song. The lyrics themselves focus on the idea of coming out of Texas, which hasn’t often been called a home of metal. The distinctive instrumentals came in large part from the group’s guitarist, Dimebag Darrell, who was excited about a new riff he’d worked on.
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley
Song Year: 1961
It’s hard to have any list of top songs across genres without Elvis appearing somewhere. Although ostensibly a pop song, it features a much slower and smoother style than many other songs in the same genre. Despite being more than half a century old, it’s also the most popular choice for the first song at weddings, which is further proof of Elvis’ staying power.
“Candle in the Wind” by Elton John
Song Year: 1974
Few artists are good enough to get onto a list like this more than once, but that just goes to show how good Elton John is. Originally written to honor Marilyn Monroe, it has occasionally been played or remixed since as a tribute to others. More unusually, a later version earned Elton a Grammy nomination despite issues with his vocal cords at the time.
“Cherry Bomb” by the Runaways
Song Year: 1976
The first single from the Runaways, Cherry Bomb is a mix of hard rock and punk that helps exemplify the band’s style. Although not a pure chart-topper, it’s often played in pop culture since, and the band members claim it was written quickly for member Cherie Currie’s audition to the band.
Songs Starting With C, Final Thoughts
Songs starting with C cover the entire spectrum of musical hits, including some of the best works from all-time top performers like Elvis and Elton John. You can find great songs starting with any letter of the alphabet, but songs that start with C tend to focus more on pop and optimism than some other letters.