How Music Has Changed History: The 10 Most Significant Songs

With the release of rock n’ roll in the early 1940s, music history was forever changed. Before this decade, popular songs had been more or less the same from one year to the next. But with a new genre of music, that brought its own sound and style, everything changed. And it wasn’t just because there was now an entire generation who could finally listen to these new catchy tunes. These changes were even more profound than that.

Take a look at some of the most significant songs that have had a tremendous impact on history - from music to culture, politics, and even warfare.

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

If there was ever a song that heralded the arrival of the new age of music, it’s this one. Written by British author and poet John Henry Newman in 1819, it was put to music by English composer and pianist Alfred William Hurd. But it was in the American version of the song, put to music by Joseph Mills Boone in 1868, that this little ditty really took off.

The song was first published in 1871 in a collection of poetry called Children’s Songs for the Nursery. It’s been recorded by countless artists over the years, and was even used as the theme song for the classic children’s program Barney & Friends. But it’s this particular version by The First National Bank of Chicago that has to be mentioned here. The song was first recorded in 1932, and was re-recorded in 1947 (with instrumental accompaniment).

It’s still heard today, and was even listed among the 500 most important songs of all time in a poll conducted by the BBC in 2005. What’s more, the song’s message—that we are all “twinkle, twinkle, little stars”—has never been truer than now.

“A Whiter Shade of Pale”

The British Invasion of the 1950s brought a new sound to American music. And for some reason, this song was around at the right time to take off in a big way. This song was written by Eric Ball, who was the vocalist for the band itself. The song was first released in 1958 and was a hit immediately.

It was a popular song for decades after its release, and was even covered by a number of other artists. But there was one particular recording of this song that will be remembered forever. That was done by a young Canadian named Procul Skoog in 1967. The song was a hit in the United States, Canada, and over in the UK.

The original instrumental version was re-released a decade later and became even more popular than it was before. What’s more, the original version of the song is now listed among the 10 most significant songs that have had a tremendous impact on history.

“Moonlight Sonata”

This piece of classical music was written by German composer and pianist Johannes Brahms in 1857. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that it was actually released. The same goes for one particular recording, which wasn’t released until the 1960s. But it was a big hit right away.

This particular recording was done by an American, Houston musician and conductor Leopold Stokowski. The piece, which is an orchestral piece, is even listed among the 10 most significant songs that have had a tremendous impact on history. It is known for its deep tonal qualities and mysticism.

The Moonligh Sonata has been used in a number of movies over the years and has even been used in a number of fitness and yoga programs. What’s more, it’s one of the most popular and longest-listening songs ever.

“You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”

This popular song was first released in 1979. But it was a hit in a much bigger way when it was covered by American singer Christina Aguilera in 2001. Of course, she turned it into a pop tune, which made it even more popular.

It has since been covered by a number of other artists, and has even been used in a number of movies. What’s more, the original version of the song is now listed among the 10 most significant songs that have had a tremendous impact on history.

This particular song talks about how we all have free will, but that there are certain lessons that we have to be taught. It’s also a song that’s had a huge impact on the LGBT movement. What’s more, it talks about what lessons we should be teaching our children.

“Hava Negila”

This song was a traditional Jewish folk song, first written in 1918. A version by the popular Israeli band Ofra Haza released in the late 1980s has become a real earworm. First appearing in the music charts in Israel and then in the United States, the song has been translated into multiple languages and become popular in many parts of the world. The song is about a woman who is in love with her boyfriend, but it’s also about the love between a woman and her God.

This song has been featured in numerous films and television shows, and it’s even been used in a commercial for the fashion line Havaianas.

“The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

The Battle Hymn of the Republic is also pretty self-explanatory as far as its significance goes. This is the song that was performed at the first inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln. The song was written by Julia Ward Howe in 1862. Howe, who was a writer of poetry and fiction, was inspired to write the song after she heard a speech in which the speaker talked solely about the war and the battles that were going on. This piqued her interest and she tried to think of something that everyone could rally around. After some thought, she came up with the song “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

“Good Vibrations: The Birth of Rock and Roll”

Like many other musicians before him, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson began his musical career as a child. However, he was a child of the 1950s, and he grew up in California during the early days of rock n’ roll. As a result, this song he wrote in 1966 became one of the most significant of all time.

Wilson was inspired to write this music after hearing Elvis Presley’s song Heartbreak Hotel. Wilson used a recording of his Grandfather’s clock as a musical instrument. He hoped that with this music, it would help define the new type of music that was popular at the time. He was right.

“We Shall Overcome (The Battle Hymn of the Civil Rights Movement)”

This particular song was first released in 1940. It was written by a native American, the late John Latouche.

The song was often featured during the civil rights movement, as it was a popular anti-racism song during this time. It was even performed during the famous 1963 March on Washington. It was used in a number of movies, and can even be heard in the most recent Call of Duty game. What’s more, the song was even used in a number of TV commercials!


The English song Greensleeves was first released in the 14th century, but it didn’t become a hit until the 16th century. It’s a medieval folk song that has been recorded by a variety of artists over the years. It’s known for its simple yet captivating melody. This song has been used in a number of films, including the James Bond film “Casino Royale.” It’s also been used in a number of other media, including in a sequence in the video game “Fable II.”

“America the Beautiful”

America the Beautiful is a song that was written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893. It was inspired by Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic.” Bates thought that people should be proud of where they were from and that everyone should feel a connection to their country. And, in fact, this was the reason why she wrote the song in the first place.

Bates wasn’t even trying to make a profit out of the song. She was just trying to send a message that everyone should care about.

“A Change is Gonna Come”

A Change is Gonna Come is a song from the late 1960s and was written by the team of Jerry L. Holmes and Vernon B. Presley. The song was very popular in the black community and helped to change the way that they viewed society. From the way they viewed their families to their beliefs about the government, this song helped to change people’s minds and show them that change was not only possible, but necessary.


There are so many songs that have changed the world, but these are the 10 most significant. From the birth of rock n’ roll to the battle hymn of the republic, these songs have become classics, bringing joy to millions of people all over the world. While they may be old songs, they are ones that will never be forgotten, making their mark on history for years to come. These songs truly are the soundtrack to many peoples’ lives, and they will continue to be for years to come.