A culmination of hard work, a win after a tough competition, or even just a small step in the right direction – whatever form it comes it, victory is one of the best feelings in the world. All wins, big or small, help to keep us happy and motivated and let us know that we’re on the right path.
A victory can be a solo achievement, or it can be shared with loved ones, but either way it always feels good.
If you’re feeling victorious, or you need some victory-inspiring music to steer you towards success, look no further. Here are our 10 favourite songs about victory.
Top Songs About Victory
“Change” – Taylor Swift
This rousing anthem from the megastar carries an important message: setbacks may happen, but you’ll never see that victory if you don’t believe you can get it. We don’t know what win is being referenced in “Change”, but Swift promises that it’s coming if she and those around her stay on the right path.
“Change” was originally released as a promotional song for the US Olympic team, will all proceeds going to fund the squad. Shortly after its release, the track was chosen as one of the themes for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
“We Are The Champions” – Queen
Freddy Mercury sings about winning at life in this classic Queen track. Although his life in the spotlight has had its disadvantages and he’s definitely made his mistakes, he still feels like a champion getting to do what he does. The victory is bittersweet, but Queen are victorious all the same.
In a 2005 Sony Ericsson music poll, “We Are The Champions” was voted the world’s favourite song.
It’s certainly had an enduring legacy over the years, particularly in the world of sport, where it has become a popular anthem for all kinds of competitions. A team of scientific researchers in 2011 concluded in 2011 that “We Are The Champions” was actually the catchiest song in the history of pop music.
“The Winner Takes It All” – ABBA
The Swedish pop powerhouses examine the other side of victory in this heart-breaking ballad. Whilst one party wins the breakup, the other is left powerless, sad and alone.
She confronts her former lover about this dynamic, but concludes it isn’t even really his fault – someone will always walk away better off, and the other person will always lose.
Björn Ulvaeus has denied that the song is about his divorce from bandmember and ex-wife Agnetha Fältskog. Whilst Ulvaeus says that “The Winner Takes It All” is about a divorce, the events described in it are fictional and he doesn’t believe there was a winner or loser in his split from Fältskog.
“Winning Ugly” – The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones know that victory isn’t always achieved fairly. “I wanna be on top,” sings Mick Jagger, explaining that he isn’t afraid to play dirty in order to keep on winning.
He only wants to look out for himself. Ironically, this was one of only two songs Jagger wrote for the album Dirty Work because he was working on solo projects, and he also refused to support the album with a tour. It sounds as if Jagger is telling the truth in “Winning Ugly”.
“Paths Of Victory” – Bob Dylan
Dylan encourages those around him to trust the journey and be prepared to walk some difficult roads to victory. He maintains that even though things may look bleak, victory is always up ahead if you just keep marching towards it.
It is thought this song was originally written in the 18th century as a hymn called “Palms Of Victory” by Reverend John B. Matthias, a travelling preacher. Dylan rewrote the lyrics to create “Paths Of Victory”, which he sang for a television special.
“Heroes” – David Bowie
Bowie sings about a short-lived but passionate love affair between two people who can’t be together. Although he feels that “nothing will keep us together”, he still feels that even the short time they might have together would be a victory. The six-minute epic has an ‘us-against-the-world’ narrative that is equal parts sad and romantic.
Inspired by a kiss that Bowie witnessed beside the Berlin Wall, he created the song around the idea of two loves, one from East Berlin and one from West. It is considered one of the greatest songs of all time.
“All I Do Is Win” – DJ Khaled ft. T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross
This star-studded track features some big names in hip-hop celebrating every victory in their careers. DJ Khaled and company just can’t seem to lose, between the money, the cars and the hit records. The featured rappers talk about where they started from compared to where their careers have taken them and speak about life back home.
The triple-platinum track has also entered the world of sport, becoming a popular anthem for many different teams. There a couple of remix versions of “All I Do Is Win”, featuring even more big names in rap and hip-hop
“We’re A Winner” – The Impressions
This soulful track provides an encouraging message to anyone who’s ever been knocked back on their way to victory. The Impressions advise listeners to “just keep pushing” and they’ll soon find themselves on the right track.
Recorded in 1967, the song is closely associated with the civil rights movement and is considered a prominent track when it comes to expressions of black pride in music. It topped the Billboard R&B chart and was the title track from the album of the same name.
“Winning” – Santana
Things turn around quickly for Santana when he meets a figure he calls ‘Lady Luck’. After coming out of a bad relationship and finding himself a little depressed, a chance encounter manages to secure him a victory in love. Originally written and recorded by English singer-songwriter Russ Ballard, Latin rock band Santana popularised the track and sent it up the charts.
“Victory” – Megadeth
Victory means different things to different people, but Megadeth’s take on it is certainly unique. “Had fingers in my eyes, had needles in my veins, a knife right through my heart, I am a victory,” sings Dave Mustaine. The song is actually referencing how many people continued to idolise Mustaine and considered him to be winning at life despite the fact that he was struggling with addiction behind the scenes. Sometimes victory looks shinier from the outside.
Victory is a subjective thing and you get to define what it means to you. Whether that’s winning a sporting competition, winning the break-up, or winning your dream job, every victory counts so long as it feels like a win to you.
Caitlin Devlin is a music, entertainment and lifestyle writer based in London. When she’s not creating playlists for Repeat Replay, she’s reviewing gigs and interviewing artists for Ticketmaster UK and thinking about what her Spotify Wrapped will look like this year.