The perfect New Year’s Eve party depends on four things: strong drinks, good food, a fun crowd and great music.
Whether you had a good year or one you’d rather forget, you might as well end it on a good note. The right music will keep your party going way past midnight. A good mix of timeless classics, new hits and dance tunes helps everyone feel festive.
From Prince to Bing Crosby, add these crowd-pleasing songs to your New Year’s Eve music playlist, and party like it’s 1999.
1. “1999” — Prince
We’re past 1999 and Y2K gloom-and-doom predictions, but we’ll never move past this song. This upbeat, party-hard anthem encourages us to celebrate like there’s no tomorrow. After all, who knows what tomorrow will bring? Another pandemic? More protests? So let’s go out with a bang while we can.
Everybody’s got a bomb
We could all die any day
But before I’ll let that happen
I’ll dance my life away …
They say two-thousand-zero-zero party over
Oops out of time
So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999
2. “Auld Lang Syne – The New Year’s Anthem” — Mariah Carey
“Auld Lang Syne” is the most popular New Year’s Eve song in the English-speaking world. Based on a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788, the song is used to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Mariah Carey brings this classic to the 21st century with a dance-pop version and her signature high-pitch riff.
3. “Raise Your Glass” — Pink
Released in 2010 to celebrate Pink’s first decade since her debut in 2000, this song quickly became a party favorite. The song, which celebrates people who feel left out from the popular crowd, was featured in the theatrical trailer for the film “New Year’s Eve,” further cementing its status as a must-have New Year’s Eve party tune.
4. “Let’s Start the New Year Right” — Bing Crosby
Oh, that iconic voice … no holiday season should be without it. What better way to cap off the year than with a song about starting the year right? This 1942 song is about the magical time and timing of New Year’s Eve. Bing sang it in the holiday classic film “Holiday Inn,” which also featured the Oscar-winning song “White Christmas.”
One minute to midnight
One minute to go
One minute to say good-bye
Before we say hello
5. “New Year’s Day” — Pentatonix
Once again, Pentatonix delivers. Who needs instruments when you have the amazing vocal cords of the five-member a cappella group Pentatonix? This band’s “New Year’s Day” is a beautiful and inspiring song that will lift your spirits as the New Year takes off.
6. “New Year’s Day” — U2
“Nothing changes on New Year’s Day,” Bono sings in this 1982 song, U2’s first hit in the U.K. Bono’s passionate vocals, Adam Clayton’s distinctive bassline and the Edge’s superb piano and guitar playing sealed this song’s fate as a perpetual rock classic and poignant New Year’s Eve anthem.
7. “New Year’s Day” — Taylor Swift
This 2017 simple tune is perfect for the end of the evening, way after midnight, when it’s time to clean up the mess—physical and, often, emotional—you and your friends have left behind.
There’s glitter on the floor after the party
Girls carrying their shoes down in the lobby
Candle wax and Polaroids on the hardwood floor
You and me from the night before but
Don’t read the last page
But I stay when you’re lost and I’m scared and you’re turning away
I want your midnights
But I’ll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year’s Day
8. “New Year’s Resolution” — Otis Redding and Carla Thomas
Who hasn’t been in the dog house? This 1968 song is a soulful promise of change in the New Year. It’s a dialogue between two people who have hurt each other but wish to stay together: “Let’s make promises that we can keep and call it a New Year’s resolution.”
9. My Dear Acquaintance (Happy New Year)” — Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor’s 2007 cover of this Peggy Lee song is a charming, sweet lullaby that will make you feel light and peaceful and happy. The Russian-American classically trained pianist, singer and songwriter is known for her eccentric songs, which blend folk, jazz, punk, rock, classical and hip-hop music.
10. “Funky New Year” — The Eagles
This 1978 funk-rock song by The Eagles was the B-side of the band’s cover of the mega holiday classic “Please Come Home for Christmas.” It’s about a man who partied a bit too hard on New Year’s Eve and now has a horrid hangover and a bad feeling about the New Year.
Went to a party just last night
Wanted to bring the year in right
Woke up this morning I don’t know how
Last night I was a happy man, but the way I feel right now
It’s gonna be a funky new year
Funky new year
Oh, ah, got to be a funky new year
Funky new year
11. “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” — Ella Fitzgerald
Amid all the excitement and commotion of New Year’s Eve, there it is: Ella Fitzgerald ’s voice, floating in the thick festive air, cradling us to delight and inviting us to slow dance with our partners. The First Lady of Song and Queen of Jazz delivers a mellow jazzy makeover of this holiday classic originally recorded in 1947.
12. “New Year’s Day” — Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi has said that this 2016 song was about the rebirth of the band following Richie Sambora’s split from the group and the end of their relationship with Mercury Records. Regardless of its meaning to the band, this song will rock your New Year’s Eve party.
Let’s toast to new beginnings, okay
Raise up a glass and say
For all of our tomorrows
And what was yesterday
I’m singing carpe diem
I’m saying seize the day
Come on, let’s live forever
It’s New Year’s Day