Songs with January in the title are rarer than songs referencing other months. None have become smash hits destined to be remembered forever. But a few tunes that honor the first month of the year do stand out.
Here’s a rundown of the seven best January songs, presented in reverse order.
January Song #7: “January” by Elton John
“January is the month that cares,” Elton sings on this track, which almost feels like an ’80s song at first with its weird intro synth line before opening into a more contemporary tune with strings and guitars. The song is from Elton’s 1997 album The Big Picture, an album that was largely unremarkable except for the single “Something About the Way You Look Tonight.”
January Song #6: “June in January” by Bing Crosby
We’re going way back for this one. Taken from the MCA compilation His Legendary Years 1931 to 1957, “June in January” was a romantic love ballad with strings and horns. The song was written by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin, and Bing Crosby recorded it in 1934. Dean Martin notably recorded a version of the song as well.
January Song #5: “Miss January” by Pilot Around the Stars
This song by Pilot Around the Stars is emo-rock in the same vein as the music recorded a few years earlier by Panic at the Disco and Fall Out Boy. Taken from the band’s 2009 self-titled release, “Miss January” is catchy and full of guitars, so although it has little to do with the actual month of January aside from the title, it’s one of the best January songs.
January Song #4: “January Rain” by David Gray
We recently named David Gray one of our Best One-Album Wonders of All-Time for White Ladder, but he did have a few tracks from other albums worth checking out. The beautiful “January Rain” appeared on Lost Songs 95-98, a collection of B-sides released in 2001, as well as the Serendipity soundtrack. As instrumental acoustic music goes, it’s quite good.
January Song #3: “Black-Dove (January)” by Tori Amos
“She was a January girl / She never let on how insane it was,” sings Tori Amos on this track from her 1998 album From the Choirgirl Hotel. Like much of Tori’s music, “Black Dove” has lyrics that can be a bit difficult to interpret, but its mysterious, moody piano vibe make it one of the best January songs.
January Song #2: “January Friend” by Goo Goo Dolls
The Goo Goo Dolls left the underground years ago with their 1998 album Dizzy Up the Girl and its hit movie ballad “Iris.” One of the more punk-sounding tracks on that album was “January Friend,” a song written by bassist Robbie Takacs. Takacs actually sings lead, marking a rare occasion in which frontman Johnny Rzeznik takes a backseat. Fittingly, the Goos performed the fun, upbeat number at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
January Song #1: “January Wedding” by the Avett Brothers
Indie folkies the Avett Brothers seem to love songs with months in them – they appeared on our list of the Best November Songs as well with “November Blue.” “January Wedding” appears on their major-label debut I And Love And You, produced by industry giant Rick Rubin. The lovely bluegrass-folk tune is a simple love story: “She knows which birds are singin / And the names of the trees where they’re performin’ in the morning / And in January we’re gettin’ married.”
Best January Songs: Sources