20 Songs About Candles

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

Candles have long held the interest and inspiration for songwriters and musicians — and we have the songs to prove it!

Below, we’ve listed 20 great songs about candles to listen to!

1. “Candle In the Wind” by Elton John

Elton John’s 1973 song “Candle In the Wind” is perhaps the best — and the most popular — song about candles. When the song was first released, it followed the life of Marilyn Monroe. However, in 1997, John rerecorded the song as a tribute to Princess Diana, who had passed away tragically.

In this song, John sings about how Marilyn Monroe (or Princess Diana) lived their life as a “Candle In the Wind”, never quite knowing who to trust or cling onto.

However, even though these two women have passed, John sings that they will never be forgotten. He sings the memorable lyrics, “Your candle burned out long before / Your legend ever did”.

2. “Candles” by Daughter

Daughter released the song “Candles” on the 2011 album His Young Heart. In this song, the singer discusses the loss of childhood innocence. She sings about her birthday and blowing out the candles, yet also discusses having to grow up because of others.

3. “Candles” by Hey Monday

Hey Monday’s 2011 song “Candles” talks about the end of a relationship. In this song, the singer discusses how she should have seen the problems in her relationship. However, she couldn’t see and was blinded to these flaws.

She sings, “Blow the candles out / Looks like a solo tonight / I’m beginning to see the light”. Here, she’s finally able to see the light — and see what she couldn’t before, with the candle flames blown out.

4. “Brief Candles” by The Zombies

The Zombies released their song “Brief Candles” on their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle. In this song, the band sings about relationships that have come to an end. Each person involved in this story is sad about the end of the relationship.

However, they’re trying to stay positive and find the light in these endings. Through this thinking, they mention candles. The band sings, “Brief candles in her mind / Bright and tiny gems of memory”.

Therefore, even though the relationship has ended, they are happy that they have the moments and memories from the relationship to think back on.

5. “Candles” by Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright’s 2012 song “Candles” talks about how sometimes, even though you try to do everything for a person, things don’t quite work out how you’d like. In this song, Wainwright sings about how he tries to do things — but other situations stop him.

For example, he sings the lyrics, “I tried to do all that I can / But the churches have run out of candles”. Even though he tries to do right, he cannot control the world.

6. “Light One Candle” by Peter, Paul and Mary

Peter, Paul and Mary’s 1986 song “Light One Candle”, which appeared on their album No Easy Walk to Freedom, discusses the light of humanity. In this song, the band sings about many trials the human race has had throughout history. They sing about lighting candles for these memories of our past.

However, they also sing that we should not give up. We should always try to be nice and spread peace. They sing, “Don’t let the light go out / It’s lasted for so many years”.

7. “Song for Adam” by Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne released his song “Song for Adam” on his 1972 self-titled album. Browne sings about a friend he knew named Adam who went traveling. When Browne discovers his friend died, he struggles with this news. To talk about these struggles, he discusses candles.

He sings the lyrics, “I sit before my only candle / But it’s so little light to find my way / Now this story unfolds before my candle / Which is shorter every hour as it reaches for the day”.

He sings that it’s hard to continue on without his friend. Also, he’s worried that his life too will end in the middle of his song.

8. “Pity Party” by Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez also talks about candles in her 2015 song “Pity Party”. In this song, Martinez sings as a character who invited many people to her birthday party. However, nobody showed up — and this left the character upset and distraught.

In the chorus, she sings, “I’ll cry until the candles burn down this place / I’ll cry until my pity party’s in flames”.

9. “Sixteen Candles” by Bobby Vee

Bobby Vee’s song “Sixteen Candles” also discusses candles at a birthday party! In this love song, Vee sings to his girlfriend who has recently turned sixteen.

He sings, “Sixteen candles make a lovely light / But not as bright as your eyes tonight / Blow out the candles, make your wish come true / For I’ll be wishing that you love me too”.

10. “Burn That Candle” by Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris released her song “Burn That Candle” on her 1978 album Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town. In this song, Harris sings to keep a candle burning in the window of a home while she goes out. She’s going to marry her partner.

However, she says she’ll be home soon. She’ll look for that candlelight — and it will help her find her way back home!

11. “One Little Candle” by Perry Como

Perry Como sings about how everyone in the world should come together in his song “One Little Candle”. He sings the lyrics, “Let’s all light one little candle / Why stumble on in the dark?”.

He believes that if we all light “One Little Candle” and spread peace, the whole world would be so bright for all!

12. “Candle” by Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth’s song “Candle”, which appears on their 1988 album Daydream Nation, compares people to candles. The band opens with a verse that includes the lyrics, “I can’t wait, I can’t stay a candle / Gotta change my mind before it burns out”.

This could mean that the singer is worried that they’ll burn out — much as a candle would. Later in the song, they also compare a girl to a burnt-out candle, perhaps driving this point home.

13. “Each Small Candle” by Roger Waters

Roger Waters’ 2000 song “Each Small Candle” follows stories of people acting out in kindness in incredibly harrowing circumstances, such as in a war zone. Waters compares these actions to candles, saying that these actions of light can help humanity get rid of the darkness.

Repeatedly through the song, he sings, “And each small candle / Lights a corner of the dark”.

14. “O Christmas Tree” by George Strait

Many Christmas songs talk about candles. “O Christmas Tree” is just one! While many artists have covered this popular holiday song over the years, we’ve chosen to discuss George Strait’s 2006 version.

Throughout this song, Strait sings about the beauty of a Christmas Tree. He also discusses how candles seem to shine so much brighter around Christmastime. He sings, “O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree! / Thy candles shine so brightly!”.

15. “Hymns to the Silence” by Van Morrison

In Van Morrison’s 1991 song “Hymns to the Silence”, he sings to his partner about how much he misses them. They are apart from each other, but soon they will be reunited. To discuss how much he misses his partner, he talks about candles.

He sings, “In the midnight, I burn the candle / Burn the candle at both ends”. He then says that he burns candles through the night, as he can’t sleep, and he feels he has to sing instead.

As burning the candle at both ends means he’s overexerting himself and working nonstop, this could mean that he’s always keeping busy — or always thinking of her and singing — rather than getting the rest he needs.

16. “Happy Birthday” by Carly Simon

Carly Simon’s 1990 song “Happy Birthday” discusses candles in relation to — you guessed it — birthdays! In this song, Simon sings about both her and her partner through the years, having their birthday parties.

However, she also sings about daily life and the things they do — and, most importantly, the things they don’t do. For example, they’ve given up cigarettes and caffeine. They also won’t go in the ocean, or in the sun. And they must stay in shape.

They’re clearly unhappy, even though they believe they are. She talks about all these problems and flaws, though always ends the verse by singing that they should blow out the birthday candles.

17. “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)” by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s 1980 song “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)” is about thinking of past relationships. Parton is happily with another. However, she thinks of her past romances sometimes, especially if she runs into them.

But she tells her current man that he has nothing to worry about, as her old flames could never hold a candle to him!

18. “Both Ends of the Candle” by Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson’s 1977 song “Both Ends of the Candle” discusses a romantic relationship that has ended. In this song, Nelson sings about how much he misses his ex — though he knows he can never be with her again.

As a result, he says that he tries desperately to forget her, yet fails. He sings, “So I’m burning both ends of the candle / I just hope that it lasts through the night / For each moment the candle is burning / Brings closer the ending of life”.

19. “Shine” by Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges’ released his song “Shine” on his 2015 album Coming Home. In this song, Bridges sings to God about how much he wants to be better. He’s done with his past regressions and is trying to turn over a new leaf.

As a result, he wants to be positive and full of light. He references lighting up like a candle, singing, “I want to shine like the candle / Shine like the burning candle in the room”.

20. “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” by Frank Sinatra

Finally, the last song on our list of songs about candles is Frank Sinatra’s 1974 song “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?”. In this song, Sinatra sings about how he wants to be with his partner for the rest of his life.

He wants to see her in a variety of different lights — including in candlelight as she’s blowing out the candles on her birthday cake!