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Best R&B Graduation Songs

A Few Recommendations ...


Graduations can bring out many emotions: joy, sadness, fear, ambivalence and other feelings can all come into play when getting ready to achieve a degree from high school, college or somewhere else. It's usually a time of happiness due to all your hard work having paid off, but that feeling is sometimes coupled with the sadness of knowing that you're moving on and may never see some of your friends and classmates again. This list is dedicated to songs by R&B and Soul artists who celebrate the bittersweetness of graduation time.

'End of the Road,' Boyz II Men

This song came out less than 20 years ago (in 1992) and stayed at No. 1 on Billboard's song chart for 13 weeks due to among other things, it's heartfelt, emotional singing about a transition in life, something that most graduates can relate to. This song is already a classic that will endure for generations.

Buy/download the song

'I Believe I Can Fly,' R. Kelly

Most people may not remember, but this uplifting jewel of a song was actually first heard as the theme song for the Michael Jordan/Looney Tunes movie Space Jam back in 1996. It has since become highly popular for use at high school graduation ceremonies.

Buy/download the song

'Celebration,' Kool & The Gang

Despite being released all the way back in 1980, "Celebration" has a timeless quality to it that manages to simply and directly sum up good feelings. To this day, the song's still widely used at graduation ceremonies, weddings, sporting events and other gatherings where a significant, positive event has taken place.

Buy/download the song

'Miss You,' Aaliyah

This sad, sad ballad by the late Aaliyah tells the story of a young woman who's lonely after her boyfriend graduates and goes off to school. A sample of the lyrics:
Off to college, Since you went away, Straight from high school, You up and left me/We were close friends, Also lovers, Did everything For one another/Now you're gone and I'm lost without you here now/But I know I gotta live and make it somehow.

'It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,' Boyz II Men

"It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" was originally from the movie Cooley High, which was originally released in 1975. Then in 1991 Boyz II Men re-recorded and re-released it for their debut album. Like their other song, "End of the Road," this track epitomizes the bittersweetness of graduating from school and moving on to a new stage in life.

Buy/download the song

'Lean On Me,' Bill Withers

This inspirational anthem is about perseverance through teamwork and how one can gather strength through the support of others.

Buy/download the song

'I'm Coming Out,' Diana Ross

This celebratory song was initially adopted by gays and lesbians as a pride anthem in the early 1980s, but over time, it has come to be interpreted numerous ways, including as a song about being introduced to the outside world.

Buy/download the song

'Like You'll Never See Me Again,' Alicia Keys

This song, from Alicia Keys' third studio album, As I Am, was released as a single in November 2007. Since then, its become a slow-dance favorite at proms and graduation parties, especially by couples who'll be going their seperate ways once the school year ends.

Buy/download the song

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