3 Classic Rock Songs About Reliving Childhood

Lyrical music is essentially poetry sang to a rhythm. Some of classic rock’s best bands not only have written beautiful poetry, but poetry that provides exquisite metaphor and symbolic images to the keys to happiness. Here are 3 songs and their verses about the benefits of feeling young again. The words capture both the fallacies and truths of what can drive happiness.

Rod Stewart – Forever Young

Song Meaning:

This is a classic, celebratory song about a father’s best wishes for his child. The father has high hopes for his child in knowing that this child is ready to begin a life’s journey. His aspirations for the child to remain “forever young” captures the mindset of hoping his child has endless possibilities to be whatever he wants to be and meet whoever he wants to meet. From these outcomes, the father wishes for his son to be proud, happy, courageous, brave, and loving.

Lyrics on Happiness:

 But whatever road you choose , I’m right behind you, win or lose. Forever young, forever young.

One of the best feelings for anyone (not just a child) is security and knowing that you have the support of loved ones. You have their blessing to do whatever you want. Yet as you get older, you become more independent and may lose that sense of support. Rod Stewart sings about a powerful reminder that staying forever young means that someone will always have your back during all the trials and tribulations you endure. Having the refuge of parents and friends leads to happiness, as you have the unbridled freedom to explore, adventure and, well, be a child again.

Stevie Wonder – I Wish

Song Meaning:

In the true upbeat song of this trio, Stevie Wonder tells a story through enthusiastic trumpets and saxophones of his childhood and adolescence. He describes being disappointed on Christmas, getting spanked for sneaking out the backdoor, fooling around with girls, and smoking cigarettes, etc. The sequence of experiences draw an evolution of Stevie’s learning about what he can get away with. Stevie’s brother will tell his mother that Stevie was “playin’ doctor” with a girl, but Stevie bribes him. Contrastingly, Stevie has no such luck when the teacher sends him to the principal’s office. His wish is plea of nostalgia - I wish those days could come back once more, Why did those days ever have to go – but he must miss features of childhood that he doesn’t have in adulthood. What are they?

Lyrics on Happiness:

Smoking cigarettes and writing something nasty on the wall. Teacher sends you to the principal’s office down the hall. You grow up and learn that kinda thing ain’t right. But while you were doing it –it sure felt outta sight.

Stevie’s mantra of childhood captures the difference between childhood and adulthood. Being a child is about acting freely, but adults think that each child’s wrongdoing should result in immediate discipline. Stevie sings this song as an adult, where his approach to evaluating a situation may have changed from whether it was fun to whether it was “right”. Unfortunately, when you become an adult you sometimes rid your mistakes too completely that you fail to retain any sense of mischief. But once in a while you need to channel that foolish, rebellious aspect of yourself to produce some happiness.


Neil Young – I Am A Child

 Song Meaning:

This is written as a child’s concurrent thoughts of childhood. The song appears to be about the child’s perception of his father. He has a positive account of his father who is doting but can also teach him about the world’s mysteries. The relationship is a warm trade-off - I gave to you, now you give to me – the child as someone to love and the father as a source of knowledge. The child appreciates his father’s guidance in the verse, You make the rules, you say what’s fair. Now, you might think that a parent’s safeguarding tactics causes less enjoyment for a child, but the child has the foresight to be appreciative and happy that his father cares for him.

Lyrics on Happiness:

I am a child, I last a while. You can’t conceive of the pleasure in my smile.

This child is wise, knowing to enjoy childhood while he can. He knows the blessing of youth and to be loved unconditionally. His father is an inspiration for morality and knowledge. As a child, he has leeway to ask paradoxical questions because there is no filter to a child’s imagination. Children are allowed to ask bizarre and innocent questions, whereas older people are restricted to a societal timeframe for when those questions are deemed inappropriate. Happiness is being in an environment that allows for liberty of thought and expression, and this song interprets youthfulness as that environment.


Adam Sheinman is a HooplaHa Contributor. Find him at @sheinonyoucrazy.








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