The Top 11 Songs You Hear at Every Graduation

Take the photographs and still frames in your mind.

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May 18 2015, 3:40pm

Congratulations, graduates! You’re about to enter a new phase in life. Whether you’re finishing high school or college, you’re making your loved ones proud by walking down that aisle. Soon, you’ll hear your name called and it’ll be your turn to receive your diploma. You’ll also soon be hearing the famous songs of graduation, the ones that play throughout every ceremony, party, and amateur video montage. Here are the 11 songs you’re guaranteed to hear in your cap and gown.

11. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

Just barely sneaking on to this list is Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” While not the Berkeley pop punks’ best song, the 1997 hit single is definitely one of their most memorable which is why you often hear it at graduations. Hope you had the time of your life.

10. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

Another classic graduation tune is “Good Riddance (Time of Your life)” by Green Day. When the violins kick in, you can’t help but get pensive about the experiences you’ve had over the last four years, good and bad. Hope you had the time of your life.

9. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

Does anything make you as wistful as Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s morose guitar picking on “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”? It sounds like he’s plucking at the strings of your life, which you hopefully had the had the time of.

8. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” may seem a bit predictable now (no pun intended), but a few years down the road, you’ll hear it and it will remind you of the time of your life you had with your old college buddies: Dooley, Big Matt, Sully, D-Boz, Hurley, Davetron, Beast, The Stevenator, Rob-o, Boner, Lefty, Shadez, Mr. Hands, Milboy, Brockie, Max Max, Sully #2, Fat Carl, Aldo, Tate, B-Dawg, Hammer, Feldman, Helmet, Gary J., Deak, Taco, Tazer, Bro-Man, Skittles, Milton, Fletch, Sabo, Leeroy, Amber Alert, Code Blue, Curls, Sanchez, Lil Pun, Gunner, The Tank, and Josh.

7. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

It took you four years to realize but you learned more in college than just Philosophy and Political Science. You learned about friendship and fraternity, as well. Who could forget all those days you spent throwing the Frisbee across the quad or the nights of keggers and parties? It was unpredictable, but in the end was right.

6. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

What list of graduation songs would be complete without the Green Day classic, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”? It’s like Billie Joe Armstrong knew exactly what you felt over the last four years. He knew it wasn’t a question but a lesson learned in time. Hope you had the time of your life.

5. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

You may have hated all the finals and all-nighters that college threw at you, but years from now, when you’re settled into a career, you’ll open your yearbook, look at the faces, and remember the times of your life. When you do, there will be no better song to play in the background than Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”

4. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

One of the most important things you learned over the last four years was not in any book. You got a lesson in heartbreak when you left your first love behind to go off to college. You told each other a long distance relationship would work and you believed it. But the further you grew apart, with you making new friendships among your sorority sisters and him working in his father’s auto repair shop back home, you eventually realized that maybe young love is not meant to endure. On those lonely evenings you spent looking out your dorm’s rainy window, Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” perfectly captured the feeling of having the cruel mistress of distance tearing at the fabric of your love. Good riddance to those times of your life.

3. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

A staple of graduation playlists, Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” feels like the audio equivalent of throwing your cap into the air, shouting to the heavens: “I had the time of my life.”

2. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

Just getting edged out of the number one spot is Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” Almost 20 years later and it still holds up as an indisputable graduation song to hear while you reflect on the last four years. Hope you had the time of your life.

1. Green Day - “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”

And at the top is Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” It’s almost impossible to hear these lyrics and not hear the metaphorical turning of the page on this chapter of your life, which you hopefully had the time of.

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don't ask why
It's not a question but a lesson learned in time

It's something unpredictable but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life

So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth, it was worth all the while

It's something unpredictable but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life

It's something unpredictable but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life

It's something unpredictable but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life

Dan Ozzi is on Twitter having the time of his life - @danozzi

Did we miss any? Tell us in the comments!