The Official Top 10 List of the Greatest Hero Songs of All Time

I have a thing about the word “Hero”. It’s my favorite word. I even have it tattooed on my shoulder.

To me, it is a word that denotes strength and power, but tempered with a duty to do always good and put others first.

The power of the word hero has been demonstrated over the years in how it is incorporated into music. There have been many great “Hero Songs” throughout history. Here are the top ten:

10) Kryptonite – 3 Doors Down. Kryptonite was the first radio single from American rock band 3 Doors Down. It was actually a demo that stations started playing in late 1999. It reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by the band’s vocalist/drummer Brad Arnold when he was 15. The song has been featured on the television shows Roswell, Cold Case, Unsolved, and Dancing with the Stars.

9) We Don’t Need Another Hero – Tina Turner. Nobody can tear through a song like the great Tina Turner. The grit and emotional expression in her voice make anything she is singing about seem to be of vital importance. We Don’t Need Another Hero was the theme to the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome staring Mel Gibson and Tina Turner. The single reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100. It received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song and a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

8) Hero – Enrique Iglesias. Written by Enrique Inglesias, Paul Barry, and Mark Taylor, Hero is a ballad from Inglesias’ 2001 English-language album Escape. After the September 11th 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, disc jockeys remixed the song featured audio of first responders answering the attacks at Ground Zero. To date the single has sold over 8 million copies. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.

7) Human – Dan Reed Network. Although they hit it big in the U.K. and Europe, Dan Reed Network’s label Mercury never quite figured out how to market the band in the U.S. They combined glam rock, hair metal, and funk leading some to call the band a cross between Bon Jovi and Prince. The song Human is featured on the 1988 major label debut Dan Reed Network. The song perfectly captures the funk metal vibe of DRN.

6) Hero’s Lullaby – Vagabond Angels. Featured on the 2019 Vagabond Angels album Man on Fire, Hero’s Lullaby is a gritty power ballad similar in tone to John Mellencamp or Garth Brooks. True to the word hero, the song talks of racial equality and support for veterans while also speaking out against such things as domestic violence.

5) Hero – Chad Kroeger. Written for the 2002 film Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, Hero is a great hard rock power ballad from Nickleback front man Cbad Kroeger. The song reached number one on the Billboard Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts. It hit number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The song featured performances by Josey Scott, Mike Kroeger, Tyler Connolly, and Matt Cameron.

4) Superman (It’s Not Easy) – Five for Fighting.  Released on Five For Fighting’s second studio album, America Town, Superman is a touching ballad that reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the U.S. Adult Top 40 charts. The song is touching in it’s minimalist arrangements, with heartfelt lyrics and music by Vladimir John Ondrasik III.

3) My Hero – Foo Fighters. The song My Hero was released January 1998 as the third single from the Foo Fighters’ second album The Colour and the Shape. Featured in the climactic scene in the 1999 film Varsity Blues, the song was written by Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl in 1995. The song reached number six on the U.S. Alternative Airplay chart and number eight on the Mainstream Rock chart.

2) These Days – Bon Jovi. The title song from Bon Jovi’s 1995 album of the same name, These Days features the lyrics:

Jimmy Shoes busted both his legs, trying to learn to fly

From a second story window, he just jumped and closed his eyes

His mama said he’s crazy, he said “Mamma I’ve got to try.

Don’t you know that all my heroes died?

And I guess I’d rather die than fade away.”

Aside from the name Jimmy Shoes, these lyrics could have been taken from my life. The fact that I survived such crazy behavior is something I am eternally thankful for and one of the reasons this song resonates with me.

1) Holding Out for a Hero – Bonnie Tyler. Recorded by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler for the soundtrack of the 1984 movie Footloose starring Kevin Bacon, Holding Out for a Hero was a Top 40 hit in multiple countries. Written by Jim Steinman and Dean Pitchford, Holding Out for a Hero reached number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was re-recorded by E.G. Daily to serve as the theme song for the 1984 TV series Cover Up staring Jon-Erik Hexum. The song also happens to be on the soundtack I’ve put together for my own funeral. Yes, you read that correctly. I have a soundtrack prepared for my funeral. No plans to die anytime soon, but when I do go my final resting will be quite a production.

 Peace. Love. Trust.

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