In the short periods we spend on this planet, fighting is an inevitability for all of us.
Whether you’re fighting your sibling for the last slice of pizza, fighting temptation, fighting with your partner, fighting for change, or fighting your demons, fights are of many kinds and are not always about who can throw the best hook.
On days when you need some pumping up, work off pent-up anger (much healthier than getting into a fight), or prep yourself to fight a difficult battle, these songs about fighting are the perfect motivators (and not a call to violence—just saying).
1. Fight Song by Rachel Platten
There’s no doubt that Rachel Platten is a fighter—it took almost ten years for her to make it in the music world. Talk about never giving up on your dreams!
This smash hit not only gave Platten her big break (she was signed on by a major label within 72 hours of the song’s appearance on the radio) but was also used by Hillary Clinton in her presidential campaign.
Proof that even if nobody else believes in you, great things are possible if you’ve got fight left in you.
2. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
Easily one of the best songs about fighting and undoubtedly 1982’s biggest hit, “Eye of the Tiger” is a timeless classic that’s just as overplayed today (which gym doesn’t feature this on their playlist?) as it was all those years ago.
Whether it’s the fiery lyrics or the band determinedly making their way through the streets of San Francisco to start jamming or Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa KO’ing his opponents like they’re made of paper, “Eye of the Tiger” is designed to make pure adrenaline course through your veins.
3. Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
Album: Jazz | Released: 1979 | Genre: Hard Rock, Pop | Guitar Lesson
Speaking of Queen, no list of the best songs about fighting would be complete without “Don’t Stop Me Now”. The fact that it’s still featured in television shows, movies, and commercials today, over forty years since its release, is proof of how gorgeously this masterpiece, voted the band’s third-best song by fans, has aged.
As the world saw and this song reflected, nothing could stop or pull down Mister Fahrenheit from rising to the heights that he did, and if you keep fighting, the same goes for you.
4. Walk by Pantera
Heavy-metal godheads Pantera released “Walk” in 1993 and I don’t think there was anything else fans and casual listeners alike listened to, for quite a while, when they needed a little pumping up.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 brought the song back in all its glory, reminding older folks of this smash hit and introducing it to a new generation. The message is quite simple—take your (insert profanity) attitude and take a (insert profanity) walk with it.
5. Fight Back by NEFFEX
Album: Fight Back: The Collection | Released: 2018 | Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap
The message is loud and clear in this addictive rap number—fight back against all your bullies, demons, naysayers, and those voices in your head that say you can’t do it.
For every person that believes in you, you’re probably going to face ten others who pull you down (consciously or unconsciously) with their words, opinions, and attitudes. Don’t let the latter group define your limits and how much you can dream, even if you’re one of the billions dreaming the same dream.
6. I Stand Alone by Godsmack
Movie: The Scorpion King | Released: 2002 | Genre: Nu Metal | Guitar Tutorial
Featured in several soundtracks, certified “Gold” in the United States, and a chart-topper around the world (including peaking at number one on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart)—Godsmack’s “I Stand Alone” is not only one of the best rock songs about fighting but one of the best rock songs, period.
The track was written for Dwayne Johnson’s The Scorpion King and reflects how Johnson’s titular tough, mysterious, badass character has risen through the ranks by fighting his battles alone.
7. Fight for Your Right (To Party!) by the Beastie Boys
One may be tempted to disregard “Fight For Your Right” as a mere teenage anthem resulting from playful experimentation (ironic how that’s also often the treatment meted out to teens in general), but the track from the Beastie Boys’ first rap album, Licensed to Ill, actually serves as a motivation to stand up for one’s convictions.
Don’t take the lyrics too literally, though—the song isn’t meant to be an encouragement to fight for your right to smoke, drink, and party your way through school.
In any case, it’s an upbeat, fun number that can get you pumped up and ready to fight.
8. Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit
Album: Significant Other | Released: 2000 | Genres: Nu Metal, Rap Metal
What do you get when one of America’s top rap bands bottles up its anger and releases it in song form? A work of “nu metal” art that resonates with people all around the world.
This song and its video (with cool cameos by the likes of Eminem, Roger Daltrey, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg) are sure to have you raging to go, but again, unlike the audience at Woodstock ‘99, don’t take the lyrics too literally and write a song or go for therapy, maybe?
9. Never Say Never by Justin Bieber ft. Jaden Smith
“Never Say Never” came at a time when Justin Bieber was still a cute, chubby-faced teen all of 16 years old, but the age-old wisdom behind the (let’s admit it—cheesy) lyrics of this song is undeniable.
Get back up again no matter how many times you’re knocked down, and keep believing in yourself and fighting for what you want.
The song was featured in The Karate Kid soundtrack, with the star of the film, Jaden Smith, contributing a rap verse to the track.
10. Mama Said Knock You Out by LL Cool J
Album: Mama Said Knock You Out | Released: 1991 | Genre: Hip-Hop
Though it’s aggressive and confrontational, with LL Cool J outfitted in full boxing gear and spewing lyrics that may have you call the police, “Mama Said Knock You Out” is a hard-hitting reminder to fight anyone who stands in the way of your success. It also answered the rapper’s critics, who’d criticized his previous album, in style.
The inspiration for this song is surprisingly sweet. LL Cool J was telling his grandmother how he wouldn’t survive as a rapper in the face of gangsta rap’s rising popularity and the many up-and-coming rappers populating the scene, to which his grandmother said “Oh baby, just knock them out!”.
Related Article: If you're looking for hopeful musical experience, be sure to check out our article on 'Songs about peace' that offers a refreshing perspective on unity and harmony.
11. The Story of Us by Taylor Swift
Pop sensation Taylor Swift’s “The Story of Us” talks about the awkwardness that people who break up encounter when they face each other again.
More often than not, breakups mean having to completely let go of the person you once loved and very likely still care for and always will, but reconnecting after this ordeal is quite a rarity. This is a heartbreaking moment of disappointment that a lot of us have to face, but fighting through it is the only way to get over it.
12. All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled
Album: Victory | Released: 2010 | Genre: Hip-Hop
Whatever else DJ Khaled lacks, he’s got tons of confidence if this rousing anthem’s name is anything to go by—and deservedly so, actually, thanks to several chart-topping albums and singles that he’s produced and written, a New York Times best-seller book, and a budding acting career.
“All I Do Is Win” is a tribute to his successes, earned through years of doggedly pursuing them. The track features appearances by T-Pain, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, and Ludacris.
13. Fighter by Christina Aguilera
Album: Stripped | Released: 2003 | Genres: Rock, R&B
The “Voice of a Generation” may not be the first artiste to come to mind when you want a song to pump you up, but the energetic, fast-moving, powerful “Fighter” is a revelation—of both the singer’s amazing range and how insanely good fight songs can be.
The song is about being resilient, learning from her mistakes, and realizing that losing some fights to become stronger and win the next—possibly more important—fight helped her get to the heights that she’s currently cruising in. Yas, queen!
14. I Will Not Bow by Breaking Benjamin
I doubt many people ever gave Breaking Benjamin a chance beyond “The Diary of a Jane” (even though this song was a bigger hit), so if you want a fight song and explore more Breaking Benjamin territory while you’re at it, “I Will Not Bow” ticks all the right boxes.
This powerful anthem, among the best rock songs about fighting, urges you to overcome obstacles like the warrior that you are. The song was also used in Bruce Willis’s Surrogates when the end credits roll.
15. Headstrong by Trapt
Album: Trapt | Released: 2002 | Genre: Alternative Rock | Guitar Tutorial
This surprise Billboard-featured hit—also the band’s ticket to fame and its only commercial hit—is another great rock song about fighting,
The music video focuses on people, from different walks of life, fighting their battles, such as a teen fighting his father’s attitude and another fighting a pushy, domineering boss.
Stubbornness needn’t necessarily be a bad thing, as it’s so often made out to be—stubborn determination in the face of hardship will get you through your challenging times.
16. Part of Me by Katy Perry
Album: Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection | Released: 2012 | Genre: Dance Pop
Siren Katy Perry’s 2012 hit, “Part of Me”, talks about the pain of betrayals in relationships, with many speculating that the song was written after the singer’s marriage to comedian Russell Brand ended or was directed at ex-boyfriend Travie McCoy (though Perry has denied both).
The singer dons war paint and sings about a horrible breakup that leaves her lost, heartbroken, a shadow of her former self, but she isn’t one to stay there, nor is she one to allow her soul to be broken by any number of blows, bombs, sticks, and stones—she’s fighting to keep the parts of her that the relationship destroyed and her soul intact.
17. Survivor by Destiny’s Child
Album: Survivor | Released: 2001 | Genre: Pop
One of the most successful trios in music history, Destiny’s Child wrote this song when they were compared to Survivor, the TV show, for the constant changes in the band’s lineup before it settled on the iconic trio of Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, and Beyonce Knowles.
Little else can motivate you to work harder and keep at it like these ladies singing about survivors who won’t stop or give up.
18. You’re Going Down by Sick Puppies
Album: Tri-Polar | Released: 2009 | Genres: Nu Metal, Alternative Metal
Fans of WWE’s Extreme Rules and SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 may recognize this aggressive song, complemented by some heavy-duty guitar riffs, that couldn’t be clearer if it tried—the opponent’s going down.
Songwriter Shiman Moore wrote the perfect song, when he asked himself what he’d like to hear while getting pumped up to get into the ring, and “You’re Going Down” was birthed.
19. Kiss with a Fist by Florence and the Machine
Album: Lungs | Released: 2009 | Genres: Rock, Pop
Florence and the Machine’s debut single “Kiss with a Fist”, which features violent lyrics alluding to domestic violence such as “splitting blood” and “breaking jaws”, caused controversy upon its release. However, the controversy didn’t prevent the band from gaining critical acclaim for their subsequent work, including their debut album “Lungs.”
Lead singer and songwriter Florence Welch confirmed that it wasn’t about domestic violence, was instead about the psychological extremes that people in love push each other to when they fight yet are still madly in love with each other. The lyrics are metaphors for the passion that the two share.
20. Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas/CeeLo Green and Jack Black
Album: Kung Fu Fighting and Other Great Love Songs | Released: 1974 | Genre: Disco
One-hit wonder Carl Douglas’s disco hit, “Kung Fu Fighting” wasn’t an immediate hit—the Jamaican vocalist himself didn’t take the song too seriously and quickly recorded this martial arts anthem during the last ten minutes of a three-hour recording session!
Though the original is fun and catchy, I’m not a fan of some of the poorly aged (and honestly, outright discriminative) lyrics, which is why I find Cee Lo and Jack Black’s version from the adorable Kung Fu Panda to be a much better pick.
21. Without a Fight by Brad Paisley ft. Demi Lovato
Single | Released: 2016 | Genre: Country | Guitar Lesson
If you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship, you know what it’s like to only feel alive when you’re hurting each other or fighting. Instead of questioning whether you really should be together, you stick on, oscillating between love and war and a tiring cycle of fighting and making up.
And that, folks, is Brad Paisley’s “Without a Fight”, featuring singer (and helluva survivor) Demi Lovato. This song is literally about fighting, so while it won’t get you amped up, it may just make you stop and think about your relationship and its nature.
22. Fight the Power by Public Enemy
Movie: Do The Right Thing | Released: 1989 | Genre: Hip-Hop
It’s an all-too-common problem that’s persisted since the dawn of civilization, despite the birth of democracy—governments becoming tyrannical and minorities being ostracized and mistreated.
Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” is a protest song against racial injustice and the misuse of power by the powers that be, and a call to revolt against such abuses. Inspired by the Isley Brothers’ song of the same name, “Fight the Power” is an enduring anthem that (unfortunately) still resonates today.
23. Street Fighting Man by The Rolling Stones
“Street Fighting Man” is among the slew of protest songs that America’s presence in the Vietnam War invoked, originally released in the same months as The Beatles’ “Revolution”—though I believe that none of the others quite invigorate and motivate you to take up arms against an oppressive government like this one.
The Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger was inspired to write this political song after attending a demonstration, criticizing the Vietnam War, at London’s Grosvenor Square, as well as 1968’s Left Bank riots in Paris.
24. Fussing and Fighting by Bob Marley And The Wailers
Album: Soul Revolution | Released: 1971 | Genres: Reggae, Rock
Falsetto backing vocals, an outstanding bass line, and superb sax-playing come together to make this call for peace, where Bob Marley encourages listeners to “really love each other, in peace and harmony/Instead of here, fussing and fighting”.
This love song could also be interpreted as being about a relationship (“why’s this cheating and backbiting”) but in any case, as oxymoronic/ironic as it may seem, “Fussing and Fighting” encourages you to fight for peace, whether that’s world peace or peace in your relationship.
25. Fighting My Way Back by Thin Lizzy
Album: Fighting | Released: 1975 | Genre: Rock
This highly underrated hard rock band created waves with more than just its music—it was one of the few hard rock bands, in a nearly all-white hard rock world of the 70s, to be led by a black man.
“Fighting My Way Back” is one of the best songs about fighting back, telling you to pick yourself up and dust yourself off no matter how many times you fall. “Sick, unsure, unsound, and unstable”, fight your way back.
26. I Wanna Fight by TKO
Album: In Your Face | Released: 1984 | Genre: Hard Rock
With a name like TKO, I would think that a fight song is an inevitability, and this heavy-metal number about revenge proves just that.
“I Wanna Fight” has some pretty powerful lyrics. My favorite line is “all you said is comin’ back to you” (karma for the win!); “no sticks and stones gonna break the bones of the man who guns for you” comes a close second.
About the Author
Thomas M., the founder of Guitar Top Review, boasts 15+ years of guitar experience and was a church band member in L.A. Transitioning from piano to acoustic guitar, his first love remains his Taylor GS Mini. Alongside like-minded hobbyist friends, he launched the site, driven by a deep love for music that transcends professional boundaries.