Nineteen is a strange age.
You feel so grown up and only realize years later you were anything but.
For some it is a rough age, full of heartbreak and struggle.
For others it is the best time of their life.
And for others, it is both of those together.
And musicians have written songs about being 19 from all angles.
No matter how 19 was for you, is for you, or will be for you, there is sure to be a song about being nineteen that perfectly captures your own experience.
Table of Contents
- 1 Songs About Being 19
- 1.1 Nineteen by Dylan
- 1.2 Hey Nineteen! by Steely Dan
- 1.3 I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green) by Redgum
- 1.4 19 by Paul Hardcastle
- 1.5 Nineteen by Taylor Hicks
- 1.6 If We Have Each Other by Alec Benjamin
- 1.7 19 You + Me by Dan & Shay
- 1.8 Nineteen by Catchphrase & Inphecs
- 1.9 Nineteen by Movements
- 1.10 Nineteen by Lil’ Peep
- 1.11 Nineteen by Pink Pantheress
- 1.12 Nineteen by Tegan and Sara
- 1.13 My Nineteenth Birthday by Rita Castagna
- 1.14 Nineteen by Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam
- 2 Songs About Being Nineteen: Final Thoughts
Songs About Being 19
I did my best to include as many different musical genres as possible below, so that there are at least a few songs for everyone here. And, as mentioned, some come from artists who loved the age and other from ones who struggled through it.
Nineteen by Dylan
Nineteen by Dylan is the perfect song to dedicate to a nineteen-year-old. The track also has a summertime vibe, and fans of Dylan have even compared her to Taylor Swift in it.
Nineteen is a song you dedicate to friends – the ones you hung out with when you were nineteen. It is a walk down memory lane.
The song recalls those idyllic times when you fought, lied, experimented with cigarettes, and went crawling from one bar to the next. Along with young love and broken hearts, it also discusses drinking to forget.
The incredibly nostalgic song expresses what it’s like to fall in love as a teen and many people will relate to it.
Hey Nineteen! by Steely Dan
In Hey Nineteen, Steely Dan describes an older man seducing a nineteen-year-old girl. At times, their relationship is frustrating to him given the girl’s inexperience. The fact that she doesn’t know Aretha Franklin is incomprehensible to him!
However, tequila makes it all better, and everything feels “wonderful” when he is drunk. Hugh McCracken played the guitar and Rick Marotta the drums for Steely Dan in this 1980 song, which featured a variety of musicians.
I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green) by Redgum
Australian folk band Redgum released I Was Only 19 in 1980. This song is about a young army veteran who served in the Vietnam War. He was only 19 years old.
The term “light green” refers to a cleared area in the war-torn country. Light green implies an area that is free from civilians and trees but has minefields. “Green” also refers to the army uniforms.
I Was Only Nineteen also mentions Agent Orange, or Asian Orange, a chemical used for clearing shrubs and destroying food grains. It resulted in a rash that persisted forever on whoever came in contact with it. My dad was one of them as a young GI straight out of college.
In short: the song describes the hardships faced by young army vets. The chorus: “Can you tell me, doctor, why I still can’t sleep?” describes the long-lasting psychological trauma, or PTSD, caused by the war.
I Was Only 19 was used in the end credits of Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan. Redgum donated all the proceeds from this song to the Australian Vietnam Veterans Association.
19 by Paul Hardcastle
19 is an upbeat song by Paul Hardcastle, but it has a melancholic, sad meaning. The song is a dedication to all the 19-year-olds who were not fortunate sons, and who died in the Vietnam War.
With an electronic rhythm, a voice describes the conflict with a focus on the kids who went to fight at that tender age. Hardcastle was a British producer and the founder of Total Control Record Company. 19 went on to become his first hit. It was hit number one in nearly 13 countries.
The best-selling single also won the Ivor Novello Award. The single is unique in that it is the only song with just a number in its title to top the UK charts.
Nineteen by Taylor Hicks
In an interview, Taylor Hicks explained that Nineteen was a tribute to a football player who joined the armed forces after the 9/11 attacks. Since most war heroes happen to be nineteen years old, Taylor Hicks decided that would be the song’s title.
The lyrics of Nineteen describe a young football player who has the world before him. He has a scholarship to play down in Tennessee, but then the twin towers came down, and that changed his entire life.
He says he cannot play ball now that there is a war going on. And at that tender age, he was in a hole, having taken a bullet in a foreign land. Where he was supposed to play ball and win accolades, he is instead being brought home with a big parade.
If We Have Each Other by Alec Benjamin
American singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin wrote If We Have Each Other in 2018. It describes people in different life stages, the first being a girl who is pregnant at 19.
She works hard each day and goes home at the end of the day. She talks to her unborn baby, telling him or her that she is waiting for it to arrive, so she will never be alone again.
If We Have Each Other may not be about being 19 per se. Rather, it describes the importance of love and support, especially in difficult times. The chorus of the song also describes that love and companionship are the most important things in life.
19 You + Me by Dan & Shay
This country song talks about young lovers who meet at Myrtle Beach one summer. The temperature is 102 degrees, so the young couple spends time splashing in the pool and in the sea. That is when they fall in love.
However, soon they will have to part ways and say goodbye once summer is over. The singer nostalgically remembers their first dance in the sand. He wishes they could have stayed together like that forever.
While it isn’t exactly a song about being 19, 19 You + Me could be about a couple meeting in the summer of ’19. It is worthwhile noting that the song was released in 2013. Therefore, we could assume it is a song about a couple meeting when they are both nineteen. The country song reached the top spot on the Top Country Albums chart.
Nineteen by Catchphrase & Inphecs
“I am nineteen, I smoke cigarettes, and I wear ripped jeans.” Thus begins Nineteen by Catchphrase and Inphecs.
The song describes a typical nineteen-year-old who has insecurities that he or she hides with laughter. Their car is always broken down and their weekends are always filled with regrets.
Nineteen goes on to discuss heartbreaks and how every 19-year-old starts every new relationship with the hope that “this one” will be different. And despite everything, nineteen is the age you want to be forever!
Nineteen by Movements
Nineteen by Movements is a nostalgic song about a man who remembers his dad when he was nineteen. He says he is not as dynamic as his dad was at that age, and that is why he has been a disappointment to his parents.
He goes on to say that he isn’t a warrior and that he is fragile and weak. He also expresses the hope that one day his father will understand that “the passion that he has found out of heartbreak and anger, rather than the leather-bound books and ink on paper, is what success is determined by.”
Nineteen by Lil’ Peep
American rapper Lil’ Peep’s Nineteen was released in 2016, a year before he overdosed. He talks about his facial tats and his drug use in the song, as well as the angst of being nineteen. Yet he also hopes he will be a millionaire by the time he is twenty-one.
The chorus of the song describes Peep’s internal conflict and the struggle to hold on to the girl he is in love with while they are both going through tough times. Nineteen gave Peep his record deal with the label First Access Entertainment.
Nineteen by Pink Pantheress
British singer Pink Pantheress wrote Nineteen in 2021. She talks about the ups and downs of being a teenager and how she was bored because she was alone at that age.
Her friend next door had stopped talking to her, and she had also failed her A-levels. She wishes she had stuck to her job then, because now she has nothing going for her.
Since Nineteen discusses the difficulties of growing up, its relatable lyrics might strike a chord with listeners who have been through their teen years.
Nineteen by Tegan and Sara
Nineteen by Tegan and Sara is all about looking back on your first love, which always has a special place in one’s heart.
The singer talks about being nineteen when she first fell in love. However, her love interest breaks her heart and moves on. She describes having a physical relationship with that person and says that she “feels them in her heart” when she lies beside them.
The nostalgic song perfectly captures the feeling of losing one’s first love and how nothing in the world can prepare you for that heartbreak. Don’t forget to check out another version of Tegan and Sara’s Nineteen by Hayley Williams.
My Nineteenth Birthday by Rita Castagna
Rita Castagna wrote My Nineteenth Birthday on her nineteenth birthday. She dedicates it to all nineteen-year-olds saying it’s a “big one”. Unfortunately, people treat sixteen and eighteen as the more important birthdays. Nineteen is underrated and is as – if not more – important.
Sure, eighteen had voting and graduation, and at thirteen you become a teenager, but nineteen is still special, simply because! We are sure many people who have turned nineteen will relate to this upbeat song!
Nineteen by Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam
Phil Lynott was inspired to write Nineteen when he was sitting in a bar when a biker wearing a jacket with the number “nineteen” on it walked in and said to the bartender: I am bad, gimme a beer!”
This upbeat rock anthem describes the energy you have when you are nineteen. You can be mean, tough, and bad. The song’s chorus describes the youthful energy and vitality of a nineteen-year-old. The singer also says that he deserves respect since he is nineteen and always “vexed.”
Songs About Being Nineteen: Final Thoughts
All of the songs about being 19 listed above capture the feeling of that age. But they come at it from different angles, since the artists all had different experiecnes.
As mentioned, I tried to include as many different genres as I could, but know there are some that are underrepresented, or missing completely. If you know of any songs missing from this list, especially in an underrepresented genre, please let me know in the comments below.
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