While my oldest daughter, Gillian, was home for the holidays, she mentioned to my younger daughter, Jennifer, that she never hears from me while she’s at school.  At the same time, netlogx announced the ‘positive’ push as part of the 2021 wellness initiative. So how could I let my daughter know I was alive while spreading positivity? Why, through song of course.

The inspiration for this come from my wife, Kelly. In November 2020, Kelly asked for a favor.  The non-profit she works for (Inspire Success) would be presenting at the Indiana School Counselor Association (ISCA) annual conference.  In past years, Inspire Success manned a booth at the ISCA conference providing information on their services and handing out trinkets with their logo.  But 2020 being 2020 meant the conference would be virtual, so Inspire Success would have a virtual ‘booth’ to peddle its services but was trying to come up with virtual giveaways.  Someone came up with the idea of a playlist of joyful, inspiring songs for school counselors to listen to while they toil away doing whatever school counselors do. Kelly’s boss, Matt, made the first stab and came up with what may be the most sickeningly sweet collection of sugary, trite songs imaginable. My wife tried to, but couldn’t, listen to the whole playlist, so she asked me to create a playlist of songs with a positive message that ordinary people would actually listen to. 

get on the good foot

After Gillian went back to school in January, every Monday morning I began sending a ’positive’ song to my family to listen to.  I’ve only sent them songs they are already familiar with and like, and their response has been positive.  Starting March 1st, I began sending a song each morning.  

By nature, I’m not a fan of happy sunny songs – I tend to like noisy songs with a cynical snarl and those don’t tend to be overtly positive – but so far picking songs has been pretty easy.  Using the 10-song playlist I made for my wife as a base, I’ve come up with 30+ songs that have positive themes, are easy on the ears, and for one reason or another I really like. I’ll soon find out if I can come up with another 300+ songs.  I’m pretty sure I’ll have to send them songs that may not be overly ‘positive’ but remind me of happy memories of days gone by or are simply songs that always make me smile – I can’t help but break into a huge grin whenever I hear ‘Cherokee’ by Charlie Barnet.  


The best ‘positive’ songs have come from the R&B world.  The church and the civil rights movement imbued 60’s and 70’s R&B and parts of the hip-hop world (Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation and the ‘Native Tongue’ movement led by A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul) with a mix of spirituality and positivity that raises your spirits while you tap your toe. This isn’t to say other musical genre don’t have songs with a positive message – they just tend to be not as much fun.

Below is a list of the songs I’ve sent so far and a link to a Spotify playlist if you need a jolt of positivity.

  • ‘Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive’ – Johnny Mercer
  • ‘Get on the Good Foot’ – James Brown
  • ‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’ – Solomon Burke
  • ‘Glad All Over’ – The Dave Clark Five
  • ‘Glad Tidings’ – Van Morrison
  • ‘Love and Happiness’ – Al Green
  • ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ – The Beach Boys
  • ‘You Are the Sunshine of My Life’ – Stevie Wonder
  • ‘What I Like About You’ – The Romantics
  • ‘(What a) Wonderful World’ – Sam Cooke
  • ‘Planet Rock’ – Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force
  • ‘Move on Up’ – Curtis Mayfield