When performing CPR chest compressions, the best way to maintain the optimal speed is to follow the beat of a popular song. If you’ve taken a CPR course or read any tutorials on the subject, you’ve probably heard the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive used as the popular example. And it’s a good example, too. It’s an easy beat to follow, and it clocks in at a steady 104 beats per minute (CPR should always be performed at a pace between 100 and 120 beats per minute).
But as iconic as it is, Stayin’ Alive is over 40 years old, and it’s not everyone’s go-to jam. A lot of younger people aren’t even familiar with it. With that in mind, we decided it was time for an update. If disco isn’t your cup of tea, or if you don’t know your Bee Gees from your B-52s, we’d like to present a comprehensive list of other popular songs to do CPR to.
How We Chose the Best Songs for CPR
We were very selective about the songs on our list. You may have noticed that some “CPR songs” lists include selections like “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga, “Rumour Has It” by Adele, and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper. Those are all great tunes, but we didn’t include them because they’re right around 120 beats per minute.
We only selected songs between 100 and 110 beats per minute because it’s better to err on the slow side. In a frantic CPR situation, it’s easy to underestimate the speed of your chest compressions, and you don’t want to mistakenly go too fast. With the songs on our list, you’ll never have to worry about that.
The Best Songs to Do CPR To
All Star – Smash Mouth [104 bpm]
Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkel 
Crazy in Love – Beyonce & Jay-Z 
Dancing Queen – Abba 
December 1963 (Oh What a Night) – Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons – 
Forget Me Too – Machine Gun Kelly ft. Halsey 
Heartbreaker – Mariah Carey feat. Jay-Z 
Hips Don’t Lie – Shakira 
Jump Jive an’ Wail – The Brian Setzer Orchestra 
Life Is a Highway – Tom Cochrane / Rascal Flatts 
Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson 
Master of Puppets – Metallica 
MMMBop – Hanson 
Paradise City – Guns N Roses 
Riders on the Storm – The Doors 
Rock Your Body – Justin Timberlake 
Say You’ll Be There – Spice Girls 
Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind 
Shining Star – Earth, Wind & Fire 
Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel 
Sorry – Justin Bieber 
Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for – U2 
Superstition – Stevie Wonder 
Tempo – Lizzo 
Two Princes – Spin Doctors 
Finding the Beat of a Song During CPR
When using a song as a guide for CPR chest compressions, it’s very important to follow the beat accurately. You’re not delivering compressions in time with the melody or the vocals. The beat is the steady, consistent pulse of the song.
Think of an imaginary metronome that ticks in time with the music. If you can tap your feet or clap your hands to it, you have found the beat. This is the same kind of steady, consistent pace you want to keep when delivering CPR.
If finding the beat doesn’t come naturally to you, or if you struggle to maintain the optimal beat during CPR, we recommend investing in an automated external defibrillator (AED). Popular AEDs have a built-in metronome that keeps the beat for you. Some of the more sophisticated devices, like the Philips FRx AED and the ZOLL AED 3, will even coach you on the depth, rate, and number of chest compressions.
And even if you don’t need help with CPR chest compressions, an AED can quite literally be a lifesaver.
Tips for Finding More CPR Songs
Not in love with the songs on our list? Not a problem! You can easily find millions of songs that serve as suitable CPR guides. For instance, if you use a streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music, you can search for playlists that contain only 100 bpm, 105 bpm, or 110 bpm songs. Browse these playlists and find your favorite tunes.
You can also use a website like SongBPM.com to search artists and songs and instantly find the beat of all your favorite jams.
Finally, be sure to tell us your favorite CPR songs in the comments. Your recommendations may be helpful to someone else.
If you need more helpful CPR tips, be sure to check out our guide on how to perform CPR.