Fall Favorites to Sing with Older Adults


Fall is here and soon the leaves will be falling! I love this time of year and have been collecting various “Fall Time” songs to use with groups since I was an undergrad  years ago. Whether you are wanting to sing, reminisce, laugh or write your own lyrics to standards, these familiar classics will keep your group entertained with plenty of Fall Time subject matter to talk about.

So here they are! My Favorite 10 Songs to Sing with Older Adults:

  1. Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Muertes): lyrics by Johnny Mercer (english version) (1945) – An obvious, but versatile choice. The song can be slow and reflective, or upbeat and fun. This particular song also spans cultures as it was originally written in French.
  2. Button Up Your Overcoat: written by Henderson, DeSylva, & Brown (1928)– Not only does this song bring attention to the cooling temperatures, it mentions apples, and “bootleg hooch” which begin to be seen more as fall settles in.
  3. Bringing in the Sheaves: American Gospel tune by Knowles Shaw & George Minor (1880) – Harvest is not as important of a time to the masses as it once was, but the older generation many times has experience with farming and supplying their own food. This song also nicely ties in with Thanksgiving.
  4. Coat of Many Colors: Dolly Parton (1971)- Coats, colors, and as Dolly says “it was way down in the Fall”. This song is quick to stimulate discussion and is a great “story song”.
  5. White Lightning: George Jones (1959)- As Button Up Your Overcoat states… “keep away from bootleg hooch!”. A fun one for reminiscing and sharing about all those beverages that keep us warm in the fall time.
  6. Sippin’ Cider Through a Straw: written by Carey Morgan & Lee David (1919)- A fun novelty call and response song, playing off of our previous song topic 😉 
  7. Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider: written by Eddie Leonard & Eddie Munson (1903)- An old love song mentioning cider and the silvery moonlight.
  8. Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, Glenn Miller & the Andrew Sisters (1942)- You can’t have fall without the apple trees. This WWII classic is great for stimulating various discussion topics and is sure to be recognized by some of the younger group members as well.
  9. Shine on Harvest Moon: written by Nora Bayes & Jack Norworth (1908)- Use of the original introduction to the song sets the stage for a dark chilly fall evening. A old standard that most everyone knows and can sing along to.
  10. By the Light of the Silvery Moon:  Lillian Lorainne (1909) Doris Day (1953)- Another moon song that most group members should know. Perfect tempo for movement and rhythm work and it’s fun to sing!

So there they are! My favorite Fall Time songs. We’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments below!

Be sure to also check out these previous posts for some additional songs that can be used for the upcoming Fall holidays:

The Best Moon Songs to Sing with Older Adults

Beyond the Monster Mash: The Ultimate Halloween Song List

Thanksgiving Tunes: Food Favorites!

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