A couple of years ago, ign put together a list of the top 10 songs about cities. Additionally, Judy at Flavorwire put together a song for each of the 25 most populous cities of the U.S. I have no sort of ego to claim authority and create a top 10 list but I can create a list of favorites. To me, the ign list seems incomplete and it could definitely use some updating from some great songs from the last few years. And I agree that some cities like Baltimore don’t get due respect. So I created a list of fifty top songs and ranked my personal top ten.
Against Me! – Miami
Billy Joel – Allentown
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Hollywood Nights
Bruce Springsteen – The Streets of Philadelphia
Chuck Berry – Memphis
CSNY – Woodstock
Death Cab For Cutie – Marching Bands of Manhattan
Dropkick Murphy’s – I’m Shipping Up To Boston
Dwight Yoakam – Streets of Bakersfield
Elvis Presley – Viva Las Vegas
Eric Burdon and the Animals – San Franciscan Nights
Fall Out Boy – Chicago Is So Two Years Ago
Funeral For A Friend – Juneau
Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman
Gram Parsons – Streets Of Baltimore
Green Day – Welcome To Paradise
Guns n’ Roses – Paradise City
Ian Hunter / The Presidents Of The United States – Cleveland Rocks
John Rich – Shuttin’ Detroit Down
Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash – Jackson
Katy Perry – Waking Up In Vegas
KISS – Detroit Rock City
LMFAO – I’m In Miami, Bitch
Marty Robbins – El Paso
Merle Haggard – Okie From Muskogee
N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton
Outkast – B.O.B.
Owl City – Hello Seattle
Peter, Bjorn & John – Amsterdam
Randy Newman – I Love L.A.
Robert Johnson – Sweet Home Chicago
Tennis – Baltimore
The Clash – London Calling
The Decemberists – Los Angeles, I’m Yours
The Doors – L.A. Woman
The Monkees – Last Train To Clarksville
The Weakerthans – One Great City
They Might Be Giants – Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Tony Bennett – I Left My Heart In San Francisco
Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
Weezer – Beverly Hills
X – Los Angeles
10. Dave Loggins – Please Come To Boston
You would think I have some attachment with Boston after reading my top ten (I don’t) but I’m huge fan of the song where the cities are just places in love stories I guess.
9. Fleetwood Mac – Silver Springs
Not in the least bit about the city but a strong Casablanca/We’ll-always-have-Paris moment between Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham.
8. Marc Cohn – Walking In Memphis
Don’t have a lot to say here but I’m just a really big fan of this song and my feet don’t touch Beale.
7. Loretta Lynn (Featuring Jack White) – Portland, Oregon
Jack White and Loretta Lynn are not a combo that I would have dreamt up. But they’re even better than I could have imagined.
6. Jay-Z (Featuring Alicia Keys) – Empire State Of Mind / Frank Sinatra – New York, New York
The only difference is generations.
5. R.E.M. – (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville
In the end, she did, but we’ll always have this moment in time when he tried to convince her to stay.
4. Sufjan Stevens – Chicago
Okay I’m stretching it here because it’s not really about Chicago but it is such a great song and some of the other ones are about more than the cities, too.
3. George Strait – Amarillo By Morning
My favorite song from one of the biggest country artists of all-time. Crazy as it seems but this is one of his hits that didn’t make number one.
2. Bruce Springsteen – Atlantic City
There’s a couple of Springsteen tracks that could be on here but this one captures the dark recesses of reality better than almost any other song I’ve ever heard.
1. Augustana – Boston