Songs About Cities By People Who Lived There

It’s Thanksgiving, so that means travel. And travel means cities, and, if you’re flying, probably getting stuck in some city or another while the weather clears. So here’s a playlist of excellent artists who wrote songs about their hometown. It could be an interesting study in cultural anthropology, or maybe just something to take your mind off the long wintry waits. The journey makes a big circle starting in Chicago, moving clockwise and ending in Seattle.

Chicago – Common – “Chi City”

Detroit – MC5 – “Motor City is Burning”

Philly – Jakk Frost – “Philly Love”

Boston – Dresden Dolls – “Boston”

New York – Lou Reed – “Talk A Walk on the Wild Side”

Atlantic City – Bruce Springsteen – “Atlantic City”

Baltimore – Frank Zappa – “What’s New in Baltimore?”

DC – Bad Brains – “Banned in DC”

Atlanta – Allman Bros – Hot ‘Lanta (Yeah they were from Macon, but definitely stomped some ground in Atlanta).

Houston – ZZ Top – “Heaven, Hell, or Houston”

Austin – Guy Clark – “Dublin Blues”

Dallas – Ray Wylie Hubbard – “Dallas After Midnight”

Memphis – Elvis – “Memphis Tennessee” (Didn’t write it, but lived it.)

St Louis – Chuck Berry – “St Louis Blues”

Denver – Yonder Mountain String Band – “40 Miles from Denver”

Vegas – Brandon Flowers – “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” (The Killers frontman is from Vegas)

LA – NWA – “Straight Outta Compton”

San Francisco – Foxygen – “San Francisco”

Portland – The Decemberists – “Rise to Me” (Around the time this song came out, there was a huge Blazers billboard over the train tracks at the Rose Quarter that said “Rise With Us”)

Seattle – Neko Case – “The Needle Has Landed” (Poor Spanaway – Case spent the second leg of her early days in Seattle).

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2 thoughts on “Songs About Cities By People Who Lived There

  1. 45spin says:

    Nice play list, kinda curious about your pick for Austin in Guy Clark”s Dublin Blues. Other than a mention about the Chilli Parlor Bar in Austin it’s really one of the best love songs ever written. Nice Post

    • amyrob says:

      Thank you! Yeah I agree that Dublin Blues is really not that much about Austin. It’s definitely a love song. It’s just that first couple of lines that drew me to it and won its place on the list. It’s what Austin represents for him.

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