Add to Our Playlist of the Greatest Songs About Places!



Kokomo by The Beach Boys


Johnathan Richman (with or without the Modern Lovers: Roadrunner, New England, Walking in Boston and more!


I love these lists - could play this all day. Off the top of my head this morning…

Oh, Atlanta - Allison Krauss and Union Station (or Bad Company, if you like)
Oh Atlanta - Little Feat
California - Joni Mitchell
San Francisco - Lucero
Statesboro Blues - Allman Brothers
Tupelo Blues - John Lee Hooker
Heaven - Warrant (wait, no, screw that)
Greenville - Lucinda Williams
Luchenbach, Texas - Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings


Dum dum here forgot about New Madrid when I went to Uncle Tupelo. If you’re not familiar with the story behind the song it’s pretty amazing. Iben Browning predicted a major earthquake on the New Madrid fault and brought a pretty big swath of the central US to it’s knees.


You mention Champaign, Illinois by the Old 97s, but there is ANOTHER unrelated song Champaign, Illinois for which the writing credit is shared by Bob Dylan and Carl Perkins. The only version I’ve heard is by Carl. The song, though not either man’s best work, seems to have come about when Dylan ‘gifted’ an unfinished song fragment to Perkins, saying “here, you take it”. Perkins eventually finished and recorded the song with Dylan’s okay, not unlike the more recent tale of Old Crow Medicine Show reworking Dylan’s Wagon Wheel. The Dylan/Perkins Champaign, Illinois shares some similarities with the Johnny Cash song Wanted Man which was itself cowritten by Cash & Perkins around the same time.


PENNSYLTUCKY (before it became decidedly pejorative)


Who would have thought that Champaign, Illinois – which admittedly is not a bad little town, but not the center of the universe – would have inspired two songs, including one by Dylan and Perkins? Mind you, years and years ago I used to go watch RHPS there on a midnight showing and have a darned good time…


Upon reflection, I am enough of a huge fan of the Dan Fogelberg song that I wanted to include a link.

Fogelberg got a bad critical rap in his time. He was an incredibly gifted songwriter, a great performer, and was unafraid to show honest emotion at a time when it was considered critically cool to be disaffected and distant. I was greatly saddened when he died young.


+1 Fogelberg


“Pico and Sepulveda” by Freddy Martin and his Orchestra. About a not-terribly-interesting corner in LA, featured in Forbidden Zone.


YES. Also the Dr. Demento theme song!


WAIT YES I LOVE THIS SONG! I hadn’t heard Antara Anyer dan Jakarta for so long. Will be looking for it today, thanks for the reminder.


The song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It was played a lot on a road trip from Chicago to Mississippi back in 2010 and reminds me of that time. However, it was also the song played on a budget airline flying in and out of Taiwan and I remember thinking how bizarre it was that this song that reminded me of the Great American Road Trip was being played on a small airplane in Taiwan when myself and my boyfriend were the only Americans on board…very strange. So, now it reminds me of Taiwan!


“Dennehy” by Serengeti - YouTube
I love Serengeti and he has put out better music that this in the years since, but this song (and video) is perfectly Chicago. Open Mike Eagle called it the “Chicago national anthem”.

There are a lot of Sun City Girls songs to choose from, but “CCC” (Calcutta Codeine Coma --> YouTube) and “Lies up the Niger” (YouTube) are first to mind.

When I was in Singapore I couldn’t get Tom Waits’ “Singapore” (YouTube) out of my head.

…Same for This Heat’s “SPQR” (YouTube) when I was in Rome.

The Merle Haggard solo version of “Seashores of Old Mexico” (YouTube) is hard to beat.


you’re welcome Eric!



Serengeti is a damn good recommendation!


Light Rail Coyote, Sleater-Kinney
Anchorage, Michelle Shocked
San Francisco Nights, the Animals
Waterloo Sunset, the Kinks
Roadrunner, Modern Lovers


Broadripple is Burning by Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos. I drive to this when I’m sad or deep in thought. I love it.


Dubious Honorable Mention: “One Night In Bangkok” from the opera, “Chess”