Created By: TMOverbeck on September 7, 2012 Last Edited By: TMOverbeck on June 5, 2015

Geographic Song Title

Where the name of the song namechecks a particular location on Earth.

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Sometimes a city or state's ambience helps set the mood of a song. Sometimes a particular location reminds the storyteller of a certain someone.

Or sometimes you just want to get a raucous audience reaction when you sing about their home, in a really exclusive form of Niche Marketing.

Whatever the reason, putting the name of a city, county, state or province in a song title is a popular trope among musicians, especially country artists.

Not to be confused with Regional Riff, where a style of song typical of the area is used to help convey the specificness of the location.

NOTE: The actual name of the place must be used to qualify for this trope. Nicknames (such as "Jet City Woman") or demonymic adjectives ("American Idiot") don't count.

Examples: (As the list grows, it should be sorted by location into folders, as a few of the locations - like New York, Los Angeles/Hollywood, Texas, Paris or London - are extremely popular for titles)
  • "Texas Women" by Hank Williams Jr.
  • "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind" by George Strait
  • "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra
  • "Vienna" by Ultravox
  • "By The Time I Get To Arizona" by Public Enemy
  • "Detroit Rock City" by Kiss
  • "Yonkers" by Tyler The Creator

(I searched and searched for a trope like this and didn't find anything, thus the YKTTW-ing. If there's another trope with this premise, don't hesitate to tell me about it.)
Community Feedback Replies: 43
  • September 8, 2012
    • "Kentucky Rain" by Elvis Presley
    • "Highway 40 Blues" by Ricky Skaggs
    • "Smokey Mountain Rain" by Ronnie Milsap
    • "Meet Me In Montana" by Marie Osmund & Dan Seals
    • "America" by Neil Diamond
    • "God Bless The U.S.A." Lee Greenwood
    • "Everyday America" by Sugarland
    • "Song for America" by Kansas
    • "It's America" by Rodney Atkins
    • "I Ain't In Checotah Anymore" by Carrie Underwood
    • "I Can Still Make Cheyenne" by George Strait
    • "Jackson" by Johnny Cash
    • "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight" by The Oak Ridge Boys
    • "Paint Me a Birmingham" by Tracy Lawrence
    • "Maybe It Was Memphis" by Pam Tillis
    • "Niagra Falls" by Sara Evans
    • "Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver
    • "Waterloo" by ABBA
    • "Oklahoma" by Billy Gilman

    Yeah, I mostly listen to country.
  • September 8, 2012
    • "My Kind of Town (Chicago is)" by Jimmy Van Heusen & Sammy Cahn
    • "Lake Shore Drive" by Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah
    • "I Like to Shop in Downtown Downers Grove" by Emo Phillips
    • "Going Back to Indiana" by The Corporation, sung by The Jackson 5
    • "Georgia on my Mind" by Hoagey Carmichael & Stuart Gorrell, which became Georgia's State Song. The Ray Charles version was used as the Real Song Theme Tune for Designing Women
  • September 8, 2012
    And here's a bunch more.

    • "My Old Kentucky Home", Kentucky's state song
    • "On Wisconsin", Wisconsin's state song
    • "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
    • "Midnight in Montgomery" by Alan Jackson
    • "Kentucky" by the Everly Brothers
    • "Kentucky Woman" by Neil Diamond
    • "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by Elvis Presley
    • "Georgia Clay" by Josh Kelley
    • "Georgia Rain" by Trisha Yearwood
    • "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" by Reba McEntire
    • "Chattahoochee" by Alan Jackson
    • "Carolina in my Mind" by James Taylor
    • "Mississippi Girl" by Faith Hill
    • "Kansas City Lights" by Steve Wariner
    • "God Blessed Texas" by Little Texas
    • "If You're Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)" by Alabama
    • "Austin" by Blake Shelton
    • "El Paso" by Marty Robbins
    • "Callin' Baton Rouge" by Garth Brooks
    • "In My Tennessee Mountain Home" by Dolly Parton
    • "Little Rock" by Collin Raye
    • "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash
    • "The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace
    • "Let's Go To Vegas" by Faith Hill
    • "Happy Hawaii" by ABBA
    • "Hotel California" by The Eagles
    • "California Sun '65" by The Rivieras
    • "California Girls" by The Beach Boys
    • "California Girls" by Gretchen Wilson
    • "California Gurls" by Katy Perry
    • "Newgrange" by Celtic Woman
    • "Caledonia" by Celtic Woman
    • "Carrickfergus" by Celtic Woman
    • "Africa" by Toto
  • September 9, 2012
    State songs or official anthems should probably not be counted, as they aren't specifically meant to get a reaction from the audience (even though they might accomplish one). "Songs are named after places" isn't tropeworthy in itself.

    For an example of another one which doesn't count, consider Kenny Young's song Arizona. Yes, Arizona is a state, but the song is about a person named Arizona.

    Austin by Blake Shelton is borderline, as the lyrics aren't really inspired by the place. It's just incidental. Given what "Austin" represents in the song, it's not exactly flattering.
  • September 9, 2012
    A list has been compiled of these on songfacts:

    Of course, those are just cities. Countries, states, etc are fair game. But I guess you could include all of those...
  • September 9, 2012
    Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice at one point decided to test the theory that songs with American place names in them always were hits. They wrote a song called "I Love a Kansas Morning", which was not. The music was later used, with different lyrics as "I Don't Know How To Love Him" in Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • September 9, 2012
    @Wumblee You could include all those, but you shouldn't. That would make this a Chair.

    For comparison; there are also many songs with the word "baby" in the title. Sometimes it's an Affectionate Nickname. At other times, it's a literal baby. However, in neither case is it a trope. There's no storytelling element or other meaningfulness present.
  • September 10, 2012
    ^ People Sitting On Chairs means something that happens for no particular reason. A broad trope is not Chairs. Songs named after places is no more chairs than songs named after cities; it's just broader. Broader tropes are actually usually better. (You're correct about songs with "baby" in the name, but the same argument either applies to both cities and place-names, or to neither.) This indeed might be chairs, but if so, it makes no difference whether its broadened or not.

    ^^^ I don't know where songfacts gets their data, but it's woefully incomplete. Also, they don't seem to distinguish covers from originals, and they're missing lots of covers. Ignoring covers, here's a couple that aren't on their list:

    • "As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls" by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays
    • "Da Nang" by the New Orleans Radiators
    • "Hippie from Olema" by the Youngbloods
    • "San Francisco Bay Blues" by Jesse Fuller

    And why are we limiting this to songs? That makes no sense. Here's some example from other media:



    Live Action TV
  • September 10, 2012
    Radio: BBC comedy series Stockport, so good they named it once, set in one of the North's less glamorous backwaters. The Frankie Vaughan song of the same name - a dig at his home town - is referenced and used in the series.
  • September 10, 2012
    "Raining in Baltimore" by Counting Crows "Oh, Baltimore" by Randy Newman "Good Morning, Baltimore!" from the musical Hairspray "Goin' Back to Cali" by LL Kool J "Ain't That America" by John (Cougar) Mellencamp "New Orleans is Sinking" by Tragically Hip

  • September 11, 2012
    @Xtifr, to quote this page, emphasis mine:
    People Sit On Chairs don't convey any meaning — they aren't storytelling conventions at all, they're just things that happen normally or incidentally during the storytelling.
    It's not that I'm saying it's "Too Common to Trope". I'm saying that, without a meaningful element attached to it, it's Not A Trope at all, broad or otherwise.

    So, before adding an entire list of songs, or other things, that just happen to have a place name in them, we should at minimum make sure that the title is actually referring to a place, not a person (such as Kenny Young's Arizona). Ideally, we should also explain how it fits the trope. Otherwise, we'll end up with a list similar to the one Wumblee linked, and if we're going to do that, why not just let maintain it?
  • September 11, 2012
    This would be a huuuge list if we made it comprehensive. Q is also right that this isn't a trope.

    "Song that's a tribute to a city/place" is a trope. "TV show named after the city where it's set" is a trope. "Title that includes a location" is not a trope.
  • September 15, 2012
    "Is this the way to Amarillo?" by Tony Bennett, popularised by comedian Peter Kay
  • September 21, 2012
    • "Do You Know The Way to San Jose" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
  • October 8, 2012
    Has The Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R." really not been mentioned yet?
  • February 15, 2013
    How about "My Favorite Town Osaka" by Shonen Knife?
  • February 15, 2013
    I'd like to point out that Georgia On My Mind was written by Gorrell about Carmicheal's sister Georgia. The other lyrics make this more clear.

  • February 16, 2013
    "The Girl From Ipanema" performed by Astrud Gilberto in 1964. Ipanema is an upscale district of southern Rio de Janeiro.
  • February 16, 2013
    Bob Dylan:
    • "Stuck Inside of Mobile With Those Memphis Blues Again"
    • "Romance in Durango"
    • "Highway 61 Revisited"

    "My Woman from Tokyo"--Deep Purple

    Billy Joel:
    • "New York State of Mind"
    • "Goodnight Saigon"

    "Ohio"--Crosby Stills Nash and Young

    James Taylor:
    • "Mexico"
    • "Carolina in My Mind"

    "Statesboro Blues"--Allman Brothers

    Grateful Dead:
    • "Cumberland Blues"
    • "U.S. Blues"

    "Peace in Mississippi"--Jimi Hendrix (instrumental, but might still count)

    • "Soweto (Africa Libre)"
    • "Kyoto" (both of these are also instrumental)

    "San Franciscan Nights"--The Animals

    "Streets of Philadelphia"--Bruce Springsteen

    Elton John:
    • "Philadelphia Freedom"
    • "Jamaica Jerk-off"

    Mark Knopfler:
    • "Sailing to Philadelphia"
    • "Fare Thee Well Northumberland"

    "Nutbush City Limits"--Ike and Tina Turner (about the real town of Nutbush, Tennessee, where Tina grew up)
  • February 16, 2013
    And as for album titles, we have

  • February 16, 2013
    Steely Dan:
    • "Daddy Don't Live in that New York City No More"
    • "Haitian Divorce"
    • "The Boston Rag"

    "East St. Louis Toodle-oo"--Duke Ellington (also covered by Steely Dan)
  • February 16, 2013
    "Sweet Home Chicago"--Robert Johnson
  • February 16, 2013
    • "The Flowers of Guatemala"
    • "Cuyahoga" (the river that runs through Cleveland, Ohio, which caught fire in 1969)

    "Havana Moon"--Chuck Berry

    "California Dreaming"--Mamas and Papas

    "Rocky Mountain Way"--Joe Walsh

    "Living in the USA"--Steve Miller

    "Living in America"--James Brown

    "Free Man in Paris"--Joni Mitchell

    The Clash:
    • "London Calling"
    • "The Guns of Brixton"

    "Jerusalem"--Sir Hubert Parry (covered by Emerson Lake and Palmer)

    "Vienna Calling"--Falco

    "Panama"--Van Halen

    • "A Passage to Bangkok"
    • "YYZ" (instrumental, named after the airport code for Toronto's International Airport)

    ZZ Top:
    • "Jesus Just Left Chicago"
    • "Heaven, Hell or Houston"

    "L.A. Woman"--The Doors

    "Kashmir"--Led Zeppelin

    "Still in Saigon"--Charlie Daniels

    "Never Been to Spain"--Three Dog Night

    "One Night in Bangkok"--Murray Head

    "When Jesus Left Birmingham"--John Mellencamp

    "Route 66"--Nat King Cole, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, et. al.

    "Berlin"--Lou Reed

    "The Shadow of California"--Blue Oyster Cult
  • February 16, 2013
    I'd like to point out that "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" was written by Bobby Russell and originally sung (and Top Tenned) by his then-wife Vicki Lawrence.
  • February 16, 2013
    ^That's right. Vicki Lawrence made that a hit. Not that I think this is a trope, because I don't. Right now it's just a list of songs with place names in them.
  • February 16, 2013
    One way this could be less chairy is if the name drops were the sort of thing that only insiders would get. For example, Rush's song "The Necromancer" has heroes from Willowdale crossing the River Dawn (Don) on their quest. Those are references to Toronto, but if you weren't from there and didn't know Rush was Canadian you might not get it.
  • February 17, 2013
    There are a few reasons to title a song after a geographic locale--the song can be a tribute to that locale ("Fare Thee Well Northumberland", "Sweet Home Chicago") or an idea represented by it ("Philadelphia Freedom"); it could be a story of something that happened there, either a well-known ("Ohio", "The Guns of Brixton") or personal ("El Paso", perhaps "Panama") event, or combination of both or personal reflection ("Goodnight Saigon"); or the place could be used symbolically ("Highway 61 Revisited", "Hotel California", "Jerusalem", or some songs with Biblical place names); invoke a mood associated with the place ("Carolina in My Mind", "New York State of Mind"); a longing to go to a place ("California Dreaming"); or used in a humorous narrative ("Stuck Inside of Mobile...", "Daddy Don't Live in that New York City No More"). Instrumentals titled such might try to invoke a wordless feeling for the place. In many cases it might be hard to tell if the place name is used for meaning or not--the meaning might be personal or "inside" to the writer or their circle of fans.

    I agree that the use of this is broad, but not necessarily chairs. Usually there seems to be some reason, overt or sublime, for using a place name in a title.
  • February 17, 2013
    If this trope has this many examples, how about this to split them up:

    • Send the Real Life examples to a special subpage (maybe a Useful Notes page)
    • Leave the fictional examples in the main page

    Assuming it isn't chairs
  • February 17, 2013
    ^ Good idea, although personal stories (which might be true or fictional) should probably stay on the main page.

    A few more:

    Bob Seger:
    • "Get Out of Denver": narrative about running from the Colorado State Troopers
    • "Kathmandu": probably uses the place as a symbol for getting as far away as possible from where he is (kind of like how Timbuktu is often used), although this city was a major point on the 60s/70s "Hippie Trail" through Asia

    "Penny Lane"--The Beatles: nostalgia for the old neighborhood

    "Woodstock"--Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills and Nash: tribute to and story of Woodstock (name of both the event and the town near where it took place)

    "American Woman"--The Guess Who: like The Doors' "L.A. Woman", personifies the place as a woman (although "American Woman" is more a scathing critique, while "L.A. Woman" is a sort of warts-and-all tribute to Los Angeles)

    "Abilene"--George Hamilton: tribute to the old cow town of Abilene, Kansas, inspired by old Westerns set there

    "Indiana Wants Me"--R. Dean Taylor: point of view of a fugitive fleeing from the state where he did a murder

  • February 17, 2013
    ^I like these examples. There's some story about why they were named that way. That's a trope.

    How about if all the examples were like that? To post one, you also have to post why it was named that way. Not just a guess, something that can be looked up and confirmed. Then it wouldn't just be a list of song titles with place names and everybody wouldn't just keep saying "chairs."
  • February 17, 2013
    Yes someone have to, Wiki Magic and all that.

    I think the normal Zero Context Example rule applies here. ie comment them out. Unless this end up as trivia.
  • February 19, 2013
    "Exeter, Rhode Island" by Jennifer O'Connor. The song is about making a stopover on the quiet titular town while on the road on tour, and some amount of soul-searching that comes from stopping there and seeing how quiet it is.

    Many songs here describe how awesome/how bad the eponymous place is.
  • February 19, 2013
    "Entering Marion" by John Forster is a bit of a List Song, discussing the singer's trip through Massachusets via towns with people's first names as the town name, with many Double Entendres - actually the same entendre many times, namely "entering." He starts by "entering" Marion, then "entering" Beverly and Sharon; but it takes a turn for the worse when he "enters" Lawrence, Lowell, Quincy, Norton, and finally Ethel.
  • February 19, 2013
    barbra Jungr's ''From Stockport to Memphis" - two for the price of one! (The "Stockport" in the title might refer either to Stockport, Cheshire, England, or to Stockport, Ohio, USA. Evidence for it being the former is that Ms Jungr is from Stockport, England.
  • October 27, 2013
    Just wanted to note that "Paint Me a Birmingham" is not about Birmingham, Alabama. The type of house the narrator wanted to live in was a Birmingham-style house with a wrap-around porch. The setting of the song, a beach, does add to the song's wistful, far-away mood, but it is not mentioned in the title.
  • October 27, 2013
    London Calling was about the homesickness suffered as a result of, for a career boost, moving to America.

    Party in the U.S.A. was written by Jessie J for Miley Cyrus, basing it on Cyrus' personal experiences and Jessie's interpretation of the States.
  • October 27, 2013
    Here's a new one to add...

    Moatsville String Ticklers: West Virginia Hills
  • October 27, 2013
    • The Red Hot Chili Peppers love songs about California (and even seem to have a long song TO California). They have a song titled "Californication" (also the name of the album), as well as another song called "Dani California."
  • October 29, 2013
    • Chuck Berry, "Memphis Tennessee." The singer wants the operator to connect him to his gal back in Memphis, but he doesn't have her number.
    • The Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R.," a Beach Boys parody.

    EDIT: Ah, USSR was already mentioned in a previous comment.
  • December 10, 2013
  • June 4, 2015
    Expanding on a previous suggestion: The Blue Oyster Cult's Shadow of California is about Hell's Angels making a roadtrip between San Bernadino and Los Angeles (by inference on Highway 210). Both cities are namechecked.

    Also by the BÖC, Tenderloin namechecks a district of San Francisco and Joan Crawford Has Risen From The Grave namechecks Brooklyn, New York.
  • June 5, 2015
    This is Location Song, isn't it?
  • June 5, 2015
    ^ I suggest trying to consider asking Location Song YKTTW (link) sponsor directly (Tropers.Patachou, apparently. You could remind him to add a Laconic subpage while at it). To me Location Song looks as chaotic as a Useful Notes page, can't answer for him/her.

    This ykttw here is a barrel of song titles. Expecting context in examples to have its place and presence, I'd say that just "namechecking in the title" is People Sit On Chairs if the songs are the works of fiction to be troped. It would be fine, if the troped work of fiction were the "song title" (separate from the song, its lyrics, music, etc.).