Some musicians write songs about specific locations. It can be a street, an avenue, a boulevard, a road, a park, a mountainous area, a beach, a town, a city or a country. Most of the times the musician wants to pay Homage to a place that is dear to him. Maybe he grew up there, maybe he still lives there, perhaps he visited the place and was so overwhelmed by it that he wants to pay tribute to it. Or maybe it's the opposite. He wants to criticize the place because he associates it with a certain bad memory, a political system he despises or the mentality of the community who lives there.
In either way, Location Songs will attract attention by people who actually inhabit the place and by those who might get curious enough to actually find out more about it and visit it. So it's no surprise that a lot of these songs will actually be used in tourist videos or films and series that take place in the location described in the song.
To many people across the world, it may even be the only thing they know about them. Some people may even be surprised this location actually exists in real life! "Route 66", for instance, a highway between Chicago and L.A. would probaly never have become such an iconic road if it weren't for the fact that Bobby Troup wrote a much Covered Up song about it in 1946, made famous by Nat King Cole.
Note for those who want to add examples: We put everything according to country and alphabetically. Locations that no longer exist are also allowed, as well as instrumentals.
For national anthems, which aren't always about locations, but sometimes more about the nation's founder or the people, see National Anthem.
MOD NOTE: Say no to ZCES. Do not just list the song name and the name of the band. Explain what the song is about and how it talks about the place.
- The continent in general is reflected in "Africa" by Toto, which is a song about the hunger and poverty there.
- Algiers: Mentioned in "Broken Flag" by Patti Smith from her album Wave.
For we're marching towards Algiers
Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Zaire - A 1974 song, In Zaïre by Johnny Wakelin, from the time the country was still called Zaïre and the boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman was organized there. It was written specifically for and about the event.
- Abyssinia - Patti Smith's song "Abyssinia", from her album Radio Ethiopia addresses the people of this country:
There will be no famine in my existence
I merge with the people of the hills
Oh people of Ethiopia
Your opiate is the air that you breathe
All those mint bushes around you
Are the perfect thing for your system
Aww clean clean it out
You must rid yourself from these, these animal fixations
You must release yourself
From the thickening blackmail of elephantiasis
You must divide the wheat from the rats
You must turn around (and look oh God)
- Marrakesh - "Marrakesh Express" by Crosby, Stills, Nash (And Young), inspired by Graham Nash's journey on that train and what he saw there.
- Mozambique - Bob Dylan's song "Mozambique" elaborates on the uniqueness of the country. Here's the initial stanza:
I like to spend some time in Mozambique
The sunny sky is aqua blue
And all the couples dancing cheek to cheek
It's very nice to stay a week or two
And maybe fall in love just me and you
- Mafia Island - The song "Mafia Island" by Alphaville was inspired by a vacation lead singer Marian Gold took to Zanzibar in the early 90s. According to him, he got drunk at a bar and started to imagine what it would be like if the people on Mafia Island were the only people left living on the planet.
- Sun City - An anti-apartheid song by the Artists United Against Apartheid, where they all sang that they wouldn't perform in Sun City, unless apartheid was abolished.
- Transvaal - The song "My Sarie Marais" is a song in Afrikaans (Dutch language in South Africa), about a lover living in the Transvaal, a region in South Africa and the protagonist wanting to go back there. The line "o bring my terug na die ou Transvaal" ("Oh, bring me back to the old Transvaal") is so well known that many people assume that is the original title.
- "Holiday in Cambodia" by Dead Kennedys is a song mocking college-age "armchair liberals" who pretend to care about the poor and marginalized, suggesting they be sent to work like slaves in the Khmer Rouge's "killing fields" and see the suffering of the third world up close.
- Beijing: The song "(There Are) Nine Million Bicyles (In Beijing)" by Katie Melua is based on the fact that traffic jams with bicycles used to occur in the streets (it's still probably one of the few cities on Earth were the bike lane can take up half the street). The bikes have been replaced by myriads of cars these days, along with lots of air pollution and thick smog.
- "Chinatown", a Ska track by Don Drummond with The Skatalites. It could, of course, also be about chinatowns around the world.
- "China My China" is a song by Brian Eno taking an ambivalent stance towards Chinese politics. It comes from Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy, an album generally inspired by Eno's fascination with the pageantry of Maoist opera.
- India in general: "Song Of India" from the opera "Sadko" by Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov is a dreamy piece about the mystery of the orient. It has been covered by many big band musicians too.
- Calcutta: "Calcutta (Taxi, Taxi, Taxi)" song by Dr. Bombay tells story-wise is that a guy goes to Calcutta to work as a taxi driver and isn't particularly successful. Memorable things would be vocals with thick accent and repeated "Cali cali cutta cutta cutta eyoh eyoh" line. Music video adds some criminal irresponsible action (such as hitting pedestrians or stealing a food plate in broad daylight) by protagonist driver on the streets of fictional Calcutta, Played for Laughs.
- The whole "Rice and Curry" album is silly Eurodance songs about India, all from the perspective of Doctor Bombay. It includes tigers eating people, Lethal Chef levels of cooking, snake charming and much more.
- New Delhi: The song "New Delhi" by Madness from The Rise & Fall features a man visiting the city and getting lost there in the wilderness when his car breaks down. Then it turns out to have been All Just a Dream.
- Bethlehem: "In A Little Town Called Bethlehem" is a traditional Christmas carol about the place where Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament, would have been born. It has been covered by, among others, Bob Dylan on his album Christmas in the Heart.
- Jerusalem: The hymn "Jerusalem" (a setting by Hubert Parry of words by William Blake) is only incidentally about the city. The song is more about the people of England building a "new Jerusalem".
- Japan: The song "Big in Japan" by Alphaville and the similarly titled, but completely different song by Tom Waits from Mule Variations. Both have the same message: Celebrity Is Overrated when you're famous in that country.
- Ganryu Island: The John Zorn album "Ganryu Island" (1985) is named after a small Japanese island of the same name, where samurai warriors Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro engaged in battle. They are also featured on the cover.
- Nagasaki: Crass' song "Nagasaki Nightmare" is a Protest Song against nuclear warfare.
- "J Pop (Welcome to Tokyo)" from Phineas and Ferb.
- Scatman John's "Lebanon", a slow and darker tone piece, Scatman half-talks about a number of general historical and other apparently strong points Lebanon has. The other half is questioning whether they still persist, "or has their song been silenced". Trademark scatting is scarce.
- Manila - Hotdog, a 1970s OPM band, wrote a love letter to the eponymous city.
- Singapore - Tom Waits wrote an eponymous song about it on his album Rain Dogs, which is a pirate song.
- Gangnam - A district in Seoul, made world famous by the dance hit "Gangnam Style" by Psy.
- Bangkok: "One Night In Bangkok" from the musical Chess is about the nightlife in the city.
- "Blame Canada", from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a song the citizens of "South Park" sing when caught up in a media frenzy about the country, because they made a film that upset the parents with its vulgar language. It was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song.
- "Oh, Canada," by Calixa Lavallee is the Canadian national anthem and a patriotic ode to the country praising it's natural beauty.
- Halifax, Nova Scotia: "Hello City" by Barenaked Ladies is a Take That! aimed at this seaside town.
- "Canada Haunts Me" by They Might Be Giants is a short, surreal song that loosely references James Polk and the 19th century dispute over the Oregon Territory ("Fifty-four forty or fight").
- North Pole: The North Pole is usually treated as Eskimo Land, a romanticized version that treats the location to be almost like a separate country, instead of merely being part of Canada and/or Alaska. Songs that depict the place like this are Frank Zappa's "Nanook Rubs It" and "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" from Apostrophe (') and The Residents' Concept Album Eskimo, both comedic takes on all the clichés associated with the Inuit people there.
- The USA in general:
- "America" by Simon & Garfunkel is about people travelling across the USA with high expectations.
- "Livin' in America" by James Brown is a Pep-Talk Song on how great it is to live there.
- "I Like To Be In America" from West Side Story, where the women sing how they like the USA better than Puerto Rico and the men naming all the bad things about the USA.
- "This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie was originally a political song that invoked locations in the USA. However, its more often performed now as children's music and has been adapted for other countries.
- Animaniacs has "Wakko's America", a List Song of all states and their capitols.
- "Your State's Name Here" by Lou and Peter Berryman parodies the type of state-specific song represented by some of the examples below.
- This map by Dorothy has all the below examples and more.
- "Alabama" by Neil Young, a critical song about racism and slavery in the American South.
- "Oh Susannah", better known as "I've Come From Alabama (With A Banjo On My Knee)" by Stephen Foster is about a cowboy who rode in from Alabama to meet his sweetheart.
- "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd is an Answer Song about what makes the South wonderful, in reaction to Neil Young's more pessimistic "Alabama".
- Prominently named in the chorus of the Standells' "Dirty Water", which is a mock paean to the city and its then-famously polluted Boston Harbor and Charles River.
- This list would not be complete without Dropkick Murphys' "Shipping Up to Boston," a Celtic-punk sailor's tribute to the great New English port.
- "Beverly Hills" by Weezer is about an average guy living in the suburbs, wishing he could catch his big break and move to Beverly Hills.
- "California Dreamin'" by The Mamas & the Papas was made when many hippies wanted to go to this location and reflects the desire to go there and start a new life.
- "California Über Alles" by Dead Kennedys, a satirical punk song about the right-wing policies of governor Jerry Brown juxtaposing images of Nazi tyranny with hippie/yuppie stereotypes ("You will jog for the master race / And always wear the happy face").
- Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers is about how everything in the world is becoming more and more like California, aka Hollywood and thus fake and struggling for instant celebrity.
- Local H wrote a song called "California Songs" that mocks the fact that so many songs are written about California.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic: "I Hate California" by Jonathan Coulton is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Frank Zappa's song "Village Of The Sun" from Roxy & Elsewhere is a nostalgic song about his youth in Palmdale, California.
- "Sunset Boulevard" from the musical of the same name is inspired by a street in LA that leads towards Hollywood. The song is about Joe the screenwriter describing how hard it is to not only make it in the film industry, but to stay on top.
- The Blue Öyster Cult's songs about the Hells Angels do this. Shadow of California is about an Angels chapter driving from San Bernadino to Los Angeles along Highway 210, bent on dark deeds by night. Transmaniacon MC retells the story of the Altamont rock festival - from the point of view of the Hells Angels who infamously provided stage security.
- Tenderloin is about drug addiction in the eponymous district of San Francisco.
- Death Valley Nights is a wistful love ballad. Set in... yes, you've guessed it.note
- "California" by Lenny Kravitz, on how the singer grew up there from 10+ after moving from New York.
- "California Gurlz" by Katy Perry is a peppy ode to the state and especially the girls who live there. Perry stated that she wanted to do for the West Coast what the below-mentioned "Empire State of Mind" did for the East.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has one about a specific city in California, "West Covina."
- "Go West" by the Village People is a song about California's reputation as a hub for the budding gay rights movement.
- Canajoharie - The song "Canajoharie" by They Might Be Giants uses the name of this town in New York to describe the place where terrestrial vertebrates first evolved.
- "Carolina Girls" by the The Beach Boys extols the virtues of females from the Carolinas, describing them as "best in the world."
- "Wagon Wheel" by Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor is a song about someone journeying to Raleigh to meet his girlfriend in an attempt to turn over a new leaf ("If I die in Raleigh, at least I will die free").
- Bruce Springsteen's "Darlington County" (off "Born in the U.S.A.") is all about a couple of guys from the Northeast (maybe from New York City, maybe from New Jersey or the New York suburbs) coming down to Darlington County, South Carolina, spitting game and trying to have some fun with some pretty Southern belles.
- "Yankee Bayonet" by The Decemberists centers on a girl from Oconee County, SC whose sweetheart is killed in the Civil War somewhere "on the sea-swept Carolinas".
- "Chicago That Toddlin' Town" by Fred Fisher, made famous by Frank Sinatra. It's how Chicago is supposedly a wonderful and exciting place.
- "Chicago" from Tom Waits' Bad As Me is a song about someone who wants to move to Chicago in the hope that things will be "better there".
- "The Night Chicago Died" by Paper Lace is sung about a possibly historical and possibly fictional shoot-out between the police and Al Capone's gang. The song is also implied as being a sequel to Paper Lace's "Billy don't be a hero".
- "Something from Nothing" by Foo Fighters (both the city and some natives - "Wash them in the muddy water...").
- "My Kind of Town," also sung by Frank Sinatra, which is about its supposed friendliness and dependability.
- Cleveland - The song "Cleveland Rocks" by Ian Hunter later covered by the Presidents of the United States of America is considered an anthem in the city and is often heard on opening days for every major sport in Cleveland. The Presidents version was also known as the theme song for The Drew Carey Show which was set in Cleveland.
- Colorado - John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" was written three years after he moved to Aspen and is all about how peaceful Denver felt when he was in Colorado.
- Detroit - "Amityville" from Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP is a song about Detroit, where the rapper discusses the city's crowning as murder capital of the United States.
- El Paso - Marty Robbins' "El Paso" from Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, about a cowboy who fled the town after shooting down a cowboy making advances at his girlfriend.
- El Segundo - The A Tribe Called Quest hit song "I Left My Wallet In El Segundo", where the band sings how they lost their wallet at that location and need to get it back.
- Florida: "Kokomo" by The Beach Boys is about a beach in Florida.
- The song "Georgia On My Mind", famously covered by Ray Charles, is a homage to this state and has in fact become its official anthem.note
- Gladys Knight And The Pips recorded "Midnight Train To Georgia" about a couple that found Los Angeles too daunting, and were retreating to their origins in bucolic Georgia by train.
- Graceland - Paul Simon wrote a song about this location in Memphis, Tennessee (and included it on an album also called Graceland), which is nowadays most famous as the place where Elvis Presley's mansion is located. In the context of the Title Track he is driving to the place to visit it.
- Hollywood - An eponymous hit song by Madonna from her album American Life was written about this city and is about the hollowness of glitter and fame.
- Houston - Emo Phillips' "I Like to Shop in Downtown Downer's Grove", written for a Chamber of Commerce contest. Won 5th prize, "honorable mention".
- Sufjan Stevens made a 2005 Concept Album about this state; his 2006 outtakes mixtape The Avalanche is also centered on Illinois locations like Springfield and Pittsfield.
- Peter, Paul and Mary composed the song "Waukegan" to sing on The Jack Benny Program. Benny was a native of Waukegan and took the opportunity to promote it as much as he could. However, the song turns out to be mostly insults about Benny.
- Kansas City - An eponymous song was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller about this city, later covered by The Beatles on Beatles for Sale. The song is about someone going to this place to visit his girlfriend.
- Las Vegas - "Viva Las Vegas" by Elvis Presley, a Pep-Talk Song which practically has become the Standard Snippet to play whenever this city is depicted in popular culture.
- Los Angeles - L.A./Hollywood-related tropes are often in force for songs about California in general.
- "I Love L.A." by Randy Newman.
- "Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale" is named after two Los Angeles streets.
- "Observatory Crest" by Captain Beefheart from his album Bluejeans & Moonbeams is set at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California, where Beefheart and his partner go and see a concert at this location and spent some time together afterwards.
- The Red Hot Chili Peppers not only sing about California, but also their hometown of LA as well ("Hollywood", "Under the Bridge").
- Foo Fighters have "Stacked Actors", describing a Horrible Hollywood, and "Outside", inspired by Los Angeles and in particular Joe Walsh's ranch.
- Van Halen's "Chinatown" is about the eponymous L.A. neighbourhood.
- Memphis - Marc Cohn wrote "Walking in Memphis" to describe his experience in the city.
- Miami - Will Smith once wrote a hit song about the joy of partying in this city.
- Michigan - Sufjan Stevens made a 2003 Concept Album about the state.
- "Stuck Between Stations" by The Hold Steady mentions "Twin Cities kisses" and John Berryman committing suicide by jumping off the Washington Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis
- "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" by Tom Waits is a monologue from a prostitute serving time in prison in Minnesota.
- Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" is named for the highway connecting his native Duluth to major cities.
- Montana - Frank Zappa's "Montana", from his album Over-Nite Sensation, is a fantasy song where he imagines himself raising dental floss on a farm, while riding a pygmy pony.
- Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen wrote an album featuring a song about the state, although many of the songs on the album deal with other places (particularly Springsteen's native New Jersey).
- Nevada the Blue Öyster Cult's Death Valley Nights is a wistful love ballad. Set in... yes, you've guessed it.note
- New Jersey
- Bruce Springsteen, proudest son of the Garden State, has so many:
- "Born to Run" references Highway 9. U.S. Route 9 is the major local road running up the New Jersey coast, running parallel with the Garden State Parkway. It serves as a kind of regional Main Street for much of Monmouth County, in particular.
- "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out": The Tenth Avenue in question is not the one in New York, but rather the one in Belmar, N.J.
- "Atlantic City": About a man meeting his girlfriend in, well, Atlantic City, New Jersey, for some fun. Oddly, the implication is that the man is not from New Jersey, but rather from either New York or Philadelphia, and has been hired by one side or the other as a hit man in the war between pro- and anti-Five Families forces for control of the Philadelphia Mafia, and he is inviting his girlfriend to meet him in AC as a sort of possible last hurrah before he does something that might get him arrested or killed.
- Bruce Springsteen, proudest son of the Garden State, has so many:
- New Mexico - "Albuquerque" is a parody song describing "Weird Al" Yankovic's fictional lifestory in this city.
- New Orleans:
- A song from The Simpsons episode "A Streetcar Named Marge" from the fictional musical version of "A Streetcar Named Desire". The town is described as a "home of pirates, drunks and whores", which actually caused a bit of backdraft back when this episode was broadcast.
- The Foo Fighters wrote "In the Clear" after a week there.
- "Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog is one that establishes the setting for the film and stresses that dreams come true there.
- Jimmie Rodgers recorded a song called "My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans" where he claims his home in New Orleans is the grandest place on earth
- New York:
New York, New York, it's a hell of a town
- "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" by Beastie Boys from their album Licensed to Ill is an ode to Brooklyn, their home borough. In the song they sing that how exhausting their tours may be they will not rest until they are back in Brooklyn.
- Black 47 are quite fond of this trope. They wrote "Rocking the Bronx", "Five Points", "New York Town", "Banks of the Hudson", "New York, NY", "Sleep Tight in New York City", and "My Love Is in New York" among others all about the experience of being Irish immigrants in New York City.
- The song "New York, New York" from the musical On the Town is sang by three sailors to sing about the splendor of the city.
The Bronx is up, but the Battery's down
What's not to love, what's not to love, what's not to love about New York?
- "Theme From New York, New York", originally performed in that film by Liza Minelli and later made famous by Frank Sinatra, is a homage to the city and has become the official city anthem. In it the narrator sings how the town is so great that "if I can make it there I can make it anywhere".
- The Sex Pistols also wrote a song called "New York", which appears on their album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols.
- Bobby Womack's song "Across 110th Street" is about a street in Manhattan, which was known at the time for being a clear divide between the richer and the poorer part of the city. The song reflects the Big Rotten Apple description.
- The Ramones' song "Rockaway Beach" (Rocket to Russia) is about the beach side in Queens, New York City, where band member Dee Dee used to go to relax.
- Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, "Empire State of Mind", on how the city's inspiring and a cultural landmark. Ditto for Keys' solo remake of that song, entitled "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down".
- The Pogues' and Kirsty MacColl's "Fairytale of New York", about a down-on-their couple reminiscing on their lost hopes on New Year's Day.
- Total Drama World Tour had a song called What's Not To Love sung by the contestants about how wonderful New York is.
- Oklahoma - The musical Oklahoma! has a Title Track about this state and the joys of living there.
- Sleater-Kinney's Light Rail Coyote is about the city of Portland, Oregon.
- Carrie & Lowell, a Concept Album by Sufjan Stevens, is set in Oregon and features locations like Spencer Butte, Roseburg, state capitol Eugene, Tillamook State Park, and the Dalles. The outtakes from the album further namedrop Wallowa Lake and the Rogue River.
- Rhode Island:
- "Exeter, Rhode Island" by Jennifer O'Connor was inspired by her road trips with her band, where she stayed on... well, Exeter, Rhode Island. The state is described as a reflection of her own loneliness as she goes to her loved one.
- "Rhode Island Is Famous for You" comes from the musical revue Inside USA, which was full of these. Blossom Dearie did a very memorable version.
- Santa Fe
- San Francisco
- "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" by Tony Bennett is a Break Up Song.
- "If You're Going To San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)" by Scott McKenzie was written during The '60s when every hippie wanted to go to the city.
- "Let's Go To San Francisco" by the Flower Pot Men is another hippie era song to promote people going to this hippie city.
- "San Franciscan Nights" by The Animals is a bitter sweet song about the city, written as a protest song against US society at the time, addressing the fact that Native Americans have been neglected the American Dream and Police Brutality is rampant.
- San José - The song "Do You Know The Way To San José?" by Burt Bacharach, made famous by Dionne Warwick, is about a native of San José who didn't make it in L.A. and thus returns to her hometown.
- South Dakota - The 1973 Protest Song "We Were All Wounded At Wounded Knee" by Redbone was inspired by the 1890 massacre of Native Americans in Wounded Knee by American soldiers and the American Indian Movement who, in 1973, occupied Wounded Knee for a couple of days, and brought international attention to this historic event.
- St. Louis - Made famous by "St. Louis Blues", a jazz instrumental standard recorded by many among which Louis Armstrong's rendition is the most famous.
- Sunset Boulevard - The musical Sunset Boulevard has a Title Track about this location.
- Tennessee: Dave Loggins recorded "Please Come To Boston" about a nomadic young man extolling the virtues of Boston / Denver / Los Angeles to his fiancee, who counters that he's not suited to busy cities, but rather to life with her in rural Tennessee.
- Vermont - The traditional "Moonlight In Vermont" and the Captain Beefheart song "Moonlight On Vermont" from Trout Mask Replica. The first song is a lovely ballad about the tranquility of the moon shining over the city, while the latter is a surreal Avantgarde Music track.
- Virginia - The Foo Fighters' "Arlandria", named after Dave Grohl's childhood home.
- West Virginia:
- John Denver's "Country Road" is about driving home to West Virginia. It's been covered by a number of bands including a punk rock version by Me First And The Gimme Gimmes. Amusingly, the locations mentioned are on the very edge of West Virginia, and reportedly, Denver had only been to the state a handful of times.
- Kingston - "Kingston Kingston" by Lou & The Hollywood Bananas is a party song about the city.
- A town immortalized in Bob Marley's "Trenchtown Rock" from Live and "Trench Town" from Confrontation. Both songs are a Crapsack World account about the poverty there, but at the same time a Pep-Talk Song how music enlivens everybody's spirit. The streets he mentions in "Trenchtown Rock" also exist in real life.
- Acapulco - The Pep-Talk Song "Going Loco Down in Acapulco" by The Four Tops describes "the magic down there".
- Mexico - Les Humphries Singers had a 1972 hit Pep-Talk Song about the country. It's a historical account about British colonialists fighting Spanish colonialists in the 16th century. Talk about Lyrical Dissonance!
- Van Halen's "Cabo Wabo" is about the eponymous city where Sammy Hagar has a resort.
- "Managua, Nicaragua" by Guy Lombardo, which is about the supposed exotic and laid-back nature of the town in question.
- Puerto Rico - Belgian band Vaya Con Dios had an eponymous hit song about two young lovers in this country. The man wants to make it in the USA and leaves her, while she waits for him.
- Carlos Gardel's "Mi Buenos Aires Querido".
- Brazil in general: The song "Aquarela Do Brasil" by Ary Barroso, inspired by rainfall in Brasil, which, in his interpretation, made his colorful country look like a watercolor painting.
- Copacabana: Barry Manilow had a famous hit named after this Rio de Janeiro neighborhood, which is actually a Murder Ballad set in a nightclub.
- Ipanema: "The Girl From Ipanema" is a love song made famous by Antonio Carlos Jobim, later covered in duet with Frank Sinatra, and spawning its own trope. For those who doesn't know, Ipanema is another Rio de Janeiro neighborhood.
- Valparaiso: The song "La Joya del Pacífico" ("The Jewl of the Pacific") by Víctor Acosta and popularized in 1970 by Peruvian singer Lucho Barrios is an ode to the city.
- "Si Vas Para Chile" is about a former resident giving a person intending to visit Chile directions to and a message for the expatriate Chilean's girlfriend.
- Tirol (which is also part of German): The 2000 novelty song "Anton aus Tirol" by DJ Ötzi is a "I Am Great!" Song about a certain character hailing from this region.
- Vienna: Ultravox had a hit in 1981 with the melancholic Break-Up Song "Vienna". Johann Strauss composed "Geschichte aus der Wienerwald" ("Tales From The Vienna Woods").
- Belgium in general:
- The 1914 song "Belgium Put The Kibosh On The Kaiser" was written by the British singer Mark Sheridan to celebrate the fact that the Belgian army managed to delay the much larger German army during the then ongoing First World War.
- The 1998 hit song "Potverdekke, It's A Great To Be A Belgian" was a novelty hit by British singer Mr. John, on how marvellous the country is. He also references several things the nation is known for, such as French fries with mayonaise, Duvel beer, the saxophone, Tintin, Hercule Poirot and mussels.
- Bruges - "Mon Père Disait": Brel sings how his father told him that London is actually a piece of the Belgian city Bruges that floated away.
- Brussels - "Bruxelles" by Jacques Brel is a Nostalgia Filter song about what the city once was and how it became the lifeless city it is today. Johan Verminnen's song "Rue des Bouchers" is about a real life street in Brussels.
- Liège (Luik) - Jacques Brel's "Il Neige Sur Liège" has him observing snow falling down on the city and reflects that his dreams have been covered in snow in a similar way.
- Waterloo - Abba's first international hit only mentions the city incidentally as a metaphor for defeat, just how Napoleon was defeated there.
- Finland Song - A comedic song by Michael Palin, from the Monty Python album Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album. When Palin went to the country in one of his travel shows he sang this song while kayakking.
- Avignon: The traditional "Sur le pont d'Avignon" about the bridge there which is apparently a nice place for dancing.
- Paris: Inspired many songs:
- "April In Paris": A 1932 song by E.T. Harburg and Vernon Duke is a Break Up Song set in the city.
- "Aux Champs-Elysées" by Joe Dassin is a song about the long street that leads from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe. Traditionally cyclists start singing it during the final "étappe" in the Tour de France, because they all cross the finish in that street.
- "Il Est Cinq Heures, Paris S' Éveille" ("It's five o' clock, Paris wakes up") is a 1968 song by Jacques Dutronc about the mornings in the city.
- "Orly" by Jacques Brel takes place at the airport in Orly, Paris where he observes a couple saying goodbye to each other.
- "Sous Le Ciel De Paris" by Yves Montand is about the supposed charm and romance of the city.
- St. Tropez: The disco song "Twist à St. Tropez" by Belgian band Telex is situated here.
- Vésoul: Jacques Brel wrote a comedic song about a nagging couple who drive to several different locations, but can never agree which place they actually want to see. Incidentally Vésoul is only one of many locations namedropped in this song.
- "City of Love" from Phineas and Ferb as Phineas and Isabella explore Paris.
- Frank Zappa wrote the instrumental track "Holiday in Berlin", available on Burnt Weeny Sandwich about the city. Bootlegs prove that the song had lyrics which describe Zappa's 1968 performance in Berlin, when a crowd wanted him to lead them into a street riot. When Zappa refused to do this a riot broke out and they had to flee.
- Lou Reed devoted a dark and depressing Concept Album to the city, Berlin.
- David Bowie's song "'Heroes'" from "Heroes", which was also recorded there. It mentions two lovers meeting at the Berlin Wall.
- "Holidays In The Sun" by Sex Pistols from Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols takes place near the Berlin Wall, though Johnny Rotten isn't sure why within the context of the song.
- "Berlin (City Of Night)" by Peter Schilling is a dark haunting tune about the Berlin Wall from his album Things to Come.
- Bochum: One of Herbert Groenemeyer's better known works is "Bochum", an affectionate song about his home city Bochum.
- Dachau: Captain Beefheart's song "Dachau Blues" from Trout Mask Replica is about the Nazi concentration camp of the same name and describes the horrors there.
- The Rhine: The patriotic song "Die Wacht am Rhein" is about defending the Rhine River against foreign invasions. It was very popular during the Franco-Prussian War, World War One and Two, but nowadays not as much due to the militaristic connotations.
- Belfast: Both Boney M and Elton John have written a song with that title. Both a Protest Song against the conflict in Northern Ireland.
- Gort: Molly And The Tinker wrote the song "Gort" about the Irish town of same name after realising that people had written songs about every other city in Ireland save it. Possibly because of the name.
- Kerry: "The Cliffs of Dooneen" is about the beauty of this particular County Kerry landmark.
- Killarney: The traditional "Christmas In Killarney", covered by, among others, Bing Crosby on his album Merry Christmas. It paints an idyllic picture of celebrating the holidays in the green countryside of this little Irish town.
- Tipperary: The song "It's A Long Way To Tipperary" is a Pep-Talk Song to keep spirits going while walking to this Irish town.
- The Netherlands in general:
- Jacques Brel wrote a song describing the sailors and prostitutes in this town. It was later covered by David Bowie as "Port Of Amsterdam" and made available as a bonus track on his album Pin Ups.
- Flemish singer Kris De Bruyne also wrote a very well known song, "Amsterdam", about the things you can do and see in the city and that his loved one is there, close yet so far.
- The song "Aan De Amsterdamse Grachten" by Pieter Goemans is a much covered 1949 song about the canals in the city. It's considered to be an evergreen in the Netherlands.
- Many of the musical examples in Freestate Amsterdam.
- Grândola: The song "Grândola, Vila Morena" by Zeca Afonso is a song about the people of this little Portuguese town fraternizing. It has a special resonance for the people of Portugal because it was played on national radio as a sign for the Carnation Revolution in 1974, which brought back democracy to the country.
- Trannsylvania: "Trannsylvania Boogie" by Frank Zappa is the instrumental opener of his album Chunga's Revenge.
- The Beatles' song "Back In The USSR" from The White Album is about the titular character arriving back in Russia after a long plane flight and being happy to be there. It's a joke on both Chuck Berry's "Back in the U.S." and Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind" (given the Soviet Union also featured a Georgia...). Since the fall of the Soviet Union the song has become quite surreal. Still, Paul McCartney still performs it, and the song inspired various headlines once he toured in Russia.
- Moscow: "Moskow Diskow" by Telex, about the Trans-Siberian-Express.
- The Volga River: Inspired the song "Song Of The Volga Boatmen".
- Spain in general: "Eviva España", originally by Flemish singer Samantha, but Covered Up by other artists too, is a homage to Spain often played at parties.
- Barcelona: Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé sang a duet about this city on Mercury's solo album Barcelona. In the context of the song Freddie describes that he met his lover there and as a result he will love the location forever.
- Valencia: A 1924 song by José Padilla praises the city.
- Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy sings of Sweden and of, when he retires, how he would like to live there himself.
I would like to live in Sweden,
When my work is done;
Where the snow lies crisp and even,
'Neath the midnight sun.
Safe and clean and green and modern,
Bright and breezy, free and easy!
- "Merano" from Chess is all about the healthful wonders of Merano, Switzerland, where act I is set. The aforementioned "One Night in Bangkok" is the opening of Act II.
- The UK in general:
When Britain first, at heaven's command,
- "Rule Britannia" by Thomas Arne is a glorious song about the British Empire, most commonly associated with the Royal Navy.
Arose from out the azure mane,
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
"Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!
Britons never, never, never will be slaves!"
And did those Feet/In ancient times/Walk upon England's mountains green? note
- England's unofficial national anthems both evoke an idealised land. William Blake's Jerusalem relocates God's kingdom yet to come to England and references the myth that Jesus found time out from His busy schedule for a holiday here.
- While Elgar's Land of Hope and Glory does much the same with a degree of imperial bombast which these days is taken with self-mocking ironynote
- Dorset: "White Chalk" from PJ Harvey's White Chalk is about the white chalk cliffs on the beach side of South England. The song specifically mentions Dorset.
Dorset's cliffs meet at the sea
Where I walked
(our unborn child in me)
(Poor scattered land)
- The traditionals "London Is Burning", "London Bridge Is Falling Down" and "Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner". The first song is a canon song about the 1666 fire there.
- "The Streets Of London", gives a few short descriptions of people not particularly needed, not really well-off in life. Song chorus implies that seeing certain things in the streets of London could give anyone who complains about loneliness and gloom a second thought.
- "No Place Like London" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a Counterpoint DuetAnthony is singing about how the world is marvellous and London is its crown jewel, while Sweeney is singing about how it's a Crapsack World and London is the worst place in it.
- The Clash have done both London's Burning and London Calling. "London's Burning" is about riots in the city, while "London Calling" is about a flood post-nuclear war there. "Guns Of Brixton", also from "London Calling", takes place in Brixton, in the outskirts of London, where a revolution is about to take place.
- The Kinks' "Big Black Smoke" is named after a nickname for the city.
- London Is the Place for Me is a 1948 calypso song by Lord Kitchener about the singers love for the city. It was featured prominently in Paddington.
- "Baker Street" - A street in London. Gerry Rafferty wrote an iconic and eponymous song about it, with an epic saxophone solo.
- "Electric Avenue" - A London street made famous by Eddy Grant's 1983 hit song. It refers to the 1981 race riots in Brixton.
- "Portobello Road" from Bedknobs and Broomsticks is about a London street. Cat Stevens also wrote a song about it. Both are nostalgic in nature.
- Scarborough: A town near Yorkshire, which inspired a popular traditional, "Scarborough Fair", about a couple challenging each other to a series of Impossible Tasks before they'll take their lover back. It has been covered by Sergio Mendes and later Simon & Garfunkel in what are perhaps the most famous renditions.
- St. Ives: The traditional "As I Was Going To St. Ives" which is a riddle about a man going to St. Ives and, while on his way there, meeting seven wives, with each seven sacks with seven cats, which all had seven kits, asking the listener how many where going to St. Ives? The answer is one, because only the man was going to St. Ives. There are many places called St. Ives in England, but the rhyme is commonly thought to refer to St. Ives, Cornwall.
- Amanda Palmer's "Australia" is, predictably enough, about Australia. More accurately, it's about a woman dissatisfied with her boring domestic life, fantasizing about going to Australia and having adventures. The general structure of the song is verses describing the boring things she could do with her life, and then a chorus beginning "Or I could go to Australia" followed by the adventurous things she could do. The last chorus subverts this by going "Fuck it, I'm gonna go to Australia!"
- "Bound For South Australia" is a sea shanty about a group of sailors heading to this destination and naturally a Pep-Talk Song.
- "Australia All Over" has many songs dedicated to various Australian towns.
- "Great Southern Land" by Icehouse is a patriotic song.
- "Down Under" by Men At Work evokes all the clichés about the Land Down Under.
- Adelaide: Greg Champion's "Came From Adelaide" (set to the melody of "I've Been Everywhere") lists famous Australian Rules Football players from Adelaide.
- Balwyn: "Balwyn Calling" by Skyhooks is a song in which the protagonist wants to go to this location.
- Bow River: The song "Bow River" by Cold Chisel.
- Botany Bay: A traditional sea shanty about a group of convicts being shipped off to Australia. Botany Bay is mentioned in many songs.
- Carlton: A song by Skyhooks describes the shady nightlife there.
- Gundagai: "Along the Road to Gundagai" by Jack O'Hagan is a farewell song about someone heading to this location and saying goodbye to his loved ones.
- Gundagai has more songs about it than any other location in Australia, including "When a Boy from Alabama Meets a Girl From Gundagai," and the traditional songs "Five Miles From Gundagai" and "Nine Miles From Gundagai" (also known as "The Dog In The Tuckerbox"). Midway between Sydney and Melbourne, it was a common stopping point.
- Melbourne: "Mourningtown Ride" by TISM lists various Melbourne train stations you shouldn't get off at, who will mug you there, and what they'll take.
- Newcastle: The song "Star Hotel" by Cold Chisel concerns an incident where patrons at the titular hotel in Newcastle rioted to protest its closure.
- St. Kilda: "From St. Kilda to King's Cross" by Paul Kelly is a travel song.
- Marquesas Isles: Jacques Brel's "Les Marquises" is a song about the tranquillity and carefree attitude of the people on this island. Brel lived on this island during the last years of his life and was taken by the simple way people there regarded life, something he praised in this song which, by the way, was also his final recorded song before he died.
The Marshall Islands
- Bikini Atoll: "Bikini Atoll", a loud and chaotic track from John Zorn's Music for Children, which references the atoll of the same name in the Marshall Islands. It's best known for nuclear testing and inspiring the swimsuit the bikini, which fits the album's theme of violence and eroticism perfectly.
- Amanda Palmer's "New Zealand", supposedly written in 20 minutes in the dressing room of a club because a New Zealander fan heard "Map of Tasmania" and asked "Where's our fucking song", is an irreverent little ditty about Amanda being on a tour through New Zealand, admiring (and Twittering) the scenery, and worrying about why she hasn't gotten her period and her pubic hair is turning grey, "but I don't believe in the beauty standard and there's no way that I'm pregnant so it's technically okayyyyyy!" At the end, she lampshades the trope with the following Last Note Hilarity (the rhythm deliberately falls apart on the last line, delivered in a Motor Mouth style to cram it all in):
New Zealand, New Zealand, my song is coming to an end
I hope you have enjoyed it and I hope I get my period
I also hope I haven't grossed you out
But that's what you get when you ask me to write a song about your country in twenty minutes
- Kare Kare: "Kare Kare" from the album Together Alone by Crowded House is a homage to the town. The entire album was recorded there too.
- The song "I've Been Everywhere" is a 1959 song by singer Geoff Mack, which in the original context lists several Australian towns. It has since been covered by various artists all across the world who adapted the song to their own home country. So far, the most famous is probably Hank Snow's North American version (which hit the top of the country charts in 1962 and was famously covered by Johnny Cash), but there are dozens of other versions, ranging from the whole world on down to countries (Britain was an early one, as was New Zealand) and regions (Texas having a version should surprise nobody) to cities (both Singapore and New York have gotten the treatment).
- The theme song to Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? lists countries throughout the world where Carmen has been spotted.
- "Yakko's World" from Animaniacs is a List Song where Yakko sings the names of every country in the world. (However, since the song was written, several countries have changed their names due to unrest, Czechoslovakia has split into two countries, and Yugoslavia no longer exists.)
- "Alphabet of Nations" by They Might Be Giants list countries beginning with each letter of the alphabet. (For W and X, which don't have any corresponding real-life countries, they list "West Xylophone".)
- They also have an album called "Venue Songs", from a tour where they wrote a song for each location they performed at. The songs are titled based on the city each venue was in, but the songs' lyrics are actually about the venues themselves.
- "Atlantis" - Donovan wrote a song about it. The song first describes the origins of the island and then praises it.
- "Big Rock Candy Mountain" - Harry McClintock's song describes a wonderfully perfect dream land.
- "Capital City" - Fictional city in The Simpsons, first appeared in the episode "Dancin' Homer", where Tony Bennett sang an appropriate theme song about it, in itself a parody of the Pep-Talk Song "Theme From New York, New York".
- "Octopus' Garden" by The Beatles from Abbey Road is a Ringo Starr song about an undersea wonderland.
- "Pompadour Swamp" - A song by Captain Beefheart from his album Bluejeans & Moonbeams describes the Pompadour Swamp as an "avenue where the silhouettes dance" and where Beefheart wants to be with his partner.
- "Song of Scatland" by Scatman John is a less upbeat Scatman song talking about an imaginary, "magic" place, its tenets and beliefs. People of Scatland are idealistic and pure, having had "complete childhoods", "developed imaginations", and Scatman speaks of how to get there. Furthermore, unlike album versions, children's imagery and vocals are used for chorus parts in the music video version.
There is only love and happiness in Scatland. Hatred and resentment?
Well, that's unheard of. It's unheard of.
- "(Can you tell me how to get to) Sesame Street?" - The theme song of Sesame Street, which essentially has children asking people how they can find this street.
- "Downtown" in Little Shop of Horrors describes how terrible life is in the setting of Skid Row.
- "St. Brendan's Fair Isle" by Jimmy Driftwood tells the tale of the Irish St. Brendan's legendary voyage. Depending on who you ask, this voyage might have been to the Canary Islands or somewhere in the Americas; in Driftwood's song it turns out to be a giant fish large enough to double as an island.
- "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" from Finian's Rainbow is a nostalgic ballad about a fictional Irish town.
- "The Legend of Wooley Swamp" by the Charlie Daniels Band depicts a spooky location where otherworldly events regularly take place.
- "Fibber Island" by They Might Be Giants describes a fanciful land whose inhabitants do everything from strumming rubber guitars to building houses out of pie.
- "The Shades of Ankh-Morpork" from Dave Greenslade's album From the Discworld, sung by Tim Whitnall, describing The City Narrows of a Wretched Hive, and the "unwary traveller" who is about to lose his money and quite possibly his life.
- Phineas and Ferb has a few, like "Atlantis" and "Tatooine" in Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars.
- For songs that promise a better life elsewhere in a non-specific location, see Somewhere Song.
- "The Little House I Used To Live In" - Frank Zappa, from Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Fillmore East, June 1971 is a melancholic instrumental.
- "On the Street Where You Live", from the musical My Fair Lady, is a love song from the perspective of love interest Freddy. The song is about how wonderful the street seems due to Eliza living on it.
Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour out of every door?
No, it's just on the street where you live.
- "Our House" by Madness from their album The Rise & Fall is a melancholic Nostalgia Filter song about childhood and living at their parents' house when they were young.
- "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid is a Pep-Talk Song by Sebastian the crab about why life in the ocean is better than above it.