A quick question for you: What is your State’s official song? Nothing comes to mind? That’s what I thought. The reason is simple. The songs just aren’t good enough. Since the inception of electric guitars and autotune, a lot of “state songs” have been produced that are inevitably more advanced than “Hail Minnesota,” for example.
We’ve decided to put up a list of songs covering every US state. Or, at least, a song attributable to a city or a landmark in each state. There are a lot, but we narrowed it down to 50 – one for each state, of course.
Alabama – “Sweet Home Alabama”, Lynyrd Skynyrd
It is a song by Southern Rock, which appeared in 1974 on their second album, “Second Helping”. The band’s second hit single reached number 8 on the US chart in 1974. The song, outside Alabama, is associated with Forrest Gump dancing around his home with Jen-nay.
This is why the fact that it was written by a group from Jacksonville, FL doesn’t get too much attention.
Fun fact: Sweet Home Alabama was written as a response to two songs of Neil Young, “Southern Man” and “Alabama”.
Alaska – “Alaska’’, Phish
It’s said that there are jam-bandy versions of this song longer than some days in “Alaska”. The song is sung from the point of view of a man who is left without his lover, and his home does not appeal to him anymore.
Responsible for this artistic song is Phish and Party time is the lucky album to possess it. The Rock genre song was released in 2009.
Arizona – “By the Time I Get to Arizona”, Public Enemy
The hip hop/Rock song, released in 1991, is an art of “Public Enemy.” Arizona, of course, got yanked in the super bowl for not observing Martin Luther King Day, but listening to Chuck D say he wants to urinate on the state is kind of an insult.
Some would say that’s fair as they turned down the holiday proposal by a margin of 17,000 votes. That maybe makes the rage understandable? Perhaps.
Arkansas – “Mary Queen of Arkansas”, Bruce Springsteen
Although Bruce got Mary pregnant, she still has a place to party and she is a queen of Arkansas. It’s getting unreal. The Rock song is a piece by , released in 1973.
The song is slow, acoustic and a relatively quiet one, and possesses repeated references to the circus. “The big top is for dreamers, we can take the circus all the way to the border.”
California – “California Love”, 2Pac
California Love belongs to 2Pac. It was his first single after being released from prison in 1995. This hip-hop song was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rap Performance and Best Solo Rap Performance category.
This masterpiece takes you to the 90s with its mesmerizing soundtrack. California Love dropped when the rivalry between East Coast and West Coast was at its height. This track lets Death Row lead the genre. It remained on the top of Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks.
Colorado – “Rocky Mountain High”, John Denver
Rocky Mountain is written by John Denver. It is a folk rock song about Colorado. It is one of the two national songs of Colorado. According to John Denver, it took him 9 months to pen down this masterpiece. That’s a lot but it was worth it. It was released in 1972 and in 1973, it went to the 9th position in The US Hot 100.
This song had sales of 500,000 digital downloads until 2017 and was declared Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America the same year. This song was banned on many radio stations, labeling it as a drug-related song.
Connecticut – “Kylie from Connecticut”, Ben Folds
Benjamin Scott “Ben” Folds (born September 12, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter and record producer. From 1995-2000, Folds was the front man and pianist of the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five.
After the group temporarily disbanded, Folds performed as a solo artist and has toured all over the world. The group later reunited in 2011.
Delaware – “Delaware”, Perry Como
This song was recorded at the end of 1959 by Perry Como, which was released by RCA Victor Records. This song included the names of 15 states of the United States portrayed in the form of puns.
This song appeared on 20 Greatest Hits (1994). The names of different states are fit in a very creative way that anyone would enjoy just listening to the music.
Florida – “B*tch I’m From Dade County”, DJ Khaled
You can’t help but admire how many famous rappers have been acknowledging all 34 Miami-Dade municipalities in their rap songs. This song also features MO, Trick Daddy, Trina, Pitbull, and Rick Ross.
This is DJ Khaled’s 2009 collaboration with the singers mentioned above. It’s one of his earliest collaborations, too by the way.
Georgia – “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, Charlie Daniels Band
Charlie Daniels band wrote and performed this song. This country rock tune was released on the band’s 1979 album named Million Mile Reflections. This song is written in a way that it fits better for recitation rather than singing.
The devil went down to Georgia was a hit of that time. It reached the third position on the Billboard Hot 100 list. This song is more than just an ordinary fiddler. It sets Johnny in competition with the devil.
Hawaii – “Theme from Hawaii Five-0”, Royal Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
Ever imagined that an instrumental song could be about a state? Well, this one turned out to be so good it was used for the original as well as the remake.
This song is a clear winner. When you land at HNL, this is all you can remember going through your head. An instrumental song that wins your heart.
Idaho – “Idaho”, Train
This song does not discriminate Idaho from other states. It clearly is not trying to say that Idaho is better than Carolina, DC, Florida or Texas.
It’s just that the band would want to go there only because “they are not afraid of you’’. That’s better than talking about potatoes only, right?
Illinois – “Sweet Home Chicago”, the Blues Brothers
Sweet Home Chicago was recorded way back in 1936 by Robert Johnson, an American blues singer. The song talks ambiguously about Chicago, but still it was good enough to become the anthem of the state. The lyrics include the word California more than Chicago. The song was not a big hit at its release, but it got popular after Johnson passed away in 1938.
In one of the stanzas where California is mentioned, the lyrics says “I’m going to California/ from there to Des Moines, Iowa”. Some people regarded it as Johnson’s geographical mistake, but it was not the first time Johnson had used geography in his songs.
Indiana – “Small Town”, John Mellencamp
Small Town is written by Mellencamp. It was released in 1985 under an album titled Scarecrow. The song is about the song writer growing up in a small town in Indiana. The song reached #6 on US Billboard Hot 100 charts. It was also on #13 in Adult contemporary.
According to John, he wrote this song in his laundry room. He used a typewriter that beeps every time he made a mistake, which amused his neighbors upstairs.
Iowa – “Iowa Stubborn”, the Music Man
Meredith Wilson sung Iowa Stubborn in the musical The Music Man in 1957. This song mentioned nine Iowa cities in the following order: Hawkeye, Dubuque, Des Moines, Devonport, Marshaltown, Mason City, Keukuk, Ames and Clear Lake. It was sung in soft-shoe rhythm.
In these two and a half minutes, Wilson explained why people in Iowa are mean, uncaring, rude and cold. At the end of the song he says, ‘you ought to give Iowa a try’. That is his style; what can you do?
Kansas – “Seven Nation Army”, The White Stripes
Seven Nation Army is the idea of Jack White’s who used to call the Salvation Army – Seven Nation Army in his childhood. This song took place at Toe Rag studio on analog equipment, which were half a century old. This song became The White Stripes’ first Hot 100 hit in the US. It was also in the top 10 list in Britain.
The number seven is for the seven notes in the riff that are repeated in order until the end. There’s no bass player in the White Stripes, so a guitar was the main instrument for the riff. No computer was used for the writing, recording or mixing of the song either.
So why Kansas? Take a look at the last verse: “I’m going to Wichita, Far from this opera forevermore, I’m gonna work the straw, Make the sweat drip out of every pore…”
Kentucky – “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, Patsy Cline
Blue moon of Kentucky was sung by Patsy Cline in 1963. This waltz was originally written in 1946 by Bill Monroe, a bluegrass musician. This song has since been covered and recorded by many musicians, including Elvis Presley, The Stanley Brothers, and Al Cooper. For her bio movie, Sweet dreams, Cline’s voice was overdubbed several times over different arrangements.
The song has three major stanzas and the repetitions are made so beautifully that after all these covers and re-records, the song has the same fresh feeling it had when it was first sung.
Louisiana – “The House of the Rising Sun”, The Animals
The House of the Rising Sun, the first rock hit, is sometimes called ‘Rising Sun Blues’. The successful commercial version of this traditional folk song was recorded by a British rock group called The Animals in 1964. It was the number one hit on the UK Singles chart.
This version of the song narrated a slightly different plot than its earlier versions. The song is about life that goes wrong in New Orleans. Many of the versions are about children and parents or siblings avoiding the same fate.
Maine – “Portland, Maine”, Tim McGraw
The song was written by folk singer and songwriter Donovan Woods. Donovan’s Brand New gun was featured in the movie Numb starring Mathew Perry. As the song mentions Portland, it might be obvious that the song is about Portland. Portland has nothing to do with the song, though.
Some people were disappointed with the release of the track as they expected Portland to be the main theme of the song, but found out otherwise. Tim McGraw says that he does not know where Portland is and he doesn’t even want to know.
Maryland – “Good Morning Baltimore”, Hairspray
Good Morning Baltimore, a Hairspray musical, is performed by Tracy Turnblad in her protagonist way. The title of the song says it all. It revolves around Tracy from the very beginning of her morning all the way back to school.
According to Broadway Review, this song is one of the most liked tracks on the Broadway show. People like the tune, energy and positive vibes of the song. The song is full of joy, fun and a bit quirky. This is the best way to talk about a place.
Massachusetts – “Rock and Roll Band”, Boston
Recorded in 1975 and released in 1976, this song describes the band Boston itself. This song is just another song of Boston on making music and how music makes them feel. Although the song does describe the band, it exaggerates the story as the band has seen rejections and failure.
According to Billy Baker of Boston Globe, this song is considered one of the biggest hits of the 1970s. This song was played by Paul Ahern who played for Charlie McKenzie to invite him to the band, which had no name at that time. Shortly after that, they both signed as band managers.
Michigan – “Detroit Rock City”, KISS
The American hard rock band KISS featured Detroit Rocky City on their 1976 album Destroyer. The song was produced by Bob Erin and written by Paul Stanley. This song is one of the best classical rock songs the band ever produced. The guitar solo of this song is what it’s famous for.
This song turned out to be a flop in places other than Detroit, even though it was expected to be a fan favorite. It failed to gain high rank in US music charts. The title of the song was featured in the 1999 motion picture which revolved around the KISS tour.
Minnesota – ‘’Say Shh’’, Atmosphere
This song mainly tries to portray how it is to live in Minnesota. A rap melody that brags about the clean and fresh tap water and air to breath.
It also has some points where the singer talks about great parking spots, green parks (more like parks that are free of syringes). All in all, this was a groundbreaking track of its time.
Mississippi – “Mississippi”, Afroman
Afroman was born and raised in Mississippi. He has a heartfelt connection with the place. This song was his tribute to his home and the state which became a part of his identity.
Before he started getting high and forgetting things, he composed this song himself. It’s a six minute song, which is sort of a tribute to all the cities of the state. It’s funny to know what rhyme word he chose for ‘’Biloxi’’. Listen to the song and check it out yourself.
Missouri – “Kansas City”, Wilbert Harrison
Rhythm and Blues are what Wilbert Harrison gets identified for. But, on second thought, it’s his song Kansas City which has made him live eternally in the musical world.
Kansas is a city in Missouri. Harrison thinks there are crazy little women in Kansas City who get crazy after a baseball match in the city after 30 years.
Montana – “Meet Me in Montana”, Dan Seals and Marie Osmond
Can you expect something edgy or even hardcore from a guy that is named Osmond? Well, you should, because this right here is another great state song.
This is a tale of two lost lovers who are reminiscing about their togetherness at the finest sites of Montana. This might get you a little teary-eyed, but overall, the song is quite a catch.
Nebraska – “Yoü and I”, Lady GaGa
Here’s a scenario: your eyes are closed when you first heard this song. You think: “Ah, finally, there’s a catchy country song.” You ask yourself who could have sung it?
Eyes open. It’s LADY GAGA. Yes, the same singer who did “Bad Romance”. The video was shot by Gaga’s long-time collaborator Laurieann Gibson in Springfield, Nebraska, and it was released on August 16, 2011
Nevada – “Folsom Prison Blues”, Johnny Cash
You think Folsom Prison is located in California? Think again! And tell that to Johnny Cash. In the video, he shoots a man in Reno only to watch him die. Creepy? Definitely.
He ends up in a prison outside of Sacramento. You can’t question the reason for this. Can you ask the Man in Black’s logic for Stateline jurisdictions? I don’t think so.
New Hampshire – “New Hampshire”, Sonic Youth
If you’re a lonely girl high on blues at a bar, then the lyrics are anything but your story. The song connects deeply with lonely hearts. The lyrics to this song are incredibly useful if you’re a lonely girl who happens to find herself at a bar in Portsmouth with a jukebox heavy on blues.
Apart from girls, though, Sonic Youth has thought about the New Hampshire boys too. He says B.B. King turns them on.
New Mexico – “New Mexico”, Johnny Cash
New Mexico and the song New Mexico are similar in many contexts, such as miserable weather and awful conditions while riding through the state.
If you are driving through New Mexico for the first time, you will feel the lyrics ring true. Through some time, you will find yourself on a highway that is unpopulated with a weird lightning bolt.
New Jersey – “Jersey Girl”, Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen
New Jersey- the Garden State of US has many songs and movies on it. But, this song has a special approach. This could be the perfect stand-in for the state’s official song.
Two of the greatest rock stars have done a version of this song and they did it together, too. Anyone who would want to cover it or make a new song of this state should know that the competition is too high.
New York – “New York, New York”, Frank Sinatra
During his trilogy, Past Present Future, Frank recorded New York, New York. Until today, it remains the best song about New York, especially because Liza Minnelli performed it.
Hear it for yourself and now if you will be able to tell Sinatra that Jay-Z’s was better. Or not!
North Carolina – “Raise Up”, Petey Pablo
This is another hip hop song that could easily be made into an official state song. This one peaked at number 25 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Trust me, James Talor will never ask you to take your shirt off, twist it up and spin it around your head like a helicopter.
North Dakota – “I Got a Gal I Love (In North and South Dakota)”, Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra is again finding himself on this list. And he made a song out of a scenario that is pretty unlikely. Nevertheless, the song was a great hit.
“Still I get a gal in North and South Dakota.
Oooo, oooo, wish I knew which of my true loves is true.”
Ohio – “Escape From Ohio”, Electric Six
Hollywood seems to love Ohio. You see it featured in many movies, but there are plenty of songs about it, too. Like this one for example.
Have you ever imagined why most of the people you meet are from Ohio? The best song for Ohio should give you the hint. It is about getting out of the state; ‘Escape from Ohio’
Oklahoma – “Choctaw Bingo”, James McMurtry
This is a southern rock song by James McMurtry. The song is like a ballad of an up style narrative. The song does justice to the native culture of Oklahoma.
This one just makes me imagine if Johnny Cash was to write a theme song for ‘Breaking Bad’, it would be meth comes blowing out my trailer and not wind comes sweeping down the plain.
Oregon – “Portland Life”, Cool Nutz (feat. G-ism)
If you thought there were only food trucks, hipsters and craft beer to symbolize Portland then boy, you were wrong. There is so much more to lifestyle in Oregon that what is being portrayed.
This song has done justice in showing what Portland actually might be. It shows the audience the streets of Portland, saying they can be rough even if you don’t do drugs or wear horn-rimmed glasses.
Pennsylvania – “Streets of Philadelphia”, Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen is the Stephen King of the early Music industry. We can say that his songs are as dark and sad as King’s books; the longest and creepiest.
It does not matter if the nature of the song is dark, the Academy thought this song was a boss and hence it won an Oscar for the category of Best Original song. It’s from the movie ‘Philadelphia’.
Rhode Island – “Road to Rhode Island”, Brian and Stewie (Family Guy)
Although there is not much competition as to how much has been recorded in studios about Rhode Island, this one could possibly win the competition, if there even is any.
This is not just the best song about Rhode Island, but it’s possibly the best song from Brian and Stewie, too. Want to know why? ‘’Like a masochist in Newport, we’re Rhode Island Bound.’’
South Carolina – “South Carolina Low Country”, Josh Turner
Another hit from the country music of that time. Josh Turner produces chords and lyrics that are exceptional to talk about.
You may never settle down for Drake’s Canadian high-pitched style once you listen to the music that comes out of Turner in ‘’South Carolina Low Country.’’
South Dakota – “Badlands”, Bruce Springsteen
Everyone knows that only South Dakota has a Badland. Although Bruce never said anything about which badland the song is specifically about.
If you listen to this, you will realize how this tune is a lot better than the ‘’Ballad of Sally Rose’’.
Tennessee – “Tennessee”, Arrested Development
You know those annoying snobs that hear Lil Wayne jam and start a conversation saying, the rap today is not real HIP-HOP? Well, listen to this one and you’ll see how you agree with them.
The song by Arrested Development is from their album “3 years, 5 months and 2 days.”
Texas – “All My Ex’s Live in Texas”, George Strait
Texas is probably the only state that has many great songs written about it. ‘’All My Ex’s Live in Texas’’ is one of those great songs. It’s funny how George Strait rhymes the word ‘ex’ with every city in Texas.
The song is at the utmost level of creativity. The lyrics are something that every guy would quote when you mention flying to Dallas.
Utah – “Salt Lake City”, The Beach Boys
If you did not already know, this song is a symbol of the state of Utah. It’s actually thoughtful of the Beach Boys to have found anything that resembles beach surfing and bikini models in Salt Lake City.
The song describes a good weekend. You can surely add this to your playlist at a beach party.
Vermont – “Moonlight in Vermont”, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and more
American songwriters, in earlier decades, were inspired by nature and states. This isn’t the first song about moon of a state. As if every state has a different one to look at.
The song is popularly known as a symbol of Vermont. This has been covered by many people. You should check them out and let us know if there’s anyone better than Vermont.
Virginia – “Virginia Moon”, Foo Fighters
This soundtrack sounds almost Hawaiian, but that is what makes it amazing. Foo Fighters were a rock band formed in 1994. They usually did heavy metallic beat songs but eventually slowed down their rhythm to come up with this beauty.
Dave Grohl and the band took a break from their routine rock music only to produce this acoustic Virginia Moon.
Washington – “Posse on Broadway”, Sir Mix-a-Lot
Did you really think American singers would forget to write songs on a state as important as Washington? Nah, there are plenty of songs that we could discuss here, but “Posse on Broadway” is seemingly the best one to describe this state.
Oh, you may not know it but Sir Mix-a-Lot had a hot song way before “Baby Got Back?” The Seattle Symphony has literally given a shoutout to Dick’s Drive In and other famous spots on the Broadway near Symphony’s home.
West Virginia – “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, John Denver
We all have listened to this and heard it a million times. But do we get tired? NO. Well, maybe because there are not enough songs that compete this one in the genre of burning couches.
Released in 1971, this song peaked at the second number of Billboard’s Hottest Singles. The song describes West Virginia as ‘’ almost heaven’’ thus it has become an icon to symbolize West Virginia.
Wisconsin – “In the Street” (Theme from That 70’s Show), Cheap Trick
That 70’s Show was a hit and its theme would be left playing in many heads for days. It was a separate song ‘’In the Street’’ by Cheap trick.
What if Ashton Kutcher was from Iowa? America’s most popular dairyland has this song as its theme. Chris Bell and Alex Chilton did justice to this track. But, it was Fonz that made sure everybody knew that ‘’ We’re all still rockin’ in Wisconsin’’.
Wyoming – “Song of Wyoming”, John Denver
John Denver was an amazing solo singer of his time. The song of Wyoming was exceptionally done and people loved it. Maybe not much more than ‘take me home, country roads’’ but it was equally heard throughout.
Seems like Mr. Denver was the last one to pick from the ‘’ List of States to write a song about’’. It’s our fantasy draft and John Denver must be resting in heaven thinking, ‘’ Man, I get to write on West Virginia and Wyoming? Not cool, Bruce. Not at all.