9 Most Sung About Cities in the USA

Alright, so you’ve hummed along to “New York, New York” or grooved to “Viva Las Vegas”, but have you ever wondered which US cities have truly inspired the most tunes? There’s something about the vibes, the history, or maybe just the nightlife of certain places that make them a muse for musicians. Let’s dig into which American cities have been serenaded, celebrated, and immortalized in song the most!

1. New York, New York: The Big Apple’s Big Playlist

The city that never sleeps is also the city that never stops getting shoutouts in songs. It’s no wonder; New York City is iconic. From the towering skyscrapers of Manhattan to the streets of Brooklyn, musicians from all genres have felt the allure of the metropolis.

  • Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” – A classic. This song became so intertwined with the city’s identity that you’d think it was the official anthem.
  • Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” – This modern ode to NYC talks about dreams made in the city that’ll make you feel brand new.
  • Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” – Joel’s soulful tune paints a poignant picture of the city and the comfort it provides.

And there are countless others. Whether it’s the hustle of Broadway, the history of Harlem, or just a love story set in Central Park, NYC’s vibes are unmatched.

2. L.A. Lovin’: West Coast Best Coast?

If the East Coast has New York, the West Coast boasts Los Angeles. The city of angels, known for Hollywood, sun-kissed beaches, and boulevards of dreams, has equally found its way into many a lyric.

  • Randy Newman’s “I Love LA” – A sunny portrayal that highlights all the picturesque spots, from Century Boulevard to the West Side.
  • The Doors’ “LA Woman” – Captures the sultry and mysterious essence of LA.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” – A melancholic love letter to the city, capturing both its beauty and its loneliness.

From hopeful actors to rock ‘n’ roll dreams, Los Angeles embodies the Californian dream and all its complexities.

3. Sweet Home Chicago: The Windy City’s Rhythms

Chicago, with its rich history, blues background, and deep-dish pizzas, isn’t just known for its fierce winds. Musicians, especially blues legends, have been singing about this city for ages.

  • Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago” – Perhaps one of the most iconic blues tracks ever, this song has been covered by everyone from Buddy Guy to the Blues Brothers.
  • Frank Sinatra’s “Chicago” – Ol’ Blue Eyes did it again, capturing the razzle-dazzle of the city.
  • Kanye West’s “Homecoming” – A more modern tribute, Kanye’s rap interlaced with Chris Martin’s vocals, is a testament to his roots in Chi-town.

There’s a soul to Chicago, a beat that pulses through its streets, from its historic jazz clubs to its bustling downtown.

4. Viva Las Vegas: Sin City Serenades

Bright lights, casinos, and a promise of secrets staying hidden. Las Vegas, beyond its glitzy surface, has provided fodder for many songwriters.

  • Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas” – The King’s upbeat number celebrates the city’s high energy and non-stop entertainment.
  • Sheryl Crow’s “Leaving Las Vegas” – A different take, Crow’s song speaks of the darker, more introspective side of the city.
  • Brandon Flowers’ “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” – As a Vegas native, Flowers, the lead singer of The Killers, offers a unique perspective, melding the city’s glamour with its gritty undertones.

Whether it’s the roll of dice, the allure of the poker table, or just the magic of a desert city that never sleeps, Vegas keeps inspiring musicians.

5. The Bay Area Ballads: San Francisco Sounds

Fog, the Golden Gate, and an enduring spirit of freedom. San Francisco, with its rich history of counterculture, has inspired many melodies.

  • Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” – Evoking the 60s spirit, it’s almost a time capsule of an era.
  • Train’s “Save Me, San Francisco” – A contemporary homage to the city by the bay.
  • The Decemberists’ “Grace Cathedral Hill” – A more introspective take, capturing the essence of the city’s streets and moods.

From Haight-Ashbury to the bay’s serene views, San Francisco remains a city of dreamers.

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6. The Miami Beat: Sunshine State’s Star

Let’s ride the wave down to Miami. Not only famous for its beaches and nightlife, but Miami also has a rich tapestry of sounds, from Latin beats to hip-hop.

  • Will Smith’s “Miami” – Probably the first song that pops in your head when you think of Miami. Will Smith gives a catchy portrayal of the vibrancy and energy of this city.
  • Gloria Estefan’s “Conga” – Miami Sound Machine’s huge hit basically demands you to get up and dance, encapsulating Miami’s Latin vibe.
  • Pitbull’s “Welcome to Miami” – Mr. 305, as he’s fondly known (305 being Miami’s area code), brings the city’s club scene to life with this track.

Miami isn’t just about the party, though. It’s a melting pot of cultures, and its music scene mirrors this diversity.

7. Deep in the Heart: The Dallas Tunes

Though country music reigns supreme in Texas, Dallas has inspired a broader spectrum of songs beyond just cowboy tales.

  • Jimmy Buffett’s “Dallas” – Buffett’s song speaks about the city with a combination of fondness and irony.
  • Steely Dan’s “Dallas” – With its smooth jazz-rock feel, it stands out as a unique homage to the city.
  • The Flatlanders’ “Dallas” – A country take on the city, it touches on the vastness and the cityscape of Dallas.

Deep-rooted in tradition, yet modern and sprawling, Dallas offers contrasts that musicians find intriguing.

8. Feeling the Blues in St. Louis

St. Louis and its Gateway Arch stand as symbols of the Midwest, but there’s a rich musical history here, especially with the blues.

  • Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” – Berry makes a shoutout to St. Louis among other cities, but given that this rock ‘n’ roll legend hails from here, it’s special.
  • Judy Garland’s “The Trolley Song” – Inspired by a picture of a St. Louis trolley car, it’s an old classic that paints a quaint picture of the city.
  • Fats Domino’s “St. Louis Blues” – An iconic blues number that captures the spirit of the genre and the city.

The Mississippi River has been a backdrop for many a tale, and St. Louis, with its deep-seated musical traditions, continues to inspire.

9. The City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia’s Phonic Portraits

Last but not least, Philadelphia isn’t just about Rocky or its iconic cheese steaks. It’s a city with a rich musical heritage.

  • Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” – Sir Elton John’s tribute to Billie Jean King and her tennis team is a soulful ode to freedom and, by extension, the city itself.
  • Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” – This melancholic track captures a more introspective side of the city, touching on themes of loss and solitude.
  • Boyz II Men’s “Motownphilly” – A nod to Philly’s soulful music tradition, combined with the group’s love for Motown.

With its deep American history and unique cultural blend, Philly is a muse that many musicians find hard to resist.

Each city has carved out its own niche in the music world. Whether you’re crooning along to a ballad about San Francisco or busting a move to a Miami hit, it’s undeniable that these cities have given the world of music so much. When you hit the road, put on a song about your destination and dive deep into the rhythms of the city. Who knows, you might just find yourself in a musical love affair with a city you’ve never even visited!

To recap, here’s the extended list of the USA’s most songful cities:

  1. New York City
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Las Vegas
  5. San Francisco
  6. Miami
  7. Dallas
  8. St. Louis
  9. Philadelphia

Each city, with its unique vibe and essence, continues to inspire musicians, making us see them not just as mere geographical locations but as stories, emotions, and memories. Next time you listen to a song mentioning one of these cities, you’ll know you’re not just jamming to a tune but to a piece of America’s musical map.