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A road trip just isn't complete without tunes. Or if you can't get away, you can mentally escape through music. Here is my own playlist of songs that either directly name-check or reference cities, states, or regions in their titles and/or lyrics. If anything seems left out, this list reflects my own musical interests and even exhausts every song I could think of for this theme. Most are self-explanatory, though a few I've decided to explain. Feel free to pick-and-choose from this list to help you get wherever you're going!
5. “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel- Anyone familiar with Billy Joel's personal and music history knows he is a New Yorker who spent his early career out west. His travels are reflected in many of his songs and albums, much like the entries I chose. While “New York State of Mind” alludes to Greyhound rides along the Hudson River and major NYC newspapers, other lyrics take us on flights to Miami Beach or Hollywood, or under the Rocky evergreens.
6. ”Worse Comes to Worst” by Billy Joel-”Today I'm livin' like a rich man's son/tomorrow mornin' I could be a bum/ it doesn't matter which direction, though/I know a woman in New Mexico...”
7. “You're My Home” by Billy Joel- This “Piano Man” track was a love song for his first wife who traveled with him. They lived like gypsies, but everywhere they went was home with her. “Home can be the Pennsylvania Turnpike/Indiana's early morning dew/ high up in the hills of California/home is just another word for you...”
8. “Los Angelenos” by Billy Joel- a term for L.A. Residents and a funky little track off Streetlife Serenade.
9. “Country Roads” by John Denver- “Almost Heaven/West Virginia/ Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River...”
11. “Lights” by Journey- the band is from San Francisco, and the eponymous bay is frequently referenced.
16. “Heart of Rock and Roll” by Huey Lewis and the News- This song is almost a major city roll call, showing that no matter what your city sound is, the rock and roll sound thrives there!
17. “Dancing in the Streets” by Van Halen- The heart of rock and roll goes international and in the streets.
19. “Black Water” by Doobie Brothers- “Roll black water/Keep on rollin'/Mississippi moon won't you keep on shinin' on me...I'd like to hear some funky Dixie Land/Pretty momma, come and take me by the hand...”
22. “Rock this Country” by Shania Twain- Name-checks for the west in the second verse: “From Utah, to Texas, Minnesota, Missisippi, too/Or Nevada, no matter where you live, this buzz is for you!”
24. “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)” by Simon and Garfunkel- The mellow ode to the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan.
25. “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane- “From Mozambique to those Memphis nights/the Khyber Pass to Vancouver's lights...”
Honorable Mentions- These don't quite fit the name-checking criteria, but still fun songs that fit the overarching idea.
26. “City to City” by Newsboys- a pop and techno-heavy tune by my favorite Christian band.
27. “Runnin' Down a Dream” by Tom Petty- The lyrics leave a lot to interpretation, but I think the song details a drive down a highway. The song literally starts with a beautiful day, and taking the interstate on a sunny day is idyllic for some after all.