Now its no surprise to any of you that New Orleans is one of America’s musical Meccas. Some of the biggest music legends in the biz got their start in New Orleans and for many others, the city has inspired dozens of songs. Each one like a love letter to the Crescent City.
So I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite songs for my city including more contemporary artists. Before you begin worrying, understand there is nothing like Fats Domino, Louis Armstrong, Professor Longhair, Dr. John–these are the patriarchs of New Orleans music–but there’s always room for some of the other contenders and classics, right?
Here’s a playlist that will have you feeling like you’re in New Orleans no matter where you are.
1. Apache Rose Peacock- Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Yes my favorite place to be is not a land called Honah Lee, mentally or physically, I wanna be in New Orleans”
2. Chop and Change- The Black Keys
“An innocent child in New Orleans, a simple girl from simple means, walked the rails, rode her thumb, she hitched a ride with everyone”
3. New Orleans, RIP- Meriwether
“And this was a city, and now it’s the sea, this is what helplessness looks like to me”
4. King Kong- Curren$y
“The view from my rockin chair you would not believe, a million miles from New Orleans, left the key to the city with my brother now I’m comin’ back for it”
5. Proud Mary – Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis, pumped a lot of pain down in New Orleans, but I never saw the good side of the city, ’til I hitched a ride on a river boat queen.”
6. “Home” – Marc Broussard
“Somewhere round mile marker 112
Papa started hummin the funk
I gotta jones in my bones before we know
We were singing this melody
Stop the car pulled out the guitar
Halfway to New Orleans”
7. “Magnolia”- Soulja Slim
“‘Cause on that there block, them white folks be hot
Shoot up to wards Claiborne, make a left cut through Exxon
Now I’m on Willow Street, the spot where the killers be”
8. “The Saints are Coming” – U2 and Green Day
“The saints are coming, the saints are coming, I say no matter how I try, I realize there’s no reply.”
9. “Georgia Bush” – Lil Wayne
“I was born in the boot at the bottom of the map, New Orleans baby, now the white house hating, trying to wash away like we not on the map”
10. “Royal Orleans” – Led Zeppelin
“Down on Bourbon Street, you know it’s right, you can see my friend, they run around all through the night”
11. “New Orleans” – Kid Rock
“I’m going down to New Orleans to see about a friend of mine, I’m going down to New Orleans where the stars on the sidewalk shine, burning through Mississippi with the Big Easy on my mind”
12. “Nolia Clap”- Wacko, Juvenile and Skip
“I’m in Hollygrove searching for the Skip Dogg, H2 chromed out, nice whip dogg, let’s hit Gert Town I heard they pop it off, or hit P town, I heard they drop it off”
13. “Give ’em Hell Kid” – My Chemical Romance
“Oh baby here comes the sound! I took a train outta New Orleans and they shot me full of ephedrine, this is how we like to do it in the murder scene.”
14. “Big River”- Johnny Cash
“Now, won’t you batter down by Baton Rouge, River Queen, roll it on.
Take that woman on down to New Orleans, New Orleans.
Go on, I’ve had enough; dump my blues down in the gulf.
She loves you, Big River, more than me.”
15. “New Orleans”- Portugal, the Man
“Of them bright, bright, bright sweet pear trees, mine is gone with the day, never miss a beat, never find a home.”
16. “House of the Rising Sun”- The Animals
“There is a house in New Orleans, they call the Rising Sun, and it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy and God I know I’m one.”
17. “That’s my Juvie” – Magnolia Shorty
Just cause I miss her.
18. “Fishwater” Widespread Panic
“Train carry me back, to New Orleans, drink more fishwater there, oh more than any whale’s mama ever seen”
19. “New Orleans”- Rancid
“Well I held my breath
and I swam for miles
When all was lost
and hell took place
You see it rained all night
and the city she flooded
It rained all night in New Orleans”
20. “Prytania” – MuteMath
“Prytania, you’re looking like a loaded gun, a loaded gun. Prytania, you know you are the baddest one, and the one I want.”
21. Catching Fireflies – The Revivalists
“I’m never going back to Snake n’ Jakes, the amount of money I spent I could’ve bought the place. Not to mention that they know my face, now it’s hell getting out the place so I’m walking the streets tonight, I’m catching some fireflies”
22. “New Orleans Ladies” – LeRoux
“New Orleans ladies, a flair for life, love, and laughter. And they hold you like the night, holds a chill when this cold wind’s blowing”
23. “Honky Cat”- Elton John
“Well, I read some books and I read some magazines, about those high class ladies down in New Orleans”
24. “Welcome to New Orleans” -Galactic
It’s just not complete if you don’t mention them.
25. St. James Infirmary- Louis Armstrong
“I want six crapshooters to be my pallbearers
Three pretty women to sing a song
Stick a jazz band on my hearse wagon
Raise hell as I stroll along”
So there are some of the best songs about New Orleans. There must be something in the air that all these people have felt, loved and praised in their music. Tell us your favorites or any that we missed in our Comments Section below!