Songs About Cities: Artists Sing About This Place the Most

Jay-Z performs at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York
Jay-Z performs at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York | © Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

US Books Editor

Looking at the lyrics of the top-charting singles in the US and UK since 1960, researchers analyzed songs with countries in the title and discovered that the city most likely to inspire musical tributes is New York City.

Music Mapped is an interactive map from Celebrity Cruises that allows visitors to discover interesting trends in pop music. Clicking around this global map reveals a playlist that will transport you around the world. But one city inspires more musical tributes than any other.

New York City is, by far, the most popular city mentioned in pop music on the US and UK charts, with 161 songs name-dropping the Big Apple. Many of the songs mention New York City in their titles, including ‘An Open Letter to NYC’ by the Beastie Boys and ‘New York’ by Angel Haze. NYC is more unexpectedly mentioned in the likes of Right Said Fred’s silly and sexy anthem ‘I’m Too Sexy’ and Ricky Martin’s dance-party favorite ‘Livin’ la Vida Loca.’

Ricky Martin performs on NBC’s ‘Today’ show in New York’s Rockefeller Center

London comes in second on the list of most sung-about cities with 102 songs including ‘Panic’ by The Smiths and ‘Countdown’ by Beyoncé. The next three spots are taken up by California, Los Angeles and Hollywood; one could make a case that combining these locations would knock New York City off the top spot. Alas, the West Coast-v-East Coast debate will continue on.

The Smiths perform on ‘The Tube’ TV show in the UK

It isn’t just major cities that are highlighted on this interactive map. Nome, Alaska; Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland; and the country of Palau have all gotten shout-outs in chart-topping songs in the past 50 years. ‘North to Alaska’ by Johnny Horton tells the story of the Klondike Gold Rush as young men set off to make their fortune and find themselves in Nome. Ed Sheeran’s ‘Galway Girl’ actually makes reference to the Irish folk song ‘Carrickfergus,’ which in turn is about the town in Northern Ireland, making this a sort of song-ception. And Palau is mentioned in Enya’s haunting ‘Orinoco Flow,’ which makes references to a number of ocean ports as the song “sails” across the world. [Editor’s note: At the time of publication, we noted errors on the Music Mapped map. For example, Winslow, Arizona, is not in China.]

Ed Sheeran performs during the Leeds Festival

Each city on the map comes with a list of every song referring to it and links to listen to the music so that visitors can create their own playlists. There will be a number of repeat artists as you listen through the songs that made the chart. Jay-Z, Drake and Elvis Presley are the artists who name-drop places the most.

Elvis Presley performs in 1956 at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis, Tennessee

Inspiration can be found anywhere, and this map can help you find some great places to start.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article