Sadly when it comes to songs about nature, there are a lot of songs about nature being in crisis than there are songs about nature’s beauty.
For nature lovers, it is difficult to enjoy the surroundings without looking at the destruction present. For that reason, it is easy to see why there are so many songs about caring for nature.
However, some of these environmentalism songs are a little depressing and on the preachy side.
It is important that we accept that some of humanity’s effects on nature have been detrimental but in the interest of keeping things light, we have tried to provide a decent mixture of songs about saving the planet as well as music about nature.
30 Songs About Nature
1. Harry McClintock – “Big Rock Candy Mountain
We start your nature-inspired song journey with a classic from the late 1920s, it was featured on the “O Brother Where Art Thou?” soundtrack and has a long history.
McClintock claims to have written it before the turn of the 20th century and it finds its basis in many traditional songs of the time.
It tells of a mythical paradise through the eyes of a hobo and is brimming with comparisons between nature and the concrete jungle.
See also: Best 1920s Songs
2. Three Dog Night – “Out in the Country”
The hustle and bustle of the modern world and the trials and tribulations of life can bog you down. There is nothing like a rural escape to give you the distance to forget momentarily and just breathe! This song imparts that sentiment, and I am sure many of us can get on board!
“Whenever I need to leave it all behind
Or feel the need to get away-ay-ay
I find a quiet place, far from the human race
Out in the country”
Top of the list if you want a song about beautiful views!
3. John Denver – “Take Me Home Country Roads”
We couldn’t make it far down this shortlist before we hit this well-loved singalong song about landscapes. I am sure for West Virginians this one hits home a hell of a lot harder but the affection that is apparent in the lyrics makes us all feel like it’s our home too.
Denver knows how to paint a picture and often has nature-based lyrical tendencies, so you can expect to hear more from him here later.
4. Walk The Moon – “Lost In The Wild”
A song about nature that cleverly uses its wildness as an analogy for stepping into adulthood and love. Into the unventured, unexplored and unknown. It is so full of natural landscape imagery, it mentions sunrises, the night, the rain, and rivers on top of this gem of a chorus line;
“And we’re only animals
Didn’t mean to start a forest fire
Brush the ashes off your shoulders
Let’s get lost in the wild”
5. Joan Baez – “Rejoice In The Sun”
Baez has always been on the political side, but back in 71 she reunited with Peter Schickele and made this haunting piece for the sci-fi movie “Silent Running”.
The lyrics leave a warning to humanity of sorts but a telling them that the land is dying and they will all die too but it ends with a hopeful parting of wisdom;
“Tell them it’s not too late
Cultivate, one by one
Tell them to harvest and rejoice
In the sun”
6. Woody Guthrie – “This Land Is Your Land”
Probably one of the most famous American folk songs of all time.
It references geographical points much like Denver’s “Country Roads”. The lyrics have been subject to political tweaking over the years but there is no doubting the beauty and sentiment in this song about nature.
The imagery will grab your imagination whether its the “wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling” or the “Giant Redwoods”.
7. Andy Williams – “Born Free”
A heart-wrenching ballad about the freedom the animals should have on this earth. It was used for the 1966 British movie about Joy and George Adamson who raised a lion cub and released her to the wild and has been adopted by animal rights activists as a soundtrack of sorts.
At the end of the day, we are animals too and should “Live free where beauty surrounds” us.
8. Michael Jackson – “Earth Song”
Michael Jackson lets the issues flow deeply in this memorable lyrically emotional song about environmental issues.
The topics discussed are pretty heavy, ranging from animal treatment and pollution to full-on war and total devastation of the planet.
He questions the listener throughout, which does make you internalize the subject.
9. Pete Seeger – “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”
Another politically edged song here that goes from discussing the absence of flowers to young girls and young men. It is ultimately about mankind’s own destruction; the wars we participate in which ultimately have no real victors because of the loss of lives involved. The flowers have gone to graveyards, the graveyards of soldiers.
But the song, although about the death of humanity, has got a basis in nat the destruction of nature as well. War has a cyclical nature just like everything else.
10. Alabama – “Pass It On Down”
“We live in the land of plenty”
This track opens with a hopeful reminder, it goes on to discuss important issues such as the hole in the ozone layer The singer laments the beautiful landscapes and scenery of his youth describing a picturesque canyon with pure water.
“And Lord, I believe, from the heavens to the seas
We’re bringing Mother Nature to her knees”
He brings up some important points…
“How we gonna breathe without them trees?”
11. Childish Gambino – “Feels Like Summer”
A slow summer jam that on the surface feels like a track to chill to and enjoy in the summer months. But in reality, the song discusses climate change sarcastically. Donald Glover is wondering if we are ever gonna change as in will we do something about it.
There are lots of songs about the environment emerging from younger artists as their generation and those to come that will truly be affected.
12. Louis Armstrong – “What A Wonderful World”
We are putting the doom, gloom, and cynicism on hold momentarily to enjoy the deep warming tones of Louis Armstrong in this classic that lists some of the best things nature can bring.
“I see trees of green, red roses too…”
It touches on life cycles with the old and the young and is again full of imagery like many of the best songs about nature are.
13. Beatles – “Mother Nature’s Son”
With vocals full of anguish, McCartney sings this song about nature inspired by a lecture he was given whilst traveling through India.
“Find me in my field of grass, Mother Nature’s son
Swaying daises sing a lazy song beneath the sun”
He reflects that his other big inspiration was Nat King Cole’s song “Nature Boy”.
14. Paul McCartney – “Despite Repeated Warnings”
Quite often we follow a Beatles entry cut from the same cloth, however this time we have McCartney’s solo project.
The singer took inspiration for the lyrics for this one from a newspaper headline about climate change. It said; “Despite repeated warnings, they’re not listening”.
The artist took the line and rolled with it. Making a challenging song about the environment. He writes about a mad sea captain hellbent on steering us all the wrong way.
15. Joni Mitchell – “Big Yellow Taxi”
Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell delivers us her peacefully political tune with her innocent vocal styling.
The singer purportedly visited Hawaii and remarked on the beauty of the island when seeing the landscape of the mountains from her hotel window this was however spoilt by the hotel parking lot in the foreground of her vision.
“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone”
With such poignant lyrics that instill reflection, it is no wonder it is such a popular song about nature, covered by just about everyone.
16. Goyte – “Eyes Wide Open”
This is a cool modern example of a pop song about nature and the critical side of things the song writes from a chilling future perspective.
The accompanying music video is very eye-opening, set in a post-human-race apocalypse. The song discusses how we have been I ignored all of the warning signs and chosen to carry on regardless.
“We walk the plank with our eyes wide open”
17. Enya – “Listen to The River”
One of those songs about beautiful views that we all have on our list of enjoyment. It ticks many things off the list in our minds with mention of much more than the river it is centered around.
Enya’s haunting vocals give the lyrics an ethereal quality as the singer asks us to question the shape of eternity and addresses mortality, the hands of ticking and counting down which she imagines as a river in the moonlight.
18. John Denver – “Sunshine On My Shoulders”
With such billing of bleakness, we turn to John Denver for some relief “Sunshine on My Shoulders” is a sweet song about enjoying nature.
“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high”
Lyrics like those above make for the best songs about nature hands down.
19. John Denver – “Annies Song”
Sticking with Denver we turn to a love song full of references to nature and landscapes. He compares the joy he finds in Annie to the joy he finds in the environment.
“You fill up my senses
Like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again”
Strong imagery throughout this song about landscapes.
20. Travis Tritt – “Where Corn Don’t Grow”
“Where Corn Don’t Grow” is a typical country song about roots. The writer Mark Alan Springer was raised on a farm in Arkansas and moved away to the city.
It is a song bout thinking you want more in life, chasing it, and realizing the value in what you already had, with a new mature perspective.
The lyricist uses dusty fields as an analogy for the things lacking in life;
“Hard times are real
There’s dusty fields no matter where you go.
You may change your mind
‘Cause the weeds are high where corn don’t grow.”
21. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – “Fishing In The Dark”
Love songs often make the best songs about the outdoors, the scenery, and the landscape get a beautiful review in this track by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The protagonist is happy sittin’ in the dark doing absolutely nothing – as long as it is in her company.
“You and me go fishin’ in the dark
Lyin’ on our backs and countin’ the stars
Where the cool grass grows
Down by the river in the full moonlight”
One of the best songs about nature because of its positive outlook and deeply descriptive lyrics.
22. The Chicks – “Cowboy Take Me Away”
The Chicks treat us to a highly romanticized version of what life might be like living with a bonafide cowboy. Their fantasy lists plenty of references to nature as you might expect from the outdoor lifestyle.
These girls aren’t going to shy away from a bit of hard work if they get to be closer to the guy they love.
“I said, I wanna touch the earth
I wanna break it in my hands
I wanna grow something wild and unruly
I wanna sleep on the hard ground”
23. The Move – “Flowers In The Rain”
This one is a somewhat apathetic track, about when you have lost direction in life sometimes all you can do is pause and take in the world around you. Rain is often used symbolically to represent a bad situation and the bringing of change as much as you might not enjoy the rain it is essential to life on the planet.
“I’m just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain
Making the garden grow”
24. John Prine – “Paradise”
The title of this one suggests an idyllic place, a natural landscape unspoiled.
The reality is that the late John Prine was singing about the coal mining industry consuming the landscape of his youth
It is another of those American songs that is geographically set and throws a beautiful nod to real places that are close to many people’s hearts.
25. Bee Gees – “Sitting In The Meadow”
This one is the cop-out of our entries and in all honesty, probably wasn’t the favorite for the trio of long-haired disco fever fuelled brothers.
They unfortunately really sold out on this coca-cola ad campaign. But despite the lack of integrity who doesn’t like the idea of sitting in a meadow drinking a cool fresh beverage?
26. Brad Paisley – “Gone Green”
Like it or not, no matter which side of the climate change fence you sit on, the resources of the world are declining and a balance needs to be maintained. Brad Paisley sings about how “The whole dang place has done gone green” in his tongue-in-cheek song about the environment.
It has some witty lyrics that will get a chuckle here and there but if even his “redneck world has done gone green” then perhaps we are headed in the right direction after all!
27. Ben Howard – “Old Pine”
On the topic of the importance of nature, songs can be really influential, you don’t have to preach about your concerns to get people thinking about the environment. Sometimes a happy song about nature’s pleasures and delights can be a catalyst.
This reflective tune from Ben Howard relives the memories of summers camping, exploring, and just enjoying what nature has to offer.
The lyrics are chock-full of inviting situations, he pays homage to distinctly different landscapes and paints them in a touching light throughout.
Positive songs are the best songs about nature you could ask for on a playlist.
28. Jasmine Thompson – “Willow”
Jasmine Thompson sings about the names carved into a willow tree and narrates the story that could have been. She sings about the seasonal changes in this love song set beneath a beautiful willow.
The lyrics tell of commitment and weathering the good and bad just like the tree they planted from seed.
29. Laura Mvula – “Green Garden”
okay so we probably sound like a broken record but, we’ll stress it again one last time, the best songs about nature are feel good and full of appreciation.
This one is probably lesser-known than many we have highlighted in this article but her interesting musical choices and the neo-soul vibes make this song a great inclusion.
Singer Laura Mvula reminisces about the days she spent in her garden barefoot in the grass.
“putting my bag down, taking my shoes off
walk in the carpet of green velvet”
30. Lion King – “Circle Of Life”
What better way to finish than with a song about nature that describes the circle of life in all its glory. The soundtrack and opening scene to Disneys’ classic; “The Lion King”. This one has some of the most charm-filled and alluring references to our natural world that a song could possibly offer.
Despite tackling mortality it is poetically delightful and trumps just about everything else we have gathered.
Landscapes, skyscapes, the water of life, animals galore, this song about nature is one that truly has it all.
So, that was our mixed bag of songs about nature. Old and new, each beautiful in their own way even those with a deep message to get across and wisdom to impart. Of course, the songs about nature’s beauty are some of the happier songs we could have chosen and it’s a shame they couldn’t all be positive.
Fingers crossed our songs about climate change and environmental issues weren’t too heavy and our list of nature songs will have inspired you to get out and enjoy it more often.
At least now if you do decide to Don some hiking boots and explore you’ll have the perfect playlist of songs about landscapes to soundtrack your journey.