Philadelphia is a city filled with rich history, culture, and musical influences.
With a long musical tradition, it is no surprise that many songs have been written about the city. This article will explore 14 of the best songs about Philadelphia.
These songs vary in genre, time period, and artist, however, they all have one thing in common: they tell a story about the city and the people who call it home.
From Motown hits to punk rock anthems, the songs have been carefully selected in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the musical influence Philadelphia has had on the world.
1. “Motown Philly” by Boyz II Men
“Motown Philly” by Boyz II Men is an ode to the city of Philadelphia, featuring iconic vocal harmonies and a lively beat that captures the energy of the city.
It is an upbeat track that celebrates the city’s culture and its people, with lyrics that reference the city’s landmarks and historical events.
The song is a synthesis of classic R&B sounds and modern production techniques, making it a unique and timeless tribute to Philadelphia.
The song remains a popular anthem for Philadelphians and is a classic example of how music can be used to express pride in one’s hometown.
2. “Punk Rock Girl” by The Dead Milkmen
The Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl” offers a unique take on the city of Philadelphia with its lighthearted lyrics and upbeat tempo.
The song captures the spirit and energy of the city, describing the people, places, and experiences that make the city unique.
It is an anthem for the youth of the city, celebrating the punk rock scene and its rebellious spirit.
The song’s catchy chorus is sure to become a classic for fans of punk rock music.
The mix of punk rock and Philadelphia makes for a unique listening experience, one that is sure to be remembered for years to come.
3. “Philadelphia Freedom” by Elton John
Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” is an anthemic rock song that pays homage to the city of Philadelphia and its people.
The track, released in 1975, features lyrics that demonstrate John’s admiration for the city, as well as the ‘freedom’ he feels it offers its residents.
The song’s instrumentation includes horns, piano, and guitar, resulting in an uplifting, energetic sound.
Its chorus is particularly memorable and is known to be a rallying cry for Philadelphians.
“Philadelphia Freedom” is a timeless classic that celebrates the spirit of the city.
4. “Bandstand Boogie” by Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow’s “Bandstand Boogie”, the theme from the popular American Bandstand show, is an upbeat and infectious song that encapsulates the spirit of the 1950s.
The song features a jazzy beat combined with a catchy chorus and lyrics that are evocative of a joyous, carefree era.
It has become an anthem for the city of Philadelphia to dance to the beat of the “Bandstand Boogie”.
The song has been used in numerous Philadelphia-related events and remains an iconic symbol of the city’s musical heritage.
5. “The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP)” by MSFB
“The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP)” by MSFB is a soulful and uplifting composition that has become an iconic representation of Philadelphia’s musical history.
With its powerful horn section, soulful vocals, and funky rhythm parts, TSOP is widely considered an anthem of Philadelphia soul.
The song’s catchy groove, unforgettable chorus, and positive lyrics have made it a favorite of many and an important symbol of Philadelphia’s musical legacy.
6. “Fall In Philadelphia” by Hall & Oates
Transitioning to another popular song about Philadelphia, “Fall In Philadelphia” by Hall & Oates, is a heartfelt ballad describing the beauty of the city and the love shared between two people.
The lyrics reflect the deep connection between the singer and the city, expressing an appreciation for all that Philadelphia offers.
The song features a mellow, romantic tone, as well as a memorable chorus.
The combination of the lyrics and the tone of the music makes this song a great addition to any Philadelphia-related playlist.
7. “I’m In a Philly Mood” by Daryl Hall
Daryl Hall’s song “I’m In a Philly Mood” evokes the joy and enthusiasm of Philadelphia, providing an upbeat anthem for the city and its people.
The song is a celebration of the city’s people and culture, with lyrics highlighting the city’s unique qualities.
The upbeat music and instrumentation drive the song’s powerful, positive message, making it an ideal anthem for the city.
The song is an uplifting tribute to the city and its people, as well as a perfect way to capture the spirit of Philadelphia.
8. “Philadelphia” by Neil Young
Neil Young’s song “Philadelphia” is an emotive ode to the city and its people, depicting the struggles of everyday life.
It chronicles the struggles to find meaning in an indifferent world, as the protagonist searches for hope in a place of despair.
Young’s lyrics are powerful and thought-provoking, and the haunting guitar melody adds to the intensity of the song.
The music and lyrics reflect the harsh realities of life in Philadelphia, and the song is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
9. “Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen‘s 1994 Academy Award-winning song “Streets of Philadelphia” is a melancholic ballad that captures the city’s spirit of resilience.
The song is composed of slow and steady guitar riffs accompanied by Springsteen’s powerful vocals.
The lyrics detail a man’s struggles with illness and homelessness and his feelings of alienation and loneliness.
The song evokes a sense of hope as it encourages listeners to show compassion and kindness.
The song is a powerful reminder of the importance of empathy and solidarity.
10. “Sweet Little Sixteen” by Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry’s 1958 single “Sweet Little Sixteen” is an upbeat rock and roll anthem celebrating the joy of teenage life.
It is an upbeat rock and roll classic with a catchy beat and infectious lyrics that, although not directly related to Philadelphia, are widely associated with the city and its culture.
The song is noted for its use of melodic guitar riffs and a lyrical narrative about a teenage girl who dreams of making it big.
The song has been widely covered by numerous artists in the decades since its release, and its influence is evident in many other rock and roll songs.
Its upbeat and nostalgic feel makes it a popular choice for Philadelphia music fans.
11. “Midnight In Philadelphia” by Lifehouse
Lifehouse‘s 2005 single “Midnight In Philadelphia” is an emotional rock ballad that captures the loneliness and longing of a person seeking love in the City of Brotherly Love.
The song begins with a slow melodic guitar solo, setting the atmosphere of longing and yearning.
The lyrics are filled with imagery about the city; it speaks of the beauty of the evening along with its darkness and desolation.
The chorus is an uplifting reminder that love can be found in the city, even in the darkest of times.
The song is a powerful tribute to Philadelphia and its unique charms.
12. “Philadelphia Lawyer” by Woody Guthrie
Moving away from the more contemporary sounds of Lifehouse, we now turn to the traditional American folk song “Philadelphia Lawyer” by Woody Guthrie.
This song, written in the 1940s, was inspired by the struggles of a young attorney in Philadelphia during the Great Depression.
Guthrie uses the story of the lawyer to offer a broader reflection on the inequity of the economic situation of the time and the struggles of the working class.
His lyrics and music are a heartfelt commentary on the struggle of the ‘common man’ during this era.
13. “East River Drive” by Grover Washington, Jr.
Grover Washington, Jr.’s “East River Drive” is an instrumental jazz fusion track featuring a mix of electric and acoustic instruments.
The song is composed in an upbeat major key and features a prominent electric guitar solo.
Washington’s saxophone is prominent throughout, providing a melodic counterpoint to the electric guitar.
The song’s structure is highly organized and complex, featuring multiple layers of percussion and a tight, driving rhythm.
The song is an upbeat, exuberant ode to Philadelphia, capturing the city’s spirit in its joyful, expansive instrumentation.
14. “Off to Philadelphia in the Morning” by John McCormack
“Off to Philadelphia in the Morning”, composed by John McCormack, is a cheerful and upbeat folk song that celebrates the city of Philadelphia.
An instrumental introduction is followed by an energetic chorus, with verses that detail the singer’s journey to the city.
The lyrics evoke a sense of excitement and anticipation of the journey, as well as a sense of reverence for the city itself.
The tempo is upbeat and the melody is cheerful and engaging, creating an overall joyful atmosphere.
The combination of the lyrics and melody makes this an enjoyable and memorable song about Philadelphia.
Best Songs About Philadelphia – Final Thoughts
Philadelphia is a city with a rich musical history, from punk rock to classical marches to Motown.
Songs such as Boyz II Men’s “Motown Philly”, Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl”, Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom”, and Barry Manilow’s “Bandstand Boogie” all provide a snapshot of the city’s musical history.
Meanwhile, songs such as MSFB’s “The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP)”, Woody Guthrie’s “Philadelphia Lawyer”, and Grover Washington, Jr.’s “East River Drive” are all classics that honor the city’s unique musical heritage.
With such a diverse range of musical styles and sounds, Philadelphia is truly a city that has something for everyone.
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