31 Best Songs About Alabama Ever

Alabama has a rich, complex history and culture. That comes through in its music, and the songs about the state.

Here are some of the best songs about Alabama ever.

Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Song Year: 1974

Top of our list of songs about Alabama is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s nostalgic anthem, “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Skynyrd wrote the song in response to Neil Young’s composition “Southern Man.” In Young’s piece, he condemns the dark underbelly of Southern history, including slavery and its lingering traumas on Alabama citizens.

Skynyrd’s song doesn’t explicitly castigate Young, though the song references him. Instead, the Skynyrd paints a picture of the beauty of his home and its long, complicated history.

However, Skynyrd and Young’s pieces are enhanced when you listen to them back-to-back. Alabama is as rich and beautiful a place as its history is complicated. To love it is to accept both those truths.

Old Alabama by Brad Paisley

Song Year: 2011

When Paisley released this country song, it featured backing vocals from the popular band Alabama.

It also borrows the bridge from “Mountain Music.” But that’s not the only musical reference in the song. Its lyrics are full of song titles and lyrics that pay homage to Alabama. Some of the most obvious are:

  • Why Lady, Why?
  •  Tennessee River
  • Feels So Right
  •  Love in the First Degree

Midnight in Montgomery by Alan Jackson

Song Year: 1992

Here’s another song about Alabama that pays homage to a specific place. In “Midnight in Montgomery,” country singer Alan Jackson pays tribute to Alabama native and fellow singer Hank Williams.

Unlike other songs on this list, it isn’t a paean to nostalgia. It’s deeply melancholy. But it’s also beautiful. It’s full of imagery people familiar with Alabama will recognize, like the whip-o-will.

In one of its most poignant moments, the speaker contemplates the beauty of the stars and believes that if they listen hard enough, they can still hear Williams’ music on the breeze.

Alabama by Bishop Gunn

Song Year: 2018

Bishop Gunn’s “Alabama” offers a much darker look at the South. This popular rock song blends sex and violence as it tells the story of a Good Samaritan who gives a ride to a vivacious blonde woman.

He subsequently hears someone matching her description is wanted for murder, and the speaker wonders if they are doomed to die in Alabama. Whether they do or not is unclear – the song ends before the couple arrives.

Stars Fell from Alabama by Billie Holiday

Song Year: 1934

Frank Perkins composed it. Mitchell Parish gave it lyrics. But Billie Holiday took this jazzy romantic song and made it a household favorite.

It’s full of rich harmonies and alluring blue notes, and it describes seeing the Alabama city lights reflected in a lover’s eyes.

It was a famous jazz standard, and several artists recorded versions, including:

  • Ella Fitzgerald
  •  Bing Crosby
  • Anita O’Day
  •  Dean Martin

Paint Me a Birmingham by Tracey Lawrence

Song Year: 2004

Some songs about Alabama are more specific than others. Tracey Lawrence’s tribute to Birmingham, Alabama is the perfect example.

In the song, a homesick speaker finds an artist who can paint anything for 20 dollars. They hand over the money and ask for a painting of the city they miss. 

Alabama High-Test by Old Crow Medicine Show

Song Year: 2008

“Alabama High-Test” is an energetic song with an excellent narrative. The speaker gets pulled over for erratic driving and is subjected to a test to see if they consumed anything untoward while in Alabama.

Even as they comply with the titular test, they express anxiety about the prospect of jail time.

It’s a song that could become bleak and demoralizing in the wrong hands. Old Crow Medicine has an excellent observational eye, so the antics and hijinks get played for comedy.

Angel from Montgomery by John Prine

Song Year: 1971

“Angel in Montgomery” is another somewhat mournful song about Alabama. But it’s not Alabama that’s the issue, but instead, the speaker’s marriage.

Prine sings the song from the viewpoint of a woman seeking to leave an unhappy marriage. Her dream is to become an angel and run away to the rodeo.

The song appears in the film Who Bombed Judi and the penultimate episode of the television series Ozark.

King Cotton by The Secret Sisters

Song Year: 1963

In this song about Alabama, The Secret Sisters reminisce about the things they miss. They range from the titular cotton to the fields of waving Queen Anne’s Lace.

Although the speaker is homesick, the song isn’t a lament. It has a jaunty, upbeat rhythm and fast tempo. That’s because once they finish naming all their favorite things about Alabama, the speaker has plans to go home.

They don their best clothes and dare anyone to stop them from making the trip. If their drive is anything like the song's speed, you’d be hard-pressed to keep them away from Alabama.

Alabama Blues by J. B. Lenoir

Song Year: 1965

Conversely, nothing will get the speaker of J. B. Lenoir’s “Alabama Blues” to return to the state.

It’s a bluesy song with a slow, sinuous beat. Lenoir croons the song with heartfelt warmth despite the tragedy unfolding in the lyrics.

What’s notable about Lenoir’s song is that it’s an early example of music as social commentary. Singers like Pete Seeger had made careers addressing social issues of the time, but many of them, Seeger inclusive, got black-listed as Communists for their trouble.

“Alabama Blues” is an unapologetic and unflinching look at the social issues faced by people of color. It’s not as catchy as some of Seeger’s civil rights anthems, but that’s arguably the point.

Alabama Bound by Lead Belly

Song Year: 1940

Since Robert Hoffman composed “Alabama Bound” in 1909, its lyrics have been oft-contested. Initially, Hoffman got the credit. But when Alan Lomax started collecting folk songs, he purportedly found them in an antiquated book of folk songs.

The most famous recording of Hoffman’s song about Alabama came from Lead Belly in 1940. His gravelly voice was as recognizable as the chorus, and it wasn’t long before his version was the one on all the radio stations.

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