29 Best Songs About Detroit

Best Songs About Detroit

Detroit, also known as the Motor City, has been written about by many a musician. And great news, we’ve rounded up the best for you here today!

Here’s our list of the top songs about Detroit, so you can enjoy the city's vibes without leaving home.

Detroit ‘67 by Sam Roberts

Song Year: 2008

After a mid-tempo song for your Detroit playlist? Look no further than Sam Roberts’ “Detroit '67.” The narrator reminisces about Detroit in its prime and how everything's changed as time passes. The song references its prominence in the automotive industry and the state’s rise in crime.

The song's piano and guitar accompaniment replicate the distinctive Motown music many fans associate with Detroit.

Detroit City by Bobby Bare

Song Year: 1963

Despite opening with an upbeat country-style guitar, Bobby Hare's “Detroit City” is a song with a melancholy vibe. The lyrics describe the tale of a man who longs to return home. He laments about working in an underpaid automotive job and drinking away his sorrows. It's the type of song to listen to on a lonely night when you feel homesick.

Buried in Detroit by Mike Posner

Song Year: 2016

If you prefer songs about Detroit that are slow and sentimental, Mike Posner's “Buried in Detroit” is one song you shouldn't skip. In this ballad, the narrator describes his love for his hometown, Detroit, despite its harsh reputation. He's been to several cities throughout his music career, but he decides he wants to spend the end of his life in Detroit.

“The Motown Song” by Rod Stewart

Song Year: 1991

Rod Stewart's “The Motown Song” is one of the most upbeat songs you can count on to cheer you up on any bad day. The lyrics describe a man inviting his love to his home to play her favorite Motown records, encouraging her to let the entire city hear it. The soulful backing vocals provided by The Temptations enhance its timelessness.

Detroit by Tyler Childers

Song Year: 2011

Tyler Childers' “Detroit” is another song centered around moving to Detroit and finding a promising job and life. The song has a slow, sad, folk-inspired sound that grabs your attention and enhances the song's emotional connection to the listener.

The narrator initially moves to Detroit with his friends for economic prosperity but ends up with little money and an underpaid job.

Panic in Detroit by David Bowie

Song Year: 1973

The main inspiration behind David Bowie's “Panic in Detroit” stems from the 1967 Detroit riots. The guitar accompaniment emphasizes the anarchy and violence of these events. The lyrics allude to the narrator, who wasn't involved in the riots, giving into the chaos.

Detroit City Blues by Fats Domino

Song Year: 1949

Jazz and blues are some of Detroit's most popular music genres, and no song encapsulates this better than this Fats Domino classic. It's a slow, old-school, yet uplifting song that praises Detroit. The lyrics describe the speaker stating how the city fills you with love, reiterating how you can have a good time there without bringing a lot of money.

Detroit by John Davidson

Song Year: 1967

Featured in the film The Happiest Millionaire, “Detroit” is a song with a whimsical vibe that resonates with music lovers looking for music with a nostalgic touch. The lyrics describe a man eager to make a living in Detroit. He wishes to become successful in the automotive industry. Its melody is hummable, and its vocals are excellent.

Hotel Yorba by The White Stripes

Song Year: 2001

“Hotel Yorba” is a garage rock song with a country-inspired sound whose title references a run-down hotel in Downtown Detroit.

Despite being empty and in poor condition, the narrator wishes to take his love to the titular Hotel Yorba, hoping to one day marry her. Its short yet simple melody is catchy and pleasant to the ears.

Motor City Madhouse by Ted Nugent

Song Year: 1975

“Motor City Madhouse” is a track on Ted Nugent's self-titled album for his solo music career. It's a high-energy ode to Detroit, with the narrator describing how his performance will make the city go wild, referencing its dangerous reputation. Nugent’s rough vocals and the guitar solo that wraps up the song complete the piece.

Shuttin’ Detroit Down by John Rich

Song Year: 2009

“Shuttin' Detroit Down” is a song inspired by the automotive industry crisis of the late 2000's. The lyrics criticize how the working class gets laid off while CEOs and other corporate heads use government bailouts to keep their businesses running, highlighting economic inequality. Its country-inspired sound is bouncy and addictive, contrasting with the lyrics’ subject manner.

Say Nice Things About Detroit by They Might Be Giants

Song Year: 2015

“Say Nice Things About Detroit” describes a man reflecting on a girl who left him. He asks her to tell him about nice things about Detroit, symbolizing their relationship. Despite being a more symbolic song, it has a low-key alternative rock vibe that resonates with contemporary audiences.

The Girl from Detroit City by Suzi Quatro

Song Year: 2014

If you're looking for catchy songs about Detroit with attitude, this Suzi Quatro song is a hidden gem among other Motor City-themed tracks. The lyrics describe Quatro's early beginnings and her debut on the music scene.


Its slow tempo and rough yet contemporary vocals and instrumentation give the song a dynamic identity.

Welcome 2 Detroit by Trick Trick ft. Eminem

Song Year: 2005

Detroit-native rapper Trick Trick's “Welcome 2 Detroit” is a dynamic song with hip-hop and rap influences, featured on his debut album, The People vs. The song's lyrics reflect the artist's love of his city, the strength of its people, and the tenacity he’s built over time while building his name on the rap scene.

Detroit City by Texas

Song Year: 2013

Texas' “Detroit City” has similar symbolism to other songs about the city changing over time, but this one has a heartfelt side to its lyrics. It's about a woman reflecting on a guy from Detroit who desires her. The man says he’s hard to please, but she’s managed to win over his heart.

Detroit Rock City by KISS

Detroit Rock City by KISS

Song Year: 1976

“Detroit Rock City” is one of KISS' most iconic songs, from its dynamic vocals to its fast-paced guitar, bass, and drum accompaniment. Although the main inspiration behind this song stems from a KISS fan's death while driving to a concert, it's upbeat and has a melody that makes you feel like dancing.

Son Of Detroit by Kid Rock

Song Year: 2006

“Son Of Detroit” is a Kid Rock song about a man from Detroit who loves old-school rock and roll and other music genres popular in the city, expressing how he's not a fan of techno and new-wave music. You'll enjoy this song's impressive guitar work if you’re a hard rock fan.

“Cadillac Assembly Line” by Albert King

Song Year: 1976

If you're an old-school blues fan, consider adding Albert King's “Cadillac Assembly Line” to your playlist. The song's narrator tells his girl that he's moving north to Detroit to get a job in the automotive industry. Its slower tempo, soulful beats, and King's swinging vocals add charm to the track.

Back To Detroit by Nikki Corvette and the Stingrays

Song Year: 2006

“Back To Detroit” is a song incorporating old-school rock sounds that grabs the attention of contemporary audiences with its guitar hook. The lyrics tell a straightforward story about a woman returning to Detroit, reflecting Corvette's comeback to the music scene after three decades. It's the perfect song to play when planning a trip to Detroit.

Born In Detroit by The Rockets

Song Year: 1982

Songs about missing your home resonate with many music enthusiasts. The Rockets' “Born In Detroit” is an uptempo rock tune about a Detroit-born man traveling the country throughout his music career.

Although he expresses having fun in New York City, he longs to return to Detroit. It’s a great song to dance to on the weekend.

Detroit by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Song Year: 2016

“Detroit,” featured on Red Hot Chili Peppers' chart-topping album The Getaway, is a rock-inspired tribute to the titular city. The song's narrator is from Detroit, expressing how he's grown alongside the city, despite its ups and downs. Its bass and guitar accompaniment make it sound hypnotic. Some of its lyrics reference famous Detroit musicians, like J Dilla.

I Care About Detroit by Smokey Robinson

Song Year: 1967

Smokey Robinson's “I Care About Detroit” is one of the best songs about Detroit because of its soulful, positive vibe. The song's lyrics highlight how the narrator cares about his hometown Detroit and wishes people put aside their differences to make it a better place. This song can lift anyone’s spirits after a rough day.

Detroit Breakdown by The J. Geils Band

Song Year: 1974

One of the top songs perfect for dancing to at any party is T J. Geils Band's “Detroit Breakdown.” It has upbeat jazz and rock-inspired beats that blend well with Peter Wolf's bold vocals.

The lyrics are simple, but many associate them with partying hard and letting your emotions run wild at night.

The Queen of Detroit by Plus/Minus

Song Year: 2002

If you can’t find an unconventional song that encapsulates the vibe of early-2000's indie rock when looking for quality music, “The Queen of Detroit” is one underrated tune you should check out. Music-wise, it blends traditional and electronic sounds to enhance its uniqueness.

The lyrics describe a man leaving New York and going to Detroit who meets a beautiful woman and states how much trouble he’ll cause her.

Motor City by The Satintones

Song Year: 1959

Although The Satintones' “Motor City” references automobiles in its lyrics and R&B vocalizations, it's a lovely song centered around love. The narrator mentions that he's traveled to many places, but Detroit is where he found the girl he loves, giving the song a vintage, wholesome vibe.

Hello, Detroit by Rowetta

Song Year: 2005

Initially recorded by Sammy Davis, Jr., Rowetta's version of “Hello, Detroit” is an upbeat, soulful song about the titular city. The narrator expresses her love for the city throughout the years, giving it a nostalgic tone. The lyrics reference several locations in Detroit, from Belle Isle Park to the Riverfront.

Detroit 442 by Blondie

Song Year: 1978

Blondie‘s “Detroit 442” has a punk-inspired sound that keeps this rock song energetic. It's a song about a woman with a rebellious side interested in a man driving an Oldsmobile 442 car. The lyrics incorporate assembly line imagery, symbolizing the narrator's eagerness to ride. Its warped guitar accompaniment grabs your attention by the song’s half-way mark.

The D In Detroit by The Anniversary

Song Year: 2000

Do you prefer songs with an emotional edge? “The D In Detroit's” lyrics describe the fear of growing apart in a long-distance relationship. The narrator's girlfriend lives in Des Moines, but he's worried about her moving to Detroit. The song's synthesized sound gives it a unique 2000s-era sound.

Detroit Has A Skyline by Superchunk

Song Year: 1995

Detroit plays a symbolic role in Superchunk's “Detroit Has A Skyline.” The song's lyrics describe a man who gets rejected by a crush. He yearns for another chance for a girl to see his best qualities, much like how some only see Detroit as a cesspool of violence instead of its beautiful side.

Top Songs About Detroit, Final Thoughts

Many songs about Detroit vary in tone and genre, but they all offer something different any music lover can enjoy. The city offers thrills to all who visit it, so it's no wonder many music artists recorded songs about the iconic Motor City for those from or outside the city.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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