Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, has been a muse for many musicians over the years. The city has inspired countless songs across various genres with its historic landmarks and vibrant culture.
In this article, we've compiled a list of top songs about Indianapolis that showcase the city's rich musical heritage.
1. “Little Green Apples” by Robbie Williams
Song Year: 2006
This is a cover version of Roger Miller’s hit “Little Green Apples” by British singer Robbie Williams. It’s a nostalgic ode to life’s simple pleasures, using the metaphor of green apples to represent the small joys that make life worth living.
The song also references Indianapolis to convey a sense of nostalgia for a simpler time and a slower pace of life associated with smaller Midwestern cities like Indianapolis.
2. “Indianapolis” by Howard Carpendale
Song Year: 1969
German singer Howard Carpendale sings about Indianapolis in this 1969 release. He describes his journey to Indianapolis and experiences in the city, including the sights and sounds of the famous Indianapolis 500 motor race.
The song has a catchy melody and upbeat tempo, making it a popular choice among fans of 70s pop music.
3. “My Mustang Ford” by Chuck Berry
Song Year: 1965
“My Mustang Ford” is a classic rock and roll song. It is an upbeat tribute to the singer's beloved car, a red Mustang Ford, and celebrates the freedom and joy of cruising down the open road.
The song is also notable for its references to Indianapolis, where the famous Indianapolis 500 car race takes place. Berry mentions driving his Mustang Ford to Indianapolis and participating in the race.
This fun and energetic song captures the spirit of youth and adventure, and its references to Indianapolis give it a special connection to the world of American car racing.
4. “The Indy Song (Indeed)” by Song by Heywood Banks
Song Year: 2008
Banks sings about various landmarks and attractions in Indianapolis, including the Indy 500 race, the Children's Museum, and the Indianapolis Zoo.
The song's catchy chorus emphasizes the word “indeed” and pokes fun at the city's nickname, “Naptown.”
With its upbeat melody and playful lyrics, “The Indy Song (Indeed)” has become a popular anthem for fans of the city and its many attractions.
5. “Dance of the Hours” by Spike Jones
Song Year: 1946
This song is Spike Jone’s parody of “Dance of the Hours,” a classical ballet by the Italian composer Amilcare Ponchielli. It features humorous lyrics and zany sound effects.
The song emphasizes that Indianapolis is the singer’s favorite city in the United States, making it a favorite among its residents.
6. “Indianapolis” by The Bottle Rockets
Song Year: 1994
American rock band, The Bottle Rockets sing this tribute to Indianapolis. The song describes the band's experiences touring and playing music in the city.
The lyrics paint a vivid picture of the city's landmarks and culture. They include references to the Indianapolis 500 race and the city's famous Slippery Noodle Inn.
The song also touches on the challenges of being a touring musician and the importance of finding a sense of home on the road.
7. “Gamma Ray” by Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros
Song Year: 2001
The title references the atomic bombs developed and tested in Indiana during World War II.
The lyrics talk about Indianapolis and how it represents the heart of America. Strummer sings about the city's streets, buildings, and people. He explains how they embody the spirit of the country as a whole.
“Gamma Ray” has a fast-paced punk rock rhythm and features Strummer's distinctive vocals and guitar playing.
8. “Back Home Again in Indiana” by Straight No Chaser
Song Year: 2019
This classic song about Indianapolis has been covered by many artists over the years, including Straight No Chaser, who released their version in 2019.
The song is a nostalgic tribute to Indiana and its people, celebrating the beauty of the state's landscapes and the warmth of its community.
The lyrics evoke a longing for the familiar sights and sounds of home and express a desire to return to where the singer's heart belongs.
9. “Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart” by Johnny Cash
Song Year: 1968
This is a humorous and satirical country song about a man dumped by his lover and compares his heartache to being flushed down a toilet.
A sign in a hotel bathroom in Indianapolis that read, “Flush twice, it's a long way to Nashville.” inspired Country music songwriter Jack Clement to write the song. He linked this experience in the lyrics, referencing Indianapolis instead.
The song's lyrics play on this idea, imagining the protagonist's heart being flushed from the bathroom of his lover's heart to Indianapolis.
10. “Indianapolis” by Menudo
Song Year: 1984
Puerto Rican boy band Menudo tells the story of a young man who leaves his hometown and travels to Indianapolis searching for a better life.
The lyrics reflect the struggles and challenges the protagonist faces as he adapts to a new environment and tries to build a new life for himself.
“Indianapolis” is a fun and catchy song that captures the spirit of adventure and optimism once associated with the pursuit of the American Dream.
11. “The Teen Commandments” by Paul Anka
Song Year: 1959
This song is a catchy and upbeat tune that imparts important advice for teenagers, including respecting their elders, being kind to others, and staying true to themselves.
It references Indianapolis because it was a popular destination for teenagers in the 1950s and 60s, known for its thriving music scene and abundance of dance clubs and venues.
12. “Speedway at Nazareth” by Emmylou Harris
Song Year: 2000
“Speedway at Nazareth” is named after the Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania, a track once a regular stop on the IndyCar circuit.
While the song mentions Nazareth Speedway, it's actually about the Indianapolis 500, one of America's most beloved sporting events. The lyrics reflect on the history and mystique of the race, with Harris singing about the engines' roar and the thrill of the competition.
The song's blend of country and rock influences, combined with Harris's distinctive voice, have made it a fan favorite for over two decades.
13. “Burning” by Nick Lowe
Song Year: 1982
This song is an upbeat, catchy rock tune featuring Lowe's signature blend of pop hooks and clever lyrics.
The lyrics mention Indianapolis and describe the excitement and energy of its nightlife. According to Lowe, he wrote the song after visiting Indianapolis and being struck by the vibrant and lively atmosphere of the city.
14. “Salina” by The Avett Brothers
Song Year: 2006
“Salina” by The Avett Brothers is a folk-inspired song about a man who leaves his hometown of Salina, Kansas to start a new life in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The lyrics describe the man's longing for his old life and his memories of Salina, while also acknowledging the opportunities and excitement awaiting him in Indianapolis.
Despite being a song about Indianapolis, “Salina” has become an anthem for anyone who has ever left their hometown searching for something new.
15. “Passaic 1975” by The Mountain Goats
Song Year: 2021
Despite the title referencing Passaic, New Jersey, the song is a tribute to the Indianapolis concert and lead singer Darnielle's connection to it.
The song tells a story of Darnielle's childhood memories of attending a KISS concert in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1977.
The lyrics are filled with vivid imagery and nostalgic references to the era, capturing the excitement and magic of live music and the lasting impact it can have on our memories.
16. “Still Got Love For You” by Hopsin
Song Year: 2019
This is an emotional tribute to Indianapolis, where Hopsin lived for several years before moving to California. He reflects on his time in Indianapolis and expresses his love and appreciation for the city and its people.
The lyrics mention several landmarks and neighborhoods in Indianapolis. Hopsin also talks about his struggles while living in the city and the lessons he learned from those experiences.
“Still Got Love For You” reminds us to appreciate the places and people that have shaped our lives.
17. “Little Green Apples” by Dionne Warwick
Song Year: 1968
We finish this list with the original “Little Green Apples” by American singer Dionne Warwick. The song is a sweet and sentimental ballad about the simple joys of life and the importance of appreciating the little things.
It is a timeless classic that celebrates the beauty of life's small pleasures and reminds listeners to cherish the moments that matter most. The song's catchy melody and heartwarming lyrics have made it a beloved favorite among fans of classic pop music.
Top Songs About Indianapolis, Final Thoughts
These songs about Indianapolis showcase the city's rich musical heritage and diverse cultural landscape. They represent a variety of musical genres and styles, each with its unique perspective on life in the Circle City.
Whether you're a native Hoosier or just a music lover, these songs offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of Indianapolis, capturing the city's history, culture, and character in sound and lyrics.