If you’re looking for the best songs about Pennsylvania, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s home to historic monuments, the city of Philadelphia, and over 12 million people. If you’re one of those people, or know someone who is, this playlist is for you.
1. Pennsylvania 6-50000 by Glenn Miller
Song Year: 1944
This swing jazz and pop tune is among the best-known songs about Pennsylvania. The song’s title suggests that it is about someone placing a call from New York to Pennsylvania.
The song’s lyrics address a woman the protagonist is in love with—who happens to live in Pennsylvania.
Glenn Miller was an American big band founder, composer, and instrumentalist. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army as an Air Force pilot. Glenn Miller went missing over the English Channel during the war in 1944, soon after releasing this song.
2. Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John
Song Year: 1975
Philadelphia Freedom is a hit song by the renowned singer and band leader Elton John. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard charts in the 1970s and was shockingly popular in Canada.
This song touches on the freedom that the protagonist feels living in Pennsylvania. He discusses his decision to live alone in the city he loves.
Elton John wrote the song as an homage to his friend, Billie Jean King; today, it remains among his most famous songs.
3. Streets of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen
Song Year: 1993
This song is truly one of the best songs about Philadelphia. Its upbeat sound and powerful rhythm make it the perfect addition to any playlist.
Bruce Springsteen is one of the best-known, Academy-award-winning artists to date. Springsteen has released over 21 albums over the last six decades, including tracks for the movie Philadelphia (1993).
His song, Streets of Philadelphia, is about a young man who has encountered some hard times in the gritty city. He walks along the street, searching for someone to help him—but no one does.
The song reflects the plight of people experiencing poverty in big cities like Philadelphia, and it is just one among Springsteen’s many social justice-oriented songs.
4. Pennsylvania by Heart
Song Year: 2012
Pennsylvania is the sixth track on the popular band Heart’s fifteenth studio album. Heart is a rock band formed in 1973. The band comprises Debbie Shair, Dan Rothchild, Craig Bartock, Ann Wilson, and Nancy Wilson.
Their song, Pennsylvania, is about a couple who fell in love in Pennsylvania. The protagonist watches for her love from her balcony, but she doesn’t see him. The song references the town of St. Michael, located in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, and features a mournful melody that makes it the perfect addition to any nostalgic playlist.
5. Harrisburg by Josh Ritter
Song Year: 2002
Josh Ritter is a singer and songwriter known for his performances with the Royal City Band. Ritter’s classic Americana sound is easily recognizable, and he’s received several awards for his music.
This song blends soft folk guitar and an upbeat tune for a sound all its own. Harrisburg is about the Pennsylvania town of the same name. It touches on a young man’s experiences of leaving his family behind to hop trains and live a vagabond existence.
It’s a beautiful song that touches on the sad nature of post-industrialist small-town America.
6. Motown Philly by Boyz II Men
Song Year: 1991
Motown Philly is a hit song by vocalist duo Boyz II Men. The song is about dancing on South Street and eating Philly cheese steaks—the perfect Philadelphia song. The narrator describes spending time with his friends on the streets of Philly, rapping and creating harmonies that would one day become legendary.
Boyz II Men, consisting of baritone Nathan Morris and tenors Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman, was founded in Philadelphia. They are known for their cappella harmonies and their quintessential blend of music genres.
7. Pittsburg Sound by Wiz Khalifa
Song Year: 2006
This song from hip-hop artist WIz Khalifa describes the protagonist’s upbringing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The narrator boasts about being the youngest in charge of his friend group and describes the shenanigans the boys get into in their home city.
The song is upbeat and offers a compelling rhythm that will get you off your feet.
Wiz Khalifa, also known as Cameron Jibril Thomaz, is a rapper, singer, and songwriter originally from Pittsburgh. He graduated from Pittsburgh’s Taylor Allderdice High School in 2012 and has been popular ever since. His song is an homage to his hometown, which he continues to support in many ways.
Notably, Wiz Khalifa also wrote a song called Black and Yellow, a tribute to the sports teams in Pennsylvania- the NFL football team The Steelers in particular. As a native Pennsylvanian, it’s clear this rapper has a lot of hometown and state pride!
8. Amish Paradise by Weird Al Yankovic
Song Year: 1996
Amish Paradise is a hit song by renowned musical parodist Weird Al Yankovic. It is a satire of the original song Gangsta’s Paradise, by Coolio featuring L.V.
The song’s lyrics describe the quintessential Amish lifestyle. He describes milking cows, reading the Bible, and harvesting the land.
Pennsylvania is known for its prosperous Amish communities and cultural heritage, so this is the perfect song to add to any Pennsylvania playlist.
Weird Al Yankovic is a famous singer and musician known for making parodies of pop culture tunes.
9. New Sensation by Lou Reed
Song Year: 1984
This song is truly one of the best songs of 1984.
This song is about a young man who is arrested on Christmas Eve. He decides to chase new experiences by traveling across the country. He heads first to Pennsylvania, where he crosses the Delaware Gap and describes the country folks who live in the area.
This song features some exciting bass words by Fernando Saunders, adding to its originality. Lou Reed was known for his experimental music with the band The Velvet Underground. He was also an American musician and guitarist with a five-decade solo career. Although Reed was from New York, he’s written several songs about Pennsylvania.
10. Mastermind by Mindless Self Indulgence
Song Year: 2008
In this song, a young man describes leading his friend group in Pennsylvania and describes himself as a mastermind of revenge. He seeks to punish someone who has wronged him. The song is a lament of the cruelty of this world.
The band Mindless Self Indulgence is a techno, hip-hop, and industrial experimental group featuring members Jimmy Urine, Kitty, Steven Montaro, and Vanessa Y.T. Still; the band has had many additional members since then.
11. Midnight in Philadelphia by Lighthouse
Song year: 1974
Lighthouse is a Canadian rock band formed in 1968 and consisting of members Skip Prokop, Paul Hoffert, Ralph Cole, and many others. The band had nearly one hundred members at different times before disbanding in 1976.
Their song, Midnight in Philadelphia, is about a man who experiences the loss of someone he loves. He watches the Philadelphia full moon and longs for the return of his loved one.
This song is gentle, sad, and mournful—the perfect song to play while you observe the night sky in Pennsylvania.
12. Pennsylvania Is… by Everclear
Song Year: 2004
This song is about a series of characters from Pennsylvania, all of whom have come through hard times.
The first half of the song covers the experiences of a young man who leaves his wife and ends up in prison, while the second half discusses a girl who lives alone in Philadelphia but ends up having to move out of loneliness.
The song is an homage to the rough quality of city living—particularly in Philadelphia—and is one of Everclear’s best.
Everclear is an American alternative band consisting of Art Alexakis, Craig Montoya, and Greg Eklund.
13. Clampdown by The Clash
Song Year: 1979
This song is about a hard-working man in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who resents his boss for ordering him around and forcing him to comply with the trappings of capitalism.
The song is, in exemplary fashion for the band, a reference to repression and freedom in industrial towns.
The Clash was an English rock band known for its punk rock sound and alternative lyrics challenging the status quo. The band consists of Mich Jones, Terry Chimes, Joe Strummer, and others.