29 Best Songs About Tattoos

Tattoos have come a long way since they were only found on sailors and those more irresponsible members of society. These days, teachers, bankers, and doctors have them too. So it’s no surprise that many musicians have written lyrics about them, right?

Here are the best songs about tattoos of all time.

1. “Rose Tattoo” by Dropkick Murphys

Song Year: 2012

If you ever come across the phrase “Celtic punk,” you almost certainly automatically think of Dropkick Murphys. The band delivers that Celtic punk with “Rose Tattoo,” a song with a narrator proclaiming with words and with ink his devotion.

He lists off the tattoos he has, but always returns to the one of a rose tattoo, which he got for someone he loves— the person to whom the song is directed.

2. “Tattoo” by Jordin Sparks

Song Year: 2007

The second single from Sparks’ self-titled debut album, “Tattoo” made it to the number-eight spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s a pop ballad about the pain of a broken heart and the lingering memories of a lost love.

The lyrics tattoo in question isn’t one the narrator has but is instead a metaphor for the good and bad memories of a lost relationship that stay with us, permanent reminders of something from our past.

3. “Ink” by Coldplay

Song Year: 2014

Coldplay’s Ghost Stories debuted at the top spot on the Billboard charts, and while “Ink” wasn’t released as a single, it got a lot of listens by virtue of being part of that album.

It’s closer to being a ballad than much of the band’s other material and finds frontman Chris Martin singing from the point of view of a man searching for love and his place in the world.

4. “Ink My Whole Body” by Wiz Khalifa

Song Year: 2008

“Ink My Whole Body” is an early piece from Wiz Khalifa, and while it didn’t storm the charts, it helped the rapper make a name for himself in the rap scene.

It celebrates tattoos and finds Khalifa announcing his desire to ink his whole body as a way of expressing himself and his identity. This one isn’t for kids, though, even if you are okay with your kids getting tats. There’s salty language and plenty of references to myriad adult activities.

5. “Tattoo On a Sunburn” by Luke Combs

Song Year: 2017

This One’s for You went to number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and it contained the bittersweet “Tattoo On a Sunburn,” a country ballad about past love and the memories the narrator has from it.

Summer romance is a singular thing, and the best (and also most painful) are the ones that burn hot and fast and leave a lasting scar. The pain the narrator feels in the wake of the loss is bad enough that it hurts as much as getting a tattoo on sunburned skin. Ouch.

6. “Tattoo” by The Who

Song Year: 1967

The Who Sell Out nearly made it into the top 50 on the Billboard 200 chart, so the band certainly had more successful albums. Still, it’s a solid piece of work from a reliably shin-kicking band.

“Tattoo” has a catchy riff and the signature shouted singing from frontman Roger Daltrey. The song tells the tale of a man who gets a tattoo to impress a girl but soon regrets his decision. It’s decidedly derisive of the idea of tattoos as a form of rebellion, and it makes fun of people who think a little ink makes them into something new.

7. “Tattoos on This Town” by Jason Aldean

Song Year: 2010

Jason Aldean scored a number-two hit with “Tattoos on This Town,” a song about leaving one’s mark on the past. The tattoos the narrator left on his hometown aren’t literal, but they’re there nonetheless, whether it’s a rope swing he and his childhood friend built or the tales of their adventures.

The town, the narrator says, left a mark on him and his friends by molding them into the adults they became, but they also marked the town for their presence in it.

8. “Tattooed Heart” by Ariana Grande

Song Year: 2013

“Tattooed Heart” is a good old-fashioned love song. In the first verse, Ariana Grande refers to going steady and how that phrase is from the 1950s. The song itself has some elements of music from that era, driving the point home.

The narrator wants the one she loves to have her name tattooed on his heart, metaphorically speaking. Grande has a glorious voice and astounding control, and both get displayed in this song. It may seem like a throwaway pop song, but her performance is anything but.

9. “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett

Song Year: 1977

While “Margaritaville” isn’t exclusively about tattoos, a tattoo figures prominently in the song's events. From the album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, the song reached the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remains one of Buffett's most well-known songs.

It’s a laid-back song about a man who has lost his salt shaker, but it’s also a cautionary tale regarding living without regard for future plans. The tattoo the narrator ends up with isn’t anything he even remembers getting, so living in Margaritaville and searching for a salt shaker has begun to take its toll.

10. “Like a Tattoo” by Sade

Song Year: 1992

“Like a Tattoo” came from a chance meeting Sade had with a Vietnam veteran. He ended up sharing some of his harrowing experiences, and the singer wrote “Like a Tattoo” to process some of the stories she heard.

Like other songs on this list, “Like a Tattoo” uses inked art as a figure of speech to make a point about the permanence of things that happen to us. The traumatic experiences the man endured marked him, leaving lasting marks on his psyche and soul. Listening to the song, you get the feeling that the man’s stories left scars of their own on the narrator.

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