Today we have a number of songs that use the word gray, or grey, in their name. In some of them, it refers to the color. Other times it refers to a person's name, a place, or a state of mind.
Read on for the best songs with the word gray in the title.
Grey Street – Dave Matthews Band
The struggle to come out of darkness and find the light is a universal theme that most of us can understand, even if our individual experiences may differ.
Grey Street by the Dave Matthews band is about a woman in this very struggle. She needs to leave a bad place but feels stuck and sees very little light at the end of the tunnel. Still, she holds onto a bit of hope.
In this song, the color gray represents the place between darkness and light; kind of like purgatory. People may feel stuck in a place like this when dealing with depression, addiction, or other illnesses or when life throws them a series of seemingly insurmountable challenges that take years to dig out of.
It can be a relatable song for people for a myriad of reasons. And with Dave Matthews's skilled songwriting and emotional delivery, it is a beautiful piece of storytelling.
Fade to Grey – Visage
The New Wave movement was a post-punk genre that began in England in the late 1970s. While it embraced the DIY methods and non-conformist aesthetics of punk, the sound was very different. Instead of harsh, angry vocals and chaotic instrumentals, New Wave offered a smoother, electronic sound influenced by pop and disco. The genre was popular in Europe, mainly the UK, where the band Visage was born.
Their 1979 song Fade To Grey is an excellent example of the New Wave genre of the era. It sports an extended intro and leans heavily on its electronic instrumentals, with the quiet, laidback vocals taking a backseat.
The song talks about mysterious scenes, like a man sitting at a train station and looking around him with fear in his eyes and someone stepping out from a building into a dark rainy street.
The chorus says, “we fade to grey,” as though these scenes are from a movie.
The song is not necessarily about loss or breakup, but about sadness and loss of meaning in one's life.
Shades of Gray – The Monkees
American band The Monkees had several significant hits in the '60s, like “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I'm a Believer.” Their record sales were quite impressive for a group that had originally been conceived as a fictional band for a TV show. Still, their music often had a comedy streak; it was mostly upbeat. Their accompanying videos depicted them goofing around and embracing a silly image.
Their song Shades of Gray is a departure from that general lighthearted mindset. The melancholy tune talks about the disillusionment folks often experience as they grow from youth into adulthood. It explores the disappointment that happens when ideals are broken, and you realize there isn't always an easy answer to the moral questions of life.
Shades of Gray – Billy Joel
Billy Joel is celebrated as one of the best singer-songwriters in modern American music. His music blends various styles and bridges the gap between generations with its timeless sound and relatable lyrics.
Much like the Monkees' song of the same name mentioned earlier, Billy Joel's Shades of Gray is about a man experiencing a loss of his idealism.
He talks about how there used to be a clear hero and enemy, and right and wrong were easy to discern, but that increasingly, these lines are blurred, and it is not as easy to tell good from evil.
This feeling is a common theme in poetry, music, and art. As people get older, they realize that life isn't so black and white, and this realization causes discontentment and anxiety. Usually, though, the initial mental dissonance gives way to a broader view of things and a more open mind,
Shades of Gray didn't get much attention compared to the title track of the album it appeared on (River of Dreams). Still, it remains a poignant and thought-provoking song with an enduring message.
Living in the Gray – Godsmack
The band Godsmack had a string of hits on the alternative rock charts in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Massachusetts-based band's music runs toward the harder side of the rock, and their influences include Metallica, Black Sabbath, Rush, and Led Zeppelin. They're known for crafting dark, complicated songs that often address the struggles of life and the human condition. Living in Gray is no exception.
The song embraces a philosophy of being more fluid in one's views. Seeing life in “black and white” isn't always a good thing, and the narrator calls out someone who is rigid in their opinions and hypocritically criticizes others. It points out that the person in question is stubborn and cold and that their head is a “one-way street that never rhymes or reasons.”
It says that sometimes you have to “live in the gray,” meaning that you have to accept the uncertainty of some moral questions and deal with the fact that they may not be easy answers.
Fields of Gray – Bruce Hornsby
Bruce Hornsby is an American musician known for his easy-listening rock sound. Fields of Gray is a track from his 1992 album Harbor Lights. It's a song that makes you want to walk along the beach and throw all your cares away.
The lyrics are about compromise and learning to be an adult in an uncertain world. He talks about being a young man who was so confident in his views but explains that time has shown that there are multiple sides to everything. After soul-searching, he accepts the world for the field of gray that it is.
Hornsby's music has always stood out from others in his genre for its bright piano, smooth synthesizers, and syncopated beats. Hornsby's laidback vocals have a bluesy rasp that perfectly accompanies the instrumentation.
Earl Gray – Fleetwood Mac
Earl Gray by Fleetwood Mac is an instrumental song recorded in 1970 by the band while they were staying at Kiln House in the UK. It was a location the band chose as a creative space where they could temporarily live with their families while they created their music for the album.
Because Earl Gray is an instrumental, it's up to the listener to give it meaning. Its most prominent instrument is the guitar, played by Danny Kerwin. It's a hopeful, expansive tune that brings to mind rambling hillsides viewed from a car window during a road trip. It's a somewhat bluesy song with a definite hint of country twang.
It's not clear why the band decided to call the song Earl Gray. The most obvious possibility is that it was named after the famous British tea, which they probably enjoyed drinking while at Kiln House. We may never know. Either way, Earl Gray is a beautiful instrumental from a legendary band.
Wrapped in Gray – XTC
Wrapped Up In Gray is a song by the British rock band XTC. This piece is sometimes categorized as “chamber pop” because it incorporates elements of chamber music with pop and rock. It's difficult to define this song simply as ‘rock'; it's a soft, piano-based number with deep, meaningful lyrics.
The lyrics talk about how some people view the world as a drag, colorless place, and they allow this view to make their lives dull and sad. They go on to remind listeners that life is a “big box of paint” and that it's time to wake up and make their own beautiful, colorful life. In other words, don't get “wrapped in gray.”
The 1992 release may not have reached mainstream popularity on our shores, but Wrapped in Gray is a well-written and beautifully-composed song about making the most of life.
Blue Red And Grey – The Who
Many of us are used to The Who's robust rock numbers, filled with blasting electric guitars and rolling drums. Blue Red And Grey are the opposite of the band's usual style. It's a quietly joyous acoustic song with a ukulele as the primary instrument and Pete Townsend using a soothing folk style on the vocals.
The lyrics are upbeat and happy, describing how the narrator “likes every minute of the day. They talk about how some people wake up on the wrong side of the bed and can't recognize the wonder around them. In contrast, others choose instead to see the good in everything and embrace the world's beauty.
This sweet, life-affirming song inspires you to see the brighter side of life no matter what mood you woke up in.
Sun Shines Gray – Steve Perry
Steve Perry is a rock icon whose powerful voice has moved the hearts of fans since his days in the band Journey. As a solo artist, he's stayed true to his gift of making emotionally stirring music that speaks to the soul. Sun Shines Gray is no exception.
The heartbreaking lyrics describe the pain of losing someone you love. He sings that the “winds of their memories have gone away” and that the sun shines gray because they're no longer with him.
Other lyrics, like those stating that the person leaving, should “know what they want before they go,” means this song isn't about a person who died; it's probably about the end of a relationship that was wanted by both people but that could not work for one reason or another.
For a song with melancholy lyrics, Sun Shines Gray has a surprisingly optimistic-sounding melody, with a soaring rock guitar and powerful drums.
Cold Gray Light of Gone – Vince Gill
Losing a loved one is a common theme in popular music, particularly in the country genre. Country megastar Vince Gill is well-known for the song Go Rest High On That Mountain, a tribute he wrote for a friend who passed away. But that's not his only song about saying goodbye.
This song isn't about death; it's about realizing a partner has left and isn't returning. It talks about the feeling of emptiness in the house when someone you've lived with for a long time leaves you. The narrator talks about laying on his ex's side of the bed, smelling her perfume, and staring at the kitchen chair where she once sat.
Gill is accompanied by the legendary bluegrass musician Del McCourry and his band on this song. They lend the piece an extra layer of heartbreak with their masterful musicianship and mournful backup vocals.
Charcoal Gray – Liam The Younger
Indie rocker and artist Liam the Younger wrote this song about not just any color gray, specifically charcoal gray. He seems to enjoy the beauty of gray, and he embraces it with vigor. He sings about the color being stuck in his mind, but the song has an upbeat punk tune, so it doesn't seem like he's bothered by being in this “gray” mindset.
Goodbye Dolly Gray – John Edmund
Unlike other songs on this list, Goodbye Dolly Gray was not written within the last hundred years. Penned in 1901, the piece was made popular during the Boer War in South Africa. It's about a man going off to war and saying goodbye to the lady in his life.
The lyrics tell the story of his initial farewell to his beloved and eventually describe him saying goodbye to her again from afar as he dies on the battlefield. It's a sad song, but the tune isn't a slow dirge; it's a brave, boisterous military match. It speaks of love and loss but also about a man's dedication to his country and willingness to sacrifice everything for his nation.
Grey Day – Madness
Many Americans aren't aware of the British ska band Madness. They were formed in 1976 in the London area and became popular around the UK during the ensuing years. Their song, Grey Day, is one of their fans' favorites.
The two-tone song describes a bleak, monotonous day in the life of an average man. The narrator wakes up feeling like he's been beaten because he worked so hard the day before, but he has to carry on and do it all again the next day and the next.
Although the song is relatively upbeat, beat-wise, the lyrics describe the maddening feeling of being caught in the rat race of life, where everything is gray and repetitive.
Mrs. Gray – Honeywire
Ms. Gray is a song about pining for someone you have deep passionate feelings for. The narrator describes his desire to be with the object of his affection and to sink into her gray eyes.
The steady, sexy, 80s-inspired beat is the perfect backdrop for this song because it highlights the driving need behind the lyrics.
Molly Gray-Little Terry, AKA The Bairn
Sometimes, people go out looking for love and go a bit overboard, getting involved in multiple bad or temporary relationships or getting involved with the wrong partners repeatedly. The song Molly Gray, by British artist Little Terry, addresses this issue.
It tells the story of a woman who goes out every night to get drunk and “throw her arms around some no good rude boy”. He feels that because she's an older woman, she should know better and change her ways.
Later in the song, we learn that Moly is the narrator's ex-wife. This can explain the song's bitter verbal jabs about her age and looks. Perhaps the narrator should just move on with his life and let Molly live hers. It's up to the listener to decide!
Andy Gray – Jaws the Shark
Jaws the Shark (real name Olly Bailey) is a British artist who was influenced by Nirvana, The Kills, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. His unique rock sound is apparent in Andy Gray, a song about a man who had some trouble managing fame.
The song tells the story of a public figure who “looked pretty great on the widescreen telly.” Everything seemed to be going well for this man until he made a big mistake. He made rude, sexist remarks while acting as a commentator on a sports game and got himself fired.
Based on actual events, the song reminds us of how delicate fame can be. One minute you can be riding high; the next, your whole career can be in the trash. It tells people why it's essential to mind your words and treat people respectfully on the job or risk the consequences.
Best Songs With The Word Gray In The Title, Final Thoughts
Songs with the word gray in the title can be hard to find. Can you think of more songs that mention the word gray?