We often associate the color white with the idea of purity or innocence. It can also evoke goodness, cleanliness, or a sensation of fulfillment. It's a recurring color in art, architecture, and fashion, and it's no surprise to see that so many artists used this color to write memorable songs.
Here are the most well-known songs with white in the title.
“Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues
Song year: 1967
“Nights in White Satin” is a prime example of how innovations in audio engineering were opening new possibilities for artists of the time. To this day, the track feels unique and powerful with its slow melody, evocative words, and orchestral ending.
The song experienced moderate success after its initial release but wouldn’t become a top hit until a second single was released in 1972.
“White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
Song year: 1967
Few songs are as representative of psychedelic rock as “White Rabbit.” The song takes its inspiration from the classic children's book Alice in Wonderland, which Disney adapted in 1951.
In the story, Alice discovers a whimsical and a times scary world after following a white rabbit. The song uses drug-related imagery to create a parallel between curiosity, exploration, and substance use.
“Black or White” by Michael Jackson
Song year: 1991
With “Black or White,” Michael Jackson released a catchy pop track that stayed at the top of the U.S. charts for six weeks. The music video release featuring Macaulay Culkin broke some audience records for MTV and other channels.
The lyrics sound like a classic pop song at times, but Michael Jackson made a powerful statement by including references to the KKK and racial conflicts in this song.
“Black Tie White Noise” by David Bowie
Song year: 1993
“Black Tie White Noise” is a sophisticated tune from David Bowie with some thought-provoking lyrics. It also marks the beginning of a new era where Bowie started incorporating electronic and hip-hop influences in his work.
Like the rest of the album, this song invites the listener to reflect on racial harmony following the 1991 L.A. riots.
“White Light \ White Heat” by The Velvet Underground
Song year: 1968
The Velvet Underground was an experimental rock band featuring Loud Reed on vocals. With “White Light \ White Heat,” the band used the color white to evoke the idea of overstimulation of the senses.
The song also includes transgressive lyrics about matricide and reflects the band’s experimental style, often referencing topics considered shocking or taboo in the 60s.
“White Room” by Cream
Song year: 1968
“White Room” is a memorable song from the 60s with Eric Clapton’s unmistakable guitar playing and its unique use of the viola and wah-wah pedal.
The lyrics tell the story of a man who finds himself alone after a loved one leaves. The white room symbolizes emptiness, and the song uses other colors to create vivid imagery that contrasts with the hopeless feeling of the white room.
“White Tee” by Lil Peep
Song year: 2016
“White Tee” comes from a self-released mixtape that features rappers Lil Peep and Lil Tracy. The song belongs to the rap genre, but it borrows elements from emo music to create the sound that would make Lil Peep a unique rapper.
The song is about a painful breakup, and the white tee symbolizes peace of mind as the singer moves on.
“White Riot” by The Clash
Song year: 1977
This powerful alternative punk song from the Clash was the band’s first single and introduced the UK and the rest of the world to their rebellious stance.
The band wrote “White Riot” after witnessing a riot at the Notting Hill Carnival. They explained that the lyrics encouraged white youth to stand up against police brutality and support minorities targeted by police bias.
“White Wedding” by Billy Idol
Song year: 1982
This upbeat and catchy rock song remains one of Billy Idol’s most recognizable hits. The lyrics use the color white to evoke the idea of purity. The song tells a story about the singer's girlfriend who is leaving him and getting married in a traditional white wedding ceremony even though she is not a virgin.
“White Innocence” by Jethro Tull
Song year: 1991
White Innocence is a relatively late entry in the Jethro Tull catalog, but it proved that the band could still produce beautiful music.
This song tells the story of a young hitchhiker who causes the singer to experience temptation or possibly fall in love. Still, her white innocence creates an impression of purity throughout the song.
“White Shadows” by Coldplay
Song year: 2005
Coldplay’s song “White Shadows” creates a vivid image with its title that sounds like a contradiction. However, the lyrics are deep and meaningful.
There are possible interpretations, but most people agree that the song reminds us of how small and insignificant we are when compared to the universe or humanity as a whole.
“White Ferrari” by Frank Ocean
Song year: 2016
“White Ferrari” is a tale about a past relationship in which the singer reminisces about the precious moments he shared with his love in a white Ferrari.
The introspective lyrics paint a happy relationship before showing how the two lovers drift apart. The white Ferrari might be a symbol of the simplicity of the early days of the relationship.
“Into White” by Cat Stevens
Song year: 1970
With “Into White,” Cat Stevens takes his inspiration from folk music and traditional children’s songs. The apparent simplicity of the melody and lyrics makes the song easy to listen to, but it also creates an impression of beauty.
It’s undeniably one of the songs with white in the title that uses this color as a symbol of simplicity and tranquility.
“Great White Hope” by Styx
Song year: 1978
“Great White Hope” was one of the title tracks featured on Styx’s 1978 album Pieces of Eight. The song wasn’t as popular as hits like “Renegade,” but it’s a noteworthy tune that illustrates the band’s conceptual approach to music.
The lyrics evoke youth and going after one’s dreams despite everyone expressing doubt. The great white hope is a pure image that evokes a blank page since the character hasn’t accomplished their dream yet.
“Ride a White Horse” by Goldfrapp
Song year: 2005
This song features Goldfrapp’s unique mix of synthetic pop and EDM to create a catchy dance tune. While some argue that the white horse from this hit song is a metaphor for cocaine, some listeners feel that the lyrics use the image of a white horse to express the idea of freedom.
“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby
Song year: 1942
With covers from artists like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Elvis, or more recent interpretations from Destiny’s Child or Taylor Swift, “White Christmas” remains a classic holiday song.
The Bing Crosby version is still the best-selling Christmas song of all time, but the lyrics actually have a sad meaning since composer Irving Berlin wrote the song in memory of his son, who passed on Christmas day.
“White Flag” by Dido
Song year: 2003
This beautiful love song from the early 2000s tells the story of a real-life breakup. After seven years together, Dido’s fiancé broke up their engagement. The song expresses Dido’s feelings of longing and regret and won the 2004 Brit Award for Best Single.
It’s one of the most recognizable songs about white, and Dido used the traditional symbol of a white flag to express the fact that she's not ready to surrender and wants to keep fighting for the love she lost.
“Billy Bones and the White Bird” by Elton John
Song year: 1975
This lesser-known track from Elton John comes from his tenth album Rock of the Westies. It’s the last album that topped the charts in the U.S., and it features an intriguing mix of soft rock and the artist’s signature piano playing.
In “Billy Bones and the White Bird,” Elton John sings about a sailor who wonders who will take his ship, the White Bird, home. The song echoes traditional sailor songs in its themes.
“White Boyz” by Snoop Dogg
Song year: 1999
“White Boyz” is a catchy rap tune that illustrates Snoop Dogg’s unique way with words and rhymes. The song reminds listeners of Snoop Dogg’s successful career, and the message is that white rappers can’t compete with African American artists.
The song came out as part of the soundtrack for the movie Whiteboyz, a comedy that follows white teens who love gangsta rap culture, but it also follows the release of Eminem's hit album The Slim Shady LP by five months.
“White Heat” by Madonna
Song year: 1986
In “White Heat,” Madonna paints the picture of a passionate love affair. The title is a reference to the 1949 James Cagney movie of the same name, and the lyrics also use lines from the movie.
The song is part of her third album, True Blue, another work that uses the name of a color and continues to be a staple of pop music from the late 80s and early 90s.
“White Lines (Don’t Do It)” by Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel
Song year: 1983
“White Lines” was a moderately successful song by rappers Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel. The song was originally an upbeat track about partying and using drugs, but the studio interfered and requested that the song have a different message.
The rappers changed the lyrics to warn listeners about drugs and addiction while making a powerful statement about the justice system's racial bias.
“White Car” by Yes
Song year: 1980
“White Car” is an intriguing song on the band’s tenth studio album, Drama. The song is short, and the lyrics describe a worrying figure that drives a white car.
Some fans see a connection with a white car that Ted Bundy drove. The serial killer’s arrest occurred only two years before this song came out. However, it's possible that the song uses abstract lyrics to discuss dreams that never come through, a recurring theme throughout the album.
“Pretty Fly for a White Guy” by The Offspring
Song year: 1998
This upbeat alternative rock track was a huge hit for The Offspring. The song is a commentary on the prevalence of the gangsta rap genre and how an entire generation of white youths adopted codes associated with African-American culture.
The band explained that they didn’t write the song to criticize anyone but rather to poke fun at wannabes and poseurs.
“White Teeth Teens” by Lorde
Song year: 2013
“White Teeth Teens” is a soulful and introspective song where Lorde uses the image of white teeth teens to describe young people that others perceive as perfect and successful before explaining that she's not one of them.
The song touches on important issues that affect teens, like body image, the pressure to fit in, and comparing oneself to others.
“White Horse” by Taylor Swift
Song year: 2008
“White Horse” is a powerful song that tells the story of a girl who realizes the difference between her dreams and reality after a breakup.
The image of the white horse keeps coming back in the lyrics and evokes childhood and fairy tales. It creates a stark contrast with reality. It’s one of the songs with white in the title that uses this color to evoke pureness and simplicity.
“Black and White” by Niall Horan
Song year: 2020
Niall Horan tells an uplifting love story with “Black and White.” He describes the early stages of a relationship before talking about how he can see himself growing old with his new love. The title refers to the black and white photographs he envisions when thinking of their life together.
The song did well in the charts and even appeared in the TV special One World: Together at Home, produced during the pandemic.
“White Knuckles” by OK Go
Song year: 2010
“White Knuckles” comes from Ok Go's third album, Of the Blue Color of the Sky. This album remains their most popular release in the U.S.
The song uses the image of white knuckles to evoke feelings of anger or frustration. The lyrics address a person experiencing these negative emotions and encourage them to let go of these feelings.
“White America” by Eminem
Song year: 2002
Eminem’s rise to stardom led to criticism that raised concerns regarding the rapper’s negative influence on teenagers, especially white suburban youths.
With “White America,” Eminem addresses these criticisms and draws attention to the hypocrisy of society. The song also makes a valid point about the issue of freedom of speech and comments on how his ethnicity contributed to his success as a rapper.
“White Shadow” by Peter Gabriel
Song year: 1978
“White Shadow” is an intriguing song that combines abstract images with a memorable chord progression. It’s a lesser-known song from Peter Gabriel, but it represents the artist’s ability to create melodies that infuse a song with a unique atmosphere.
The white shadow described in the song is a mysterious figure that seems to appear in the middle of the night. The song features other references to images that feel supernatural.
“White Man’z World” by 2Pac
Song year: 1996
“White Man’z World” is a politically engaged rap song that denounces racial inequalities. 2Pac’s lyrics inspire listeners to stand up against privileges and an unjust system while carrying a positive message of hope and togetherness.
The rapper recorded this song only two months before his death, and it appeared on a posthumous album.
“White Rose” by Toby Keith
Song year: 2007
“White Rose” is a poetic song about an abandoned gas station. The lyrics look back on the past and tell a story about how this place used to be a local meeting spot for young people.
The song creates a powerful contrast by describing the abandoned place and showing how time has passed. The white rose is a symbol of a simpler time and innocence.
“Mr. Red White and Blue” by Coffey Anderson
Song year: 2012
Behind this patriotic title, “Mr. Red White and Blue” is a thought-provoking song about fallen soldiers and the reasons why they decided to sacrifice everything for their country.
The song was part of Coffey Anderson’s 2012 album Boots & Jeans, but it’s more recognizable as a song featured in TikTok videos.
“White Dove” by The Stanley Brothers
Song year: 1959
“White Dove” is a traditional folk song that tells a tragic story about orphans who keep on living after losing their parents.
The white dove is a reference to the religious symbol and echoes other mentions of angels and the afterlife in the lyrics. It also evokes the idea of purity and nostalgia for simpler times when the family was together.
“The Ballad of Donald White” by Bob Dylan
Song year: 1962
Bob Dylan performed this unusual song twice in the 60s before abandoning it. “The Ballad of Donald White” echoes traditional folk songs, but Dylan put his own spin on the song by creating a ballad that tells the story of a murderer.
The song shares the perspective of a murderer on death row and discusses how society failed him. The lyrics also include a subtle criticism of the justice system.
“Red White and Bluegrass” by Red White and Blue(Grass)
Song year: 1977
This fun and upbeat song is about celebrating bluegrass music. The title is a play on words that associates the bluegrass genre with the American flag to show how this type of music is part of American culture.
The original band behind this song used the song title as a band name since it was their most recognizable creation, but most listeners are more familiar with the Dolly Parton cover.
“Pink + White” by Frank Ocean
Song year: 2016
In “Pink + White,” Frank Ocean writes an emotional and deeply personal song. The lyrics evoke a sense of loss and longing. They also feature striking imagery, including a pink and white sky. The message of the song is that we can't always control change.
The song features a surprise cameo from Beyonce and made it into the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
“Snow White Queen” by Evanescence
Song year: 2006
While the title refers to the classic Snow White story, the song comes from singer Amy Lee's personal experience with a stalker.
The lyrics tell the story of obsessive love and act as a dialogue between the victim and her stalker. The use of the color white represents the pure and idealistic view of the victim the stalker has developed.
Songs With White In The Title, Final Thoughts
The songs with white in the title belong to a wide range of genres and exemplify the myriad of ways in which artists use color and symbols to tell stories, from racial topics to the idea of simplicity or purity.
This list of songs is only a small sample of the works that mention the color white since it's a common symbol that many artists have used.