- 1. Dirty Water – The Standells
- 2. Boston – Augustana
- 3. I’m Shipping Up to Boston – Dropkick Murphys
- 4. Roadrunner – The Modern Lovers
- 5. Boston – Kenny Chesney
- 6. Midnight Rambler – The Rolling Stones
- 7. Please Come to Boston – Dave Loggins
- 8. Boston Rose – Wolfe Tones
- 9. M.T.A. – The Kingston Trio
- 10. So Good (The Boston Song) – Dis Vincent
- 11. Ladies of Cambridge – Vampire Weekend
- 12. Rock & Roll Band – Boston
- 13. Boston – Alec Chambers and Sammy Adams
- 14. I Want My City Back – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
- 15. Southie Is My Home Town – Misc Irish
- 16. Boston – The Dresden Dolls
- 17. The Boston Rag – Steely Dan
- 18. Normal Town – Better Than Ezra
Boston, also known as “The City on a Hill,” is a vibrant and historic metropolis that has inspired countless artists and musicians over the years. From the legendary rock band Boston to the folk-inspired tunes of The Kingston Trio, the city has played a central role in the music industry and has produced some of the most iconic songs in American music history.
The 18 songs about Boston featured in this collection offer a diverse and eclectic mix of musical styles and genres, ranging from classic rock and folk to punk and jazz. Some of the songs, such as “Dirty Water” by The Standells and “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys, celebrate the city’s vibrant and irreverent spirit, while others, like “Please Come to Boston” by Dave Loggins and “Boston Rose” by Wolfe Tones, offer a more sentimental and nostalgic view of the city.
Other songs, such as “Midnight Rambler” by The Rolling Stones and “Normal Town” by Better Than Ezra, explore the darker and more complex aspects of life in Boston, touching on themes of loss, loneliness, and disillusionment. Whether joyful or melancholic, these songs all capture something essential and unique about the city and its people, offering a rich and multifaceted portrait of Boston and its place in American culture.
1. Dirty Water – The Standells
“Dirty Water” by The Standells is a classic rock tune that was released in 1966. The song has a catchy melody and features gritty vocals, driving guitars, and a pounding beat. The lyrics describe the band’s love-hate relationship with Boston, referencing the city’s polluted Charles River and celebrating its rowdy nightlife. “Dirty Water” has since become an anthem for Boston sports teams and is often played at Fenway Park during Red Sox games.
2. Boston – Augustana
“Boston” by Augustana is an indie rock ballad released in 2005. The song features a melancholy piano melody, emotive vocals, and introspective lyrics about leaving home and finding one’s way in the world. The song was a commercial success, reaching the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming a staple on adult contemporary radio. “Boston” has been praised for its relatable lyrics and has become a nostalgic anthem for young adults navigating the challenges of growing up and leaving home.
3. I’m Shipping Up to Boston – Dropkick Murphys
“I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by Dropkick Murphys is a high-energy punk rock song released in 2005. The song features driving guitar riffs, pounding drums, and a memorable accordion melody. The lyrics, which are based on an old sailor’s prayer, describe a sailor’s journey to Boston to find his lost leg. The song gained widespread popularity after it was featured in the 2006 Martin Scorsese film “The Departed” and has become a staple of the band’s live shows.
4. Roadrunner – The Modern Lovers
“Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers is a protopunk anthem released in 1976. The song features a simple but infectious guitar riff, laid-back vocals, and stream-of-consciousness lyrics about driving around Boston and listening to the radio. The song has been praised for its minimalist sound and relatable lyrics about the joys of cruising around town in a car. “Roadrunner” has become a cult classic and has been covered by numerous artists, including Jonathan Richman (who wrote the song) and The Sex Pistols.
5. Boston – Kenny Chesney
“Boston” by Kenny Chesney is a country-pop song released in 2018. The song features upbeat acoustic guitar and banjo, and Chesney’s distinctive twangy vocals. The lyrics describe a woman named Boston who is the singer’s “only one.” The song is a love letter to the city of Boston and has been praised for its catchy melody and Chesney’s heartfelt delivery. “Boston” has become a fan favorite at Chesney’s concerts and has been embraced by Bostonians as a tribute to their city.
6. Midnight Rambler – The Rolling Stones
“Midnight Rambler” by The Rolling Stones is a blues-rock classic released in 1969. The song features a dark, menacing guitar riff, and frontman Mick Jagger’s aggressive vocals. The lyrics tell the story of a serial killer on the loose, with Jagger adopting the persona of the killer himself. “Midnight Rambler” has been praised for its raw energy and intense, almost primal quality. The song has become a staple of The Rolling Stones’ live shows and is widely regarded as one of the band’s greatest tracks.
7. Please Come to Boston – Dave Loggins
“Please Come to Boston” by Dave Loggins is a soft rock ballad released in 1974. The song features Loggins’ gentle vocals, acoustic guitar, and a simple but memorable melody. The lyrics describe a man’s plea to his lover to join him in Boston and start a new life together. “Please Come to Boston” has become a romantic classic and has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including Joan Baez and Reba McEntire.
8. Boston Rose – Wolfe Tones
“Boston Rose” by Wolfe Tones is an Irish folk ballad that tells the story of a young woman who leaves Ireland for Boston. The song features traditional Irish instrumentation, including fiddle and accordion, and the lyrics are sung in a mournful, nostalgic tone. The song has become a staple of Irish folk music and has been covered by numerous artists over the years. “Boston Rose” is a tribute to the many Irish immigrants who left their homeland to start a new life in America.
9. M.T.A. – The Kingston Trio
“M.T.A.” by The Kingston Trio is a folk song released in 1959. The song tells the story of a man named Charlie who gets trapped on the Boston subway system because he doesn’t have enough money to exit the train. The song features catchy vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, and a memorable chorus that has become a folk music classic. “M.T.A.” has been covered by numerous artists over the years and has become a beloved part of Boston’s musical heritage.
10. So Good (The Boston Song) – Dis Vincent
“So Good (The Boston Song)” by Dis Vincent is a pop song released in 2018. The song features upbeat electronic instrumentation, auto-tuned vocals, and lyrics that pay tribute to the city of Boston. The chorus features the repeated refrain “Boston, you’re so good to me,” and the song has a celebratory, upbeat vibe. “So Good (The Boston Song)” has become a popular anthem for Bostonians and has been played at sporting events and other public gatherings in the city.
11. Ladies of Cambridge – Vampire Weekend
“Ladies of Cambridge” by Vampire Weekend is an indie rock song released in 2013. The song features the band’s signature blend of indie rock and world music influences, with catchy guitar riffs and infectious rhythms. The lyrics describe the singer’s experiences with the “ladies of Cambridge,” a reference to the city in Massachusetts known for its prestigious universities. “Ladies of Cambridge” has been praised for its catchy melody and witty lyrics and has become a fan favorite among Vampire Weekend’s fans.
12. Rock & Roll Band – Boston
“Rock & Roll Band” by Boston is a classic rock song released in 1976. The song features soaring guitar riffs, driving drums, and the powerful vocals of frontman Brad Delp. The lyrics describe the band’s early days playing in small clubs and dreaming of becoming a rock & roll band. “Rock & Roll Band” has become a classic rock staple and has been covered by numerous artists over the years. The song is a tribute to the power of rock & roll music and the dreams that inspire musicians to pursue their passion.
13. Boston – Alec Chambers and Sammy Adams
“Boston” by Alec Chambers and Sammy Adams is a pop/hip-hop song released in 2019. The song features upbeat production, catchy melodies, and the rapped verses of Sammy Adams. The lyrics celebrate the city of Boston and its unique culture, with references to Fenway Park, the Boston Marathon, and other local landmarks. “Boston” has become a popular anthem for the city and has been played at sporting events and other public gatherings.
14. I Want My City Back – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
“I Want My City Back” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones is a ska punk song released in 2009. The song features the band’s signature horn section, driving rhythm section, and the powerful vocals of frontman Dicky Barrett. The lyrics describe the singer’s frustration with the changes taking place in the city of Boston and his desire to reclaim the city’s identity. “I Want My City Back” has become a fan favorite among Bosstones fans and is a testament to the band’s love for their hometown.
15. Southie Is My Home Town – Misc Irish
“Southie Is My Home Town” by Misc Irish is a traditional Irish folk song that celebrates the South Boston neighborhood of Boston. The song features acoustic instrumentation and group vocals, with lyrics that describe the beauty and character of the neighborhood. “Southie Is My Home Town” is a nostalgic ode to the singer’s childhood and the tight-knit community that he grew up in.
16. Boston – The Dresden Dolls
Boston” by The Dresden Dolls is a piano-driven rock song released in 2000. The song features the distinctive vocals of Amanda Palmer and the theatrical instrumentation of drummer Brian Viglione. The lyrics describe the singer’s love-hate relationship with the city of Boston, with references to the city’s history, culture, and politics. “Boston” has become a fan favorite among Dresden Dolls fans and is a testament to the band’s unique blend of punk, cabaret, and classical influences.
17. The Boston Rag – Steely Dan
“The Boston Rag” by Steely Dan is a jazz rock song released in 1973. The song features the smooth vocals of Donald Fagen and the intricate musicianship of the band’s members. The lyrics describe a protagonist who has lost his way in Boston and is searching for redemption. “The Boston Rag” is a testament to Steely Dan’s unique blend of jazz, rock, and pop influences and remains a fan favorite among the band’s dedicated followers.
18. Normal Town – Better Than Ezra
“Normal Town” by Better Than Ezra is an alternative rock song released in 1996. The song features the band’s signature guitar-driven sound and the emotive vocals of frontman Kevin Griffin. The lyrics describe a small town in Louisiana and the protagonist’s longing for escape and adventure. “Normal Town” is a powerful anthem for anyone who has ever felt trapped in a small town and yearned for something more. The song remains a staple of 90s alternative rock radio and a fan favorite among Better Than Ezra fans.