20 Songs About Philadelphia

Exploring songs about Philadelphia unveils a musical journey through the heart of the City of Brotherly Love, featuring genres that range from soulful melodies to upbeat anthems. These tracks not only celebrate the rich history and vibrant culture of Philadelphia but also highlight personal tales and cityscapes that have inspired artists across decades.

1. “Motownphilly” by Boyz II Men

“Motownphilly” by Boyz II Men is a vibrant celebration of Philadelphia’s musical heritage, blending smooth harmonies with an upbeat tempo. This track not only pays homage to the city’s soulful roots but also marks the rise of Boyz II Men, one of the most iconic groups to emerge from Philly’s music scene.

2. “Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen

“Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen offers a poignant look at the city, weaving a somber narrative that captures the essence of Philadelphia’s streets. This evocative track not only resonates with listeners for its emotional depth but also earned Springsteen an Academy Award, highlighting its impact and significance.

3. “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

“Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince is the quintessential laid-back anthem that captures the essence of summer in Philadelphia. Through Will Smith’s nostalgic lyrics, the song transports listeners to a place of warm, carefree days, making it a timeless tribute to the city’s summertime vibe.

4. “Philadelphia Freedom” by Elton John

“Philadelphia Freedom” by Elton John serves as a soaring homage to Billie Jean King and the Philadelphia Freedom tennis team, reflecting the strong bond between the artist and the city. This track showcases Elton John’s affection for Philadelphia, delivering a powerful and uplifting melody that resonates with listeners far and wide.

5. “Fall in Philadelphia” by Hall & Oates

“Fall in Philadelphia” by Hall & Oates offers a raw and gritty portrayal of the city, diverging from the often glamorized images to spotlight the genuine struggles faced by its inhabitants. With its autumnal backdrop, the track captures the challenges and resilience inherent to life in Philadelphia, making it a standout piece in Hall & Oates’ repertoire.

6. “Punk Rock Girl” by Dead Milkmen

“Punk Rock Girl” by Dead Milkmen presents a whimsical narrative of romance blooming in Philadelphia’s streets, delivered with the band’s signature punk rock flair. This track not only highlights the city’s eclectic music scene but also showcases the Dead Milkmen’s playful and irreverent approach to storytelling through music.

7. “Philadelphia” by Neil Young

“Philadelphia” by Neil Young is a soul-stirring masterpiece that delves deep into the emotional landscape of the film “Philadelphia,” using the city as a poignant backdrop to the movie’s powerful narratives. Neil Young’s heartfelt composition not only enhances the film’s impact but also stands as a moving tribute to the city’s indomitable spirit.

8. “Pennsylvania Turnpike, I Love You” by Homer and Jethro

“Pennsylvania Turnpike, I Love You” by Homer and Jethro is a humorous ode that captures the unique charm and quirks of traveling through Pennsylvania, specifically highlighting the iconic roadway into Philadelphia. This track by Homer and Jethro adds a light-hearted and affectionate perspective to the experiences of those journeying through the state, making it a memorable homage to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

9. “I-76” by G Love and Special Sauce

“I-76” by G Love and Special Sauce lays down an infectious groove that pays tribute to Interstate 76, the crucial artery that leads straight into the heart of Philadelphia. This track encapsulates the vibrant energy of the city, delivered with the band’s signature blend of alternative hip hop and bluesy rhythms, making it a standout anthem for Philly’s roads and travelers.

10. “The Theme (It’s Party Time)” by Tracey Lee

“The Theme (It’s Party Time)” by Tracey Lee is a high-energy celebration of Philadelphia’s dynamic party scene, with Tracey Lee inviting listeners to dive into the city’s vibrant nightlife. As a quintessential party anthem, the track captures the spirit of revelry and camaraderie that defines Philly after dark, making it a must-play for any festive occasion.

11. “Philly, Philly” by Eve

“Philly, Philly” by Eve offers a gritty and authentic glimpse into the heart of Philadelphia, as seen through the eyes of the city’s own rapper, Eve. This track celebrates Philadelphia’s toughness and resilience, showcasing Eve’s pride in her roots and the unbreakable spirit of the community that shaped her.

12. “Amish Paradise” by Weird Al Yankovic

“Amish Paradise” by Weird Al Yankovic is a playful parody that, although not directly about Philadelphia, humorously references Pennsylvania’s Amish country, not far from the city. With Weird Al’s signature comedic twist, the song provides a lighthearted look at Amish life while subtly nodding to the broader cultural tapestry of Pennsylvania.

13. “Gonna Fly Now” (Theme from Rocky)

“Gonna Fly Now” (Theme from Rocky) is an iconic theme song that has become synonymous with Philadelphia, especially evoking powerful images of the Rocky Steps and the city’s indomitable fighting spirit. This inspirational anthem captures the essence of perseverance and triumph, deeply resonating with audiences around the world as a symbol of overcoming challenges.

14. “Theme Song” – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air by Will Smith

“Theme Song” – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air by Will Smith introduces one of Philadelphia’s most beloved fictional characters, firmly placing the city in the global pop culture landscape. Through Will Smith’s unforgettable narrative, listeners are transported to Philly, where the story of the Fresh Prince begins, highlighting the city’s cultural significance.

15. “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show

“Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show weaves a captivating narrative that, while not exclusively centered around Philadelphia, includes a mention that aligns with the song’s journey motif. This mention effectively ties Philadelphia into a broader storytelling tapestry, illustrating the city’s role as a symbolic destination within the song’s Americana landscape.

16. “The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP)” by MFSB

“The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP)” by MFSB is a timeless classic that embodies the soulful essence of Philadelphia’s music scene, effectively defining the city’s sonic legacy. Through its smooth grooves and rich orchestrations, the track encapsulates the vibrant soul music that has become synonymous with Philadelphia, marking an indelible impact on the musical world.

17. “Sailing to Philadelphia” by Mark Knopfler featuring James Taylor

“Sailing to Philadelphia” by Mark Knopfler featuring James Taylor presents a touching narrative of travel and ambition, drawing listeners into the intertwining historical and personal journeys that lead to Philadelphia. The collaboration between Mark Knopfler and James Taylor adds a poignant depth to the song, making it a compelling tribute to the city and its significance in the characters’ quests.

18. “Allentown” by Billy Joel

“Allentown” by Billy Joel zeroes in on the neighboring city but is frequently woven into the broader economic and social narratives of Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia. The song’s poignant commentary on post-industrial decline resonates across the state, highlighting shared challenges and experiences within communities, and connecting deeply with listeners familiar with the region’s landscape.

19. “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania” by New Found Glory

“You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania” by New Found Glory captures the enduring spirit of camaraderie and belonging, themes that resonate deeply within the Philadelphia community. This track by New Found Glory serves as a reminder of the close-knit bonds and shared experiences that define the city, emphasizing the universal message of friendship and solidarity.

20. “Philadelphia Lawyer” by Woody Guthrie

“Philadelphia Lawyer” by Woody Guthrie is a narrative-driven song that unfolds a compelling story set against the backdrop of Philadelphia, showcasing Woody Guthrie’s exceptional storytelling prowess. Through the lens of country music, Guthrie paints a vivid picture of life and love, encapsulating the timeless appeal of narrative songs and their ability to transport listeners to different times and places.