In music, certain names echo louder than others. And one that has consistently resonated with artists across the decades and genres is the lovely, enduring ‘Mary.’ Here is a curated list of 20 such songs that feature Mary in their titles.
Some are ballads of love, longing, and loss while others are joyous tributes to her charm. Some also use the name as an allegory while others celebrate a real-life Mary. We’ve put together a playlist of 20 outstanding songs that pay tribute to this eternally captivating muse – ‘Mary.’
- 1. “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
- 2. “Take a Message to Mary” by Everly Brothers
- 3. “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix
- 4. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
- 5. “Mary, Don’t You Weep” by Aretha Franklin
- 6. “Sweet Lady Mary” by Faces
- 7. “Mary” by Kings of Leon
- 8. “Mary Long” by Deep Purple
- 9. “Now Mary” by The White Stripes
- 10. “Cross Eyed Mary” by Jethro Tull
- 11. “The Thoughts Of Mary Jane” by Nick Drake
- 12. “Mary Of The Wild Moor” by Johnny Cash
- 13. “Mary Goes ‘Round” by Mr. Big
- 14. “Mary from the Dairy” by Max Miller
- 15. “Cousin Mary” by John Coltrane
- 16. “Mary of Silence” by Mazzy Star
- 17. “Old Mary” by The Dead Weather
- 18. “Blind Mary” by Gnarls Barkley
- 19. “Ave Mary A” by P!nk
- 20. “If My Mary Were Here” by Harry Chapin
- Final Thoughts
1. “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Spin back to the late ’60s, where you’ll find John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival cooking up a musical storm with “Proud Mary.” This chart-topping hit graced their second album, Bayou Country, and painted a compelling tale of a hard-working washerwoman named Mary. It climbed to a staggering #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, sparking a flurry of covers due to its soaring popularity.
2. “Take a Message to Mary” by Everly Brothers
Cue the classic crooners, The Everly Brothers, who in the late ’50s, released “Take a Message to Mary.” This nostalgic number took listeners on a poignant journey of love and sacrifice. Charting for 13 weeks on the Billboard and hitting a sweet spot on the Canada CHUM Hit Parade, this tune became an unforgettable piece of the ’50s musical mosaic.
3. “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix
Enter the legendary Jimi Hendrix. Unleashed in the late ’60s, “The Wind Cries Mary” was an emotional, soul-stirring masterpiece, written after a spat with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham, whose middle name was Mary. This iconic number has since lived on, covered by greats like Jamie Cullum, Richie Sambora, Sting, and John Mayer, cementing its place in music history.
4. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
Take a bow, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, for giving us “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” Featured on their Greatest Hits album, this infectious track told the tale of an Indiana girl on an Indiana night.
Despite originally being titled “Indiana Girl,” a change of heart led to a change of name and the rest is history. Not only did this song light up the Billboard Hot 100, but its captivating music video featuring Kim Basinger won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Male Video.
5. “Mary, Don’t You Weep” by Aretha Franklin
Next on the list is the queen of soul herself, Aretha Franklin, with “Mary, Don’t You Weep.” This gospel-infused track was a highlight from her “Amazing Grace” album, and delved into the biblical tale of Mary of Bethany pleading with Jesus to resurrect her brother Lazarus. This spiritual song offers a heartfelt glimpse into faith, love, and the timeless appeal of the name Mary.
6. “Sweet Lady Mary” by Faces
Brimming with sentimentality and soul, “Sweet Lady Mary” found its way into our hearts via Faces’ second album from the late ’70s. Rendered as a poignant ballad by the powerhouse trio – Ron Stewart, Ronnie Lane, and Ronnie Wood, this tune truly captures the essence of its era.
7. “Mary” by Kings of Leon
Next up is “Mary” from the Grammy-nominated album “Come Around Sundown” by Kings of Leon. Released in 2010, this intimate song explores the narrative of marriage and the transformative journey it brings. Fun fact? It was inspired by one of the band members taking the matrimonial plunge.
8. “Mary Long” by Deep Purple
Deep Purple didn’t hold back on the hard-hitting issues in their 1973 track “Mary Long.” Nestled within their album “Who Do We Think We Are,” this song confronts the perceived paradoxes of religion, and remains an emblematic representation of their signature sound and thought-provoking lyricism.
9. “Now Mary” by The White Stripes
From the vault of the much-beloved, now-retired duo The White Stripes, comes “Now Mary.” Featured in their 2001 album “White Blood Cells,” this song chronicles a man’s complicated relationship with a woman named Mary. The track exudes a palpable tension that leaves listeners hooked, wondering if things will ever work out between the two.
10. “Cross Eyed Mary” by Jethro Tull
“Cross Eyed Mary” takes us on an unexpected journey into the world of a schoolgirl turned prostitute, a provocative premise that only progressive rock legends Jethro Tull could pull off. Released in 1971, this track stands as a testament to the band’s fearless creativity and narrative prowess.
11. “The Thoughts Of Mary Jane” by Nick Drake
Immerse yourself in the thoughtful introspection of Nick Drake’s “The Thoughts Of Mary Jane,” nestled within his album “Five Leaves Left.” Drake’s attempt to fathom the enigmatic Mary’s thoughts crafts an aura of allure and mystery around this track.
12. “Mary Of The Wild Moor” by Johnny Cash
Legendary Johnny Cash breathes life into the timeless folk ballad “Mary Of The Wild Moor,” featured on his acclaimed album “American III: Solitary Man.” This track, released in 2000, is a testament to Cash’s ability to infuse soul and sentiment into any story he sings.
13. “Mary Goes ‘Round” by Mr. Big
Lose yourself in the poignant tale of “Mary Goes ‘Round,” a standout track by Mr. Big from their album “Actual Size.” This song sketches the bittersweet narrative of Mary, a woman tumbling from grace, desperately striving for positivity, yet destined for sorrow.
14. “Mary from the Dairy” by Max Miller
This next song is a comical song from the funny mind of Max Miller. Miller is a British comedian, and this song is about Miller who falls for a woman named Mary. This song quickly became one of his most-loved songs.
15. “Cousin Mary” by John Coltrane
“Cousin Mary” is from an album called Giant Steps released in 1960. This instrumental tribute to Coltrane’s younger cousin Mary showcases his emotive musical prowess, contributing to the album’s status as one of the most distinctive of its time.
16. “Mary of Silence” by Mazzy Star
On their early 90s album, “So Tonight That I Might See,” Mazzy Star included a song called “Mary of Silence.” The lyrics’ reference to “Oh Mary of Silence” has often been associated with images of the Virgin Mary statues in Catholic churches.
17. “Old Mary” by The Dead Weather
“Old Mary” is a track from The Dead Weather’s “Sea of Cowards” album. The song provides a thought-provoking take on humanity’s state, tackling environmental issues and presenting religious nuances.
18. “Blind Mary” by Gnarls Barkley
“Blind Mary” is part of Gnarls Barkley’s “The Odd Couple” album. The song centers around unconditional love, demonstrating how every Mary in our lives deserves unwavering affection and acceptance.
19. “Ave Mary A” by P!nk
“Ave Mary A,” featured in P!nk’s “Funhouse” album, addresses the complexities of the world today. It personifies a character named Ave Mary who observes the seemingly chaotic state of the world.
20. “If My Mary Were Here” by Harry Chapin
Harry Chapin’s 1976 track, “If My Mary Were Here,” from his album “On The Road To Kingdom Come,” narrates a poignant story of a man missing his beloved Mary, who brought serenity to his life.
These songs, featuring the name ‘Mary,’ span a range of themes, from love to the challenges of the contemporary world, reflecting the diverse experiences of life. Artists from Johnny Cash to Jimi Hendrix have used the name ‘Mary’ in their songs, showcasing their musical prowess. Whether you’re seeking solace, understanding, or simply appreciating good music, these tracks offer a worthwhile listen.