Music is one of the best ways to pay homage to who or what we love, from the lovestruck teen playing a boom box outside his girlfriends window to the grandmother who feels a tear come to her eye when her wedding song comes on and reminds her of her long lost husband. Songs can be particularly evocative of particular settings, and great ways to commemorate your favorite places. Check out fifteen great songs that were written either about Pennsylvania as a whole, or about specific towns within Pennsylvania.

1. “Allentown” by Billy Joel

If you ever meet someone from Allentown and the first thing you say is “Didn’t Billy Joel write a song about your city?” know that they are inwardly (or outwardly) sighing in exasperation. The song, though it is named “Allentown” is actually about the nearby Bethlehem…

2. “Philadelphia Freedom” by Elton John

Released in 1995, “Philadelphia Freedom” was one of Elton John’s seven #1 U.S. top hits.

3. “Fall in Philadelphia” by Hall and Oates

“Fall in Philadelphia” is from Hall and Oats 1972 album, Whole Oats.

4. “Amish Paradise” by Weird Al Yankovic

Though “Amish Paradise” is not explicitly about Pennsylvania, I think we can lay claim to the song, considering that Pennsylvania has the highest Amish population in the world.

5. “Pittsburgh” by The Lemonheads

Released in 2006, this Lemonheads album was a reunion album– however, it featured none of the original members save for the lead singer, Evan Dando.

6. “Pittsburgh Sound” by Wiz Khalifa

Considering that Wiz Khalifa was born and raised in Pittsburgh, it is only fitting that he include the city in his music. “Pittsburgh Sound” is about Pittsburgh, though much of his music references locations around the city.

7. “Pittsburgh to Lebanon” by Butthole Surfers

Kurt Cobain listed this album in his top 50 albums of all time… That’s enough to make me want to listen to it, whether or not it references a Pennsylvanian city!

8. “Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen wrote the song “Streets of Phildelphia” for the 1993 movie, Philadelphia. The song went on to top the charts in many countries and win Springsteen multiple awards, including an Academy Award and four Grammy Awards.

9. “Pennsylvania” by Heart

Heart is a very prolific band– “Pennsylvania” is a song on their fifteenth studio album, Fanatic. It peaked at #24 on the Billboard album chart.

10. “Harrisburg” by Josh Ritter

The clever chorus of Ritter’s mournful song begins with the line, “It’s a long way to Heaven, it’s closer to Harrisburg.” That would make a good town slogan!

11. “Pennsylvania” by Bloodhound Gang

Bloodhound Gang is from King of Prussia, so it is only fitting that they write a song about the state.

12. “Summertime” by Will Smith

Will Smith was made famous by his role in the show, “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” but he also led a successful hip hop career. In “Summertime,” he sings, “Back in Philly we’d be out in the park
A place called the plateau is where everybody goes.”

13. “South Street” by The Orlons

The 1960’s R&B group The Orlons wrote this song about South Street, a popular hang out in Philly.

14. “Pittsburgh” by They Might Be Giants

Not only did They Might Be Giants write this song about Pittsburgh– they dedicated to a specific music venue in the city, Mr. Smalls.

15. “Pennsylvania” by Eddie Khoury and Ronnie Bonner

Finally, our state song, composed by Eddie Khoury and Ronnie Bonner. This rendition was performed in 1988 by the Men’s Chorale. It became the official state song in 1991.

What is your favorite song about our state?

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