Arizona is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the US. From arid deserts to sparkling streams and flat mesas to deep canyons, it’s a state with as much natural beauty as you’re going to find. The people, the hot weather, and the culture are also unique, helping make this state something special. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 31 best songs about Arizona that you can listen to as you cruise across the desert.
1. Take It Easy – The Eagles
Take It Easy was the first single to be released from The Eagles’ very first album, so it might be surprising that it eventually became one of their most loved songs. It’s all about relaxing and trucking on to your destination while also dealing with a little bit of romance.
The real kicker here to make it about the state is that Jackson Browne’s road trip ran right through Winslow, Arizona. It was a massive hit for The Eagles, and alongside their other releases was a track that helped turn them into a legendary band. The song was even so popular that Glenn Frey now has a statue of himself standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.
2. Arizona Skies – Los Lobos
Los Lobos themselves, but in particular, their song Arizona Skies is the perfect encapsulation of the state. Their country-rock sound ended up being the result of their experimental sixth album Kiko. This track, as well as the album itself, outperformed any of their previous work. For the most part, the song uses the beautiful Arizona skies as a metaphor, but it generally captures both the sound and enthralling nature of the state.
3. Arizona – Kings of Leon
Kings Of Leon’s song Arizona has some interesting inspiration and deals with some very complex emotions. While on a trip to the state, Nathan and Caleb Followill visited a brothel in the desert. According to the duo, they found themselves entranced by one worker in particular but felt conflicted that she was stuck in such a place. The song largely reflects the conflicting emotions they felt, as they both feel awful for her and desire her in the same breath. This track came out on their 2007 album Because Of The Times.
4. By The Time I Get to Phoenix – Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell’s version of By The Time I Get To Phoenix was the most popular one, but it was written by Jimmy Webb and recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1963. Webb wrote it about a tough breakup he went through at the age of 21, making the lyrics just as outlandish as his own thoughts during that time were. The point was to relate unrealistic distances to drive to people’s unrealistic expectations at the end of a relationship. This is something pretty much everyone who had a rough breakup in early adulthood can relate to.
5. Ocean Front Property – George Strait
Ocean Front Property is a timeless country classic from George Strait. He spends the entirety of the lyrics trying to convince the listener—and likely himself—that his recent breakup was a good thing and he’s happier for it. However, the chorus kicks in to tell us that if we believe he’s happy, he’s got some ocean-front property in Arizona to sell us.
The punch line here is that Arizona is a land-locked state with no access to the ocean, meaning we would be fools to buy either of the things he’s selling. It wound up being a number-one hit for him and remains one of the highlights of the country genre.
6. King Tut – Steve Martin
Steve Martin’s King Tut is a crazy novelty song that makes fun of the touring museum exhibit “Treasures Of Tutankhamun.” In addition to criticizing the way people profited off of the Egyptian artifacts in the exhibit, as well as Tut’s mummy, it became a worldwide one-hit-wonder. Despite the actual tomb of the pharaoh being located in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, Martin uses the Arizona deserts to make rhyming the track easier on himself and play up the funny side of the song.
7. Arizona – Rex Allen Jr.
Rex Allen Jr.’s song here is also known as I Love Arizona. If there was ever a better love letter penned for the state, I haven’t heard about it. The track serves as the unofficial state anthem, describing the beauty of the desert landscape. He loves absolutely everything about the state, from the rivers and lakes to the mountains and deserts. It’s the perfect song for anyone who lives in and loves their home state of Arizona.
8. Tune Out – The Format
Tune Out largely deals with a couple that gets bored of each other over time thanks to their constant draining routine and overall stress about life. It’s a simple thing that happens to more couples than many would like to amidst, but their story has a happy ending. Instead of cheating or leaving, the two decide to actually make things better. They sit and talk, smoke, and listen to music to switch things up and reconnect with each other. Arizona comes into play because the song talks about Highway 51 in Phoenix.
9. The Ballad of Boot Hill – Johnny Cash
The Ballad Of Boot Hill is the first of a few old West stories to make our list today. Johnny Cash’s version of the song appeared on his The Rebel – Johnny Yuma EP. The track tells the story of a 30-second shootout between Doc Holliday and a few gunmen against a group of outlaws. Carl Perkins was the original writer of the track, penning it in 1959. The story of the 1881 shootout would continue to be recorded throughout the 1900s and was a mild success for a few different artists.
10. There is No Arizona – Jamie O’Neal
Some songs have outlandish titles, but few of them are as easily fact-checked as Jamie O’Neal’s There Is No Arizona. While the state does in fact exist—we checked—she uses its non-existence as a metaphor for an unreachable dream. In it, a couple sees one partner move to Arizona and they try to keep things going long-distance. Unfortunately, this is the end of their relationship, as he disappears, leaving her thinking that Arizona simply doesn’t exist either. It wound up being a number-one single on the country charts in the US.
11. [Get Your Kicks On] Route 66 – Nat King Cole
[Get Your Kicks On] Route 66 is a timeless classic that celebrates a lot of the southwestern US. While Bobby Troup was the first to perform it, Nat King Cole’s version was the first to popularize it. The famous Route 66 is a highway stretching between Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California. It’s full of fun attractions to stop at, earning a reputation as one of the most famous road trip routes in the world.
While the interstate systems made Route 66 less convenient, it remains alive in music and American folklore. This is likely a song you’ve heard before, and while the route passes through Arizona, it isn’t an ode to just the state but more the culture of the region.
12. By The Time I Get to Arizona – Public Enemy
Public Enemy’s song By The Time I Get To Arizona is completely different from Glen Campbell’s 1965 single. Theirs was a politically-motivated hip hop track meant to protest the entire state of Arizona. According to them, the state pretends to be welcoming and nice but has major issues with racism that people there often try to hide. Chuck D. wrote the song shortly after Martin Luther King Jr. Day was repealed as a holiday in the state, providing the inspiration for what is arguably one of the best hip hop tracks of all time.
13. Send Me Down To Tucson – Mel Tillis
Mel Tillis’ single about running off to Tucson, Arizona, in the middle of summer is meant to make audiences pause and wonder why someone would be excited to go somewhere so hot. The desert heat isn’t the only warmth the narrator is getting there though, as he excitedly takes the work assignment to meet up with the woman he’s having an affair with. It’s justified in the song by that man, telling us nobody satisfies him as this woman from Arizona does, but he’s obviously still the bad guy in this situation.
14. She Is His Only Need – Wynona Judd
She Is His Only Need by Wynona Judd is a sweet country love song about a couple falling in love. Billy and Bonnie meet in a small town in Arizona, and he does everything in his power to make her happy. While he’s an average guy that one could call boring, he’s a good person that only wants the best things for her, and it ends up being enough.
15. Get Back – The Beatles
The Beatles’ song Get Back was almost released as a hostile takedown of anyone opposed to immigration, a hot-button issue in Arizona. It eventually got tweaked to be less controversial, telling the story of a couple: Jojo and Loretta.
The two want to leave where they are to find themselves, eventually seeing Jojo move to California. Loretta apparently just went outside for a bit and that did the trick, but who could argue against that in the ferocious Arizona heat, because I wouldn’t want to be outside much longer than I have to in that weather.
16. Painted Desert – Pat Benatar
The Painted Desert is a large area of badlands hills, deserts, and mesas in Arizona that looks like it’s been painted red and purple with a massive paintbrush. While beautiful, the area is incredibly isolated and far from any large city centers. Pat Benatar uses that imagery to paint a picture of isolation, sadness, and hopelessness.
17. Big Iron – Marty Robbins
Pretty much any song about the old and wild West is going to be interesting, with plenty of them happening in Arizona. Big Iron is a retelling of a fatal duel in Agua Fria, Arizona. Texas Red—a no-good scoundrel—is confronted by the Arizona Ranger, who defeats him in the duel to everyone’s surprise.
Marty Robbins’s grandfather was a Texas Ranger who enthralled him with tales of his job as he grew up, so his entire Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs album was based on those stories. This one got a resurgence in popularity in recent years thanks to social media sites like TikTok.
18. Mesa Town – Authority Zero
Mesa Town might not be the song for people from outside of Arizona to enjoy, but it sure is a great one for people who live there. Authority Zero was formed in Mesa, Arizona, and this track serves as an ode to where they came from. Most of the lyrics describe the antics the band members got up to while living there, but it also serves as an origins story for them by telling listeners how they were formed. The song is also full of references only locals will understand, specifically citing places and phrases from the city itself.
19. Surprise, AZ – Richard Buckner
Surprise, AZ is an ironic song, but it’s sadly not a happy one. Richard Buckner’s version was inspired by a newspaper article that detailed a car crash that claimed the lives of a mother and son. The completely surprising event was made ironic by the place where it occurred: Surprise, Arizona. Any sort of joke on that wouldn’t be particularly appropriate, but it was an awkward twist of fate that their surprise deaths occurred in a place named Surprise.
20. Furnace Fan – Robert Earl Keen
If there’s one thing Arizona is known for, it’s unequivocally the heat. The weather in Arizona is the hottest in the entire US, and though the humidity remains low almost all the time, temperatures well above 120 degrees Fahrenheit are just not a good time.
Furnace Fan mainly deals with that heat, but also discusses the culture of Arizona, especially the major city centers of Phoenix and Scottsdale. While many songs on here relay their love of Arizona, the narrator in this track looks at the temperature and wonders why anyone would want to live in such brutal conditions.
21. Bobby in Phoenix – Gorillaz
Bobby In Phoenix was released on Gorillaz’s album The Fall and was one of the many amazing instrumental tracks to appear on the album. The album itself was inspired by a lot of big-name places they stopped on the US portion of their World Tour, with each of the songs being recorded in that location—so this one was done in Phoenix, on an iPad no less. While an instrumental, the music video is chock full of pictures and videos they took while in Arizona.
22. Scottsdale – Chronic Future
Chronic Future’s song Scottsdale is full of angst against the trendy crowd of the Scottsdale area, but it doesn’t exclude them from that group. He knows he’s become just like them for better or worse, but he maligns that fate and is fed up with just about everything. It also helps that Chronic Future was formed in Scottsdale, so they know a thing or two because they’ve seen a thing or two.
23. June on The West Coast – Bright Eyes
Bright Eyes’ June On The West Coast is another autobiographical song for the list. It sees the singer Conor Oberst travel across the western US, listing many of the places he stopped at despite the journey being about self-discovery much more than any one destination. It also includes a love interest that he lost, sending him on that journey in the first place, and even though he comes out a trip a better person, he still misses her when all is said and done.
24. Yuma, AZ – Damien Jurado
Any good state song list worth its salt has a track or two about women from a particular place in the state. Damien Jurado’s Yuma, AZ fits that theme nicely. He sings about a girl he met in Yuma, Arizona, but this song has a bit of an interesting twist.
Instead of a romantic relationship with her, it seems he only has platonic interests. It talks about her family and the man she met and fell in love with. He tells her story from the point he met her onwards, mainly because he’s interested in her life. It’s an overall happy story, with everything about the track being a refreshing twist.
25. King of Arizona – Clutch
Clutch is a well-known metal band that is at its best when using cryptic lyrics to get its point across. King Of Arizona is another one of those cryptic tracks, full of Native American symbolism. Arizona was home to 21 recognized tribes, with the Navajo, Apache, and Hopi being some of the most recognizable names. The narrators of the song mostly make fun of how helpless city dwellers in the state are, believing their survivalist lifestyle and overall abilities to make themselves the real kings of the state.
26. Arizona – Mark Lindsay
Arizona was released by Mark Lindsay in 1970 while he was still a part of Paul Revere And The Raiders. It’s about a woman named Arizona rather than the state itself, with the narrator deep in love with said woman. He tries everything to persuade her to stop running around and settle down with him but ends up letting her walk all over him because of her unwillingness to change and his desire for her to be happy.
27. Readymade – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Readymade is an awesome Red Hot Chili Peppers song that often gets overlooked when you talk about their catalog of tracks. This one was full of Arizona references, seeing them rocking around the state and having a great time making music there for a while.
28. Tucson Train – Bruce Springsteen
Tucson Train is a newer Bruce Springsteen song from 2019 that sees The Boss talking about his lady friend while waiting for a train in Tucson. While he did care for her, he decided it wasn’t working out and is leaving town for a change of pace. But after doing so, he regretted his decision and now wants to return home to try to reunite with her.
29. American Nights – Chase Rice
American Nights tells a bit of a harrowing story. An 18-year-old lives in his parent’s basement in Arizona, spending most of his nights drunk out of his mind with no plans for the future. He eventually joins the military and spends time there cleaning up his life but returns to some of his old ways once he gets back home.
The chorus of the song is a bit more cheerful, hailing the night as the time of his life, but the track has such melancholy lyrics it’s hard to see it that way. His love interest even ran off to New York while he wasn’t around, so while he’s enjoying the party, there doesn’t seem to be much hope.
30. Hey Willie – Waylon Jennings
Two country greats once met at a bar, long before either became rich and famous. That pair was Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, with the two meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Hey Willie is a reflection by Jennings on meeting his long-time friend and the Arizona stars the two walked together under the night they met.
31. God Love Her – Toby Keith
God Love Her is more about a rebellious teen running off with a bad boy than anything in Arizona, though the girl does call her mother from Tucson, Arizona, to reassure her that she is alright. It’s the romanticization of a nightmare for parents, narrated from the boy’s perspective.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.