California is a beautiful state with many unique features and attractions. Whether you are visiting or living in California, there are plenty of songs that speak to the uniqueness of this state. In this article, we highlight the 33 best songs about California of all time!
1. Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
One of the most popular bands from California, RHCP, have released an iconic song about their home state. This song talks about a deteriorating society that is slowly dying and the unrealistic image of Hollywood, not knowing it comes with a high price. This was one of the best songs ever produced by the band.
2. California Gurls -Katy Perry
According to Perry, this song was an answer to Empire State of Mind, one of the best songs about NYC. It performed well in the charts and is among her best hits. The song is about how great California girls are and how you can’t quickly get them off your mind once you have encountered them.
3. Dani California – Red Hot Chili Peppers
In this song, the Chili Peppers barely mention California and states that Dani represents any girl that lead singer Anthony has ever met. The song performed well on the charts in both the UK and the US; and it won a Grammy award in 2007.
4. California – Phantom Planet
This is another song about California, this time from the band Phantom Planet. In the song, Phantom Planet talks about how they always write songs about California, and they can’t help it. The band further says that once you come to California, it is hard not to write about this state because of how many great things there are!
5. Los Angeles – X
LA is one of the unique cities in California, and this song by X highlights some of these differences. Metaphorically, the song is about a racist person who wants to leave and start afresh elsewhere. The song highlights the experience their vocalist had with a racist.
6. California Love – Tupac
One of Tupac’s most famous songs, this one is all about how much he loves California. Tupac talks about why he loves California so much, from the palm trees to the beautiful weather, and how people should appreciate this state.
7. California Girls – Beach Boys
This song was the theme song for “California’s First Beach Boys” and talks about all of the fantastic things you can do when you are in California. From surfing to skateboarding, this catchy tune is bound to get stuck in your head. It also celebrates California women.
8. Hotel California – The Eagles
The song was written by Don Felder and dealt with the dark side of Californian culture. The song is about many things to many different people, some of them being materialism and substance abuse and how it can take over your life. It talks about the dark side of Californian culture that many people don’t talk about.
9. I Left My Heart In San Francisco – Tony Bennet
A famous singer, this song is all about how he fell in love with San Francisco. The song was popularized by Tony Bennet and has become a classic that will always be associated with San Francisco.
10. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & the Papas
John Phillips wrote and recorded the song for their album “If you can believe your eyes and ears.” The song is among the rare pop songs that contain a flute solo, and it is one of the most popular songs. It talks about living in California and how wonderful life is there compared to other states such as New York.
11. This Is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
The song is by a famous R&B singer and talks about partying in California. This song has a good beat, and Montell Jordan’s voice is unique. It became viral in California, but it did not do well outside the state.
12. When You Get To California – Hoodoo Gurus
The song was released in 2004 on the album “Mach Schau” and was written by Dave Faulkner. The song talks about knowing your destination when you get to it despite all the perceptions you might have heard about it.
13. Going To California – Led Zeppelin
This rock song was released on the album “Led Zeppelin II” in 1971. It is about a man who travels to California but decides against staying there because of how beautiful women are beautiful.
14. California Sun – The Ramones
This song was released in 1977 on the album “Leave Home.” It is about fitting in with the crowd in California even though you aren’t from there. Several other artists, including Joe Jones, have recorded the song
15. California Sunset – Neil Young
This country song was released in 1985 on the album “Old Ways.” It is about how California is the land of beauty and promises. The song was well-received by critics and is a favorite of many.
16. Hollywood – Daniel Powter
In this song, the singer talks about hooking up in Hollywood. He mentions how there are lessons many people can learn from this lifestyle. The song was released in 2005, and he wrote it himself.
17. LA Woman – The Doors
The song is about driving madly on the freeway. It talks about how, in this city, it is easy to go crazy, especially when surrounded by people who are just as crazy. It was released in 1971, and Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger wrote it.
18. It’s A Longer Road To California Than I Thought -The Wind And The Wave
The song was released in 2014, and it is included in their album titled “From the Wreckage.” This song talks about driving along with someone when you are not on speaking terms. It makes the journey longer and awkward. They wrote the song around the time when they were driving from LA to San Francisco.
19. California Stars – Wilco
The song was released in 1998 as a part of their album titled “Mermaid Avenue.” The song is included in the list of top songs about California as listed by Paste Magazine. It talks about the beautiful dreams that you get while sleeping under the stars.
20. Going Back To Cali – LL Cool J
The song seems to be indecision about the rapper going back to California, but Cool J says otherwise. Cool J and Rick wrote and recorded the song under the key of F major. The song’s release was as a promotional single only in the US in 1987. The song’s sounds bring out the original West Coast hip-hop feeling from the 1980s.
21. It Never Rains In Southern California – Albert Hammond
Albert wrote this song with help from his lyricist Hazlewood. The song was released in 1972 in the album It Never Rains in Southern California. The lyrics are about the hardships he endured when he moved to Los Angeles from England. The piece was a hit in the US and gained popularity in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The song holds the title of being Albert’s second-biggest success after “Freeride.” It also peaked at #20 on Billboard Hot 100.
22. Queen Of California – John Mayer
This is the second single of Mayer’s album “Born and Raised.” It is about L.A neighborhood’s influence on musicians. The song was written by Mayer and produced with his longtime collaborator, Pino Palladino.
23. California – Joni Mitchell
This 1971 song by Joni Mitchell is about her feelings for California and going back home there. The song is under the key of D major and is played with a capo on the seventh fret.
24. I Love LA – Randy Newman
In this song, Randy Newman describes his love for LA and its people. They wrote the song in 1984, but it is still relevant today in the sports world. The Lakers used this song as their anthem for many years.
25. South California Purples – Chicago
This rock song from Chicago’s album “The Chicago Transit Authority” was written by the band’s drummer, Robert William Lamm. The lyrics are about California’s weather patterns with great beats and a catchy tune that makes it a great sing-along.
Next: Best songs about rain of all time (our list)
26. California – U2
They wrote this famous anthem for the Irish band U2 to celebrate California’s diversity and creativity. The song is from their album “Songs of Innocence.” It is an inspiring song that can be heard as an upbeat anthem for the Golden state.
27. La La Land – Bryce Vine
In this song, Bryce Vine sings about his time in California and how he knows how things are run there. The song is a modern take on the LA lifestyle and its good vibes.
28. Malibu – Hole
Hole’s performance on this song was commendable. They wrote this song about Courtney Love’s first trailer with her boyfriend that was in Malibu. The song is under the key of a major, and it is played with a capo on the fifth fret.
29. Paradise City – Guns N Roses
This song performed well on the charts in both the UK and the US. It was one of their greatest hits. The lyrics are inspired by the band’s experience while living in LA. The members came together to write it, and it is a reminder of what L. A represents for them.
30. California Waiting – Kings Of Leon
The band initially recorded this song as a demo in 2001. However, they re-recorded it for their 2003 debut album “Youth and Young Manhood.” The song is about the band’s experience of waiting for fame.
31. Sweet Life – Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean wrote this song about his experience of living in California. The lyrics praise the state and how it is different from other places where he has been. The song is under the key of B major, and it is played with a capo on the second fret.
32. California Soul – Marlena Shaw
This song was written by Ashford & Simpson. It is about California’s music scene and how it influenced musicians all over the world. The lyrics bring out the Californian’s soul and its rhythm. It is an excellent sing-along tune.
33. Los Angeles, I’m Yours – The Decemberists
This song is an ode to Los Angeles, written by Colin Meloy. It reflects on the beauty of the city and how it becomes a part of people’s lives. It is a great sing-along song that was later turned into an animated video by Daniel Pemberton. The song has excellent beats.
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.