Maryland may be pretty small, but it’s one of the most charming states in the country. From its long, storied history to its natural beauty, there’s every reason in the world to go and visit. The Free State is also the birthplace of plenty of huge names in music, almost all of whom have written odes to their hometowns and are always honest about their experiences in the state. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 35 best songs ever produced about the state of Maryland and the wonderful people who live there.
1. Baltimore – Randy Newman
Baltimore was a song that got Randy Newman in a bit of hot water. He had never visited the city at the time he wrote the track but spent most of it painting Baltimore in a bad light and even going as far as to say the city was dying. According to an interview with The Guardian, he had only ridden through the city on a train and read about it in National Geographic.
Even he didn’t feel good about the song after releasing it but that doesn’t take anything away from how creative and speculative the track was. Still, it serves as a reminder to do a bit more research before crucifying a place in your art.
2. Raining in Baltimore – Counting Crows
Adam Duritz is a Baltimore native and the band’s album August And Everything After was a look at his early childhood. Like much of the album—and their music—Raining In Baltimore is an introspective track full of honest, emotional lines.
The song details the situation of a man caught in a rainstorm in the city, metaphorically discussing how he’s isolated from his friends and generally miserable. But it’s also obvious that the situation is of his own making and he’s choosing to live his life in that manner, effectively flipping the sympathy a listener has built up for the protagonist of the track.
3. What’s New In Baltimore? – Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa is one of Baltimore, Maryland’s most famous native artists. In 1981, he released What’s New Baltimore? on his live album Puttin’ On The Ritz, paying homage to his hometown and the state in which he was raised. It eventually became a beloved song in the city, and the track, alongside his massive level of success, eventually led Baltimore to make September 19th the official Frank Zappa Day.
4. Silver Springs – Fleetwood Mac
Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland and generally dominates the culture of the small state, but it isn’t the only place of note in Maryland. Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac dedicated an entire song to the small town of Silver Spring, Maryland, after passing through it on tour.
She loved the name of the town and personified it into the qualities she wished she had in all of her relationships. And while it was never their biggest hit, nor a track that was played for a long time at their concerts, it remains one of the vaunted entries on their legendary Rumours album.
5. Baltimore – Prince
Prince was always ready to try something new with his music and was never afraid to take a stand on issues he felt strongly about. In 2015, he took on the issue of police brutality, releasing the song Baltimore as a rallying cry for protests across the country centered on the level of crime, poverty, and authoritarian abuses in the city.
The message was a universal one, calling for peace and highlighting that Baltimore was not unique in the problems it faced, as the country saw the same issues on a nationwide level. It was undeniably not one of his biggest hits, but it was surely one of his most important and sincere songs.
6. Six Feet Under the Stars – All Time Low
All Time Low has always had a crazy cult following, but they never forgot their roots in Maryland. Founded in Towson, Maryland, they have recorded several songs that pay tribute to the state where they got their start. Six Feet Under The Stars is another track focused on Baltimore, referencing and naming several locations throughout the city where the band members spent time during their younger days. It’s the perfect song for Marylanders to reminisce about their youth in the state.
7. There She Goes – Good Charlotte
Good Charlotte is another awesome alternative rock band that formed in Maryland. There She Goes is one of their most famous songs and was released in 2010 on their album Cardiology. While it’s a bit of a departure from the sound their fans crave, the lyrics are a personal look behind the curtain of the member’s youth while growing up in the state.
8. Maryland – Colt Ford
Colt Ford has released plenty of novelty songs that are perfect in certain situations. His track Maryland has become a staple for pre-game rituals before the start of Maryland University Terrapin football games, as it describes the tailgating culture and excitement that comes before people pack themselves into the stadium to watch their team play. It serves as a tribute to the school and the fans, but it’s also a universally loved single about college football and the energy that comes along with it.
9. Crabs for Christmas – David Deboy
If there’s one thing that people who know nothing about Maryland know about the state, it’s how famous it is for its crabs. David Deboy released Crabs For Christmas in 1981 as a novelty song about a guy who stops a mall Santa and asks him for crabs as his Christmas present. During the holidays, this track is on repeat in Maryland, serving as a funny and festive tune about one of the state’s most important resources.
10. Maryland – Elephanz
Maryland paints the state as the best place to make amends. It follows a couple who have been at odds with some distance between them taking a trip to The Free State to spend some time together and figure things out.
11. Maryland Fight Song – The University of Maryland
The University of Maryland is an integral part of the culture in the state, and the school’s fight song is among the best-known tracks statewide. An alumni of the school, Ralph Davis composed the fight song in 1939, and it has been a staple performance at sporting events and rallies at the school ever since.
12. Maryland My Maryland – Bobby Horton
Maryland My Maryland uses the poem O Tannenbaum by James Ryder Randall for its lyrics. The poem details specific important landmarks and events throughout the history of the state and was written in 1861. It was eventually selected as the official state song of Maryland in 1939 and served in the role until it was overthrown in 2021 due to some controversial lyrics.
13. Around the Way Anthem – Eyedeal Bayano
Eyedeal Bayano is another Maryland native who spent the vast majority of his youth in the state. Like many others, he pays tribute to his home state and the family he still has there in the song Around The Way Anthem. It talks about the area of Maryland that he grew up in, bringing up Montgomery County and the surrounding area. The highlights are the fond descriptions of his childhood neighborhood.
14. Southern Maryland Thang – Donovan Farrell
Southern Maryland Thang is a song that gives listeners a glimpse at life outside of the big city of Baltimore and focuses on the rural areas of southern Maryland. Donovan Ferrell released the track in 2015 on his album True Heroes, and it sings the praises of notable southern Marylanders like Lindz Owen and John Luskey.
15. For Baltimore – All Time Low
All Time Low comes back onto our list with another awesome pop-rock song about the fun they had in their home state. For Baltimore is all about the city’s nightlife and the member’s memories while they were coming of age in the city. It also is the track behind the famous music video that features cartoon versions of their yearbook and pictures of the band in different hangout spots in Baltimore.
16. Garrett County – Bob Hansel
Garrett County is an awesome song about the natural beauty of Maryland. The county is situated in the westernmost portion of the state but is home to some of its most beloved landmarks. Allegheny Mountains, Big Savage Mountain, and Keyser’s Ridge are all put on display in this Bob Hansel track from 2020.
17. Maryland, Massachusetts – Nelly
Maryland, Massachusetts is more of a party song than an ode to the actual state. Nelly uses the two states as a way to reference moving around to keep life interesting for his girl and how you can go anywhere in the US and still have a good time. He probably could have used some states that are farther apart to extend his point to being about coast-to-coast partying, but that’s just nitpicking.
18. My Promise to Maryland – Boys of Fall
Boys Of Fall released My Promise To Maryland in 2016 on their album Thank You & Goodbye. The song uses the state as the name of a woman the protagonist loves, spending most of the track showing the process of the singer trying to get over her.
He goes on to apologize for not treating her well enough and promises that he will do better in the future if she finds it in her heart to forgive him. While this one isn’t directly about Maryland, you could view it as a pledge to protect the state as well.
19. Maryland – Coyote Theory
Coyote Theory released Maryland in 2018 on their Late Night (Live) album. It details the story of a boy who has gone through a bad breakup, leaving home to try to clear his head but realizing he can’t stop thinking about his lost love. He resolves to return to Maryland and make up with the woman he left behind.
20. Going to Maryland – The Mountain Goats
Going To Maryland is an elegant song about the beauty of the coastal areas of the state. The singer takes a drive up to Maryland with their lover, visiting the pristine beaches along the Chesapeake Bay and enjoying how beautiful the scenery is. But it appears that the moment with their potential love interest and the beauty of the water is as fleeting as the moon moving across the sky, and he doesn’t expect any of the things happening to last for long.
21. Clarity in Maryland – Matthew Bacon
Matthew Bacon released Clarity In Maryland in 2019 on his album Blame It On My Youth. A common theme for the state is that the rural areas are incredibly peaceful and serve as the perfect setting to find some clarity on things or reconcile differences with someone else. That rings true again in this song, as the protagonist goes to the state to figure out their best move. They decide to let the person they love go, hoping for their eventual return once they’ve figured things out for themselves.
22. Springtime in Maryland – Forest Rain
Springtime In Maryland is the perfect catchy, upbeat song for anyone wanting to visit the state in the near future. Forest Rain released the track in 2014 on their album Something Special, and the song definitely paints Maryland as the title expects. The singer is apparently leaving the cold winter of Canada and falls in love with the springtime blooming of cherry blossoms and wildflowers in the state, vividly painting a colorful portrait of Maryland in its lyrics.
23. Countdown – Missing Joe
Countdown might not be the best song to listen to if you’ve fallen for a girl in Maryland but live out of state. The track talks about a boy from Connecticut who falls for a Maryland girl, but the girl eventually leaves him to return home. She spends most of her time listening to the radio to try to forget about him, but we never find out how well the two turn out in the aftermath.
24. Maryland – Vonda Shepard
Vonda Shepard released Maryland on her 1996 album It’s Good Eve. The lyrics follow her life story, telling listeners about when she and her sisters wanted to move to Baltimore to get into the culture of a big city. Drawing on that experience and desire, she writes this song as if she’s going back home to the state, longing for the home where her mother is after having been gone for a long time.
25. Maryland Bridge – John K. Samson
Maryland Bridge was released in 1993 on John K. Samson’s album Slips And Tangles. The song talks about getting correspondence from an old lover in the state, leaning on the thought of him finding potential future love on the far side of the Maryland Bridge.
26. There’s a Girl in the Heart of Maryland – Bing Crosby
There’s A Girl In The Heat Of Maryland was written by Ballard Macdonald in 1913. Several artists covered the song over time, but it was Bing Crosby’s version that made it famous. It focuses on flowers blooming along the Potomac River and the girl in the state waiting for the narrator to come sweep her off of her feet.
27. Maryland – Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi released Maryland in 2017 on their album Surrounded By Light. It seems to prop up the state as the place they want to be and where everything will turn out okay. The singer has obviously gone through some recent troubles in life and is looking for a way to turn things around. Their belief that Maryland will help them make things better gives them the strength to carry on until they get there, allowing them to overcome the trials and tribulations of life in the meantime.
28. Maryland Memories – Ronnie Dove
Some of the best state songs are the ones that make you want to take a trip there for yourself. Maryland Memories surely fits the bill in that regard, talking about the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and the state’s stunning shoreline. It goes on a deeper dive into the main attractions of Maryland as well, talking about Baltimore’s sports teams and the raucous nature of the fans in attendance.
29. Together in Maryland (That’s All I Need) – Tony Cavallo
Sometimes, just being in the right place is enough to make you feel happy and alive. Together In Maryland is one of those songs, describing the singer and his partner spending time together on the beach and enjoying their life. The state is the perfect setting for their life together as well, thanks to how beautiful it is.
30. Shut Out the Light – Bruce Springsteen
Shut Out The Light tells the story of a Vietnam Veteran returning home to Maryland after the war. It details his struggles with PTSD, and even though he’s finally home, his mind is miles and miles away. Bruce Springsteen released the song in 1985 on his amazing Born In The U.S.A. album.
31. 75 Septembers – Peter, Paul & Mary
The song 75 Septembers follows the life of a man born in Maryland the same year that the Yellow Cab company was founded. It’s a track about change, both in the state and around the world, implying the fact that life is an ever-shifting thing and time marches on like an unstoppable beast. Peter, Paul & Mary released this one on their album Lifelines in 1995.
32. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll – Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll tells the true story of a woman in Maryland who was murdered. A famous story about a barmaid in Baltimore, the song describes the conviction of the killer and how he spent six months in a Maryland jail. This of course sounds utterly ridiculous, as it should have been much longer. But it’s obviously set pretty far back in history, especially judging by the use of the term barmaid.
33. Just Like Bruddas – Future
Just Like Bruddas has a passing reference to Maryland that makes it a party favorite in the state. Future spends most of the song rapping about his ex-fiance Ciara and how that relationship turned out. Obligatory lines about partying, money, and cars are all there. But he also takes time to say he flies plenty of girls out to see him and his friends from the state of Maryland.
34. Good Morning Baltimore – Nikki Blonsky
Good Morning Baltimore was one of the most fun songs in the musical Hairspray. A love letter to the city and its residents, it’s a personification of Charm City in track and the perfect way to wake up in the morning in a good mood.
35. Barefoot in Baltimore – Strawberry Alarm Clock
Barefoot In Baltimore is a psychedelic trip that tells the story of growing up in the city. Maryland’s most iconic city is a place of freedom, fun, and youth. And this song is the perfect encapsulation of all of those traits.
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.