South Dakota is called The Mount Rushmore State, and several tracks have been written about this beautiful place over the years. We’re going to tell you the 15 best songs about South Dakota below, so keep reading to find out what makes the cut!
1. South Dakota Morning – Bee Gees
Bee Gees are first on our list with South Dakota Morning, which comes from their album, Life In A Tin Can, released in 1973. This song is all about the state and the beauty that exists in the morning as the sun is beginning to rise, but it turns dark quickly as they talk about the urge they have to kill someone they don’t know while they sit there and see an eagle soaring above them. While this track is more somber compared to other Bee Gees songs, it’s one of the anthems for those in South Dakota.
2. Ballad of Hollis Brown – Bob Dylan
On our list next is the folk legend Bob Dylan with Ballad Of Hollis Brown, which is all about how we all move on and how life itself moves on. This song was released in 1964 on his album The Times They Are A-Changin’, and there are about 11 verses in this track, which is crazy.
He talks about South Dakota and a farm there where the husband is a farmer, who has five children and a wife. They basically live in poverty and aren’t having a great life, which ultimately leads to the man killing all five of his children and his wife before he turns the gun on himself.
3. Kadoka, South Dakota – The Living Sisters
The Living Sisters are next with the track Kadoka, South Dakota, which was released in 2014 on the album Harmony Is Real: Songs For A Happy Holiday. They are made up of four women who sing like angels. This is a Christmas track that talks about not only the true beauty of the city itself but also the vibrance and joy felt in the city during Christmas. The song is joyous and heartwarming, and you can tell they love Kadoka, South Dakota, by how they talk about its natural wonder and charm.
4. I Got A Gal I Love (In North and South Dakota)- Frank Sinatra
Next is Frank Sinatra with the song I Got A Gal I Love (In North And South Dakota), which is all about how he is in love with two women, one in each state. He proclaims he loves them both just the same and that there’s no difference between the women and his feelings for them. The funny part of this song is that he ends up in Tennessee because he realizes he loves this woman more than the other two from the Dakotas. He is a crooner and a ladies’ man, and this track pretty much sums up how his real life probably was.
5. Deadwood – Nanci Griffith
In 1988, Nanci Griffith released One Fair Summer Evening, and on this album is the song Deadwood. It’s all about the Wild Wild West, and she brings up Crazy Horse, whose real name is Thasunke Witko, and he is a famous leader of the Lakotas. He fought for his group to be independent, ended up surrendering, and then was executed. She talks about the indigenous people and the difficulties they faced. It’s one of her more serious tracks about how certain parts of history seem to not be talked about anymore.
6. 8th Of November – Big & Rich
Next on our list is country stars Big & Rich who released the song 8th Of November, which was on their 2005 album Comin’ To Your City. The Mount Rushmore State is mentioned at the very beginning of this track, which goes on to be a tribute song to all of those in our military who have fought for our country and died. The track went to 18 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and 94 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
7. Stays in Mexico – Toby Keith
In 2004, country music star Toby Keith released Stays In Mexico from his album Greatest Hits 2. This track isn’t all about South Dakota, but it does mention the state more than once, specifically where he talks about there being an insurance employee who is from there. It went to number two on the Canada Radio & Records chart, and in America, it went to three on the Hot Country Songs chart. It also landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but only made it to number 51.
8. Misfits – Neil Young
Neil Young makes our list with Misfits, which is from his 1985 album Old Ways. The melody of this song is very haunting and chilling, and it’s all about how you feel like you don’t fit in with the crowd and feel alone. There’s mention of South Dakota more than once in this track, and there’s also talk of hope and optimism, and you will feel empathy for him by the end of this somber tune.
9. Fire – Autumn Hill
In 2013, Autumn Hill released the song Fire, which is on the album Favourite Mistake. This track talks about love, including the good and the bad aspects of love. The duo then sings about taking a road trip and how when they were on it, they ran out of gas while in South Dakota. It made it to 22 on the Canadian Country chart, but it never made it onto the charts in America.
10. Lipstick – Kip Moore
Next is Kip Moore with the song Lipstick from his 2012 album Up All Night. This track is a classic because he is calling South Dakota the heartland and talking about all of the memorable aspects of the state. The main theme of the song is that he is traveling all around the country to be with this special someone he loves, and when he travels to the state, he talks about all of the great things within it, including some of the cultural aspects.
While the main premise of this track is about yearning for his love and being willing to follow her around the country, it’s still a song where you can tell he is fond of South Dakota.
11. South Dakota – Jakey
In 2017, Jakey released the song South Dakota, which comes from his album of the same name. This rap and hip hop track is all about small-town living that a lot of people don’t hear about. He talks about having to deal with very slow internet, the roads being covered with snow in the winter, and how he dropped out of college. What’s unique about this song is that it’s one of the few non-country tracks on our list, and it’s one of the more energetic songs too, so it’ll have you on your feet from start to finish.
12. Hills of South Dakota – Becky Schlegel
Next on our list is Becky Schlegel with Hills Of South Dakota, which is a song released in 2008 on her album For All The World To See. This is a ballad about the state, and she’s singing about having a broken heart and you can hear it plainly in her voice, which is somber and full of grief. We gather that the person she loved was in South Dakota, and she talks about the beauty of the hills and nature found in this majestic state.
13. Big Foot – Johnny Cash
Up next is country music legend Johnny Cash with the track Big Foot, which is from his 1972 album America: A 200-Year Salute In Story And Song. In this track, he isn’t talking about the Big Foot we think and know, but instead, it’s about a Minneconjou Sioux Native American chief who is from South Dakota.
This song is all about the indigenous people and how we took their land away from them. He sings about Wounded Knee and how General Custer and his 7th Cavalry came in and took over. Big Foot was killed when he was shot and then the people of Minneconjou were murdered. Cash tells the story with his raw vocals, and it’s one of the more somber tracks that he’s done over the years.
14. Rapid City, South Dakota – Dwight Yoakam
In 2002, country star Dwight Yoakam released the album Reprise Please Baby: The Warner Bros. Years, with the song Rapid City, South Dakota being on that album. This is a cowboy track and true country classic where he’s singing about a guy who is hitchhiking and is busy trying to run away from everything.
The man lives in Rapid City, South Dakota, and he talks about how his dad was very abusive to him and how his friends are a little too redneck and country for him. There isn’t much good in the song, but we do get the idea that everything that happens within the state happens at a snail’s pace.
15. South Dakota – Afroman
Last on our list is Afroman with the hit song South Dakota from his 2020 album Cross Country Pimpin’ and this is a very explicit track, as most Afroman songs are. In the track, he is traveling around from one city to another trying to find a woman to sleep with for the night. It’s a funny song, which is what you’d expect from him and it’s a classic if you want to hear a more rated-R tune about The Mount Rushmore State.
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.