Trees are some of the most beautiful plants in nature and have provided us with shelter and food. Musicians have been writing and singing about trees for centuries, and it’s often used to make a metaphor about life.
Keep reading to find out our choices for the 25 best songs about trees!
1. Weeping Willow – The Verve
The Verve released Weeping Willow in 1997 on the album Urban Hymns. This song uses the trees as a metaphor. Whether you think this song is about depression and thoughts of suicide or a love ballad about leaving a bad situation, the mental imagery of the tree makes the song seem calming yet emotional.
2. Underneath The Tree – Kelly Clarkson
Pop sensation and American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson released Underneath The Tree in 2013 as part of her Christmas album Wrapped in Red, and this song talks about the only thing she wants underneath her tree is the person she loves. Her vocals and the song’s rhythm are why it was number one on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart when it was released and made it to 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
3. Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree – Dawn Feat. Tony Orlando
Next on our list is a song that needs no introduction because it’s such an iconic hit. Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree was released in 1973 by Tony Orlando and Dawn. He hopes that there is a yellow ribbon around an oak tree so he can go home to his wife after being in prison. This song was a hit when it was released and ended up in the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts.
4. Shadows And Tall Trees – U2
Rock band U2 released Shadows and Tall Trees, a song about how you can’t find your path when tall trees are in the way and how that’ll leave you feeling confused and lost. Lord Of The Flies inspired this song and used the same title as a chapter in Lord Of The Flies. The drums overlap to help create the feeling of being lost and confused.
5. The Trees – Rush
Rush released The Trees in 1978 from their album Hemispheres and specifically mentioned oak and maple trees in a forest. The lyrics hint at equality and have some underlying feelings about the importance of social justice. For example, maples are unfairly in the shade while the oaks are out in the sunny warm weather so that you can draw conclusions from the comparison.
Recommended: Songs about social justice
6. Lemon Tree – Fools Garden
You may not have heard of this next band before, but Fools Garden released Lemon Tree on the 1995 album Dish Of The Day, one of the group’s most popular songs. There are feelings of apprehension in both the beat and vocals since the song is about the lead vocalist waiting for his girlfriend to show up somewhere.
The song reached number 13 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart when it was released and had success in multiple countries.
7. Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
Up next is Radiohead, which is a successful rock band that wrote one of the best songs about trees. Fake Plastic Trees was released in 1995 on The Bends album and started as a semi-joke that wasn’t a joke when the lead singer was drunk and having a breakdown. The lyrics weren’t planned, and it was spontaneous as he just went with what was going through his head then. The unplanned nature of the song worked as it reached number 11 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay.
8. Cactus Tree – Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell released Cactus Tree in 1968 on Song To A Seagull, her first album and one of her best songs about a woman desiring independence and not wanting to be with anyone. Joni is autobiographical, which means when she sings songs such as this one in the third person, she talks about herself, so it’s interesting that she could see her flaws and write about them in this fashion.
Recommended: Songs about women empowerment
9. The Memory Of Trees – Enya
Enya released The Memory Of Trees as a title track to her 1995 album The Memory Of Trees, and it’s a classic song. This song mentions the Druids, who loved and treated trees with the utmost respect. If you didn’t know, the Druids are part of an Irish folktale where the trees are thought to have souls, and that’s why the trees are considered to have a religious and spiritual meaning.
10. Strawberry Fields Forever- The Beatles
A famous band that we have to include on our list is The Beatles, and they released Strawberry Fields Forever in 1967 off of the double A-side tape Penny Lane. In this song, a guy lives under a tree, a metaphor for isolation. He finds a special person and wants to bring them to strawberry fields, a fun, and happy place. At the end of the song, he changed his perspective and found purpose.
It’s a popular song by The Beatles that reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and 10 on the Cash Box Top 100 list.
11. Old Pine – Ben Howard
Ben Howard released Every Kingdom in 2011 on the album Old Pine, about an old pine tree that nearly killed Ben when he was with his friends on a surfing trip. He mentions the tree and the surfing experience following the event, and the song goes into his gratitude for being alive.
The drums and guitar are powerful and help convey his emotions about the fun he had surfing after the incident. This song and music video was featured in Starlings, a Sky One TV show in the UK.
12. Hanging Tree – L.E.J
L.E.J is someone you may not know, but Hanging Tree is known as The Hunger Games song. You can feel the cellos vibrating and the woods setting the melody for this song. There are several interpretations out there for this song, but you can get that this song is about wanting and needing to feel independent and standing tall like a tree.
13. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) – The Beatles
The Beatles made our list again with the song Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown), released on the album Rubber Soul in 1965. This is a wonderful song that uses a sitar, which is one of the most popular Indian instruments. Norwegian wood can burn down your house if ignited, symbolizing a relationship.
14. A Forest – The Cure
A Forest by The Cure was released in 1980 as part of the album Seventeen Seconds. This song reached number 47 on the Billboard Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart and is one of the more popular songs by The Cure.
It was featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories in 2006 and has been released several times as part of boxed sets and live compilation albums since it was performed over a thousand times live.
15. Speaking With Trees – Tori Amos
Speaking With Trees by Tori Amos deserves a spot on our list because it’s a song that details how we can turn to nature during hard times. It was released on the album Ocean to Ocean in 2021, and it’s a song that deals with grief and turning to nature to heal our wounds.
16. Mango Tree – Zac Brown Band
Zac Brown Band released Mango Tree in 2015, and this song is very jazz-like while a mango tree hangs above a couple that falls in love. This upbeat and positive song is more of a celebration of what it’s like to be in love.
17. Heart Of Oak – Richard Hawley
Alternative rocker Richard Hawley released Heart Of Oak in 2015 off of his Hollow Meadows album and it’s a tribute to all of the people in his life that helped him both in his professional and personal life.
It’s about being unselfish and giving love, friendship, and compassion to someone and never asking anything in return. The heart of the oak tree is the most lovely part, which is where the title comes into play.
18. Black Horse And The Cherry Tree – KT Tunstall
In 2006 KT Tunstall released Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, which is about a black horse and cherry tree in the middle of an area where the singer isn’t supposed to be even though it’s enticing to her to stay there.
It is about how you need to figure your life out but are doing so alone because you were abandoned. She got the idea while in Greece, where she saw an olive grove and a black horse and looked at it as good vs. evil.
19. Little Willow – Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney wrote Little Willow as a tribute to his deceased wife, and it’s emotional, peaceful, and filled with sorrow at the same time. Released in 1997 off the Flaming Pie album, it was meant to help her children deal with her death and to ensure they know she will always love them.
20. Feed The Tree – Belly
Belly released Feed The Tree, a peaceful song about respect and love. A big tree traps families under it, and it’s all about how we need to love and respect nature. The vocals and instruments are mellow and enchanting and have you wanting to press the play button all over again once it’s over.
Recommended: Songs about nature & the earth
21. Birch Tree – Foals
Next up on our list is Foals, who released the album What Went Down in 2015. The band wrote one of the best songs about trees with their hit Birch Tree. It’s a song that delves into his childhood home and how a birch tree was nearby where he would talk with his friends. The tree and surrounding areas change through the years, which is a metaphor for how time flies and things always change.
22. Treehouse – Dream Koala
Dream Koala had a hit with their song Treehouse, which is all about the memories in that special room, treehouse, or playground you had as a child. This song evokes feelings of nostalgia about our childhoods and is perfect for remembering those sweet and innocent times.
23. Diary – Bread
Next on our list is a soft-rock band called Bread, who released Diary back in 1972 on the Baby Im’-a Want You album. The song is sad and melancholy about a guy that goes under a tree to read his girlfriends diary; where she claims to have feelings for him, but she denies it when he confronts her. Years later, he goes back to this tree and reads that same diary but is married to someone else, so it brings up mixed feelings.
The song ended up peaking at 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topped out at three on the Billboard Easy Listening chart.
24. Lime Tree – Bright Eyes
Released in 2007 on the Cassadaga album, Lime Tree by Bright Eyes talks about falling in and out of love, religion, death, and other introspective topics. The strings are full of sorry, and the harmonies are both beautiful and haunting at the same time, so it’s an emotional rollercoaster of a song about various life journeys.
25. Thorn Tree In The Garden – Derek And The Dominos
Derek and the Dominos released Thorn Tree In The Garden in 1970 off of the album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. This song is a mixture of rock and blues that use the trees as a metaphor. In the song, a guy wants to leave his current girlfriend to pursue someone else he had been with in the past but feels guilty for doing so. Like a tree in their garden, that old lover has been in the background the entire time.
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.