fbpx

41 Best Songs About Virginia: The Mother Of Presidents

Virginia is one of the oldest states in the Union with one of the most turbulent histories. It was at the center of all the major conflicts in the country’s territory. From the American Revolution through the Civil War, the Old Dominion, the Old South, and the Mother of Presidents are all nicknames given to the place. And with such a rich and diverse history, there’s no surprise that plenty of tracks have been devoted to the state over the years. In this article, we’ll look at the 41 best songs ever written about Virginia. 

1. Sweet Virginia – The Rolling Stones 

The Rolling Stones - Sweet Virginia (Live) - OFFICIAL

Virginia is a beautiful and simple state, an expansive place full of small landmarks that just seem special. Those thoughts about Virginia are captured better by The Rolling Stones in their song Sweet Virginia than anyone else. It serves as a love track for the state, from its natural beauty to the people who live there, and it’s likely one of the most iconic songs on the list. It came on their incredible Exile On Main Street album in 1972.  

2. Meet Virginia – Train 

Train - Meet Virginia (Official HD Video)

While Drops Of Jupiter is the more popular song now, Meet Virginia was the first single released from Train’s most successful album. The track mainly revolves around the singer’s feelings towards a woman named Virginia whom he happened upon by chance, though all of those thoughts translate easily over to the way people feel about the state. It was a landmark song for them and a loving anthem for people living in Virginia. 

3. Virginia Moon  – Foo Fighters 

Virginia Moon is a bit of a shocker for a Foo Fighters’ song. It’s just so… not like them. Bossa nova beats and crooning vocals about the night sky seem a bit far-fetched to me. But if you can get over the strangeness of hearing them do it for the first time, this is still one of the prettiest songs about the state you’re going to find. 

4. Virginia Plain – Roxy Music 

Roxy Music - Virginia Plain - Top Of The Pops - 24th August 1972

Virginia Plain was released on Roxy Music’s debut album, and while it doesn’t particularly describe the state in detail, it will undoubtedly make you feel a bit homesick for it. The song was significant for both the band and the art rock scene as a whole, becoming a veritable soundscape of avante-garde sounds and discussing universal themes like freedom and nostalgia. 

5. Virginia – Tori Amos 

Virginia (2023 Remaster)

Tori Amos’s Virginia is a tribute to the state that will pull on your heartstrings. The raw emotion in her vocal performance is palpable, as she uses her personal experiences in Virginia to sing about her relationship with her mother and the way growing up in the state shaped her life going forward. This song was released on her album Scarlet’s Walk

6. My Old Virginia Home – The Carter Family

The Carter Family - My Old Virginia Home (1935)

My Old Virginia Home is a classic piece of country music from one of the most important groups to pioneer the genre. Without The Carter Family, their country music would likely look a lot different today than it does. But their early work is full of nostalgia and tributes to places, with this song being their best entry about Virginia and a celebration of the people who live there. 

7. Yorktown (the World Turned Upside Down) – Lin-Manuel Miranda 

Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)

It’s always a pleasure when we can throw in a song from a musical. Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) comes from the Broadway hit Hamilton, telling the story of the end of the American Revolution. The final surrender of British troops happened at Yorktown, Virginia. One thing that makes the track so special is that it makes the story exciting despite any viewer with a bit of historical knowledge knowing exactly what will eventually happen. 

8. James River Blues – Old Crow Medicine Show 

Old Crow Medicine Show is always a great option for an empathic folk song about a state. James River Blues is one of the best socially conscious ones out there as well. The James River runs across Virginia and becomes the subject of this track discussing the loss of the old ways in favor of technology. It’s set in the 18th century, and the protagonist is a boatman who’s watching freight trains haul loads that he used to be paid to move. 

9. Sweet Virginia Breeze – The Robbin Thompson Band 

Sweet Virginia Breeze

Sweet Virginia Breeze is a track that mostly focuses on the beautiful Virginia coastline. Robbin Thompson is from Richmond, so his descriptions of dogwood trees and the mountains there all come from his own experiences in the state. And while it isn’t the official state song for Virginia, it has been the popular one since 2015, replacing a nastier track that we’ll eventually cover on this list. 

10. Our Great Virginia – Mike Greenly 

Our Great Virginia - Official Traditional State Song of Virginia

Speaking of a state song being replaced for some… let’s call them “issues,” Virginia ended up needing an official state anthem after 1997. For a while, the song Oh Shenandoah served in that role, but it was actually written about the Missouri River. In 2015, the Virginia legislature voted for Our Great Virginia to be the official traditional state anthem, and it was in place before Jamestown’s 500th birthday.

11. Virginia – Whiskey Myers 

Whiskey Myers "Virginia"

You can interpret Virginia as being about either the state or a woman that goes by the titular name, it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. Either way, this Whiskey Myers song is about how Virginia always makes them feel better when they’re feeling down. 

12. Virginia is For Lovers – Jordin Sparks

Virginia Is For Lovers

“Virginia is for Lovers” is a famous slogan about the state, and many artists have used it in songs over the years. But Jordin Sparks wrote a whole track based on it, and it ended up being pretty darn good. Virginia Is For Lovers uses the state as a metaphor for a relationship that’s turned sour, looking back at the glory days while the current time is a bit bleak. 

13. I Went Down to Virginia – Frank Sinatra 

I Went Down To Virginia

I Went Down To Virginia was definitely a Frank Sinatra song that didn’t get the respect it deserved. It served as the B-side single to his more famous hit All Of Me in 1948 and focuses on how much the narrator of the track loves the state. It describes Virginia as a place full of welcoming people with some terrific fishing opportunities. 

14. Hills of West Virginia – Phil Ochs 

Hills of West Virginia

Alright, this is definitely a song that can apply to both Virginia and West Virginia, but that’s fine. The hill country of western Virginia and West Virginia are inseparable and very similar in the first place. Coal miners and farmers are the subject of Phil Ochs’s song Hills Of West Virginia, serving as a tribute to the people who live in the state and detailing what their lives were like back when the track was released in 1965. 

15. Old Virginia – America 

Virginia is one of the oldest and proudest states in the Union, with a long-standing tradition of being a focal point of American history. Old Virginia is a love letter to the state, describing how beautiful its landscape is and how special the place is to the singer. Their nostalgia for it is enough to make listeners feel the same emotions too, giving the song even more power. 

16. Leave Virginia Alone – Rod Stewart 

Rod Stewart - Leave Virginia Alone (Official Video)

Leave Virginia Alone is a heartbreaking song from a man who can’t seem to get over their ex. No matter how hard he tries to move on, he can’t shake himself away from memories of her, dealing with the loss of his love and his inability to forget it. All of that heartache is centered in the state, the place she must currently be residing, as he has to constantly remind himself to leave the place alone because there’s nothing left for him there anymore. 

17. Virginia – Clipse 

Clipse released Virginia on their album Lord Willin’ and ended up with a pretty decent hit. It isn’t a track that glorifies the rapper’s native state though, taking shots at the—at the time—official state song, potentially dangerous police encounters, and the overall racial tensions in the state. 

18. Clinch Mountain Backstep – Ralph Stanley 

Clinch Mountain Backstep

Ralph Stanley is one of the most important figures in bluegrass, helping pioneer the genre and techniques for the banjo throughout his music career. The originator of the Stanley Style, he wrote a song about a small mountain range on the edge of Virginia named the Clinch Mountain

19. The Ghost of Virginia – Justin Townes Earle 

The Ghost Of Virginia (Remastered)

Sign me up for any song that involves a ghost train. The Ghost Of Virginia is a soulful folk track about a train that used to ferry soldiers around during the Civil War but was lost in a devastating accident. Since then, it has continued on its spectral line, moving unseen soldiers around the front of the state. 

20. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver 

John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads (Official Audio)

There’s a good debate about whether Take Me Home, Country Roads is actually talking about West Virginia or the western side of Virginia. That isn’t going to be settled anytime soon, but the topics of the song focus on things primarily associated with the state of Virginia.

The Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River are on both sides of the border but are centered more in Virginia. Regardless, John Denver’s hit song has become an anthem of both states’ natural beauty and has even found renewed popularity in recent years after becoming a viral TikTok sound. 

21. Virginia Avenue – Tom Waits 

Tom Waits - "Virginia Avenue"

Tom Waits put on his astounding storyteller hat again to give us this gem about Virginia. Focusing on a person walking down an empty Virginia Avenue, the song is meant to capture the eerie nature of an empty city street after even the bars have closed down for the night. 

22. East Virginia Blues – Pete Seeger

East Virginia Blues is a traditional folk song from the eastern portion of the state. It’s sung from the perspective of a person who has left Virginia but wants more than anything to go back. They long for the mountains and valleys of the state, laying the groundwork for a track that has been covered by numerous artists over the years

23. Virginia Gang – Katie Noel 

Katie Noel - Virginia Gang - from her album "Rap The South"

Don’t worry, there are not any real gangs in this song. The gang Katie Noel is talking about only refers to a group of friends in Virginia who want to have a good time and enjoy life together. Released on her Rap The South album in 2019, the track has become a modern favorite in the state of Virginia and an ode to simple, fun evenings out with friends. 

24. Night Train – James Brown 

James Brown performs "Night Train" on the TAMI Show (Live)

James Brown’s Night Train isn’t a song solely about Virginia. Several different places on the East Coast get shout-outs during the track, as the main theme of it is always moving around. The one similarity between all the places in the song is that you can ride trains between them, something very Virginian. 

25. Longing for Old Virginia – The Carter Family

The Carter Family - Longing For Old Virginia (1934)

Longing For Old Virginia might seem like a song about wanting the state to return to its old ways, but it isn’t. The protagonist is really wishing for his love to come back to him, as back when he was in “Old Virginia,” the two were happily able to be together. 

26. The Trail of the Lonesome Pine – Laurel & Hardy 

The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine

The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine was around for quite a while before Laurel & Hardy made it famous. The original song was a hit in 1913, but it wasn’t until this comedy duo put it on their Way Out West album in 1975 that we got the best version of it. 

27. Virginia Tech Song – Lil’ Flip 

Virginia Tech Tribute (Lil Flip)

Virginia Tech Song is devoted to a tragedy at Virginia Tech University in 2007 that saw a shooter enter the campus and kill several people. The song shows outrage that such an event could even happen but also has a softer side that sees it offer condolences to the families of victims. 

28. Virginia (Wind in the Night) – The Head and the Heart 

The Head And The Heart - Virginia (Wind in the Night) [Official Music Video]

Change is something that isn’t ever going to stop, but even as the world changes around us, we also change with it. So, when you look at something and see it isn’t the same as it used to be, maybe it was you and not the thing that actually changed over time. That’s essentially the message of Virginia (Wind In The Night) by The Head And Heart, something notable for the state but also powerful for listeners. 

29. Sweet Virginia – Kip Moore 

Kip Moore - Sweet Virginia (Official Audio)

I listened to this one a few times and ended up pulling a different meaning from it on each listen. The main themes of it seem to be homesickness and the desire to find your own identity, which can both be linked to the state of Virginia as a place people want to go back to and that they identify strongly with. 

30. Oh Virginia – Blessid Union of Souls 

From a song that is more of an enigma than anything else to one that’s a pure ode to the state. Oh Virginia sings the praises of the state and even thanks it for the way it shaped the singer’s life and attitude. It finishes by stating that no matter what, Virginia will always be there for them when they need it. 

31. Happy – Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams - Happy (Video)

So Virginia doesn’t appear in the lyrics of the song, there aren’t any landmarks mentioned, and there’s no story set there that shows up during the track’s runtime. However, with Pharrell Williams being a Virginia native who has put the state at the forefront of songs before, it makes sense that this track would become involved in the state’s policies. After our later entry was removed as the state song, there was a big push to make this one the official state anthem. It didn’t end up happening, but how cool would that have been?

32. I’m Coming, Virginia – Donald Heywood

I'm Coming, Virginia

I’m Coming, Virginia is another awesome state song about knowing where you belong and always being able to go home. In this one, the narrator has built an entire life away from Virginia but realizes the one thing wrong is the location. They end up heading back to the state in the track to start over and truly go home. 

33. Carry Me Back to Old Virginny – James A. Bland 

James Bland "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny"

Carry Me Back To Old Virginny is a song that’s going to stir up a bit of controversy. Written in 1978 by James A. Bland, the track is told from the perspective of a freed slave who isn’t a fan of what life has turned into for him and is remembering fonder days on the plantations of Virginia.

That’s tough to swallow on its own, but this actually ended up being the state’s official anthem from 1940 until 1997. While many think of it as a great song talking about how great the state is, there are some obvious problems here that make it something that should be remembered but not particularly celebrated. 

34. The Virginia Beach Song – Luciano Illuminati 

The Virginia Beach Song

As beautiful as Virginia is, it’s hard to ignore its luxurious beaches. The Virginia Beach Song is a great one to listen to as you kick back under the sun with some sand under your feet. It describes the shoreline in detail, from the friendly people vacationing there to how beautiful the water is in the summertime. 

35. Orange County Serenade – Daniel Bachman 

Orange County Serenade

By my estimation, just about every state in the US has an Orange County. But Daniel Bachman’s song Orange County Serenade is squarely about the one in Virginia. It’s a timeless classic from the modern era, drawing on the sounds of yesterday to make you feel like you’re listening to folk singers of the golden days of the state. 

36. Down in Virginia – Boz Scaggs 

Boz Scaggs - Down In Virginia (Audio)

For some people, finding a place to reflect is the best way to gain perspective. The narrator of Down In Virginia knows they haven’t treated their lover well, so they go on a trip to the state to get away and get some much-needed clarity on the situation to better themselves. 

37. Green Rolling Hills – Emmylou Harris 

Green Rolling Hills (2003 Remaster)

Emmylou Harris is always a good option when you’re looking for an ode to a state that captures the essence of what the natural wonders and rural areas are like. In her song Green Rolling Hills, she compares the hillsides of Virginia to heaven itself and talks about how peaceful the countryside is in the state.

38. Peace in the Water – Pilot Perc Feat. Al Feury

Peace in the Water (feat. Al Feury)

Peace In The Water mainly focuses on the desire for peace and success, detailing the narrator’s hometown in Virginia. The song is a softer take on the hip hop genre, perfectly syncing its message and music to create a wonderful tune. 

39. Virginia Beach – Mykki Blanco 

Another great beach song, Virginia Beach is a track about finding true love, learning to be yourself, and finding out the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere. The narrator travels across the country to find the best place for them but ends up running back to Virginia Beach because they finally realize where they belong. 

40. Yes, Virginia – Waylon Jennings

Yes, Virginia is the story of a man who leaves a woman named Virginia, bitterly breaking it off with her despite how much it hurts him as well. It’s also been interpreted as a tearful goodbye to the state as if the narrator is from there but has been forced to leave to seek more opportunities. Regardless of how you interpret it, it’s a sad country classic from a legendary artist. 

41. Summer’s End – Foo Fighters

Summer in Virginia is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The hills are lush and green and the beaches are gorgeous. But it’s also the time of year when storms roll through and the weather can change in an instant. The Foo Fighters captured this extremely well in their ode to Virginian summertime Summer’s End.

Recommended Next:

Top songs about South Carolina

Top songs about West Virginia

Top songs about Washington DC

Leave a Comment