Table of Contents
- 1. “Jersey Bounce” by Ella Fitzgerald
- 2. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
- 3. “Raise Your Hands” by Bon Jovi
- 4. “Hackensack” by Fountains of Wayne
- 5. “Jersey Girl” by Tom Waits
- 6. “Atlantic City” by The Band
- 7. “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3
- 8. “Palisades Park” by Freddie Cannon
- 9. “Night Falls on Hoboken” by Yo La Tengo
- 10. “I’m From New Jersey” by John Gorka
- 11. “So Jersey” by The Bouncing Souls
- 12. “You Can’t Catch Me” by Chuck Berry
- 13. “Back to Jersey” by Billy Hector
- 14. “I Like Jersey Best” by John Pizzarelli
- 15. “Can’t Get There From Here” by R.E.M.
- 16. “Over on the Jersey Side” by Billy Murray
- 17. “Wildwood Days” by Bobby Rydell
- 18. “Fake Blues” by Real Estate
- 19. “Jersey Boy” by Eddie Rabbitt
- 20. “Garden State Stomp” by Dave Van Ronk
These top 20 songs about New Jersey are an eclectic mix of genres and themes that capture the essence of the state’s culture and history. From Bruce Springsteen’s anthems to Bon Jovi’s arena rock hits, these songs showcase the state’s diverse musical heritage and its status as a cultural hub.
Some of the most iconic songs about New Jersey celebrate its working-class roots and the resilience of its people. Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” is a quintessential Jersey song, with its lyrics about young lovers chasing their dreams and escaping their mundane lives. Similarly, Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” has become an anthem for the state, with its catchy chorus and themes of hope and perseverance.
Other songs about New Jersey explore the state’s diverse landscape and cultural heritage. For example, Frank Sinatra’s “My Kind of Town” celebrates Atlantic City’s glitz and glamour, while Count Basie’s “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” captures the energy of the state’s jazz scene.
Overall, songs about New Jersey are a testament to the state’s rich musical heritage and cultural diversity. Whether celebrating the working-class roots of its people or exploring its varied landscapes and cultural offerings, these songs capture the essence of what makes New Jersey unique.
1. “Jersey Bounce” by Ella Fitzgerald
“Jersey Bounce” is an up-tempo swing song performed by the legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. It was written in 1942 and quickly became a popular hit, with its catchy melody and infectious rhythm. Fitzgerald’s powerful voice and scatting skills shine throughout the song, as she effortlessly keeps up with the fast-paced instrumental accompaniment. The lyrics tell the story of a party in New Jersey, with a bouncing rhythm that perfectly captures the excitement of the occasion. “Jersey Bounce” is a classic example of the swing music that dominated the American music scene in the 1940s, and remains a beloved standard in the jazz repertoire to this day.
2. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
“Livin’ on a Prayer” is a rock anthem by American band Bon Jovi, released in 1986. The song tells the story of a couple, Tommy and Gina, who are struggling to make ends meet and maintain their relationship. The chorus is instantly recognizable, with its soaring vocals and memorable guitar riff. It has become an enduring classic, with its message of hope and perseverance in the face of adversity resonating with audiences across generations. “Livin’ on a Prayer” has become one of Bon Jovi’s most popular and enduring hits, solidifying their status as one of the most successful rock bands of all time.
3. “Raise Your Hands” by Bon Jovi
“Raise Your Hands” is an energetic rock anthem by the American band Bon Jovi, released in 1986. The song is characterized by its catchy guitar riff and powerful vocals, and its upbeat, fist-pumping chorus has made it a popular crowd-pleaser at concerts. The lyrics encourage listeners to let loose and have a good time, and the song’s driving rhythm and infectious melody make it hard to resist. “Raise Your Hands” is a testament to Bon Jovi’s ability to craft catchy, upbeat rock songs that get audiences on their feet and singing along.
4. “Hackensack” by Fountains of Wayne
“Hackensack” is a melancholy but sweet indie rock song by American band Fountains of Wayne, released in 2003. The song tells the story of a narrator who dreams of reconnecting with an old high school crush from Hackensack, New Jersey. The lyrics are filled with vivid details and a sense of longing, and the melody is simple but memorable. The song is characterized by its wistful tone, and the vocal harmonies and simple guitar chords contribute to its understated beauty. “Hackensack” showcases Fountains of Wayne’s gift for crafting catchy, emotionally resonant songs that stick with listeners long after the music has ended.
5. “Jersey Girl” by Tom Waits
“Jersey Girl” is a romantic ballad by American singer-songwriter Tom Waits, released in 1980. The song is a tribute to the narrator’s girlfriend, who is from New Jersey and who he adores despite her quirks and imperfections. The melody is simple and sweet, with a prominent piano and saxophone accompaniment, and Waits’ gravelly voice lends the song a sense of warmth and intimacy. “Jersey Girl” has become a beloved classic, with its charming lyrics and heartfelt performance striking a chord with audiences around the world. The song is a testament to Waits’ skill as a storyteller and his ability to capture the essence of a place and a person in his music.
6. “Atlantic City” by The Band
“Atlantic City” is a haunting, poetic song by Canadian-American roots rock group The Band, released in 1993. The song tells the story of a couple’s struggles to survive in the impoverished and corrupt city of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The melody is understated but powerful, with a driving acoustic guitar and mournful harmonica accompaniment, and the lyrics are filled with evocative imagery and a sense of desperation. “Atlantic City” is a beautiful and moving tribute to the resilience of ordinary people in the face of adversity, and it showcases The Band’s gift for crafting heartfelt, emotionally resonant songs that speak to the human experience.
7. “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3
“Woke Up This Morning” is a gritty and bluesy song by British band Alabama 3, released in 1997. The song features a distinctive, driving beat and electronic accompaniment, and the lyrics tell the story of a narrator who wakes up to face the day with a sense of determination and resilience. The song is perhaps best known as the opening theme for the hit television series The Sopranos, and its dark, edgy sound and memorable melody have made it a popular favorite among fans of both the band and the show. “Woke Up This Morning” is a powerful and infectious track that showcases Alabama 3’s unique blend of blues, rock, and electronic music.
8. “Palisades Park” by Freddie Cannon
“Palisades Park” is an upbeat and nostalgic song by American rock and roll singer Freddie Cannon, released in 1962. The song is a tribute to the famous amusement park in New Jersey, and the lyrics vividly describe the rides, attractions, and atmosphere of the park. The melody is catchy and fun, with a memorable chorus and infectious guitar riffs, and Cannon’s exuberant vocals perfectly capture the excitement and energy of the park. “Palisades Park” became a massive hit, reaching the top of the charts and cementing its place as a beloved classic of the early rock and roll era.
9. “Night Falls on Hoboken” by Yo La Tengo
“Night Falls on Hoboken” is a dreamy and atmospheric indie rock song by American band Yo La Tengo, released in 2000. The song features a hypnotic guitar and bass melody, with a slow, steady beat and hushed, whispery vocals. The lyrics are impressionistic and evocative, painting a picture of the quiet streets and fading light of the band’s hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey. “Night Falls on Hoboken” is a haunting and beautiful track that showcases Yo La Tengo’s gift for creating ethereal and evocative music that transports listeners to another time and place.
10. “I’m From New Jersey” by John Gorka
“I’m From New Jersey” is a folk song by American singer-songwriter John Gorka, released in 1991. The song is a humorous and affectionate tribute to the Garden State, celebrating its diverse landscape, culture, and people. The melody is simple and catchy, with a playful guitar and harmonica accompaniment, and the lyrics are filled with witty and quirky observations about life in New Jersey. “I’m From New Jersey” has become a beloved classic, with its lighthearted and infectious spirit capturing the unique character and charm of the state. The song is a testament to Gorka’s skill as a songwriter and his deep love for his home state.
11. “So Jersey” by The Bouncing Souls
“So Jersey” is a punk rock anthem by American band The Bouncing Souls, released in 2006. The song is a raucous and unapologetic celebration of the band’s roots in New Jersey, and it exudes a sense of pride and defiance that is characteristic of the state’s culture. The melody is fast and energetic, with driving guitars and pounding drums, and the lyrics are filled with references to iconic New Jersey landmarks and cultural touchstones. “So Jersey” is a powerful and cathartic track that captures the rebellious and irreverent spirit of punk rock, while also paying tribute to the band’s home state.
12. “You Can’t Catch Me” by Chuck Berry
“You Can’t Catch Me” is a classic rock and roll song by American musician Chuck Berry, released in 1956. The song features a driving beat and a catchy guitar riff, with Berry’s trademark vocals delivering a playful and confident performance. The lyrics are full of car and racing metaphors, with the narrator boasting of his speed and daring. “You Can’t Catch Me” is a quintessential rock and roll track that captures the youthful energy and rebellion of the genre, and it has influenced countless musicians in the decades since its release. The song is a testament to Berry’s enduring legacy as a pioneer of rock and roll music.
13. “Back to Jersey” by Billy Hector
“Back to Jersey” is a blues rock song by American musician Billy Hector, released in 1997. The song is a soulful and heartfelt tribute to the state of New Jersey, with Hector singing about his longing to return home after spending time away. The melody is slow and bluesy, with a rich and textured guitar accompaniment, and Hector’s vocals are raw and emotional, conveying a deep sense of nostalgia and yearning. “Back to Jersey” is a powerful and evocative track that captures the unique character and spirit of the state, and it has become a beloved classic among fans of blues and rock music.
14. “I Like Jersey Best” by John Pizzarelli
“I Like Jersey Best” is a jazz-infused love letter to New Jersey by guitarist and vocalist John Pizzarelli. The song highlights the state’s famous landmarks and attractions, from the shore towns to the casinos in Atlantic City, while also celebrating its unique culture and charm. Pizzarelli’s smooth vocals and masterful guitar playing are accompanied by a lively horn section and swinging rhythm section, creating a joyful and upbeat sound that perfectly captures the energy of the Garden State. The song is a tribute to Pizzarelli’s home state, and its catchy melody and infectious spirit make it a beloved favorite among both New Jerseyans and jazz enthusiasts alike.
15. “Can’t Get There From Here” by R.E.M.
“Can’t Get There From Here” is an upbeat and quirky rock song by American band R.E.M. Released in 1985, the track features catchy guitar riffs, driving drum beats, and frontman Michael Stipe’s distinctive vocals, which showcase his signature cryptic and poetic lyrics. The song’s title phrase is repeated throughout the chorus, serving as a metaphor for the frustration of being stuck in a dead-end situation. With its energetic instrumentation and memorable melody, “Can’t Get There From Here” has become a fan favorite and a standout track in R.E.M.’s discography, showcasing the band’s unique sound and their ability to blend rock, folk, and pop influences.
16. “Over on the Jersey Side” by Billy Murray
“Over on the Jersey Side” is a classic song from the early 1900s performed by American singer Billy Murray. The upbeat tune tells the story of a group of friends who cross over from New York City to New Jersey to enjoy a day of fishing and relaxation. The song’s catchy melody and playful lyrics capture the joy and excitement of a carefree summer day, while also highlighting the unique charm and attractions of the Jersey Shore. With its lively ragtime piano accompaniment and Murray’s smooth and lively vocals, “Over on the Jersey Side” remains a beloved classic of early American popular music.
17. “Wildwood Days” by Bobby Rydell
“Wildwood Days” is a classic pop song by American singer Bobby Rydell, released in 1963. The song celebrates the vibrant and carefree atmosphere of Wildwood, New Jersey, a popular beach resort town in the mid-20th century. With its upbeat melody, catchy chorus, and Rydell’s smooth and energetic vocals, “Wildwood Days” captures the spirit of summer and the excitement of a fun-filled vacation at the shore. The song’s nostalgic lyrics evoke memories of simpler times, when the Jersey Shore was a popular destination for young people looking for adventure, romance, and a break from the stresses of everyday life.
18. “Fake Blues” by Real Estate
“Fake Blues” is a dreamy and introspective indie rock track by American band Real Estate, released in 2009. The song features the band’s signature jangly guitar sound, complemented by mellow harmonies and introspective lyrics that explore themes of disillusionment, isolation, and the search for authenticity in a world that often feels artificial and contrived. With its atmospheric instrumentation and ethereal vocals, “Fake Blues” has become a fan favorite and a standout track in Real Estate’s discography, showcasing the band’s ability to create music that is both introspective and catchy, and speaks to the anxieties and uncertainties of a generation.
19. “Jersey Boy” by Eddie Rabbitt
“Jersey Boy” is a country rock song by American singer Eddie Rabbitt, released in 1982. The song tells the story of a young man who dreams of leaving his small town in rural America to pursue his dreams in the big city of New York, with its bright lights and endless possibilities. The song’s catchy melody and upbeat instrumentation capture the excitement and energy of a young person setting out on a new adventure, while its lyrics speak to the hopes and aspirations of the American Dream. “Jersey Boy” has become a beloved classic in Rabbitt’s discography, and a testament to the power of dreams and the pursuit of happiness.
20. “Garden State Stomp” by Dave Van Ronk
“Garden State Stomp” is a lively and upbeat folk-blues song by American musician Dave Van Ronk, released in 1976. The song features Van Ronk’s signature fingerstyle guitar playing, complemented by a lively horn section and swinging rhythm section, creating a joyful and danceable sound that perfectly captures the spirit of the Garden State. The song’s catchy melody and infectious energy pay tribute to the unique culture and character of New Jersey, and its ability to inspire joy and celebration. “Garden State Stomp” has become a fan favorite and a beloved classic of Van Ronk’s discography, showcasing his ability to blend different musical styles and create music that is both entertaining and meaningful.