Angelenos favorite songs about Los Angeles

An informal poll via our sweet Twitter thingie (subscribe!) asked for L.A. residents favorite songs about the City of Angels. Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” and “Los Angeles” by X are popular favorites, but the bulk of the list is as diverse as the city itself, with artists ranging from Warren Zevon to the Stooges to Tupac, including titles like, “La Cienega Just Smiled, “Caaaaaaalifornia Looooooove,” and “Some L.A. Nigaaz.”

Check to see if your favorites are after the jump.

Contest: I’ll send the first person to make a Muxtape of the list a Los Angeles edition Moleskine for you to write the lyrics to your own ode to L.A.

  • sdm: “In California” – Lisa Marr Experience
  • betheboy: Warren Zevon’s “Even a Dog Can Shake Hands” a little dated but still great.
  • StudioErotica: Just Noises’ “West Coast Anthem.”
  • LisaBee: “I Love LA” and “Los Angeles Is Burning” are both pretty classic.
  • barefootjim: Favorite song about Los Angeles: “Screenwriter’s Blues,” by Soul Coughing
  • VirginiaNussey: easy! Red Hot Chili Peppers’s “City of Angels.”
  • pettybo: hmm can’t decide btw “Hotel California,” The Eagles; “California Love,” Tupac, “L.A.Blues,” Stooges, “Some LA Nigaz,” Dre /Dope Show-Manson.
  • benarnold: Tie – “Los Angeles” by X and “I Love LA” for Lakers-related reasons.
  • jenhen: “La Cienega Just Smiled” – Ryan Adams
  • Nedra: “Under the Bridge” does it for me.
  • er1n: “Los Angeles, I’m Yours” by the Decemberists
  • HugnSnug: have a soft spot for “E.Z.L.A.” by Folk Implosion. “…cold like the desert at night”
  • HugnSnug: partner in comic strip making says “Los Angeles” by The Refreshments.
  • ginnycase: “Caaaaaaalifornia Looooooove,” and Michelle Shocked’s Come a Long Way.
  • subwayray: cliché I know, but “LA Song” by Beth Hart
  • ghidorah76: “People of the Sun” by Rage Against the Machine.

23 thoughts on “Angelenos favorite songs about Los Angeles”

  1. I’ve always loved “4th of July” by X, if for nothing else than the imagery of the Mexican kids setting off fireworks everywhere…

  2. What? No votes for Frank Black’s “Los Angeles”? Or maybe it was a cover?

    I also nominate Beck’s “Guero” because it is such a great “slice of life” song about living in LA, and The Dresden Dolls’ “Shores of California” simply because it’s fun.

    Morrissey’s “Glamorous Glue,” although it’s not really about LA, but has a great line about it:

    “We look to Los Angeles for the language we use, London is dead, London is dead, London is dead, London is dead…”

  3. here are some songs I like that mention LA streets:
    Ferraby Lionheart – Vermont Avenue
    Eleni Mandell – Normandie
    Ryan Adams – La Cienega Just Smiled
    Tom Waits – Heartattack and Vine

    and that frickin’ Pico and Sepulveda song. gah! addicting!

    some other LA-related songs that I like:
    Eleni Mandell – Silverlake [sic] Babies
    The Decemberists – Los Angeles, I’m Yours
    KT Tunstall – Hollywood Hills

    and a couple songs that I like that mention Los Angeles in passing:
    Gillian Welch – I Dream a Highway (“Hollywood trembles on the verge of tears”)
    Eleni Mandell – Don’t Lose My Trail (starts out in New York City but “we can make it to Los Angeles if we don’t stop”. great for finishing up a road trip.)

  4. Tim Armstrong “Into Action”, not entirely about LA but we get a mention.
    “Respect to New York, respect to London
    But we’re from California and our state is golden”

    Of course there is high on the list very LA Specific. “Pico and Sepulveda” which I can imagine the namesakes are just spinning in their graves over, but it is a catchy tune.

  5. There’s a recording somewhere of an acoustic Rilo Kiley singing a song called “I Love L.A.” that’s a very sweet ode to Jenny Lewis’ conflicted relationship with the town.

  6. Warren Zevon – “Desperation Under the Eaves”
    Don Henley (yes, I know, but the song is good) – “The Garden of Allah”
    Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Under the Bridge”
    RHCP again – “Californication”

    Funny that Tom Waits, a brilliant lyricist and native Angeleno, has not penned many songs about L.A. that I am aware of ..

  7. I mean, lyrically, how can you beat this?

    “I was sitting in the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel
    I was staring in my empty coffee cup
    I was thinking that the gypsy wasn’t lyin’
    All the salty margaritas in Los Angeles
    I’m gonna drink ’em up

    And if California slides into the ocean
    Like the mystics and statistics say it will
    I predict this motel will be standing until I pay my bill

    Don’t the sun look angry through the trees
    Don’t the trees look like crucified thieves
    Don’t you feel like desperadoes
    Under the eaves
    Heaven help the one who leaves

    Still waking up in the mornings with shaking hands
    And I’m trying to find a girl who understands me
    But except in dreams you’re never really free

    Don’t the sun look angry at me

    I was sitting in the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel
    I was listening to the air conditioner hum…

    “Desperadoes Under the Eaves” (1976)

  8. You can’t tell from the titles, but they’re both definitely about Los Angeles

    Death Cab for Cutie – “Why’d You Want To Live Here”
    Counting Crows – “Long December”

  9. cheesy as hell, but I like Loudon Wainwright III’s “Here Come The Choppers”. Miracle Mile, represent!

  10. hindinwood, I so agree with you. Every time I hear 4th of July by X it transports me back to Echo Park.

    Surprised no one even brought up LA Woman. Can’t believe.

  11. Michelle Shocked: Come a long way
    filmed in LA…and not the famous places…

    George Winston (indy? new age?) said he was working as a cab driver
    when he was composing (can’t say writing, as he’s never put the music on paper) the main piece, Autumn (album same name). He said he had to drive down one particular street to see that actually changed color so he could get the feeling of autumn…

  12. He said he had to drive down one particular street to see that actually changed color so he could get the feeling of autumn

    Obviously he’s never encountered jacaranda season in L.A.

  13. “Beverly Hills” by Weezer never fails to put a smile on my face. “When the housemaids scrub the floors they get the spaces in between.” And the “gimme gimme” refrain, which I’m told may be the voice of Ashlee Simpson.

    Special mention as well to Weezer’s “Hash Pipe,” for the line “down on Santa Monica where tricks are for kids.”

    And no song list about L.A. should exclude Guns N Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.”

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