The 10 Best Songs about Tennessee

Tennessee

Some places draw a crowd, and anywhere there’s lots of good music is bound to join that list. However, much like California and New York, Tennessee has held the fascination of millions. Dozens, if not hundreds of songs about Tennessee, have been written and performed over the years. Narrowing them down to the ten best songs about Tennessee was a feat, but we’ve carefully curated this list of hits that honor the volunteer state.

10. Need To Breathe: Girl Named Tennessee

 

With superb piano, rocking guitar, great backup vocals for an excellent soulful singer, and plenty of percussion, Girl Named Tennessee is everything you want in a song. Girl Named Tennessee is probably the most underrated out of this entire list. The longing and sense of ‘the one that got away’ are perfectly captured here.

9. Noah Gundersen: Nashville

 

Nashville by Noah Gunderson is a stunning, symbolic tune. On the surface, it seems like it’s just a song about hard times and missing home. However, as Mathew Tarlen points out on Song Meanings, “This song is an absolutely beautiful one about death, and how we cope with it. It suggests that even when we feel miserable and hopeless, confused or frustrated, we should never lose sight of the grand scheme of things, and always remember to give and appreciate everything we have.”

8. Pam Tillis: Maybe It Was Memphis

 

Maybe It Was Memphis has a pop sound to it that made studio execs hesitate to release the tune. Whether that was ultimately a good thing or not, only Pam and the record company can tell you. However, this fantastic, catchy song sticks in your head as the singer reminisces about a lover she once had in Memphis.

7. Marc Cohn: Walking in Memphis

 

Walking in Memphis captures the spirit of both the city and Tennessee as a whole. There’s a sense of music and wonder that is hard to put into words, but it smells like catfish on the table and sounds like distant gospel in the air, among other things. Hearing this song, you’re transported to a place that you can see and sense completely, even if you’ve never been within a thousand miles of Memphis.

6. Billy Ray Cyrus: Back to Tennessee

 

If you only know him for his Achy Breaky Heart, then you’ve missed out on a lot of excellent music from Billy Ray Cyrus. Before Miley’s dad, Billy Ray was burning up the charts. Back to Tennessee is a great song that certainly didn’t get as much attention as the Achy Breaky, yet expresses its own sort of heartbreak.

5. Johnny Cash: Tennessee Stud

 

Although there have been many versions of Tennessee Stud recorded over the years, Johnny Cash had a singular style forged at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville or born for it. Either way, Tennessee Stud is a song about a man who is in about as much trouble as anyone can find. Luckily, the man is wise, and he knows when to hop on his horse and leave so he can return to fight (and win) another day.

4. Emmylou Harris: Tennessee Rose

 

Being a musician is tough, but it only gets harder when you’re successful and in demand. Nights away from home turn into weeks and months at a time. Emmylou Harris sings about true love and missing her Tennessee Rose. No amount of bribery and bedazzlement can take her heart away from the one she longs to return to.

3. Alabama: Dixieland Delight

 

It may seem odd that a band that literally called itself Alabama made the top three for songs about Tennessee, but they did. The song resonated with people so well it became a favorite throughout the south and was often sung at Crimson Tide games. However, according to Fox Sports, a few vulgar fans ruined it for everyone and got the song banned back in 2014.

2. Patti Page: Tennessee Waltz

 

It’s hard to imagine a more classic song than Tennessee Waltz by Patti Paige. The dulcet tones are ideal for this slow, sad song about betrayal. The singer talks about going out dancing and introducing a dear friend to the man she loved and then losing him as they dance away together.

1. Dolly Parton: My Tennessee Mountain Home

 

My Tennessee Mountain Home is a beautiful, classic Dolly Parton song that deserves its place of honor atop this list. Dolly Parton is as much a part of Tennessee’s history and current culture as the Grand Ole Opry, and this song shows her deep love of her home state. Unsurprisingly, that love is returned. Dolly Parton has a special place, not just in music and country music history but also in the hearts of Tennesseans. The Dolly obsession seems odd if you’re not from Tennessee, but the more you learn about this living legend, the more delightful and quirky she becomes. People in Tennessee love Dolly for her heart as much as her songs.

Final Thoughts

Whether you live in Tennessee or have only ever seen it on a map, it’s no surprise to anyone that the top ten songs about Tennessee are country. After all, Nashville is the heart of country music, and country has always been one of the most popular types of music in the US. It’s relatable and melodic. Now that you’ve heard the ten best songs about Tennessee, go explore all the other surprising music about that state that is home to Dollywood, Graceland, The Grand Ole Opry, excellent whiskey, and of course, country music.

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