Once upon a time, there was one Carolina. King Charles I of England issued the original charter. However, nothing came of it. Things didn’t start moving until his son, King Charles II of England, reclaimed the throne from the Commonwealth of England before issuing a second charter to reward some of the men who had made it possible. This explains Carolina’s name because Carolus is the Latin version of Charles. In time, Carolina split into two because the north and south developed in different directions. The southern portion took after the British West Indies. Something that exerted enormous influence over its historical course. The U.S. state has been a source of interest to numerous artists. Thanks to that, there’s no shortage of songs about South Carolina.
Here are two of the best songs about South Carolina ever released:
10. “Just a Little Bit South of North Carolina” – Dean Martin
Dean Martin was a triple threat active for more than six decades. After all, he started as a comic but became an actor and singer. Martin released dozens of albums, so it shouldn’t be surprising that he sang about numerous topics. Here, the narrator longs to return to South Carolina. The scenery is beautiful while the weather is pleasant. However, the narrator is drawn by his desire for his significant other.
9. “Carolina Girls” – General Johnson & the Chairmen of the Board
General Johnson and the other Chairmen of the Board were always meant as a flagship act. Every member had their turn as lead vocalist. Still, General Johnson surged to the fore because his singing and songwriting received the most recognition. “Carolina Girls” is more or less what one would expect based on the name – an ode to the state’s women.
8. “Waltz For a Girl in South Carolina” – Brett Shady
This is another song in which the narrator longs for someone in South Carolina. The critical difference is that he says they’ll never meet again, though the reason for that isn’t elaborated upon. Curiously, there’s a moment in which the narrator contrasts the person and place he’s longing for with an “East Coast landfill,” which presumably refers to somewhere other than the Carolinas.
7. “She’s Carolina” – Cody Webb
Our relationship with places is determined by people as much as anything else. As a result, it makes sense that so many people have written songs that are about both at the same time. Strictly speaking, this song isn’t about someone specific that the narrator has in mind. Instead, the lyrics describe someone he imagines as the quintessential woman from the region. Thanks to this, the song has a different flavor to it.
6. “Charleston, South Carolina” – Lovie Austin & Her Blue Serenaders
Charleston isn’t South Carolina’s capital. That would be Columbia. However, Charleston is famous because it’s the state’s most populous city, thus making it a center for many things. Given the name, chances are good that interested individuals can guess that its name was meant to honor King Charles II of England. An extraordinary amount of planning went into the initial settlement because of its backers. Amusingly, Charleston descends from a second settlement that prospered even though its predecessor failed to do so. In any case, this song celebrates the city and the dance named for it.
5. “South Carolina” – Sally Shuffield
“South Carolina” isn’t too well-known. However, it deserves more attention because it’s a neat tribute to the state. The song manages to laud the state without being schmaltzy in the process. It’s much easier said than done.
4. “South Carolina Low Country” – Josh Turner
The Low Country refers to a coastal region. Once, it was known for rice and indigo grown using slave labor. Nowadays, it has other claims to fame. One example would be its historical significance. Another would be its biodiversity, much of which comes from the salt marshes and similar ecosystems. Josh Turner sang this song to honor the place that shaped him into the artist he is. As such, it’s deeply personal. Some artists stumble when straying from stale conventions. Turner did not on this song.
3. “Beers and Sunshine” – Darius Rucker
“Beers and Sunshine” was released on an album called Carolyn’s Boy. That isn’t a metaphor for Darius Rucker being a native son of South Carolina. Instead, it refers to his mother, who raised him and his siblings alone but died before he realized his dream of becoming a musician. “Beers and Sunshine” isn’t as sad as people might guess based on this context. Simultaneously, it’s more sober than its title would suggest. After all, the narrator wants to spend time with his lover and their friends because he wants a distraction from everything wrong in the world.
2. “Coast of Carolina” – Jimmy Buffett
Songs can have more than one source of inspiration. Reportedly, “Coast of Carolina” was meant to honor one of Jimmy Buffett’s friends who had passed away. However, it also reflects on a romantic relationship, as shown by its mention of past problems and confidence that things can still work out.
1. “Carolina in My Mind” – James Taylor
Home is a powerful concept. This is true in the present. Similarly, this was true in the past. For proof, consider how homecoming was a common theme in ancient Greek literature. The best example would be the Odyssey, one of the earliest works of the Western canon. “Carolina in My Mind” can’t claim that exalted status. Still, it’s no exaggeration to say it’s one of the most renowned releases of the late 1960s. There is no mystery about this song’s meaning. James Taylor wrote it while suffering homesickness for the state of South Carolina.
You can also read:
- The 10 Best Dean Martin Songs of All-Time
- The 10 Best Darius Rucker Songs of All-Time
- The 10 Best James Taylor Songs of All-Time
- The 10 Best Loreena McKennitt Songs of All Time
- Ranking All The Yes Studio Albums