Out in the Midwest is the beautiful state of Indiana. This gorgeous and peaceful state has been an inspiration for songwriters for generations. The songs written about The Hoosier State generally are about the small towns, the feeling of home, and other similar themes. Here are the best songs about Indiana.
“Going Back To Indiana” By Jackson 5
Song Year: 1970
Even though the Jackson 5 didn’t write “Going Back To Indiana,” it’s still one of their best songs and the best about the Hoosier State. Much like the other Jackson 5 songs, Michael Jackson was the lead singer on this track, even though he was only 11 years old at the time they recorded it.
This song is special to the Jackson 5 and is all about how they grew up in Indiana. Many lyrics are about how much they miss the beautiful state’s rivers, landscapes, and unique cities. Overall, the song’s a celebration of all the best parts of Indiana and about going home.
“Indiana Wants Me” By R. Dean Taylor
Song Year: 1970
“Indiana Wants Me” is a very different song from the others on our list. Unlike the other songs that praise everything there is to love about the state, this R. Dean Taylor song tells a story about someone who fled the state because they killed someone for insulting their partner.
The story is fictional at heart, but it is all about how the state of Indiana has this person as a wanted man, hence the song’s title. Fictional songs can still be fun to listen to, so if you prefer fictional storytelling, then you need to give this song a listen when you have some time.
“Springtime Indiana” By Sandra McCracken
Song Year: 2001
Sandra McCracken wrote a beautiful song that’s all about falling in love while spending time in Indiana. “Springtime Indiana” is a folk song with gentle music that came out on her second album, which she released about two years after graduating from college.
The song is about how she took a road trip and made a quick stop in Indiana. She met someone and never intended to fall in love. Much of the song is about how it was supposed to be a quick stop on her road trip and never a permanent fixture in her life. Not only did she fall in love with someone in Indiana, but the state.
“Gary, Indiana” By Meredith Willson
Song Year: 1962
“Gary, Indiana” is not just a city, but it’s a great song that comes from the 1957 musical, The Music Man. The Broadway musical is set in a small town in Iowa and is about a traveling con artist from Indiana.
In the musical, this song is an ode to everything there is to love about the traveling con artist’s hometown of Gary, Indiana. Even though the song is in a fictional story, the lyrics that talk about how unique and special Gary is are all based on the real town in Indiana. It’s all about the love of small-town life and is worth listening to even if you don’t watch the show.
“Can’t Get Indiana Off My Mind” By Bing Crosby
Song Year: 1940
A calm and beautiful song about Indiana is “Can’t Get Indiana Off My Mind” by Bing Crosby. The song initially came from Hoagy Carmichael and Robert De Leon in 1940, but Bing Crosby’s version, which was released in the same year, is one of the best out there.
As you listen to the song, you’ll hear how the singer states how much they miss Indiana. They miss everything about the state, like the landscapes, the Wabash River, the friendly people, and more. Anyone who’s ever been homesick or missed a place intensely will relate to this beautiful song about Indiana.
“Back To Indiana” By The Elms
Song Year: 2009
Anyone who’s ever been away from the one they love for a prolonged period of time can relate to “Back To Indiana” by The Elms. The song is about how a man is leaving New Orleans to return to Indiana to see the one they love.
They mention how they miss their love, the beauty of Indiana, and how they’re bringing them a bouquet of flowers to surprise them when they arrive.
“Indiana Christmas” By Straight No Chaser
Song Year: 2008
“Indiana Christmas” is a non-classic Christmas song by Straight No Chaser. The song is about how Indiana sees beautiful white Christmases every year and how the lead singer will return there during the holidays like they do every year.
The rest of the lyrics talk about popular things to do in the winter and during Christmas, like making fires, opening presents, decorating, and more. If you need a new holiday song, then this one about Indiana is sure to please you.
“Small Town” by John Mellencamp
Song Year: 1985
Indiana is home to many small towns, and John Mellencamp capitalized on his experience growing up in them and his appreciation for how they shaped him into the person he is today. It’s arguably one of his most famous roots-rock songs and one of the best about Indiana.
The song features towns in Indiana like Seymour, Bloomington, and Vincennes. These are the towns he spent most of his early childhood in. The rest of the lyrics talk about the things he used to do in these towns that he wouldn’t have been able to do had he lived in a large city.
“Jim Dean of Indiana” by Phil Ochs
Song Year: 1970
Jim Dean is a famous actor and singer from America, and Phil Ochs wrote a song about a small-town boy who essentially was, as the name tells, the “Jim Dean of Indiana.” Phil Ochs sings about the little boy and how he grew up playing in the fields and telling stories rather than being interested in farm chores like Indiana kids.
The lyrics mention how he was born to be an actor and get out of Indiana when he grew up. He eventually left the state and lived fast, traveling around and not staying in one place for very long.
“Indiana” by Sean Kelly
Song Year: 2003
Sean Kelly wrote this song about the first time he ever drove through Indiana, and then all the times he returned to The Hoosier State. He talks about how he would drive through small towns but not really know anything about them other than what he could see on the outside.
He sings about dreaming of meeting people in these towns and all the corn fields and rolling hills that he saw as he made his way through the state.
“Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty
Song Year: 1993
“Mary Jane’s Last Dance” is one of the best rock songs about Indiana. Don’t let the fact that the state isn’t in the song’s title fool you. Tom Petty does a wonderful job of telling the story of a beautiful woman who grew up in Indiana.
As you listen to the lyrics, you can picture a beautiful woman who is the star of her small Indiana town. He falls in love with her, and the song talks about how she’s the only reason he enjoys being in that small Indiana town. The artist sings about how he can’t stay long anyway but will make time for one last day with her before hitting the road.
“Indiana” by David Mead
Song Year: 2004
David Mead’s song about Indiana is truly a reminder that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While many people find the miles and miles of corn fields and soybean farms beautiful and peaceful places, David Mead sings about how being stuck in a car driving through Indiana is the worst.
Besides that, the song mentions how his partner travels through the concrete jungle of large cities and how he craves to do the same rather than drive through Indiana. It’s a unique take on Indiana compared to other songs written about the state, and still, one of the best written.
“Indiana” by Jon McLaughlin
Song Year: 2007
Another great song about Indiana is by Jon McLaughlin. To no one’s surprise, he wrote this song as a love song to the state and the small towns. Many of the lyrics are all about how he loves and misses every little detail of his home in Indiana.
The song is like poetry and will pull on your heartstrings. He mentions that he loves how far away his small town in Indiana is away from the large cities and everything in between. There is a woman mentioned in the song, but she doesn’t feel the same way about Indiana as the artist.
“Pizza King” by Wussy
Song Year: 2011
Wussy’s song, “Pizza King,” is an exciting and unique song about The Hoosier State. Unlike the others that mention how much people miss the small towns and landscapes of the state, this one is about specific activities people would get into while living in small towns in the USA.
The lyrics talk about how they would sit outside the Pizza King and meet up with friends, pass around cans of what we can assume is beer, and how teenagers would flirt and be playful with one another in a seemingly boring area.
“On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away” by Paul Dresser
Song Year: 1897
“On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away” is one of the oldest songs about Indiana that we can find. Paul Dresser released the song in the late 1890s, and by 1913, Indiana had officially adopted it as their state song. The song is all about the Wabash River that runs on the west and north side of the state.
The song is all about the memories people create on the Wabash River bank, specifically about the woman Paul Dresser loved the most in his life, his mom. The song is about their memories and, by the end of the song, how she passes away.
“Indiana” by Louis Armstrong
Song Year: 1951
Even though Louis Armstrong is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, his song “Indiana” is a beautiful tune about the Hoosier State. The lyrics are much like other songs about the state, mentioning how badly all they want to do is go home to Indiana and small-town life.
The lyrics dive deeper into the reasons why the artist misses Indiana. They miss running through the fields, seeing the moon shine over the Wabash River and other things about the state’s landscape. The song is relatable for anyone who has left a small town or Midwest state and wants to return.
“Indiana” by Melissa Etheridge
Song Year: 2010
Not all the songs about Indiana are Sunshine and Rainbows. Melissa Etherridge’s song “Indiana” is a little bit of a sad tune. The song tells a story about a girl being born and her father immediately leaving and disowning her. She’s raised by her mother, who she states is tougher than an Indiana winter.
The song continues to be about Indiana in the sense of comparing her mother to their winters, but how, as the girl grew up and left the nest, all she wanted to do was return home to Indiana, where she was the happiest.
Top Songs About Indiana, Final Thoughts
For decades, Indiana has inspired those lucky enough to grow up in the state or visit at some point in their life. Countless songs capture how lovely a small town can be and all the different feelings Indiana provokes in people.
Next time you feel homesick for Indiana or want to expand your music knowledge, these top songs about Indiana are excellent.