Best Songs About Los Angeles

Los Angeles is famous for many things, including beautiful women, fancy cars, and the rich and famous. Thus, L.A. is an inspiration for many artists. Some tracks are about the city’s beauty, while others depict the opposite.

Here are the best songs about Los Angeles ever.

1. “Santa Monica” by Everclear

Song year: 1996

Santa Monica, California, is a city within Los Angeles where Everclear lead singer Art Alexakis grew up.

The song has a beachy and uplifting tune with lyrics about moving on and leaving the past and bad times behind; endings are new beginnings and a chance to move forward to something even better.

2. “Los Angeles” by Blink 182

Song year: 2016

“Los Angeles” is a song by the American rock band, Blink 182 that features specific references to Los Angeles locations like Mulholland Drive, painting a picture of the city.

Initially, the group planned on naming their album after this song and making it the lead single, though they decided to go with “California” as the album title and “Bored to Death” as the single.

3. “Dying In LA” by Panic! At the Disco

Song year: 2018

Panic! At the Disco, lead singer Brendon Urie wrote “Dying In LA” to paint the picture of someone arriving in Los Angeles with dreams of finding life-changing opportunities and falling in love with the glamour.

However, they’d end up broken once their failed success catches up to them.

4. “No More Parties in L.A.” by Kanye West ft. Kendrick Lamar

Song year: 2016

In “No More Parties in L.A.,” Kanye West and Kendrick Lama rap about the superficial L.A. lifestyle.

Oddly, many look at Kanye as the personification of the Los Angeles culture with his love for luxury. However, he acknowledges the dangers of getting caught in the hype.

5. “I Love L.A.” by Randy Newman

Song year: 1983

Randy Newman was tasked to write a song about Los Angels for the 1984 Olympics. However, he wrote a tongue-in-cheek tune about the unfavorable culture in L.A.

The song became a hit, with most people not making it past the chorus. Although Los Angeles officials didn’t think this was the desired image, Newman released the track anyway.

6. “Eastside” by Benny Blanco, featuring Khalid & Halsey

Song year: 2018

Benny Blanco came together with some of the most famous artists at the time to write and release the hit song “Eastside.”

The lyrics reminisce about young love between a boy and girl who used to meet in the Eastside, an urban Los Angeles County, California area.

7. “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty

Song year: 1989

“Free Fallin’” is the opening track from Tom Petty’s debut solo album, Full Moon Forever, and is one of his biggest hits.

Petty stated that he didn’t write the song about any specific person; instead, he wrote it to represent what he saw during cruises along Ventura Boulevard, a region within Los Angeles.

8. “Move to L.A.” by Tyga

Song year: 2017

Tyga wrote this song to pay homage to American rapper and minister, Ma$e and R&B girl group Total’s hit song “What You Want.” The song references what was happening at the time, with many girls visiting L.A. and wanting to move there.

9. “Beverly Hills” by Weezer

Song year: 2005

“Beverly Hills” is a hit song by American rock band Weezer, which would become one of the group’s biggest hits.

The narrator describes how he wishes he could live a lavish life like the stars who live in Beverly Hills are living. Though some mistake the lyrics for sarcasm, the song was written with total sincerity.

10. “L.A. Freeway” by Jerry Jeff Walker

Song year: 1972

The 70s hit “L.A. Freeway” is a song originally written by Jerry Jeff Walker, though several artists have covered it, like Steve Earl.

Songwriter Guy Clark wrote the lyrics after falling out with his landlord, prompting him to move from Los Angeles to Nashville.

11. “Los Angeles, Be Kind” by Owl John

Song year: 2014

“Los Angeles, Be Kind” is a song by Owl John, a Scottish solo musical project by Frightened Rabbit’s bandmates Scott Hutchison and Andy Monaghan and their touring guitarist, Simon Liddell.

The lyrics describe the downfalls of L.A., like traffic lights, crime, smog, and more, and then urge the city to be kind.

12. “Back in L.A.” by BB King

Song year: 1991

American blues singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer BB King wrote and released the song “Back in L.A.” on his 1991 album, There Is Always One More Time.

His lyrics describe finding himself back in Los Angeles and trying to make it through some of the city’s adverse qualities.

13. “Hollywood Freaks” by Beck

Song year: 1999

“Hollywood Freaks” is a song by American musician, Beck, released on his seventh studio album, Midnite Vultures.

This funky track describes life in Los Angeles in the 90s, as seen through Beck’s eyes. As expected from the title, L.A. native Beck doesn’t think too fondly of the “City of Angels.”

14. “L.A. Woman” by The Doors

Song year: 1971

American rock band, The Doors released “L.A. Woman” for the group’s sixth studio album of the same name. It’s the last album featuring lead singer Jim Morrison, who would die three months after its release.

The lyrics describe the two types of women you’d typically see in L.A. and driving madly on the infamous Los Angeles freeway.

15. “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow

Song year: 1993

“All I Wanna Do” is the all-time summer jam that can likely turn any bad mood around. American musician, singer, and songwriter Sheryl Crow sing lyrics about having fun before the sun rises over Santa Monica Boulevard, L.A.

Her inspiration for the song came from a poem titled “Fun,” and Crow didn’t initially intend to release it.

16. “California Love” by 2Pac

Song year: 1996

Late American rapper 2Pac raps alongside fellow rapper-producer Dr. Dre and singer Roger Troutman for the hit song “California Love.”

It’s a track that celebrates the California hip-hop lifestyle. They rap about everything they love in L.A. while warning listeners of the not-so-good, like gang violence and crime.

17. “Why You’d Want to Live Here” by Death Cab For Cutie

Song year: 2001

“Why You’d Want to Live Here” is a song by indie rock band Death Cab For Cutie on their third studio album, The Photo Album. Despite the name, the lyrics describe the negative aspects of Los Angeles and satirically ask, “Who wouldn’t want to live here?”

18. “Born in East L.A.” by Cheech Marin

Song year: 1985

Cheech & Chong released “Born in East L.A.” as a comedy song, parodying Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” and references to Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.”

Written by Cheech Marin, the lyrics depict a Mexican-American from East Los Angeles who gets mistaken for an illegal alien and gets deported.

19. “Come Monday” by Jimmy Buffet

Song year: 1974

Jimmy Buffet, a renowned artist in the 70s, continues to be admired by many today. However, his extensive touring schedule often led to time away from his family.

In acknowledgment of this difficulty, Buffet wrote this song for his wife, Jane, expressing his longing for her companionship. He references a lonesome four-day stint in Los Angeles and his desire for her presence by his side.

20. “Drew Barrymore” by Bryce Vine

Song year: 2018

American rapper and singer Bryce Vine released “Drew Barrymore” on his debut album, Carnival. He described Drew Barrymore as his dream girl, but for much more than her looks, inspiring him to write a song about being attracted to someone based on feelings rather than appearance.

The song mentions two cities, Cairo and L.A., as possible destinations for their adventures. The lyrics suggest that the singer wants to be with this person now and doesn’t want to waste any time.

21. “Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Song year: 1991

Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kledis wrote “Under The Bridge” to describe his loneliness as a heroin addict. The opening lines reveal that Los Angeles felt like Kledis’s only friend during that difficult time.

Initially, this song was a private poem, but the group’s producer found it in Kledis’s notebook and encouraged him to turn it into a song.

22. “Los Angeles Is Burning” by Bad Religion

Song year: 2004

Punk rock band Bad Religion released “Los Angeles Is Burning” as a single on their album The Empire Strikes First.

The lyrics are about the sensationalization of the media. While the track came out near the time of a significant wildfire, the late 2003 Cedar fire, Bently explains that the fire was simply a metaphor.

23. “Birthday in Los Angeles” by The Maine

Song year: 2013

Alternative rock band, The Maine, released “Birthday in Los Angeles” on their fourth full-length album, Forever Halloween.

Frontman John O’Callaghan penned this song when thinking about a girl who lived in Los Angeles. So, L.A. is a metaphor for this girl he was talking to at the time.

24. “Surfin’ Safari” by The Beach Boys

Song year: 1962

Many of the group’s early songs were about surfing, and they almost called their band The Surfers. The Beach Boys’ song, “Surfin Safari,” was their first major hit, peaking at number one in Sweeden, 13 in New Zealand, and 14 in the United States.

This track shines a light on the famous surf spots in California, including Huntington, Malibu, and Laguna Beach, South of L.A.

25. “L.A.” by Leighton Meester

"L.A." by Leighton Meester

Song year: 2014

Leighton Meester wrote a happy song called “LA” while visiting her family in Florida. The lyrics vividly portray the experience of living life in sunny Los Angeles while also encouraging someone special to come to visit her.

Despite the upbeat nature of the song, Meester had acknowledged that she was feeling quite the opposite when she wrote it.

26. “Straight Outta Compton” by N.W.A.

Song year: 1998

N.W.A. released “Straight Outta Compton” as the title track for the group’s 1988 debut album, one of the first to feature a Parental Advisory sticker.

The song describes the ups and downs of gang life on the streets of Los Angeles. Initially, critics accused N.W.A. of glorifying gang life, though Ice Cube explained that they were documentarians.

27. “Going Back to Cali” by The Notorious B.I.G.

Song year: 1996

American rapper The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie, and fellow rapper, Diddy recorded “Going Back to Cali” on the album Life After Death. It was one of Biggie’s most famous songs, with its catchy hook and beat.

The lyrics are about Biggie going back to Los Angeles. The song begins with a phone call between Biggie and Diddy, explaining that he must prepare himself for a flight from New York to L.A.

28. “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & the Papas

Song year: 1996

Michelle Phillips was newly married to John Phillips in ‘63 and lived in New York City during a frigid winter. As a California native, Michelle was missing the sunshine Los Angeles offers.

Michelle’s homesickness inspired John and wrote “California Dreamin’” to describe the longing to be in another place. It was a massive hit, peaking at number 4 on the Hot 100. It’s also one of the few pop songs with a flute solo.

29. “Los Angeles, I’m Yours” by The Decemberists

Song year: 2003

The members of Decemberists were working typical jobs when they recorded their album, “Her Majesty The Decemberists.”

This album and the song “Los Angeles, I’m Yours” led them to sign to the label Kill Rock Stars. Some believe the song is purely one of love, while others believe it describes the narrator’s tiring of L.A.

30. “Valley Girl” by Frank Zappa

Song year: 1982

Frank Zappa released 62 albums throughout his life, with more after his death, but “Valley Girl” was his biggest hit and the only song to land on the Top 40 charts. The song pokes fun at the valley girl talks in California and what Zappa believed to be spoiled rich girls living the high life.

At the time, Laraine Newman was doing valley girl skits on Saturday Night Live, which may have helped further the song to success.

31. “Regulate” by Warren G and Nate Dogg

Song year: 1994

“Regulate” is a song released by West Coast rapper Warren G and singer Nate Dogg and was the breakout single for both. At the time, Nate lived in a studio apartment on Long Beach Boulevard.

The two go back and forth, telling a tale about an attempted car-jacking that took place in Los Angeles’s Long Beach.

32. “Leaving California” by Boys Like Girls

Song year: 2012

Pop rock turned country pop group Boys Like Girls released “Leaving California” on their third studio album, Crazy World. Although the band put out songs that fell within the emo and alternative genre, this album and song had more of a country edge to it.

33. “Saints Of Los Angeles” by Mötley Crüe

Song year: 2008

“Saints of Los Angeles” is the first single from Mötley Crüe’s album of the same name. The group released the song through the game Rock Band with its release, and it would be their first Grammy-nominated single.

It tells the story of the band signing their first record deal with Elektra Records.

34. “Escape From LA” by The Weeknd

Song year: 2020

Canadian singer The Weeknd released “Escape From LA,” a brooding song addressing his and his girl’s infidelities.

He blames the temptation to cheat on the LA environment and reveals he must escape the city to gain control of his life. The song’s title comes from the post-apocalyptic film of the same name.

35. “City of Angels” by The Head and the Heart

Song year: 2016

“City of Angels” is a song on The Head and the Heart’s third studio album, Signs of Light. They spent a long time on this piece, ensuring the ode to the city was satisfactory.

The lyrics describe Jonathan Russell comparing LA to the small town he grew up in and what it was like making new friends while living in a remote city area.

36. “City of Angels” by 30 Seconds to Mars

Song year: 2013

Rock band 30 Seconds to Mars vocalist Jared Leto wrote “City of Angels” based on his experience living in LA and the influence he felt from the city’s culture.

Although the title references Los Angeles, Leto explained that it could refer to any place you’d go to fulfill your dreams.

37. “California Roll” by Snoop Dogg ft. Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams

Song year: 2015

Snoop Dogg came together with singer Pharell Williams and Stevie Wonder playing the harmonica to produce “California Roll.”

The song is about the California lifestyle with a few plays on words for the phrase “California Roll.” In true Snoop Dogg fashion, he mentions getting a medical marijuana card in Los Angeles.

38. “Los Angeles” by The Bird and the Bee

Song year: 2015

The Bird and the Bee bandmates released “Los Angeles” as a love song for the city and paid tribute to their hometown.

As L.A. natives, they wanted to do it justice not only with the lyrics but the music video. It shows some of the city’s most well-known landmarks.

39. “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus

Song year: 2009

Party in the U.S.A. was the lead single from Miley Cyrus’s first-ever EP, Time of Our Lives. It’s an easy-going summertime pop song featuring lyrics about Cyrus’s move to Los Angeles from Tennessee.

The song was a massive hit, peaking at number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

40. “California Stars” by Billy Bragg & Wilco

Song year: 1998

Woody Guthrie wrote the lyrics for “California Stars,” though he never recorded it. The exact date is unknown for the lyrics; it’s estimated they were written in the ‘30s or ‘40s.

His estate approached Bill Bragg in ‘95 to turn the lyrics into a song. The lyrics describe lying in a bed of California stars.

41. “American Boy” by Estelle ft. Kanye West

Song year: 2008

An ex-boyfriend inspired Estelle’s hit single, “American Boy.” She stated she met him while making her first album, which excited her about American boys.

In the lyrics, she comments about wanting to take a trip to see L.A.

42. “Christmas in LA” by The Killers

Song year: 2013

The American rock band, The Killers, releases an upbeat track each year. The group started this yearly ritual in 2006, supporting World AIDS Day. “Christmas in LA” is a song about a struggling actor in L.A. missing Christmas without his family while living in sunny California.

43. “Wandered to LA” by Juice WRLD ft. Justin Bieber

Song year: 2021

Juice WRLD wrote penned the true story of a hookup with a girl he was friends with in Los Angeles while in a hotel room.

The girl he hooked up with was his drug dealer, and he described how her hardcore abuse cast a shadow over their affair.

Top Songs About Los Angeles, Final Thoughts

Love it or hate it, Los Angeles is a city unlike anywhere else. Unsurprisingly, many musicians write and sing about the famous city. Some sing about their life in L.A., while others write lyrics about the city.

No matter what you’re looking for when creating your “City of Angels” playlist, you’ll find plenty of options in the songs about Los Angeles listed above.

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