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February 28, 2008

The best Baltimore song

I'm working on a story about the best songs with the word "Baltimore" in their name.

I just listened to Randy Newman's "Baltimore" (chilling) and 50 Cent's "Baltimore Love Thing" (boring) back to back.


The Extra Glenns, the Counting Crows, Graham Parsons, Among Wolves, Darkroom Productions and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks are also on the list.

What am I missing? 

(Photo of Randy Newman circa 1999) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:30 PM | | Comments (47)
Categories: Local music, Random stuff


From the soundtrack of Pecker, can't remember the artist but a song called "Baltimore You're Home To Me".

Tori Amos.

Sam: Not in the song title, but 'deformative' , a great song by the band Black Eyes (DC) has a lyric:
I'm 16, driving south from Baltimore....

clutch frequently mentions baltimore.
here's a stellar line from "the great outdoors!"

"What was I thinking, move to Baltimore?
Oh yeah, the great outdoors!"

"Got a wife and kid in Baltimore, Jack" ("Hungry Heart," Springsteen), "Dancin in the Street" (Martha and the Vandellas), Soul Coughing's "Miss theGirl" ("driving down from Baltimore, driving down in an off-white Honda"), The Fleshtones' "Girl from Baltimore," Little Feat's "Feet Don't Fail Me Now." And yes, many many more!

Bmore not in title, but in lyrics:

Primative Radio Gods "Phonebooth"...
"Plane takes off from Baltimore and touches down on Bourbon Street."

Biff: I'm a big Soul Coughing fan...kudos for beating me on Miss the Girl.

"The Streets of Baltimore" -- I don't know who the original artist is, but Coldplay does a really good cover of it.

Well her heart was filled with gladness
When she saw those city lights
She said the prettiest place on earth was
Baltimore at night.

Check out this site:

You can search by Artist, Album, and Song. It doesn't have everything, but it is the most comprehensive listing of music I've been able to find.

Tori Amos, Primitive Radio Gods, Talking Heads, Bossman

And DO NOT forget Mary Prankster's "Blue Skies Over Dundalk"...hun.

How about "Baltimore!" by the Mobtown 5? Can't get that tune out of your head!

In the name of the song:

Nina Simone - Baltimore
Hairspray Soundtrack - Good Morning Baltimore
George Harrison - Baltimore Oriole

Talk about Baltimore in the song:
Brett Dennen - There is So Much More
Cass McCombs - That's ThatCitizen Cope - 200,000
Jim Croce - Big Wheel
Ryan Adams - Thank You Louise
The Wings - The Note You Never Wrote
Peter, Paul, and Mary - Betty and DuPree
Lenny Kravitz - Magdalene
Bob Dylan - Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol

Nanci Griffith's version of "Streets of Baltimore" is better than Coldplay's IMESHO. :-)

John Mellancamp did a song called "Baltimore Oriole" that's really pretty cool.

Starbuck - Moonlight Fells Right:

"You say you came to Baltimore from Ole Miss
A class of '74 gold ring."

Starbuck's "Moonlight Feels Right" mentions Baltimore AND the Chesapeake Bay.

Tori Amos's Baltimore song really is the cheeziest/best.

Bobby Rydell's "Kissin Time" (and the dreadful Kiss remake):

"They're kissin' in drive-ins, you too, Baltimore
Rockin' at dances, land and sea and shore"

Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddys ( and Caleb Stine & The Brakemen ( are two great local alt country acts. Arty has several songs mentioning B-more (I Left Highlandtown, Big Daddy's Rye, etc.) and has a solo CD named "Baltimore Reasons." Caleb has a song on his CD "October 29th" named "Coyote" about his travels where he drops the line "when I get home to Baltimore City.." The same song affectionately mentions Dizzy Izzies.

Both of them are playing live this week. Caleb tonight at the 8x10 (I think) and Arty at Cats Eye on Saturday. They are worth checking out.

"stop snitching" feat. carmelo anthony

the little willies, which is a norah jones side project, do a good version of 'streets of baltimore' as well (the original is i think from the 50's and graham parsons version is probably the best known).

Also in the lyrics:

Ryan Adams, Friends

"I've been moving through these streets forever, from Baltimore to Amsterdam..."

Theres a Will Hoge song off his 'Bird on a Wire' album that mentions taking a train from just outside of Baltimore (...or Chi-CAAA-go, well I don't know...)

Emylou Harris' version of "The Streets of Baltimore" is the best.

The Duhks "Dance Hall Girls"

"Is this the way it always is here in Baltimore"

Frank Zappa: "What's New In Baltimore?"

"Dancing in the Streets" by Van Halen, not Van Haggar

Raining in Baltimore - Counting Crows

Baltimore Oriole - John Mellencamp does an updated cover of the old Hoagy Carmichael classic

Woody Guthrie - Baltimore To Washington

Randy Newman's is the best.

"Baltimore Whores" by Gavin Friday

In the "Baltimore-containing-lyrics" sub-category, Tom Waits's "Clap Hands" (Shine, shine, a Roosevelt dime/ All the way to Baltimore and running out of time).

The Baltimore Sun - The Jayhawks

The Tamlins did a great version of Randy Newman's "Baltimore" with Sly & Robbie on the riddim which spawned a bunch of "Baltimore" riddims with many versions. So there are many reggae Baltimore versions - some of which have not so much to do do with the city itself but all have a certain Baltimore feel, that is to say a feel for the blues down by the bay. The most recent one I know of is Damien Marley, but it is a classic so there are always new ones coming forward. Google it!

How about "The City That Reads" by the Graduate?

Don't forget the really funny "B-MORE IN BALTIMORE" by Baltimore's own INQUIRING MINDS band .

Disappear Fear has a haunting song Who's So Scared that is a verse from a Countee Cullen poem. The whole first stanza is about Baltimore - and racism, so not exactly flattering, but a great song.

One of the best...
Johnny Cash- The Lady Came from Baltimore

If you are looking for "Baltimore" in the title, you can't beat "Baltimore Dawg (Shut Up Da Hound)" by Beef Flavored Torture Device. Got their EP after a show at the Sidebar a few years ago. I think their lead singer is from Arbutus.

"Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks" Their new album "Real Emotional Trash" has a song on it called "Baltimore." You can download it for free here...

Also, Malkmus used to be in a band called Pavement. They have a song called "Transport Is Arranged" off of the album "Brighten the Corners." It also mentions Baltimore. The lyrics are...

'Praise the grammar police, set me up with your niece
Walk to Baltimore, and keep the language off the street'

Check it out here...

Thanks, and later.

Good call on BFTD. Best line in Baltimore Dawg is:

"Betta rein in tha mutt
Or ya feel my wrath
Eyes wide shut
Baby, you do tha math"

I havent heard from them in a while, does anyone know what they have been up to?

Even though it is a parody song, "Essex Wonderland" I think best sums up the area. It's my favorite Christmas carol.

Nina Simone (Oh,) Baltimore.

A World of Baltimore Baseball by Hyper Hannah


I saw Torture Device in Jersey several years back - one of a string of bands opening for Motorhead. The singer was obviously under *some kind* of influence - two songs into their set he relieved himself on the drum kit and started a huge fight. Crowd loved it, but it wouldn't surprise me if they didn't last too long.

Neil Perry had a song called "Another Trip to Baltimore." Not sure if it's the best though b/c it sounds like every other Neil Perry song.

Other end of the spectrum, Charlie Poole had a song called "The Baltimore Fire" although I think it's some anonymous traditional.

How about some kind of entry/story on the musicians that made Baltimore their home or at least passed through, or died in a gutter?

I made a CD a few years ago for a friend leaving Charm City, with songs like "Streets of Baltimore" and "The Baltimore Sun" ... who knew there were so many?

The J. Roddy Walston guys have a great song about the Baltimore fire of nineteen aught four.

Two songs that haven't been mentioned come to mind:

1.) In some versions of "Heart of Rock and Roll" by Huey Lewis, he sings "Bal-TI-More!" with emphasis on the "T", showing that he's definitely not from around these parts.

2.) The Baltimore group SR-71 (not mentioned in the Baltimore group's post) sang a song a few years ago called "Axl Rose" where it starts out with "Angel lives down in East Baltimore."

This is a great list promoting our city. Our site promotes all Bmore Music to the world!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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