The best songs about California

California. They call it the Golden State. Yeah, I actually thought it was the “sunshine state”, but I looked it up and it’s not. Florida is the Sunshine State.

Anyway, with the release of the recent Katy Perry single, California Gurls, I got to thinking about the various songs about California that I know. I’ve come up with eight that I know and love:

California Love – 2Pac and Dr Dre

Gotta love this smooth collaboration between 2Pac and Dr. Dre that has them playing dress-up as post-apocalyptic gang members.

California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas

Alternatively attributed to the Beach Boys, the Mamas and Papas version is my absolute favourite – folksy and sung in a spaced out dreamy manner. You’ll love this.

California Girls – The Beach Boys

Almost an essential, even though I’m not particularly a fan of the tune myself. I probably prefer the hideous Dave Lee Roth remake that he did in the 80’s.

California Gurls – [[Katy Perry]]

No video available for this one, at least none I can embed for your viewing pleasure! Apologies, everybody! But for sheer summery pop pleasure, Perry’s tune is definitely worth a listen.

California – Joni Mitchell

A fond folksy testament to the state from Joni Mitchell, probably with one of her wacky guitar tunings. From her seminal Blue album, one of my own personal favourite Joni songs…

Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Anthony Kiedis and his bare-chested chums give us their take on celebrity culture courtesy of Californication. “Space may be the final frontier, but it’s made in a Hollywood basement…”

Hotel California – The Eagles

You can debate the satanic messages in this song until the cows come home. Don Henley says it’s all about commercialism and art being uneasy bedfellows. Good enough for me, it’s one of the all-time classic rock songs.

Going To California – [[Led Zeppelin]]

How could I forget the Zeppelin? [[Robert Planet]] supposedly took the inspiration for this song from Joni Mitchell, whose music he was briefly obsessed by in the 70’s. An amazing open guitar tuning from [[Jimmy Page]] and fantastic hippy-inspired lyrics mean this song will take you right back to that era. Even if you weren’t there in the first place!

Now, my favourite part of these “songs about” posts – it’s over to you lot. Can you suggest other songs about California? Though I’ve been very literal and chosen songs with California in the title, you might want to consider some of the cities in California, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and others.

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  1. Dara Hickey

    Being a pop music lover – I’d be drawn to Katy Perry’s song ‘California Gurls’, it’s got a great little video to accompany it too. 🙂

  2. RandomEnigma

    I know you haven’t been crazy about Red Hot Chili Peppers more recent material, Gerard, but I think Dani California deserves a mention. That was the Summer song of 2006 for me. It doesn’t beat Californication though or its brilliant video. Did you ever notice RCHP make the most irrelevant videos that have nothing to do with the lyrics of their songs.

    You also forgot one of the most iconic California songs of the 2000s. California by Phantom Planet, better known as the theme tune to The O.C.. Even if you didn’t watch the show, everyone knows that song.

  3. Da guy

    The true sneaker song about California . The song is called: California Flight

    By Jerry J & California Flight Project. HOT!!

    They burst on the music scene of just recent got 2 Grammy nod’s for the 53rd Grammy 2010-11 and before 2008-09 for one of the Best R&B LP category.

    Now for one of the Best R&B Song of the year and another for one of the Best R&B Male vocals in a duo or group category.

    The song its over 30 years ole. And It sounds so good is like they just release it yesterday. Well they did ,loll, funny how times fly,loll always on time.

    They have that classic song about the bay area ,southern California and the state of California .Its  a breezy, laid back smooth funk soulful cut takes you for a ride on interstate #5 on a  classic summer California Flight. I love it. U will too Its raw and rare vintage sounds. California Flight Project have the best Funk/Soul song about California. California Flight.

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