15 Of The Best Songs About Maryland: Free State Playlist

Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

Maryland has almost all types of landscapes except deserts. It has over 10,400 square miles of land and water. Perhaps the most famous is the Chesapeake Bay, which is the largest estuary in North America. The semi-enclosed body of water has an opening into the Atlantic Ocean.

The state is also famous for its crabs and Old Bay Seasoning, along with other unique dishes. While you can’t try them for yourself, these 15 best songs about Maryland will certainly give you a taste of the state. Let’s get started.

1. “Baltimore” By Prince

Considered as one of the greatest musicians of his time, Prince was a unique musician who never hesitated to try something new with his songs. “Baltimore,” released in 2015, is a rallying cry against police brutality. It starts by saying that nothing much happened, so it was a good day—at least compared to many days where people die without reason.

He names victims of senseless gun crime and calls for people to strive for peace. He wants everyone to show love and eliminate war and guns.

Though the song is about crime in Baltimore, it ends with a haunting line about a similar news story happening across the country in Los Angeles. With this song, Prince is showing that this violence is widespread and can affect anyone.

Related: Read our list of the best songs about Baltimore here.

2. “Raining In Baltimore” By Counting Crows

The signature voice of Adam Duritz makes this song haunting on its own, but the lyrics add another layer to ensure you never forget “Raining in Baltimore.”

It’s about a crumbling circus that’s 50 miles away from Baltimore. The singer wants to call someone who’s more than 3,500 miles away, but all he can focus on is the approaching train.

He wants to leave on the freight train but thinks he should buy a car instead so he can listen to music on his journey.

The song ends with a sly callback to the big top of the circus crumbling as Duritz sings about putting the top down on a convertible.

3. “Baltimore” By Randy Newman

Next up, we have “Baltimore,” a song that a few other artists have covered, such as Nina Simone, but for this list, we’ll discuss the songwriter’s own version.

Randy Newman actually recorded his the year before Nina Simone released hers, but neither were huge commercial successes.

Newman paints a dark picture of Baltimore with this song, stating “hard times in the city, in a hard town by the sea.” He continues to describe the grimness of life there and believes moving away is the only escape.

Bleak though this song is, and perhaps not many listeners may agree with the singer, it is still worth listening.

4. “Silver Springs” By Fleetwood Mac

Baltimore gets a lot of attention, but Silver Spring is a nice city too. In fact, it inspired Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac to write a song about the city. “Silver Springs” is also about her breakup with bandmate Lindsey Buckingham.

As the band was passing through Silver Spring, Maryland, Nicks became charmed with the name. She thought it sounded mystical and represented all she wished for in her relationship.

Though Fleetwood Mac only performed the song live during the 1976 and 1977 tours, the song lived on in other artists. Tori Amos, who grew up in Silver Spring, performed her own version live for most of her career.

5. “Maryland” By Vonda Shepard

Singer-songwriter Vonda Shepard is best known for performing the theme song for Ally McBeal, along with appearing on the show often. “Maryland” is the opening track on her 1996 album It’s Good Eve.

The song, and much of the album, address how Shepard felt as a daughter whose single father was raising her.

Her mother left the family when Shepard and her three sisters were young, and she wanted to move to Baltimore to feel the excitement of a big city. Shepard took that idea and wrote the song as if she were going home to Maryland because that’s where her mother wanted to be. The result is an emotional song.

6. “Six Feet Under The Stars” By All Time Low

Pop-punk band All Time Low was founded in Towson, Maryland. With roots in the state, it’s no surprise that one of their fan-favorite songs, “Six Feet Under The Stars,” has origins there.

The lyrics reference many different locations in downtown Baltimore, such as Thames Street and South Broadway. It also references the docks downtown and talks about coffee shops in the area, where the band often hung out and went on dates as teenagers.

Listening to this, one can truly reminisce experiences in Maryland, or if you haven’t been, at least sample a taste with the song’s descriptions.

7. “What’s New In Baltimore?” By Frank Zappa

American musician Frank Zappa was for improvisation, experiments, and satire. A lot of his music sounds unlike anything you’d ever hear on the radio, and “What’s New In Baltimore?” is one of those songs.

The opening instrumentals are beautiful, with tinkling keys and wonderful harmonies. Those instruments play for two minutes before the guitar takes the spotlight.

The mix of sounds is powerful, so knowing the title, residents of Baltimore might get a rush. Since there are no vocals, there’s really no story behind the song. Just sit back and enjoy the music.

8. “Going To Maryland” By The Mountain Goats

The band Mountain Goats is based out of North Carolina, so it’s not a stretch to imagine singer John Darnielle taking a drive to Maryland, as stated in the song title.

The lyrics to “Going To Maryland” talk about the cool waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The light’s reflection on the water brightens the eyes of whom the singer is wooing as they walk together in the water.

He wants the time to last, but the singer isn’t optimistic, believing that the feeling is fleeting, both in terms of the literal moment and the emotions his partner is feeling for him.

9. “Maryland” By Colt Ford

Our next song, “Maryland,” is a novelty piece by Colt Ford. It is quite a hit because everyone loves to get pumped up before a big game.

Ford sings about tailgating before the Maryland Terrapins play a football game. He mentions the food they’ll grill and how many people pack the stands for the game.

There’s a bit of humor when Ford sings about grilling, then invites people to sit their buns on his tailgate. The jokes get a little raunchy in places, but it’s a fun song overall.

10. “There’s A Girl In The Heart Of Maryland” By Bing Crosby

Back in 1913, Ballard Macdonald wrote the lyrics to the song “There’s A Girl In The Heart Of Maryland,” and Harry Carroll composed the music. But it was Bing Crosby‘s cover that gave the song a richness thanks to his signature vocals.

The lyrics talk about flowers blooming in a garden near the Potomac, setting the scene as the place the singer will visit the next day. He remembers being there, telling the girl he loved her, making the oriole sing with happiness.

The girl in Maryland is waiting for him, and they plan to get married as soon as he arrives.

11. “Together In Maryland” By Tony Cavallo

The next song on our list is a catchy rock number. “Together In Maryland,” by Tony Cavallo, is one that makes you feel happy to be alive in Maryland.

The lyrics describe the sunrise in the Free State and how the singer and his partner spend time on the beach together. Being so in love with each other, Cavallo believes all they need is to be together in their home in Maryland, to enjoy living in such a beautiful state.

Despite the rock and roll rhythm, “Together In Maryland” is an ode to love.

12. “Maryland Memories” By Ronnie Dove

This next piece by Ronnie Dove is just as you’d expect from the title: “Maryland Memories.” If you’ve never visited the Free State, this song will make you want to plan a trip!

Though Dove sings about the beauty of the Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake Bay, the song isn’t only about nature. He also sings about visiting Baltimore, specifically watching the Orioles play baseball. He calls out Cal Ripken hitting a home run, and you can hear the crowd go wild in the background.

It’s definitely a complete sensory experience when you listen to this track.

13. “Crabs For Christmas” By David DeBoy

If you thought Colt Ford’s song would be the only novelty track on this list, you’re wrong.

David DeBoy’s “Crabs for Christmas” came out in 1981. It sings of how a big man stopped a tired mall Santa just as he was about to go home so he could state his wish, which was—you guessed it—crabs for Christmas!

The ditty is such a hit that, to date, it is still played by Maryland residents during the holidays. “Crabs For Christmas” skyrocketed DeBoy into fame, which he wasn’t expecting. He just enjoyed hearing his song on the radio so long ago!

14. “Maryland, My Maryland” By James Ryder Randall

The melody of this song, “Maryland My Maryland,” is the same as “O Tannenbaum,” and the lyrics are a poem by James Ryder Randall.

It talks about specific Maryland landmarks and historical events. Though the author wrote the poem in 1861, the piece didn’t become Maryland’s state song until 1939.

The lines in the song are controversial, as it calls Abraham Lincoln a tyrant and states “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” which was what John Wilkes Booth, who was from Maryland, yelled when he killed Lincoln.

Because of this, Maryland citizens tried to repeal the state song for 40 years before succeeding in 2021.

15. “There She Goes” By Good Charlotte

And finally, we have a song by the American rock band Good Charlotte who established their roots and formed their group in Waldorf, Maryland.

Being proud of where they came from, they wrote “There She Goes,” which is a song that showed their fans that they still love and miss their home and all the people in it despite the fame and success they gained throughout the years. 

Although this track, which was released in 2010 on their Cardiology album, is one of their least popular songs, it still provides a personal glimpse of how different they all used to be when they lived back in Maryland while also revealing how this place will always be their true home.

Summing Up Our List Of Maryland Songs

As the national anthem of the United States, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is worth a mention here despite it not being specific to Maryland. Francis Scott Key, the composer, was a lawyer from Maryland, thus its ties here.

This shows that the Maryland has a rich history, and not just in music. But as the state continues to grow and progress with time, we are sure there will be more songs referencing it in the future.

Did we miss any other songs you think should be on this list? Let us know, and we’ll add them in!

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Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.