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
Prince was a unique musician who never hesitated to try something new with his songs. His song “Baltimore” 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.
Prince 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. 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 the Counting Crows
Adam Duritz’s signature voice 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 narrator 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” by Randy Newman, a song that a few other artists have covered, such as Nina Simone, but the songwriter performed his own version, too.
He actually recorded his the year before Nina Simone released hers, but neither were huge commercial successes.
Newman admits he wrote the song without knowing the city. He read an article about crime in Baltimore and how it was affecting the citizens and stunting the city’s growth.
That’s why the lyrics sound so harsh—he was writing about what he read, not what he experienced.
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 obsessed 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 grew up in Silver Spring and performed her own version live for most of her career.
5. “Maryland” by Vonda Shepard
Vonda Shepard is a singer-songwriter 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. She wanted to move to Baltimore to feel the excitement of a big city.
So, 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. To Shepard, her mother was home. The result is an emotional song.
6. “Six Feet Under the Stars” by All Time Low
All Time Low is a pop-punk band 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.
The song also talks about teenage drinking and how they wanted to feel older and wiser than they really were.
7. “What’s New in Baltimore?” by Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa was a musician known 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 music sounds powerful, so, knowing the title, residents of Baltimore might get a rush. Since there are no vocals, there’s no story behind the song. Just sit back and enjoy the music.
8. “Going to Maryland” by the Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats are a band based out of North Carolina, so it’s not a stretch to imagine singer John Darnielle taking a drive to Maryland.
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 who the singer is wooing. They walk together in the water, and he wants the moment to last.
The song ends with the singer betting himself 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
This novelty song “Maryland” by Colt Ford is 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 who covered it on an album in 1966, giving 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 her 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
This catchy song, “Together in Maryland” by Tony Cavallo, is one that makes you feel happy to be alive in Maryland.
The lyrics describe the sunrise in Maryland and how the couple spends time on the beach together since they’re so in love. All they need is their home in Maryland, so they enjoy being together and living in such a beautiful state.
12. “Maryland Memories” by Ronnie Dove
This song, “Maryland Memories” by Ronnie Dove, is just as you’d expect from the title. If you’ve never visited Maryland, this song will make you want to plan a trip!
Ronnie Dove sings about the beauty of the Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake Bay.
But the song isn’t only about nature. Dove 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 song.
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, and the song is still a hit with Maryland residents.
The silly song 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.
The lyrics talk 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 call Abraham Lincoln a tyrant and “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” which John Wilkes Booth, who was from Maryland, yelled when he killed Lincoln.
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.
But, Francis Scott Key, the composer, was a lawyer from Maryland. So, the song doesn’t mention Maryland, but it has ties to the state.
This shows that the state has a rich history. It was one of the 13 colonies, the state where the United States Navy founded its academy, and the home of the first railroad station.
This history gives Maryland a solid foundation, but the state continues to grow and progress with time.
Did we miss any other songs you think should be on this list? Let us know, and we’ll add them in!