Mississippi is more than just a tricky word to pronounce. It’s a proud state nestled in the heart of the South. Sandwiched between Louisiana and Alabama, with almost three million people calling the Magnolia State their home.
Countless artists have their roots in the state or sing about it in their works. Indeed, it’s easy to see the influence Mississippi has on culture and music.
And in this post, we’re going to take a look at some of that music with our list of the 21 best songs about Mississippi. Let’s get started.
1. “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain
To start our list, we have Mountain’s beloved rock classic, “Mississippi Queen.” It’s an essential song from the 1970s that captures everything people think of when they imagine classic rock. The guitar distortion, riff, and catchy chorus make it such a popular piece.
The song is centered around a woman nicknamed the “Mississippi Queen,” who taught the narrator everything he could want to know.
Mountain released this hit on their 1970 album, Climbing! It reached 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the same year and was their best-selling single. The album was their debut album, making this accomplishment even more impressive.
2. “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” by Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn
Among all the country songs written about Mississippi, this one is perhaps the most recognizable. It has a fiddle that gives it a natural, while the vocals are sweet and the chorus is memorable.
“Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man,” is a song about two lovers separated by the Mississippi River. They sing about how nothing can stop them from being together, not even the river and its alligators.
Becki Bluefield and Jim Owen recorded the original version of the song. In 1973, the duo released this classic on their album of the same name. Their song met immediate success when it topped the Billboard Chart.
3. “Mississippi” by Afroman
Afroman was born in Los Angeles but spent some time of his early life in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The rap song is a homage to the good times that await him back in the state. In “Mississippi,” he raps about getting into trouble and chasing girls.
He expresses a longing for the state and mentions Harrietsburg in the lyrics, injecting a comedic style and energetic flow into the song.
Afroman released “Mississippi” on his 2000 album Because I Got High. This album would become his most famous and feature his best-selling song.
4. “Mississippi Mud” by Hank Williams III
Sometimes living out in the country means working with what you have, but if you have a little ambition, you can turn any cheap situation into a fun night out with friends and refreshments.
“Mississippi Mud” is a song by Hank Williams III that describes his life and upbringing. The lyrics are about growing up rough and coarse and learning to turn any moment into a party. In the end, Williams reveals that, no matter what, he loves to dance in the mud of Mississippi.
Hank wrote the song for his 2002 album, Lovesick, Broke, and Driftin’.
5. “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder
“Living for the CIty” is a song about living paycheck to paycheck and scrounging by on what you can. Wonder, who was born in Michigan, uses the state as a gritty real-life look into what many Americans face every day.
In the lyrics, Wonder sings about experiences revolving around racism, poverty, and family in Mississippi.
The title means drifting on what little you have and feeling like you belong to the city instead of yourself. Wonder released the song in 1973 on the album Innervisions. The album was successful and marked a transformation in Wonder’s career and art.
6. “Mississippi” by Pussycat
“Mississippi” by Pussycat is a song about nostalgia, particularly for the early days of country music. The singer talks fondly of Greenville, declaring that the city will always be on their mind wherever they are.
But, beyond that, Pussycat delves into the bonds and emotions that country songs have had in the state. They go so far as to lament that the genre lost its way when guitar players switched to rock music. Still, Mississippi has produced countless stars, including Conway Twitty, Charlie Feathers, and Hank Cochran.
Pussycat released the song on their 1976 album, First of All.
7. “My Head’s in Mississippi” by ZZ Top
It can be hard to adjust to your new surroundings. You can take someone out of the state but you can’t always take the state out of the person. That’s exactly what ZZ Top wrote about in this entry.
“My Head’s in Mississippi” is a “home-is-where-your-heart-is” rock ballad that celebrates Mississippi for what it is. In December 1990, “My Head’s in Mississippi” reached number one on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks Chart.
8. “Mississippi Kid” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Mississippi Kid” is about a man born and raised instate leaving for Alabama. He’s going to start a new life there, where nobody will push him around. The Mississippi Kid is stubborn, he’s armed, and he’s not taking directions.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s mix of bluegrass and rock comes out in this song, while the instrumental features a lot of harmonica and guitar.
Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd, which the song featured on, is the band’s most successful album.
9. “Ghosts of Mississippi” by The Steeldrivers
“Ghosts of Mississippi” is a grungier western-folk tune with a catchy chorus. The song tells the story of a man who falls asleep playing the guitar. He suddenly begins dreaming about a ghost sitting next to him.
In his dream, the ghost takes the man’s guitar and sings about being damned to haunt Mississippi. The ghost curses God, and the singer wakes up, only to find that he is unable to see his reflection.
The Steeldrives wrote this song in 2010 and included the track on the album Reckless.
10. “Cherokee Highway” by Western Flyer
“Cherokee Highway” is a haunting song by the country band Western Flyer that delves into the civil rights movement in 1960s Mississippi.
The song is set in a fictional town dealing with social unrest. It centers on a friendship between two friends, one Black (Willie) and one white (Kevin). During the song, Willie’s father is murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, so they go to Kevin’s father, convinced he’d know what to do. Unfortunately, they discover that Kevin’s father had been involved.
Eventually, Kevin’s home is targeted for revenge and is burnt down. The ending is grim as Willie perishes while trying to rescue Kevin from the flames. “Cherokee Highway’s” writer, Danny Myrick, revealed that he took inspiration from events happening in his hometown of Pascagoula.
Western Flyer released the song in 1995 on their self-titled album, It got to number 34 in the U.S. Top 100 Country Singles.
11. “Mississippi” by Charlie Daniels
“Mississippi” is a song by Charlie Daniels featured on Million Mile Reflections, an album released in 1979. In the song, the narrator yearns to return home to Mississippi, having long ago left Jackson.
They declare that they could be anywhere in the world, but their mind would always be drawn back to the state. Their thoughts are particularly focused on an image of Spanish moss suspended from an oak tree.
Daniels joked that the melody matched the four syllables of Mississippi and that it could have been sung about other states but that Spanish moss doesn’t grow in Cincinnati.
12. “Here’s to the State of Mississippi” by Phil Ochs
“Here’s to the State of Mississippi” is a protest song released during the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Ochs had a reputation for delivering scathing political messages, and this song is an uncompromising critique of the oppression of African-Americans in the state.
Ochs was inspired by his experiences in the state as a volunteer for the Mississippi Caravan of Music, which had been organized to support efforts to register Black voters. The lyrics reference police brutality, racism in schools, injustice, lynchings, and the 1964 murder of three civil rights activists.
The song appeared on Ochs’s album I Ain’t Marching Anymore and has been covered by several other artists, including Wyclef Jean and Pearl Jam.
13. “Biloxi” by Jimmy Buffett
“Biloxi” by Jimmy Buffett is about a town very special to him. The song is a positive, uplifting portrayal of Biloxi, conjuring up vivid images of a beautiful summer’s day on the town’s beachfront. Before Hurricane Katrina, Biloxi was a popular vacation destination, rivaling Florida.
The Buffet version is a cover of the original 1970 song written by Jesse Winchester. It’s a longing song with a nostalgic tone.
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes would become Jimmy Buffett’s most popular album, also featuring his best-selling song “Margaritaville.” This album reached number two on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart.
14. “One Mississippi” by Steve Azar
“One Mississippi” is the official state song of Mississippi. Naturally, it celebrates much of the state, from it being the birthplace of rock and roll to its abundant natural beauty, poets, and rich history.
The song acknowledges the resilience of the state’s people, who have endured natural disasters, and references signature dishes like catfish and slug burgers.
Azar, born in Greenville, wrote “One Mississippi” after the state’s governor, Phil Bryant, requested an official anthem for the bicentennial.
Then, in 2022, Bryant’s successor, Tate Reeves, signed a law declaring it to be the new state song to replace the controversial “Go, Mississippi.”
15. “In the Mississippi River” by Mavis Staples
“In the Mississippi River” is a haunting song about hatred, violence, and racism. Throughout the song, we hear the counting of people being thrown into the river.
The monotonous and repetitive chorus highlights how grating things can get in such hateful environments
The song was inspired by the murder of three civil rights activists in Mississippi in 1964, though it also alludes to the countless victims of lynchings.
Mavis Staples is a civil rights activist herself who featured the song in the album We’ll Never Turn Back.
16. “Child of the Mississippi” by Old Crow Medicine Show
“Child of the Mississippi” is about growing up in the sticks with a rough upbringing. This song focuses on a man who was raised free and troublesome. He lost his father and went through life getting the short end of the stick.
Over time, he eventually becomes familiar with all parts of the state. He begins to look back at his past not negatively but proud of his hardships. In the end, he declares himself to be a “Child of the Mississippi,” the sum of all his experiences.
This song came out in 2018 on the album Volunteer.
17. “Mississippi” by Rising Appalachia
Rising Appalachia is a folk group composed of sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith. Their song “Mississippi” is a soul-based folk song with moody elements.
In a wispy chant, Rising Appalachia reveals how Mississippi beckons them and how it is their home. They declare their intent to cross Appalachia to get to it.
The duo wrote the song in 2012 on the group’s album Dirty Filthy South.
18. “Down in Mississippi (Up to No Good)” by Sugarland
“Down in Mississippi” is a grungy country song about being spontaneous and going out to stir up trouble.
The premise of the song is fun-loving and basic, with the group’s dedication to head down to Mississippi and do whatever they want. “Down in Mississippi (Up to No Good)” reached number 17 on the Hot Country Songs chart and reached number 1 on Bubbling Under Hot 100.
Sugarland wrote this song for their album Twice the Speed of Life.
19. “Mississippi” by Bob Dylan
“Mississippi” is a song about aging and dealing with time. When Bob Dylan released this song in 2000, he was nearing 60. He has dealt with so much change that he sings about it on this track.
Bob Dylan writes about his regrets, his time spent in the spotlight, and his loss of direction. At one point, he laments that he stayed in the state a day too long, which is a reference to a song prisoners used to sing at Mississippi State Penitentiary.
“Mississippi” came out on the album Love and Theft.
20. “Mississippi Sand” by Johnny Cash
“Mississippi Sand” is a traditional folk-blues song by Johnny Cash. Like most Cash songs, the story and tone of this song are coarse and gravelly. The song is about the fear of being left behind.
The singer talks about his desire to leave his home in Mississippi. He wants to start a life for himself, but unfortunately, he comes into conflict and can not find peace.
Johnny Cash wrote, “Mississippi Sand” for the album A Thing Called Love. The album came out in 1972 and reached number two on the country albums chart.
21. “Black Water” by The Doobie Brothers
The Mississippi River is one of the longest rivers on the planet and isn’t just limited to the state of Mississippi. It stretches about 2341 miles long and physically divides the country into east and west.
“Black Water” is a song by The Doobie Brothers about the beauty of the river at night. They describe paddle-boarding and basking in the glory of nature that’s a central part of the state’s identity.
The group released the song in 1974 on their album What Were Once Vices are Now Habits.
Summing Up Our List Of Mississippi Songs
As you can see from the songs above, Mississippi has been a source of inspiration to poets, artists, and musicians.
And with such a vibrant culture, there is little doubt that there will be many more songs written about Mississippi to come.
But did we miss any off this list that you think should be there? Let us know, and we’ll add them in!
What was your favorite entry? Do you have any personal favorites that you saw appear on our list? The Magnolia State is blessed to have such a wide range of rhythms and styles. You’re sure to love some of them.