10 Of The Best Songs About Nevada: Silver State Playlist

Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

Nevada is famous for its historical mining legacy, golf, its natural beauty, the Hoover Dam, and Las Vegas. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that Nevada is often the inspiration for everything from television shows to music.

Whether it’s mentioned in the title of a song or referenced in meaningful lyrics, Nevada often finds itself a muse for creatives.

And in this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the best songs about Nevada that have been written about the state over the years. Let’s get started.

1. “Stop in Nevada” by Billy Joel

“Stop in Nevada” is a single from Billy Joel’s iconic 1973 Piano Man album. It peaked in the Top 40s in 1974 and is one of the most underrated singles.

The song tells the story of a complicated relationship between a man and a woman that culminates in her leaving. Although her destination is California, she tells him in a letter that she’ll be stopping in Nevada on her way there.

By mentioning she’ll stop in Nevada, she’s making it clear to her husband that their relationship is over for good. The unspoken message in the lyric is that she’ll establish residency in Nevada to file for a quickie divorce, which at the time was quite difficult.

Billy Joel’s voice emphasizes the poignant but empowering message in the song, leaving listeners unable to resist singing along.

2. “Sam’s Town” by The Killers

“Sam’s Town” is a single from the band’s second album of the same name. Lead singer Brandon Flowers said in an interview that the album was about all the key things that got him to where he is today. The album is certified Platinum in the United States.

The Killers are Las Vegas-based, so it only makes sense that they have a song dedicated to Sam’s Town. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of Flower’s journey to stardom. He’s a small-town boy who knew he was meant for something greater and chased his dream.

The gritty feel of the song has the perfect vibe for the band. Flowers’ vocals paint a vivid picture of the struggle the group faced as they chased success.

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

3. “Nevada’s Grace” by Atreyu

“Nevada’s Grace” by Atreyu featured on their 2004 album The Curse. The melodic death metal song isn’t about the great state of Nevada per sé. Aside from the title’s name, there are no references to The Silver State.

However, parts of the lyrics could lead the listener to believe they were alluding to the state. After all, Nevada is gorgeous with its famous landmarks, like the Hoover Dam. But, it’s also home to Las Vegas, popularly referred to as “Sin City.”

As many people flock to Las Vegas in hopes of winning big, the song could easily be about someone who gave their all following their dreams in Nevada, only to be disappointed and broken.

4. “Friend of The Devil” by Grateful Dead

“Friend of The Devil” by the Grateful Dead is an acoustic song from their 1970 American Beauty album.

This classic rock song is about a life of crime and the downward spiral that comes along with it. They sing about leaving Reno chased by hounds, referencing cops. But some people also relate to this song being about drug addiction and trying to escape it.

While the song’s content is dark, the vocalist’s soothing voice makes it easier to listen to.

5. “Nevada” by Deer Tick

Deer Tick’s song “Nevada” contains heartfelt lyrics describing feelings most can relate to in some way.

In the clever wordplay, the song’s title “Nevada” is likely a euphemism for emptiness. After all, the music is clearly about loneliness and heartbreak. The deserts of Nevada are long and dry, void of lush, green, thriving life, just like the character in the song.

The slow tempo of the song, in combination with Deer Tick’s melancholy vocals, gives the song a deeper meaning than would have been possible if someone else had sung this track.

6. “Nevada” by YoungBoy Never Broke Again (aka NBA Youngboy)

“Nevada” by NBA Youngboy is one of the more contemporary songs on this list. It peaked at #23 on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs on Billboard and is RIAA Platinum Certified in the United States.

“Nevada” is an energetic song that features YoungBoy rapping over instrumental electric guitar. It’s considered an ode to his significant other. And as for why the song is called “Nevada,” that remains a bit of a mystery.

But for a rapper who is known for his high energy, the melodic flow of his rap makes the song feel like it has a Nevada vibe.

7. “Home Means Nevada” by Bertha Rafetto

“Home Means Nevada” is the state anthem written in 1932 by Bertha Rafetto. Following a request from the Nevada Native Daughters, Bertha sang the song for the first time at a picnic at Bowers Mansion.

It was here that it caught the ear of the former Governor Roswell K. Colcord, who suggested that the song should be Nevada’s state song.

With its meaningful lyrics that refer to Nevada as the place where she feels at home, the song means a lot to Nevadans, particularly those who have had to move away due to financial or personal reasons.

8. “Sands of Nevada” by Mark Knopfler

From a lead guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist for Dire Straits to a successful solo artist, Mark Knopfler has written songs about a broad range of topics.

Though he can’t remember what inspired him to write Sands of Nevada, it’s about the human passion and his attempt to understand the state of man.

He tells a somber story of a gambler in Las Vegas and draws comparisons between the merciless action at the table and the surrounding environment.

The song perfectly describes the empty feeling of departing the Sin City as the sands of Nevada grows further away from sight.

9. “Nighttime in Nevada” by Adrian Brannan

Adrian Brannan grew up on a family ranch an hour away from the nearest city. Her music reflects that lifestyle and offers an uncompromising, genuine view into details of her life and everything she values greatly.

Nighttime in Nevada was inspired by her cowboy dad, who would serenade his wife with songs, something that Adrian found very romantic and chose to record a version of it for her first album when she was 14.

The song is about Nevada reminding a person of their loved one. From the beautiful nighttime to train rides together and seeing the Great Divide. Mixing playfulness and emotions in her voice, Adrian conveys to the world the romantic side of Nevada.

10. “Old Nevada Moon” by Patsy Montana

Known as the Cowboy’s Sweetheart, Patsy Montana was the first female country music singer to have sold a million copies of a single. Her charming voice brought to life the beautiful landscapes of different states close to the heart of cowboys and others from those areas.

Old Nevada Moon was released in 1939. It’s about a person yearning for all the beauties of Nevada as she makes her way home. She reflects on the trademark plants and animals as well as familiar horse trails and the simplicity of living in Nevada.

The song ends with her joyfully announcing her return to the bright sun and charming old Nevada moon.

Summing Up Our List Of Nevada Songs

As you can see from the list above, just like the state itself, songs about Nevada are diverse. They cover a range of topics from divorce to patriotism.

But, this list just scratches the surface, and there are many more great songs about the silver state out there.

Which ones do you think we’ve missed? 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.