Snakes have been the subject of Biblical stories and historical lore since the beginning. They are intriguing animals, legless and quiet as they hunt their prey.
Because of their ability to terrify and fascinate humans, the term “snake” has also come to mean many other things metaphorically. It can be used to refer to a sinister or backstabbing personality.
The music world is no stranger to the ability of snakes to inspire. Keep reading for 15 of the best songs about snakes. You might find a new favorite to add to your playlist!
1. “Snakebite” By Alice Cooper
We are starting our list with “Snakebite” from the American rock singer Alice Cooper. This single was included in his 1991 album Hey Stoopid.
In the song, Cooper refers to himself as the “snakebite.” He sings, “I’m snakebite, I’m your only man.” As such, he is powerful and can spread his venom to whoever he bites. And he’ll always be there, lurking in the shadows. He’ll take all chances to strike again.
What the singer says here is that he’s trouble, and he’s determined to be possessive of her. Even having his “face tattooed in your shoulder.” He’s not going to let anyone take her from him.
Related: Our list of songs that mention animals.
2. “Cold-Hearted” By Paula Abdul
This fierce track gives us everything we want from the 1980s. An electro-dance beat underlines a fast-moving verbal pattern with a harmonized hook for the chorus. Of course, Paula Abdul’s legendary moves are on full display on “Cold-Hearted.”
The lyrics of “Cold-Hearted” put an ex-flame on blast. Abdul draws a comparison from her recent breakup to the sly movements of a snake.
From the lyrics, we find out that he went behind her back and played her, giving her plenty of material to describe betrayal and lies. Judging by her attitude, it would appear this snake didn’t have the opportunity to hang around long before he got caught.
3. “Snake Charmer” By Blink 182
Good girls like to sin, claims the vocalist of Blink 182 in this 2011 song. “Snake Charmer” cites Adam and Eve and the temptation surrounding the apple. The song then draws references to modern-day women luring men as if charming a snake.
The combo of storytelling and reality makes a compelling case for the message that women have ensnared men since the beginning of time.
Though it’s not one of Blink 182’s most popular tunes, it carries all the energy and angst of the band’s reputation. This song appeared on their 2011 album Neighborhoods. It combines traditional punk sound with an early 2000s grunge-rock aesthetic.
4. “Crawling King Snake” By Big Joe Williams
This old-fashioned song with “snake” in the title is a staple of the Delta blues. This was a movement that became a distinct subgenre in the 1930s and was pivotal to the blues’ development. Big Joe Williams recorded “Crawling King Snake” in 1941, and artists have covered it since then.
The timeless sound and lyrics of the song are a tribute to its universal message. The snake being referred to, rules its den. He’s a king snake and loves being the ruler.
Now he can’t believe that his woman doesn’t want him anymore. But he’s still determined to be the king snake until he dies.
5. “Serpentine Fire” By Earth, Wind, & Fire
Iconic funk fusion band Earth, Wind, & Fire show the best of their talents with this groovy track from 1977. “Serpentine Fire” consists of multiple timbres of percussion with tasty bass licks. And, of course, along with sky-high vocals and a brass chorus that you can’t resist moving to.
“Serpentine Fire” has some pretty deep meaning. Here, it appears that the word serpentine refers to the shape a flame takes when it burns. But in reality, or at least according to the band, it represents your energy. This energy is what makes you unique.
How it works has something to do with spinal fluid. When used properly, it can be converted to the consciousness of energy. It’s considered a serpent because the spine looks like it, and the spinal fluid is the fire.
6. “Snake Eyes And Sissies” By Marilyn Manson
Hard-edged and scratchy, Marilyn Manson gives what he’s known for in “Snake Eyes and Sissies.” He doesn’t hold back when calling names and pointing fingers at those who deserve exposure for their unsavory actions.
The lyrics are from the viewpoint of a man struggling against his job, society, and the world. He constantly looks for a means of escape to help him feel something or find purpose.
Of course, the mention of snake eyes refers to dice, just one of the risky and/or graphic elements in this song. Whether he succeeds is left open-ended for the listener to decide.
7. “Union Of The Snake” By Duran Duran
In 1983, Duran Duran put out their third album called Seven and the Ragged Tiger. “Union of the Snake” was the lead single, a very 80s mix of electro beats, dance-pop, and funk. It’s more visionary than you’d normally credit a band of this era to be.
The music video is unique and slightly creepy, with the band members traveling through the desert. Trailing them is a mysterious half-man, half-lizard creature who ends up attacking.
A line in the song with “snake” in the lyrics goes, “The union of the snake is on the climb.” While this may be hard to decipher, we can tell from the rest of the lyrics that the song is about the evil part of you consuming your body. This is what the snake represents in the song.
8. “Snake Farm” By Ray Wylie Hubbard
Up next on our list is a song that mentions “snake” in a witty story. “Snake Farm” by Ray Wylie Hubbard was released in 2006 from his Snake Farm album.
According to Hubbard, he was driving to San Antonio when he passed by a big sign that said “SNAKE FARM.” Though he shuddered at the thought of a farm full of snakes, it also gave him the idea for a song.
“Snake Farm” is, surprisingly, a love story between a man and a woman working at a snake farm. He hates snakes, but he loves her. The woman, Ramona, can “dance like little Egypt” with a tattoo of a python on her arm. And because he loves her, he’s gonna obey her if she says, “come on down here.”
9. “Snakes” By Papa Roach
Heavy metal and snakes seem to go together for their dark reputation. Case in point, Papa Roach‘s “Snakes.” A thrumming bassline and multiple guitars lay out a backdrop for the vocals, which alternately rap and shout but never resort to a melody.
In “Snakes,” the frontman of Papa Roach raps about a person who’s betrayed him. It could be someone who did him something bad that he can’t forgive. This is referenced by the lines, “They stab you in the back” and “Stealing from me.”
It’s full of evocative imagery of violence and devastation, a tribute to both the physical and emotional pain he feels. Darkness reigns king here as he works through his issues with the help of music.
10. “I Palindrome I” By They Might Be Giants
Our next song is one from They Might Be Giants. The American alternative rock band released “I Palindrome I” in 1992.
To put it simply, this song depicts the thought that what goes around comes around. In the lyrics, the singer tells us that his mother will soon die and he’ll get his inheritance. The end of the song shows his karma when one of his own children kills him.
The song contains several palindromes. These are words or phrases that read the same backward and forward. Several examples from the song include “man o nam” and “Egad, a base tone denotes a bad age.”
11. “Spiders And Snakes” By Jim Stafford
Though the bulk of songs about snakes come from the rock genre, the country is no exception to this lyrical theme. Just listen to oId-timer Jim Stafford‘s “Spiders and Snakes.”
Its sing-songy quality addresses the creepy crawly critters kids play with and how Stafford connected the memories to his childhood crush. In one of his most famous versions of this song, he partners with Dolly Parton for a female addition to the vocals.
From the lyrics, we can tell that the singer is an immature boy who impresses his girl in ways she doesn’t like. Such as giving her a frog. She tells him, “I don’t like spiders and snakes,” and that it’s not how she wants to be loved.
12. “Snake Eyes” By Alan Parsons Project
Snakes in music don’t always have to be threatening or insidious. Sometimes the references are to dice games, such as in “Snake Eyes” by Alan Parsons Project.
Here, the song takes us through a gambler’s mind. He wishes to win the jackpot, so he plays one more game. It keeps repeating until he becomes hooked. He tells himself he’s gonna quit eventually, thinking, “Just one more minute more, then I’ll walk right through that door.”
A plodding beat, harmonizing vocals, and Eagles-esque guitars make this tune a rock classic. In the middle, there’s an entertaining interlude with the sounds of a dice game happening in the background.
13. “The Serpent” By Genesis
Like most of Genesis’ output, “The Serpent” is full of progressive-rock elements. Experimental notes and rhythms, trippy sounds, and eerie vocals mix for a song that sounds like it could be part of a gothic stage show.
Though the lyrics are expansive and ambiguous, this song is a retelling of the beginning of mankind. The first verse tells about God preparing the world for the arrival of the man and the woman.
And who can forget the serpent, which God made wise? The band pulls allusions to the original story of the serpent from the Bible. This suggests a struggle that has existed since the beginning of mankind. Though there’s no resolution, this song has a dark and peculiar appeal.
14. “Attacked By Snakes” By The Aquabats
Silly and campy, The Aquabats never fail to entertain, as seen in “Attacked by Snakes.” They’re technically a band that puts out music for children. However, adults can appreciate their intricate musical compositions and amusing lyrics as well.
The song’s theme is right there in the title. It tells the engaging story of running away from a horde of snakes. For reasons unknown, these reptiles decide to go on the offensive against the narrator.
All kinds of snakes seem to congregate outside of his house. He grabs garden rakes and other implements to try to fight them off, so they don’t take over his home.
15. “Snake Song” By Townes Van Zandt
Now we are at the end of our list, with a song that mentions “snake” to refer to one’s self. In “Snake Song,” Townes Van Zandt tells his listeners that he is the snake.
Slippery, fang-equipped, and full of venom, he seems to be doing his best to keep friends away. He certainly comes off as someone you wouldn’t want to hang around for long.
Much like Jim Stafford from prior on our list, this tune is a Wild-West-sounding mix of roots, bluegrass, blues, and classic rock. Maracas in between each verse create the effect of a rattlesnake tail shaking, another effort to show that Van Zandt does not want to be social.
Summing Up Our List Of Snake Songs
For centuries, snakes have been the theme of songs in every genre. Country, pop, rock, blues, and even opera have pointed out the various facets of this creepy yet enchanting creature.
Whether the lyrics mention actual snakes or use them as a metaphor for a person who has sly or deceitful intentions, it’s clear that snakes will be a topic of music for many years to come.
Despite the opinions we associate with snakes, we hope you’ve found some new music from our list that you can enjoy.