25 Of The Best Songs That Start With The Letter Z

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

The world of music is as diverse as the alphabet itself, providing songs for every letter. Among this vast array, those that start with the letter “Z” offer a unique blend of genres and styles.

You will find an eclectic mix of songs that begin with this final letter of the alphabet. Some of these have stood the test of time.

Whether you’re into pop, rock, blues, or electronica, you’ll love the selection below. So what are we waiting for? Let’s dive and discover 25 of the best songs that start with the letter “Z.”

1. “Ziggy Stardust” By David Bowie

Among songs beginning with the letter “Z,” David Bowie‘s “Ziggy Stardust” stands out. This is the centerpiece of Bowie’s 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

This glam rock song revolves around the character Ziggy Stardust, Bowie’s alter ego. Stardust is a bisexual alien rock star and a messenger for extraterrestrial beings. His character was influenced by English singer Vince Taylor, Legendary Stardust Cowboy, and Kansai Yamamoto.

The narrative of “Ziggy Stardust” is complex and layered. Ziggy is depicted as having arrived on an Earth that’s dying due to a lack of natural resources. He brings a message of hope through his music, although fame eventually gets to his head.

2. “Zombie” By The Cranberries

Another popular song beginning with “Z” is “Zombie” by The Cranberries. Released in 1994, the song topped the charts in several countries, including Australia and France. In the US, it topped the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart.

But more than its critical success, “Zombie” became known as a protest song against the violence of war and terrorism. Lead singer Dolores O’Riordan wrote it in memory of two young victims of a bombing in Northern Ireland in 1993.

The title is a metaphor for the dehumanizing effects of these atrocities on individuals. These things reduce them to mindless beings merely following orders. The song also pleads for an end to violence and the suffering it causes.

3. “Zack And Codeine” By Post Malone

In “Zack and Codeine,” Post Malone cleverly references the Disney Channel show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. He uses the name “Cody” as a homophone for “codeine,” an opiate used as a recreational drug.

In the lyrics, Post Malone uses this play on words to depict a lifestyle of indulgence and excess. It reflects the extravagant hotel life of the titular twins Zack and Cody, as portrayed in the TV show. The reference to codeine is a symbol of the intoxicating allure of substances and the escape they provide.

In essence, “Zack and Codeine” explores themes of lavish experiences and their consequences. It paints a picture of Post Malone’s own life in the limelight.

4. “Zebras And Airplanes” By Alicia Keys

The eargasmic “Zebras and Airplanes” by Alicia Keys deserves a spot on our list. She recorded the song when she was working on her fourth studio album, Element of Freedom.

This track carries an enchanting theme of love and whimsical dreams. The lyrics describe the narrator’s desire to escape reality, to run away and fly — much like the zebras and airplanes in the title.

The song captures the feeling of being so in love that it feels as though you’re floating or flying. Its themes of love and escapism make it a captivating addition to songs that start with the final letter of the alphabet.

5. “Zanzibar” By Billy Joel

Moving on, we have “Zanzibar” by Billy Joel, released in 1978 from his 52nd Street album. The title refers to a fictional sports bar where the narrator tries to catch the attention of a waitress.

The song uses Zanzibar to explore themes of love for sports and alcohol and a search for joy in a mundane existence. The narrator yearns for something more exciting and far removed from ordinary life.

As it’s about one’s love for sports, the song makes references to sports, such as the baseball player Pete Rose. The lyrics also use a baseball expression of stealing a second base if the waitress allows it.

6. “Zero” By Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs released the universally acclaimed album It’s Blitz! in 2009. One of its singles that finds a spot on our list is “Zero.”

The song carries themes of identity, self-discovery, and societal pressure. The title itself seems to symbolize the concept of starting from scratch. It could also refer to reclaiming one’s identity.

As such, this imagery embodies the idea of transformation and the courage to step into the unknown. The song stands out due to its exploration of one’s desire for self-expression.

7. “Zannalee” By Prince

Yet another timeless song starting with “Z” is Prince‘s “Zannalee.” This was released from his 1996 album Chaos and Disorder.

This spirited song recounts the narrator’s encounters with two sisters. It all starts with a police radio call describing a disturbance in Galpin, where he meets Zannalee and Fendi. He finds Zannalee captivating.

In terms of musical style, this song is considered by some as Prince’s blues-rock number. It features an unforgettable riff that lends an exciting opener to the album.

8. “Zen Brain” By Nada Surf

The alternative rock band Nada Surf released a song in 1996 that begins with the letter “Z.” From their debut studio album High/Low comes “Zen Brain.”

This track revolves around urban youth who are grappling with their evolving identities and the path they choose as they grow older. This is embodied in the opening line, “I’m going from strange to stranger every year.”

The title seems to suggest a state of calm or balance. Perhaps it indicates the inner peace that they seek amid the chaos in their lives.

9. “Zendaya” By Cozz Ft. J. Cole

A notable song that starts with “Z” is “Zendaya” by rapper Cozz featuring J. Cole. While the title refers to the actress and singer Zendaya, the song isn’t specifically about her. Rather, it uses her name symbolically.

In the lyrics, the rappers discuss their journey and the challenges they’ve faced, asking “How else I make it this far?” The song depicts the perseverance, ambition, and struggles that come with success.

In addition, Cozz and J. Cole talk about the people who have influenced them. Cole references Kanye West and Jay-Z, while Cozz references Cole himself as having influenced him when he was younger.

10. “Zero And Blind Terry” By Bruce Springsteen

From Bruce Springsteen‘s Tracks album comes a song that must be on our list. “Zero and Blind Terry” is a captivating song that he first recorded in 1973.

The song is about the characters Zero, a leader of the Pythons gang, and Terry, whose father does not approve of Zero. After running away, Terry’s father orders some troopers to bring her back and kill Zero. The troopers and the Pythons clash, and there’s no telling what happens to the couple.

In essence, “Zero and Blind Terry” is a tale of love, rebellion, and escape, which are common themes in Springsteen’s early work.

11. “Zero The Hero” By Black Sabbath

Yet another profound song that begins with “Z” is Black Sabbath‘s “Zero the Hero.” It was released in 1983 from their album Born Again.

“Zero the Hero” revolves around a person who lives a comfortable but unfulfilled life. Despite his wealth, he is depicted as “zero.” In other words, someone who hasn’t accomplished anything meaningful. This indicates an internal void that can’t be filled with material possessions.

In addition, the lyrics convey a sense of dissatisfaction and resentment toward the superficiality of his existence. In essence, “Zero the Hero” stands out due to its exploration of existential themes.

12. “Zoo Station” By U2

We are also including on this list the opening track to U2‘s album Achtung Baby, “Zoo Station.” Released in 1991, this song marked the band’s new sound.

Lyrically, the song expresses anticipation for the future. It’s believed to be about a spiritual rebirth, underlining the theme of identity search and self-discovery.

U2’s lead vocalist, Bono, wrote the song inspired by a story he heard about Berlin during World War II. Apparently, the zoo was damaged by bombings. The animals escaped and wandered around the city’s rubble.

Another inspiration was the Berlin Zoologischer Garten railway station, which was also known as “Zoo Station.” It used to be the main railway station in West Berlin.

13. “Zebras Crossing The Street” By Scooter

From Scooter‘s album Wicked! comes the upbeat track “Zebras Crossing the Street.” It was released in 1996 and re-released in 2013.

The track showcases Scooter’s signature style, combining elements of techno and hardcore music. The title appears to be a playful nod toward the unexpected and surreal, a recurring theme in his music.

When it comes to the lyrics, they seem to be abstract, leaving much to the listeners’ interpretations. The song can be taken as an invitation to live your life to the fullest.

14. “Zillionaire” By Flo Rida

Released in 2016, Flo Rida‘s “Zillionaire” is our next song. This vibrant track is a classic example of his characteristic blend of hip-hop and pop elements.

Lyrically, “Zillionaire” details the narrator’s plan of showering his beloved with luxurious gifts. He believes she deserves everything he can give her. He’s willing to buy her “a BMW, a Bugatti, thick rock,” shoes, and even “mansions and platinum.”

That is, “when [he] becomes a zillionaire.” And once he has achieved that, he can afford his partner’s extravagant lifestyle.

15. “Zoe Jane” By Staind

The rock band Staind has a heartfelt song in their discography that begins with the letter “Z.” Released in 2004, “Zoe Jane” is a tribute to lead vocalist Aaron Lewis’ firstborn daughter.

The lyrics express Lewis’ deep love and his longing to protect Zoe Jane. He wants to be there to teach her and show her “all the things that this life has in store for you.” But above all, he promises to “always love [her] / the way that a father should love his daughter.”

In essence, “Zoe Jane” stands out on this list for its raw emotion and personal significance. While other songs explore themes of introspection, change, or fantasy, this one is a touching exploration of paternal love.

16. “Zebulon” By Rufus Wainwright

Another significant addition to our list is Rufus Wainwright‘s “Zebulon.” It’s from his album All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, released in 2010.

The lyrics are deeply personal and introspective. They describe a time of emotional turmoil and desolation. The song references Wainwright’s mother and sister, as addressed in the line “My mother’s in hospital, my sister’s at the opera.”

“Zebulon,” showcases raw emotion and vulnerability. It’s also proof of the songwriter’s ability to translate personal pain into beautiful music.

17. “Zeitgeist” By Black Sabbath

The English rock band Black Sabbath appears a second time on our list, this time with “Zeitgeist.” It appears on their 2013 album 13.

Lyrics-wise, the song is about one’s restless desire to find meaning in life. It’s about following one’s passions. The narrator is caught in a downward spiral, falling through the universe. He witnesses a vision of faded dreams and nuclear fissions.

The term “zeitgeist” comes from the German word “zeist,” meaning “time,” and “geist,” meaning “spirit.” In essence, the song explores the human condition and our place in the universe.

18. “Zig Zag Stories” By Vanilla Ice

Up next is from rapper Vanilla Ice. “Zig Zag Stories” was released in 1998 from the album Hard to Swallow. The narrative follows the artist’s experiences and encounters while under the influence of drugs.

The title is likely a reference to Zig-Zag, a brand of rolling papers used for smoking cannabis. The lyrics reference humorous scenarios, indicating the altered state of perception caused by the substance.

In essence, “Zig Zag Stories” provides a slice-of-life perspective on the artist’s personal experiences. Unlike other “Z” songs that explore emotional or philosophical themes, this one by Vanilla Ice has a more light-hearted narrative.

19. “Zombie Bastards” By Weezer

Moving on, we have “Zombie Bastards” by Weezer. The song can be found in their 2019 self-titled album.

The song conveys a sense of rebellion against societal pressures and conformity. It describes the journey of vocalist Rivers Cuomo and his girlfriend running from the zombies.

Here, zombies could be metaphorical, representing the mindless masses, or they could be the norms that they are running away from. The line “Die, die, you zombie bastards” emphasizes their determination to resist these pressures.

20. “Zeus” By Eminem And White Gold

A notable song that begins with “Z” is one from Eminem, featuring White Gold. “Zeus” appears on Eminem’s album Music to Be Murdered By.

The song is a blend of self-aggrandizement and sharp comments targeted at other rappers. This reinforces his claim of being a “rap god.”

The title, “Zeus,” suggests that he sees himself as the king of the rap scene, much like Zeus is the king of the gods in Greek mythology. It also reflects his fearless approach to calling out his contemporaries, such as Snoop Dogg.

21. “Zambony” By k-os

The Canadian rapper k-os has something for our list called “Zambony.” The title is a play on the word “Zamboni,” a machine used to resurface ice rinks. In this context, however, it does not directly relate to the lyrics.

The song showcases the rapper’s blend of hip-hop and alternative rock. The lyrics delve into his experiences and struggles in the music industry. These include his frustrations regarding the commercial aspects of the industry and his striving for authenticity.

In addition, the song reflects societal issues and his personal journey. It provides a commentary on the music industry, which makes it a unique track in k-os’s discography.

22. “Zephyrus” By Bloc Party

From Bloc Party‘s Intimacy album comes “Zephyrus,” a nice addition to our list. The title comes from the god of the west wind. This ties to one of the many references to Greek mythology found in the album.

In the lyrics, the narrator finds himself apologizing to his partner after neglecting her. He is filled with regret and longs for change. He acknowledges his past mistakes and expresses shame for the pain he has caused.

This is embodied in the lines “Baby, I’m ashamed of the things I put you through / Baby, I’m ashamed of the man I was for you.”

23. “ZEZE” By Kodak Black Ft. Travis Scott And Offset

American rappers Kodak Black, Travis Scott, and Offset came together for the 2018 song “ZEZE.” This upbeat rap song is an homage to Kodak’s Haitian roots.

The lyrics reflect Kodak’s gangster life in Miami. It’s a life of excess, including flashy cars and drug use. In addition, Kodak mentions everything he has gone through to get to where he is now. He emphasizes the importance of loyalty.

At its core, this song is a celebration of success and having more than enough wealth. It provides a unique perspective on Kodak’s rise to fame and the realities of their lifestyle.

24. “Zero” By Imagine Dragons

The penultimate to our list is “Zero” by Imagine Dragons. Released in 2018, the song is one of the soundtracks for the animated film Ralph Breaks the Internet.

The song is an ode to the misfit. It encapsulates the challenges and struggles faced by the main characters, Ralph and Vanellope. The lyrics delve into feelings of loneliness, self-acceptance, and the tension between chaos and stability.

In essence, “Zero” shows us a unique perspective on feeling like an outsider and the journey to self-acceptance. It also offers a commentary on personal growth.

25. “Zim Zimma” By Joyner Lucas

To end our list, we give you “Zim Zimma” by rapper Joyner Lucas. The title is an interpolation of a line from Beenie Man’s song “Who Am I.”

“Zim Zimma” showcases Lucas’ lyrical prowess as he talks about themes delving into life, money, and cars. The title itself is an allegory for his wealth. He only used to dream of money, and he has come far since then.

In essence, Lucas’ “Zim Zimma” is notable for its lyrical depth and introspective themes. It talks about societal observations and personal ambitions, certainly a standout in Lucas’ body of work.

Summing Up Our List Of “Z” Songs

In wrapping up, the songs above show the vast range of themes, genres, and artists. Regardless of genre, they have their unique charm and contribute to the richness of music.

Each song adds a distinct flavor to the musical alphabet. This proves that even “Z,” which is often overlooked due to its position at the end of the alphabet, has much to offer in the world of music.

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.