Take a Trip Through the States with Songs for Florida—America’s Songbook

Every state across the country has its own type of music that makes it what it is. In a multi-part series, American Songwriter will take a look at each of the 50 states and the music that emanates from each of the various and unique landscapes.

Videos by American Songwriter

Next stop: Florida

Florida produces more than just oranges and wacky “Florida Man” headlines. Music is a major export of the Sunshine State, a place where cultures collide. Beyond the beach resorts and amusement parks, mingling with the tropical climate, you’ll hear a sound unlike any other.

Making up America’s Songbook, here is a playlist of songs for Florida about the state and by the statesmen.

1. “Gainesville” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Homegrown in the headphone / Sandy loading up the van / Singing through the speaker / You’re all right, anywhere you land

Tom Petty’s hometown of Gainesville, Florida is where he found his love for music and, in turn, his dream. His roots can be heard in songs, like “Southern Accent” and “Gainesville” (below) as he carried the spirit of his birthplace with him throughout his storied career.

2. “Floridays” – Jimmy Buffett

A native Mississippian, Jimmy Buffett became the poster child for Florida living with his easy grooving, everything’s-better-in-paradise brand of tropic-rock. A mix of steel drums, congas, and strings, he perfected that vacation sound that screams Panama City Beach.

3. “Clean Up Woman” – Betty Wright

The voice behind songs like “Clean Up Woman” and “Tonight Is the Night,” could only come from the sultry heat of the Sunshine State. Legendary R&B and soul singer Betty Wright was a longtime Floridian. After she passed away in her hometown of Miami, a portion of the city’s NW 14th Ave. was renamed Betty Wright Lane in her honor.

Playlist for Florida

“Gainesville” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

“Mainline Florida” – Eric Clapton

“Key Largo” – Bertie Higgins

“The Everglades” – Waylon Jennings

“Delirious” – Steve Aoki

“Soul Man” – Sam & Dave

“Heart of Glass” – Blondie

“Even Flow” – Pearl Jam

“Miami” – Will Smith

“Ocean Avenue” – Yellowcard

“Seminole Wind” – John Anderson

“Florida Man” – Blue Oyster Cult

“Floridays” – Jimmy Buffet

“Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

“7 Rings” – Ariana Grande

“Celebration, Florida” – Chumbawamba

“Don’t Let Me Die in Florida” – Patty Griffin

“Summer Nights” – Rascal Flatts

“Florida” – Modest Mouse

“Florida Blues” – Ricky Skaggs

“Nookie” – Limp Bizkit

“Buy U a Drank” – T-Pain

“Florida Time” – Bob Seger

“Riders on the Storm” – The Doors

“Move to Miami” – Enrique Iglesias

“I Want It That Way” – Backstreet Boys

“Clean Up Woman” – Betty Wright

“Talk Me Out Of Tampa” – Joe Nichols

“Florida Kilos” – Lana Del Rey

“All Signs Point to Lauderdale” – A Day to Remember

“Beautiful Girls” – Sean Kingston

“Jacksonville” – Josh Turner

“Welcome to Miami” – Pitbull

“Flirtin’ with Disaster” – Molly Hatchet

“Goin’ Back to Daytona” – Floyd Miles

“Teen Age Riot” – Sonic Youth

“Tallahassee Lassie” – Freddy Cannon

“Kokomo” – The Beach Boys

“Miami, My Amy” – Keith Whitley

Photo by Gettyimages.com

Leave a Reply

Leonard Cohen

Review: Art of Time Ensemble Pays Tribute to the Art of Leonard Cohen