Take a Trip Through the States with Songs for Illinois—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.

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Next stop: Illinois

Sports, farms, pizza, and presidents —the Prairie State has plenty of interesting tidbits on which to stake its claim. But Illinois also has music. The birthplace of innumerable hitmakers and inspiration behind so many hits, Illinois is a top destination for not only the sights but the sounds as well.

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

1. “Someday We’ll Go All The Way” – Eddie Vedder

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder wrote “Someday We’ll Go All The Way” as an ode to his beloved baseball team, the Chicago Cubs. When the Evanston, Illinois native crafted the song, the team was seeing a dry spell as it had been 100 years since they had last won the World Series.

2. “Move On Up” – Curtis Mayfield

A funk and soul musician whose songs were ripe with social commentary, Curtis Mayfield was arguably one of the most influential musical Chicagoans. His love of music was informed very early on, and by the age of seven, he was singing in the church choir and teaching himself how to play the guitar.

3. “2120 South Michigan Avenue” – The Rolling Stones

An early set of Rolling Stones’ songs came to life in Illinois. The title of the instrumental tune, “2120 South Michigan Avenue,” refers to the address of Chicago’s Chess Records. It was at this studio where the young British rockers recorded the 1964 EP, Five by Five, on which this song appears.

Playlist for Illinois

“The Lucky One” – Alison Krauss

“Chicago” – Sufjan Stevens

“My Chick Bad” – Ludacris

“So What” – Miles Davis

“Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town)” – Frank Sinatra

“Johnsburg, Illinois” – Tom Waits

“September” – Earth, Wind & Fire

“Ballad of the Illinois Opry” – REO Speedwagon

“Because the Night” – Patti Smith

“Someday We’ll All Be Free” – Donny Hathaway

“Take Me Back to Chicago” – Chicago

“Homecoming” – Kanye West

“Hurtin'” – Margo Price

“65th And Ingleside” – Chance The Rapper

“Watermelon Man” – Herbie Hancock

“Someday We’ll Go All The Way” – Eddie Vedder

“Lookin’ Out My Back Door” – Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Move On Up” – Curtis Mayfield

“100 Chicagos” – Lupe Fiasco

“Lovin’ You” – Minnie Riperton

“If This Isn’t Love” – Jennifer Hudson

“2120 South Michigan Avenue” – The Rolling Stones

Photo by Gettyimages.com

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