Take a Trip Through the States with Songs for Indiana—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: Indiana

Middle American states, like Indiana, are often depicted as quaint, idyllic settings for the “American Dream” to unfold. However, all the white picket fences in the state can’t contain the talent that abounds there. Rockers, jazz icons, and soul sensations, Indiana has nurtured them all.

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

1. The Land of Rock Titans: Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, Mick Mars, and David Lee Roth

For the land of family values, Indiana has sure bred its fair share of raucous rockers. For Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin, Mötley Crüe’s Mick Mars, and Van Halen’s David Lee Roth to all be from The Hoosier State, there must be something in the water.

2. “Going Back To Indiana” – Jackson 5

The Jackson family were Gary, Indiana, natives. Called the “First Family of Soul,” the Jackson parents produced child stars and/or professional musicians in their children, Janet, Randy, La Toya, Rebbie, Jackie, Michael, Tito, Marlon, and Jermaine.

The five brothers would form R&B boy band, the Jackson 5, with Michael branching out to become one of the most revered artists in history.

3. “Small Town” – John Mellencamp

No musician wears Midwest rock with more pride than John Mellencamp. His song “Small Town” is an homage to his Seymour and Bloomington, Indiana, roots. His young adulthood in the state saw the artist perform in and out of several local bands while he also worked installing telephone wires. He eventually left his small town for New York to pursue music.

Playlist for Indiana

“Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses

“Beat It” – Michael Jackson

“Springtime Indiana” – Sandra McCracken

“Every Time I Close My Eyes” – Babyface

“Can’t Get Indiana Off My Mind” – Bing Crosby

“Indiana Wants Me” – Dean Taylor

“Polka Dots & Moonbeams” – Wes Montgomery

“Small Town” – John Mellencamp

“Mary Jane’s Last Dance” – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers

“Can’t Get Indiana Off My Mind” – Hoagy Carmichael

“Nasty” – Janet Jackson

“Henrietta, Indiana” – Josh Ritter

“Up in Indiana” – Lyle Lovett

“Home Sweet Home” – Mötley Crüe

“Why Indiana” – Parker McCollum

“You’ve Got That Thing” – Cole Porter

“Gun Street Girl” – Tom Waits.

“On The Banks Of The Wabash, Far Away” – Paul Dresser

“Going Back To Indiana” – Jackson 5

“Hot For Teacher” – Van Halen

“Indiana” – Jon McLaughlin

“Whataya Want from Me” – Adam Lambert

“Back To Indiana” – The Elms

“Far Afghanistan” – James Taylor

Photo by Gettyimages.com

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