There are very few ways to better represent your city than creating a song that pays homage to it. Especially when those songs go on to become monumental successes and people forever associate those artists with the songs and the city.
Here are ten of our favorites tracks that are So Chicago;
1. Southside, Common ft. Kanye West
This southside anthem by two of Chicago’s most popular rappers Common and Kanye West, had the city rocking in the summer of 2007. Common being from Calumet Heights, and West from South Shore set out to show the southside some love in this track on Commons’ grammy award winning album “Finding Forever.”
2. Sweet Home Chicago, Robert Johnson
This Chicago anthem recorded by Robert Johnson in 1936 is a staple of every Chicago lovers music collection. A song so iconic that it has been covered by many greats such as Eric Clapton and featured in movies such as the Chicago classic Blues Brothers. You pretty much can’t go to any social scene in Chicago without hearing it at least once.
3. Tonight, Tonight, The Smashing Pumpkins,
A song so Chicago that the strings were recorded with the Chicago symphony orchestra. The Smashing Pumpkins were formed in Chicago and credited by many with as re-birthing the alternative rock scene in the city. With lyrics like “And the embers never fade in your city by the lake, The place where you were born,” its clear that frontman Billy Corgan clearly had Chicago on his mind when making this song.
4. Angels, Chance the Rapper ft. Saba
Not only has he not changed his number since the 7th grade, Chance the Rapper is pretty good at putting out hits that feature Chicago. Angels features Chance (West Chatham), and Saba (Austin) flying through the city and rocking on top of an L car. Any song that includes the lyrics “City so damn great I feel like Alexan” is a winner in my book.
5. Frank Sinatra, My Kind of town
Quite possibly the most iconic Chicago song ever recorded. Originally composed by Jimmy Van Heusen, with lyrics by Sammy Cahn, Sinatra made this song an international hit when he sang it as a score for Robin and the 7 Hoods. Today it is a jukebox must-have in bars all over the city.
6. Homecoming, Kanye West
Love him or hate him Kanye West is a musical genius. Homecoming, the legendary track featuring the Kanye West (South Shore) laying bars at the Bean, Millennium Park and Marina City coupled with beautiful vocals and piano play of Chris Martin (ColdPlay), make this song a Chicago favorite. It’s a virtual Chicago lovefest and on almost every Chicago-song-top-10-list. If you love Chicago, you just might love this song.
7. Chicago Winds, Dave Hollister
It’s not unlike Chicago-native Dave Hollister (Blackstreet) to include references to the city throughout his music catalog. (ie “Chicago 85, The Movie) This track references how the world renowned Chicago-native travels the world and experiences things that most of us only dream of, yet when it’s said and done, Chicago is always on his mind.
8. Go Cubs Go, by Steve Goodman
Whether screaming it from the inside of Sluggers while throwing back free popcorn or after a Cubs win at Wrigley Field most Chicagoans would agree (Okay, maybe not Sox fans) that this catchy ode to the Cubs baseball team written by Northside native Steve Goodman is So Chicago.
9. Back to Chicago, Styx
With lyrics like “Let’s go walking by the beach tonight, and watch the sun come up on Lake Shore Drive” there is no doubt that rock band Styx loves the Windy City. This awesome song is a must have in any Chicago-lovers music collection.
10. King Cole Trio, Windy City Boogie Woogie
Chicago just isn’t Chicago without a history filled with old school gangsters and prohibition Speakeasies. What better tunes to embody that sound than old school swing jazz sound of Windy City Boogie Woogie by Nat King Cole and the King Cole Trio.