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California Songs

Santa Barbara, CA

At the last Guitar Train stop, Quirky T looked at New York songs so now it’s time for California songs. I have not spent nearly as much time in California as I have in New York (it’s a long Guitar Train ride to get to the West Coast) so I am biased towards New York and its familiarity. Many California songs make the state into a dreamy paradise while New York (especially New York City) is more gritty and one has to be tough to survive the weather, the congestion, the fast pace, and the people.


California Songs I like


  1. “Blue Jay Way” – The Beatles
  2. Any surfing song by The Beach Boys
  3. “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and Papas
  4. “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” by Billy Joel
  5. “Don’t Mean Nothin’” by Richard Marx


Billy Joel also had a song on my list of New York songs I like. He is a New York guy but he lived in California for a few years in the 1970’s which inspired him in writing some songs such as this one on my list.

Huey Lewis concert T-shirt

One song which mentions both New York City and Los Angeles is “The Heart of Rock and Roll” by the San Francisco, CA band Huey Lewis and the News. Actually, New York starts off the song and LA is mentioned later in the song. Along with those two cities, several other rocking cities throughout the United States are named.

Hollywood, CA


Before the Guitar Train departs for the next stop, I have one California video mention. For some unknown to Quirky T reason, the British band Genesis filmed the video for their song “Misunderstanding” in Los Angeles. Every time I watch the video, I think, “Yeah, Phil, there is a misunderstanding. You’re driving around LA looking for your girlfriend and she’s back home in England.” That being thought, I do like to watch videos, TV shows, and films shot in California to see locations I don’t normally see just as I like to watch videos, TV shows, and films shot in New York City to see locations which are familiar to me.


Guitar Train passengers, what are your favorite California songs?


Get your tickets ready as next month Quirky T conducts the Guitar Train to go “Back in Time” to 1985!


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7 thoughts on “California Songs

  1. One of the things I really want to do someday, visit California that is. I love the whole culture as portrayed in many Beach Boys songs, especially on their All Summer Long album (which is not only about surfing, but also cars, sun, beach, girls, nostalgia, summer etc.)

    • I was disappointed in California because I also thought it would be like Beach Boys songs. The places I went to weren’t like that – Hollywood, San Francisco, and San Diego. I was expecting more beaches and surfing; not crowded, big cities. I guess I didn’t go to the right places! Hopefully you will someday.

  2. Two excellent songs named “California”: Joni Mitchell’s, from Blue, and Rufus Wainwright’s, from Poses. For a little sarcasm, there’s Californian Randy Newman’s “I Love LA.”

  3. Always nice to see Billy Joel featured on such a list – The Rentals ‘California’ and a large amount of Red Hot Chili Peppers lyrics seem to feature the state as well!
    Looking forward to the ’85 time travel

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