Guide to the 101 best songs about California

With its picturesque landscapes and year-round sunshine, California is a place you can write songs about – and so can many.

Today, we’re releasing our list of the 101 best songs about the Golden State (very unscientific). This is the playlist that my colleague Jill Cowan created in 2019 and I recently started adding based on your suggestions.

Music is featured in current iterations spanning decades, genres and geographies. On the list are the Beach Boys’ 1966 song “Good Vi Mung”, LL Cool J’s “Goin Back to Cali” and Haim’s 2020 bop song “Los Angeles”.

As with any playlist, the California Soundtrack is a work in progress that we will continue to edit and build on. You can email your suggestions to me at

Below, I share some of the tracks that made the latest cut as well as your arguments for inclusion. I will be posting more of your submissions in the newsletter in the coming weeks.

You can check out the full list of 101 California songs here or listen.

But before we move on, my pick: Rilo Kiley’s”Let me come back“Since 2013. It’s a tribute to Los Angeles that focuses on what I’ve always loved about the city – almost anyone can feel at home here.

Happy listening.

Journey’s “Lights” (1978)

“Cruise is a Bay Area staple. ‘Lights’ is a love song for the city of San Francisco. The Giants will play ‘Lights’ between the seventh and eighth rounds (if the Giants win) and the whole field will sing and sway to the music. That’s very wonderful! “- Robin Blair, Palo Alto

“California Gurls” by Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg (2010)

“I am 64 years old, born and raised in Southern California, and if there was another song that aptly describes my life during my younger years, I don’t know what it is. I am retired to Arizona but Southern California will always be home!! “- Cheryl Brown, Surprise, Ariz.

“Where Streets Have No Names” by U2 (1987)

“This is a song that anyone who has been to the Mojave and has experienced the heaviness of the universe and the fragility of their death will agree is about the spiritual growth that occurs there. Not to mention the album is called ‘Joshua Tree.’ “- Ana Macias-Serpa, Arundel, Maine

“Pacheco/Red Hawk” by Kate Wolf (1983)

“As we drove home, heading north on 5th Street on our way to Santa Cruz, the song describes our ride, and the ascent of Pacheco Pass, perfectly. We always play it when we go up on the pass. “- Joyce Smith, Santa Cruz

“How To, How Blue, How Beautiful” by Florence and the Machine (2015)

“When I saw her in concert, she said she was inspired to write that song when she was about to land at LAX.

On a personal note, my girlfriend and I listened to this album on a trip along Highway 1 in Marin County in 2015 when we hit a tight bend to reach a breathtaking view of the ocean. as soon as the song starts playing. It was a perfect, ethereal moment, and I would urge anyone on a Highway 1 adventure to add it to their playlists.” – Holly Ober, Riverside

America’s “Ventura Highway” (1972)

“Whenever driving from my residence in San Francisco to visit my daughter in Southern California, I remember placing the 1972 American release of the ‘Ventura Highway’ as the ocean appeared to the right of the Highway 101 and the clear blue Pacific Ocean seemed to go on forever until it merged into an equally blue sky. It’s enchanting and very Californian. “- Kathleen Richter, San Francisco

  • One-time payers: A bill that would create the nation’s only government-funded universal health care system died in state Congress on Monday, Associated Press reports.

  • The end of the death row: After placing a moratorium on executions in 2019, California is moving toward a complete lifting of the nation’s largest death row inmates, Associated Press reports.

  • Fast food protection: A bill passed by the Council could set some new employment standards for fast food workers, Associated Press reports.

  • Police Weapons: A new bill would require police officers to wear handguns and stun guns to separate sides of their device belts to prevent accidental shootings, Associated Press reports.


  • LA homeless community: In an abandoned building in Koreatown, homeless Angelenos live together in a space to call their own, The Los Angeles Times reported.

  • Not likely to be a fisherman: A photojournalist takes us to a place where fishing seems almost defiant: urban Los Angeles.



Because $1.9 million in California.

Today’s travel tip comes from Michael Hamilton, who recommends La Cumbre . Peaktallest mountain overlooking Santa Barbara:

“At 3,900 feet, it offers a stunning 360-degree view – to the south is beautiful Santa Barbara and the ocean beyond it, with views of the five Channel Islands on a clear day. The view to the north was quite different: the distant land of the Coast Ranges, rugged and stunningly beautiful. There are some short easy hikes for those who, like us, have driven to the top. But for the two boys we met at the top, getting there was the end of a six-hour hike up winding paths from the beach! ”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We will share more in upcoming versions of the newsletter.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re asking about love: no Who you love, but what you love your California corner.

Send us a love letter via email to your California city, neighborhood or region – or to the entire Golden State – and we may share it in an upcoming newsletter. You can contact the team at

Today is the Lunar New Year, which means the moon is entering a new phase, the year of the Tiger begins and many Asian families will celebrate with cut fruit.

Eating or giving fruit is a beloved Lunar New Year custom, with different fruits carrying different meanings.

Apples are said to bring peace, and so are grapefruits. Yellow fruits like oranges, tangerines and kumquats are said to bring wealth to those who eat them, as their yellow color is reminiscent of money.

Thanks for reading. I will be back tomorrow. – Soumya

P.S. here Small crossword todayand a clue: The coin toss call (5 letters).

Mariel Wamsley and Jonah Candelario contributed to California Today. You can contact the team at

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Fry Electronics Team

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