The Ultimate Philly Playlist

Eight songs that famously name-drop our city.

After reading Philadelphia magazine’s roundup of the 52 best weekend trips, I’ve been pondering a quick roadtrip. Alas, no getaway is complete without a proper soundtrack. Here’s eight songs that famously name-drop our city to get your playlist started. What would you add?

“Streets of Philadelphia”

Bruce Springsteen won a Grammy and an Oscar for this song, the theme from Philadelphia, which starred Tom Hanks in his first Academy Award.

“Philadelphia Freedom”

In 2005, Elton John performed with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops at our annual Fourth of July concert on the Parkway. Scroll to about 1:35 to skip his introduction.


“Back in Philly, we be out in the park, a place called the plateau is where everybody go,” Will Smith rapped in 1991—while riding in a circle around the Art Museum for the shot-in-Philly video.

“Dancing in the Street”

Martha and the Vandellas recorded this hit song which shouts out Philadelphia, PA in 1964.

“South Street”

Where do all the hippies meet? South Street. (Not so much true in 2012. But in 1964? Sure!)

“Atlantic City”

“Well, they blew up the Chicken Man in Philly last night,” Bruce Springsteen croons at the beginning of this song. This video was recorded in November 2005 at the Spectrum.

“Punk Rock Girl”

The Dead Milkmen’s famous song references South Street iconic Zipperhead and the Philly Pizza Company. The super-fun video was filmed in Eastern State Penitentiary.

“Kids From Philly”

George Thorogood and the Destroyer’s instrumental song namedrops our city in the title.