The List: 7 Great New Jersey Songs that Have Nothing to Do With Superstorm Sandy
At last, there’s a new batch of eff-Sandy songs now that the Stronger than the Storm Jersey Shore Soundoff has announced three finalists for the Jersey Shore song of the summer competition. You have until Aug. 25 to vote for your favorite.
But the winner will have pretty stiff competition in the Best Jersey Song Ever department. For a state everyone likes to dump on, New Jersey sure has a lot of songs written about it.
“On the Way to Cape May” written by Maurice “Buddy” Nugent
You’ve probably heard this musical tour of the Jersey Shore playing on the radio while stuck in Friday traffic en route to the towns mentioned in the classic anthem — Ocean City, Sea Isle, Avalon, Stone Harbor, Wildwood, Cape May Court House and, of course, Cape May. Regional artists like Al Alberts and Philly Cuzz and the Shoobies helped popularize the song for a national audience.
“Jersey Bounce” by Ella Fitzgerald
The Queen of Jazz became an honorary Garden Stater when she recorded this classic big band song for not one but two of her albums.
“The Diamond Church Street Choir” by The Gaslight Anthem
The Gaslight Anthem and its Red Bank-born lead singer Brian Fallon have been called the heir to Bruce Springsteen’s Jersey rock throne, and the band has not shied away from referencing both New Jersey and The Boss. “The Diamond Church Street Choir” is an ode to the New Brunswick bar at which the band played its first show.
“Everything’s Going to Be All Right” by Naughty by Nature
The East Orange hip-hop trio introduced a new Jersey Sound with this song — titled “Ghetto Bastard” in explicit versions — that reworked Jamaican icon Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” to detail life growing up in New Jersey.
“Fear and Loathing In Mahwah, NJ” by Titus Andronicus
The punk/indie rock band from Glen Rock doesn’t directly mention New Jersey in the lyrics like it does with other songs, but with a title like that, it doesn’t need to.
Anything by Bruce Springsteen
You didn’t think we forgot him, did you? The Boss’s reign also extends to New Jersey music — we could make a whole separate listicle about Bruce Springsteen songs about New Jersey. After all, his first album’s called Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.
Springsteen started his Jersey Shore Sound career with obvious hits like “Atlantic City” and “4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy),” but The Boss hasn’t forgotten about his home state just because he lives in houses that aren’t in the Garden State. On the title track of his latest album, Wrecking Ball, Bruce starts off saying he “was raised out of steel here in the swamps of Jersey, some misty years ago.” And then there’s the digital download of “A Night With the Jersey Devil” that The Boss released on Halloween five years ago; it’s about the mythical creature Coheed & Cambria also sang about in “Devil in Jersey City.”
Anything by Bon Jovi
Oh, right, the other big rock ’n’ roller from the Jerz. Like Springsteen, Bon Jovi gave his state an album (simply, New Jersey) but some of his biggest hits, like “Livin’ On a Prayer,” pay homage to his Jersey roots.
Bon Jovi loves New Jersey so much, he wrote a song about it, lovingly called “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and recorded both a rock version and a country version (above), featuring Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland.