Top 10 New Orleans Songs

Shawn Talbot /

When you travel to New Orleans, there are likely to be some songs that remind you of the Mardi Gras, the Mississippi River or some other aspect of the city. The following is a list of 10 memorable songs, not in any particular order, about New Orleans to help liven up your visit to one of the greatest cities in the country. For the best limousine service for your business and special events needs in the Crescent City, call Limo Livery, one of the most respected chauffeured services in the world.

1)     When the Saints Go Marching In – What is the first song that comes to mind when you think of New Orleans? If you said “When the Saints Go Marching In”, you’re not alone. The song has been covered hundreds of times and New Orleans’ most important sport team is named after the song: the New Orleans Saints.


2)     Johnny B Goode – This Chuck Berry classic is ranked #7 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs. The song tells the story of a country boy who is very good at playing guitar. With the famous catch phrase “Go Johnny Go”, it is one of the most recognized songs in music history and has been performed by many famous bands including the Beach Boys and the Beatles.


3)     Jambalaya (On the Bayou) – It’s practically a certainty that most Americans, young or old have heard this song. This 1952 #1 hit was written and sung by one of the greatest country music singers of all time, Hank Wilson, and has been covered numerous times by scores of other artists, such as The Carpenters, Emmylou Harris, Van Morrison, and Harry Connick Jr.


4)     Iko Iko (Jock-A-Mo) – One of the most popular songs during the Mardi Gras season this 1950s song tells a story about 19th century Louisiana native Indians chanting in a mock fight against each other.  This catchy dance song has been recorded numerous times by such acts as the Dixie Cups, Dr. John, Ringo Starr and even the Grateful Dead.


5)     Walking to New Orleans – Although Fats Domino was born in New Orleans and still lived there when Hurricane Katrina hit, this # 1 R&B hit song was one of the very few in his long 60 year career that mentions the city in the title. The famous singer lost everything in his home from the hurricane but has since rebuilt his home.


6)     House of the Rising Sun – The song made famous by the British band, The Animals in 1964, is apparently based upon either a house of ill repute or a prison. House of the Rising Sun is a classic folk ballad whose author is unknown but is speculated to have originated in 18th century England. Although it the song has been recorded by other artists, the Animals released the best version.



7)     New Orleans – The first hit by 60s singer/songwriter Gary U.S. Bonds is one of many songs simply titled “New Orleans” but this song is widely recognized to be one of the best and has been covered by The Grateful Dead, The Blues Brothers, Neil Diamond and Hank Williams Jr.


8)     Proud Mary – This popular Creedence Clearwater Revival was the a hit single on their 1969 album Bayou Country.  Tina Turner made the song a hit once more in 1971 and is considered to be one of her signature songs, which in 1972 earned the prominent singer her first Grammy Award. Proud Mary refers to a steamboat in New Orleans that’s “rolling down the river.”


9)     Lady Marmalade – The original 1975 song performed by LaBelle is based upon a Creole woman in old New Orleans. The catch French phrase “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” (Do you want to sleep with me (tonight?) also appeared in the Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire.” It became a contemporary hit after it was featured in the movie Moulin Rouge and sung by Lil’ Kim, Pink, Mya and Christina Aguilera.


10)The City of New Orleans – This song made first made famous by Arlo Guthrie and later a #1 country hit for Willie Nelson contains the familiar lyrics: “Good morning America how are you? Don’t you know me I’m your native son, I’m the train they call The City of New Orleans, I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.”

Honorable Mentions: Way Down Yonder in New Orleans (Freddy Cannon), Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan), Mr. Boujangles (Jerry Jeff Walker), King Creole (Elvis Presley), Brown Sugar (Rolling Stones), The Battle of New Orleans (Johnny Horton) and Baby Please Don’t Go (Van Morrison).

There is a extensive list of songs about New Orleans and just listening to just a select few is bound to make you yearn for a trip to the Louisiana city. Again, if you are planning on being in the city and looking for the best limo service in the city, call Limo Livery and who knows, maybe the chauffeur might play a New Orleans song or two just for you.