There are some cities that remain in your heart long after you’ve left them. For someone like me, who’s lived in Mumbai all my life, it took moving away to make me realize just how much I loved the noisy, bustling, crowded city of my childhood. The quaint cobbled by lanes, the street food and shopping, the heritage buildings full of history, the many beaches and the iconic sea link. It has inspired countless people to travel to Mumbai to follow their dreams, and live in the big city. All over the world, poets, artists and singers have immortalized the cities that touched their lives and left an imprint.
Here are a few of my favorite songs that really make me want to visit the destinations that inspired them.
1. Empire State of Mind – Jay Z and Alicia Keys (New York)
There have been countless songs written about New York over the ages. Songs of nostalgia, the big city lights, the towering skyscrapers. For everyone who’s visited the Big Apple, or moved there with big dreams, this song celebrates everything we love about New York. ‘Empire state of mind’ makes you want to be a part of the melting pot of cultures in the city where anything can happen. Jay Z and Alicia keys really nailed it with this song!
2. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls. (Los Angeles)
I cant think of the city of Los Angeles without having this song playing in my mind in the background. Written for the movie City of Angels, this song propelled the band into super stardom and even though they didn’t have many hit songs after this, this song remains one of the most famous ones about LA till date.
3. Streets of Philadelphia – Bruce Springsteen (Philadelphia)
How can we forget that hauntingly iconic song by the boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Written for the movie Philadelphia, his music brought a lot of awareness and viewers to a movie about AIDS in 1993. This became such a popular song, that he won a Grammy and it is featured on his Greatest Hits album as well.
4.Rio – Duran Duran (Rio, Brazil)
The band Duran Duran is probably most famous for their catchy song ‘Come Undone’. But in 1982, while on vacation in Antigua, they came up with Rio. Singing of the Brazilian party destination, Rio like she was a woman. The song took you on a fantasy of the glamorous and glitzy lifestyle of Brazil with a fun melody and relatively new 80’s style sound effects. The band later said that this song was actually their tribute to America as they hoped to make a breakthrough into the American music scene.
5. Africa – Toto (Africa)
An anthem from my youth, Toto’s Africa is an awesome song that you can just listen to on loop. Even though the music video takes place inside a library, it is very much about the glorious destination of Africa with its wild and adventurous spirit.
6. La Vie en Rose – Edith Piaf (France)
Written when France was recovering from the war in 1945, The song’s central theme was ‘looking at the world through rose tinted glasses’. It really resonated with Edith Piaf’s life and that of the french people at that time. The dreamy melody takes you on a romantic escapade through the streets of Paris. It makes you imagine the quaint street cafe’s, tree lined avenues and the magnificent Eiffel tower as you listen to this classic. Interestingly, this song also has a Bollywood connection as it was given a modern twist by Pascal and Shreya Ghoshal in 2003.
I hope you thought of that special city or place with your best memories as you read this post. Even after travelling all over, at the end of the day I’m a ‘Bombay girl’ who still comes back and sings..
“The ladies are nice,
Gents are full of spice,
Come to Bombay! Come to Bombay!
Bombay meri hain! Hey!”