Planning a California road trip? You can now rent cars at the lowest rates thanks to TravelCar at LAX and SFO Airport. And you might want to pack this playlist with you! Let us know in the comments what we’re missing!
California Dreamin – The Mamas & the Papas
This song was first written by John and Michelle Philips but the cover version from the Mamas & the Papas in 1965 is the most popular. The lyrics are about a guy who is dreaming about the warmth of Los Angeles while he is in New York during a cold winter. This song was introduced into the Grammy’s hall of fame in 2001.
California Girls – The Beach Boys
California Girls was recorded by the Beach Boys in 1965 for their album Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!). It was written by the Beach Boys leader, Brian Wilson, during his first acid trip. Fun fact, it took them 44 takes to record the song’s instrumental part.
California Sun – Ramones
This song was first recorded in 1960 by the rhythm & blues singer Joe Jones and was written by Henry Glover. But the most known version of this song is by the US rock group The Ramones. They did a cover version in 1977 for their album Leave Alone. This cover version was used in Jackass: The Movie.
Going back to Cali – LL Cool J
Going Back to Cali was released as a single in 1988 as well as on LL Cool J’s third album Walking with a Panther. It was written and produced by the famous beatmaker Rick Rubin. The video clip of the song is pretty awesome, in black and white, and features famous Los Angeles areas such as Venice Beach.
Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Arguably, this might be the most famous song from the rock group. It was released in 1999 and was out on the album of the same name. This is a song with an anti-establishement message against the globalization. There are also a lot of references to the pop culture as they mention Star Trek, Star Wars, Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, …
California Gurls – Katy Perry ft Snoop Dog
California Gurls is the song that made Katy Perry internationally known. It was released in 2010 and featured the famous rapper Snoop Dog. In 2010, California Gurls was the most downloaded song in the US and stayed at the Billboard’s top for 6 consecutive weeks. Katy Perry wrote this song in response to the New York anthem “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys to defend her native California.
California English –Vampire Weekend
This song was released in 2010 on the album Contra (the most known album from the rock group). What is super original on this song is that the singer Erza Koening is using autotune which is pretty unusual in rock music.
California Love – Tupac Shakur ft Dr Dre
This might be one of the most famous rap songs. It was released in 1995 after Tupac was released from jail. It was at first place on the Billboard charts for two consecutive weeks (which was excellent for rap music back in the days).
Going to California – Led Zeppelin
This song was released in 1971 by the famous English rock group Led Zeppelin on the album Led Zeppelin IV. It was inspired by the Canadian singer Joni Mitchell who the group singer Robert Plant was in love with.