Six Song Titles Featuring Countries

 Many popular song titles have cities, states, streets, and other points of interest. Let’s take a better look at six ones with countries in the title. These are songs you can readily hear on your local oldies radio station. They range from continents as far away as Asia and Europe to here at home in North America. Get ready to do some time travel as you’ll hear tunes from eras of the late 1960s, early 1970s, and mid-1980s. You won’t need your passport. Simply fasten your seat belts for a fun way to travel via music.

Bangla Desh – George Harrison (1971)

The first destination is Bangladesh in Asia. This song is what started the charity concerts and singles known today. A former Beatle who’s known as the “quiet one,” George Harrison, was asked to write a song about the plight of this South Asian country’s natural disaster back in 1970. Bangla Desh has powerful lyrics and an emotional plea that only George Harrison can give.

China Grove – Doobie Brothers (1973)

Even though the country of China is in the title, it’s actually about the town of the same name located in Texas outside of San Antonio. This upbeat rocking song describes China Grove quite vividly, including a sheriff with a samurai sword.

Never Been to Spain – Three Dog Night (1971)

Songwriter Hoyt Axton was one of many who wrote a number of hit tunes for this 1970s band. Axton is from Oklahoma and desires to visit Spain and England.

Panama – Van Halen (1984)

Van Halen
Van Halen

Sorry to disappoint you, but this song isn’t about the Panama Canal in Central America. Instead, it’s about a stripper whom the frontman, David Lee Roth, met during his travels. It also describes, along with sound effects, a revved-up car. One thing is certain: you’ll be tapping your toes while listening to this pulsating rock song that has nothing to do with a Latin American country.

Back in the USSR – The Beatles (1968)

The Cold War era, which took place shortly after World War II until 1991, featured the Soviet Union (now Russia) or the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) as a threat to Western nations. The USSR comprised surrounding countries that included Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldovia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

The Beatles were inspired by the Beach Boys’ California Girls. This was their answer to the California band by highlighting girls from the Soviet Union. In the lyrics, they mention Moscow, Ukraine, and Georgia, the latter of which was a nod to Ray Charles’s “Georgia On My Mind.”

Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen (1984)

The Boss went completely mainstream with his political song and statement about the neglected Vietnam War veterans in the U.S. Many politicians on campaign trails use this song as a form of American pride when the lyrics have nothing to do with upbeat messages. Ironically, the song was originally titled “Vietnam,” which could have been another title with the name of a country.

In conclusion, these six songs, each featuring a country in its title, offer much more than geographic references. They span continents and eras, from George Harrison’s emotive “Bangla Desh” to Bruce Springsteen’s politically charged “Born in the U.S.A.” While some, like “China Grove” and “Panama,” play with the listener’s expectations by diverging from their titular locations, others, like “Back in the USSR,” offer cultural nods and commentary.

This musical journey not only entertains but also reflects the diverse ways in which songwriters draw inspiration from global landscapes, using countries not just as mere titles but as a canvas for storytelling, social commentary, and personal expression. These tracks, still resonating on oldies stations, remind us of music’s power to transcend borders and time, inviting listeners on a unique journey through sound, history, and place.

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