Summer is so close — and it has us singing a happy tune. It also got us thinking about making a Spotify playlist to usher in the season, and then we thought: Let’s make it with songs that either mention San Diego or are about San Diego. We have fun.
Drumroll, please: Welcome to our sampling of tunes that find inspiration in our city — something we love to do every day. Sound up, San Diego. 🥁
🎸 “San Diego” | blink-182
We can’t kick off a convo about San Diego-centric songs without a little something from blink-182, the band that famously got their start in Poway in 1992. “San Diego” from the group’s 2016 “California” album is a homage to their hometown and relationships within the band (I’m not crying, you’re crying) and includes the lyrics: I can’t sleep ‘cause what if I dream / Of going back to San Diego?
Pro tip: For extra local feels, watch this performance of the song from December 2016 in San Diego. Mark Hoppus tells the audience, “This next song is for and about you. It’s about you guys, and me.”
🕶️ “California Love” | Tupac Shakur, ft. Dr. Dre + Roger Troutman
2Pac’s beloved 1995 Death Row Records Cali anthem is a vibe all on its own — and we could loop it all day. Produced by Dr. Dre, this track is a celebration of California’s hip hop culture and the West Coast rap scene.
Where is San Diego in the lyrics? Listen closely around the 1:16 mark: It’s all good, from Diego to the Bay / Your city is the bomb if your city making pay.
🎤 “Wild, Wild West” | Adele
This ditty was a Target limited-edition bonus track on the Grammy Award-winning singer’s recent “30” album and gives a shout-out to the South Bay, too.
Listen around the 1:18 mark: I lost my mind in San Bernardino / Even Chula Vista and Modesto / I broke my heart in San Diego.
🏄 “Surfin’ USA” | The Beach Boys
This 1963 ode to California’s surf culture is a total earworm that mentions a whole bunch of tubular surfing spots in San Diego County.
Up first, at the 0:26 mark: You’d catch them surfin’ at Del Mar. The lyrics go on to highlight Trestles (between SD and southern San Clemente), Swami’s in Encinitas, San Onofre, and “all over” La Jolla.
🏇 “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” | Bing Crosby
With the iconic sounds of trumpets, this 60-second song was recorded by Bing Crosby to promote horse racing in Del Mar. The crooner helped form the Del Mar Turf Club in the late 1930s and is credited for bringing his Hollywood friends — and the glitz + glam — to the track.
Some lyrics: Where the turf meets the surf / Down at old Del Mar / Take a plane / Take a train / Take a car.
💔 “San Diego Song” | The Coronas
This 2007 release from the alternative indie rockers is a bit melancholy, but clearly, San Diego made a mark.
Some lyrics: Single in San Diego, six weeks wasting time / We moved in with the girls and left it all behind.
☀️ “My Town” | Buck-O-Nine
This tune from the ska punk band will perk you right back up. Though the upbeat lyrics about having love for your hometown never specifically mention San Diego, it’s a no-brainer that the “town” is our city: The group formed in San Diego in 1991.
Buck-O-Nine has won eight San Diego Music Awards over the years and they continue to reunite in America’s Finest City. In fact, the band is playing a show at Soda Bar on Thurs., Sept. 8 — and tickets are still available.
💃 “Blue Café” | Brian Setzer
We promise, it wasn’t us, Brian.
🕶️ “Beautiful Day (In San Diego)” | Young Sicc
This 2005, full-on tribute to San Diego still slaps — although, we’ll forgive (but never forget) that mention of the Chargers at the top of the song. Oh, and again a little later when Young Sicc highlights the greatness of LaDainian Tomlinson because we will always appreciate you, LT.
We love this part, around the 1:10 mark: Just a beautiful day, in San Diego / Not a cloud in sight, it’s dynamite, so we’ll probably hit the club tonight.
🏝️ “One More Minute” | Authority Zero
This 2002 alternative indie jam mentions our shorelines several times, first around the 2:10 mark: One more minute, the beaches of San Diego / One more minute, yeah.
🛣️ “Thirty More Miles to San Diego” | Dean Martin
Dean Martin was on a road trip in search of love for this one. The title of the track is the same as its first lyrics: Thirty more miles to San Diego / Thirty more miles and I’ll be home / Thirty more miles to see my woman / Wonder if she’s packed her things and gone.
🌊 “Tell ‘Em I’m Surfin’” | Jan & Dean
Listen closely around the 0:49 mark: If she wants some company I’ll be out at Windansea / I’m going surfin’.
🚗 “I Woke Up in a Car” | Something Corporate
OK, something must’ve been in the water in San Diego during the early 2000s alternative indie rock phase.
This 2002 song mentions our city around the 0:27 mark: She wrote me a letter from San Diego / To qualify her luck / These flights connect through Arizona / But I think that I’ll stay stuck.
🎀 “Pretty Girl From San Diego” | The Avett Brothers
This peppy, 2007 indie folk rock song calls out our city in its title, but not in the lyrics.
📩 Encore, Encore
Pssst: This is just a sampling of songs that mention our city. We know there are more out there, so if we missed your favorite, please send us an email and share with us so we can keep adding to our playlist. We love listening to you. 🎶