Home to NASA, a flourishing culinary scene, and even Beyonce, the city of Houston is a cultural epicenter. The city lies in Southeast Texas, just a drive away from the Gulf of Mexico.
As the city’s slogan says, it is “a city of no limits.” Not only is the city full of incredible art, a rich history, and interesting people, but it has the fourth-largest urban population in the United States. These factors make “Space City” the subject of wonderful songs.
Read on to discover ten of the best songs about Houston that capture its big heart and compelling soul.
1. “I Can Almost See Houston From Here” by Bobby Bare
From his 1980 album Drunk and Crazy, country singer Bobby Bare released the heartfelt track “I Can Almost See Houston From Here.” This is a homesick song in which the narrator longs for his hometown of Houston.
They are living in Denver, and lament that they can almost sight their hometown from the cold Rocky Mountains. The lyrics are full of nostalgia and heartache, as the narrator reveals how much they miss their friends and loved ones.
The song reveals that the narrator had moved to Denver chasing a dream that never panned out. Denver’s bitter winds aren’t just harsh on the skin; they remind him of better times and the crowd he once happily hung out with. This is not the happiest of songs, but it illustrates the connection Houston has to its people.
2. “Houston (I’m Comin’ To See You)” by Glen Campbell
In 1974, Glen Campbell released this country love song that heavily references Houston and its enduring connection with NASA. He even uses the iconic line said by astronaut Jim Lowell to mission control on Apollo 13.
Campbell equates falling in love to being like an astronaut in a rocket. He wants to take off from Houston and never land back from the love he feels so deeply.
Aptly, Campbell, with his head in the stars, tells mission control not to “wait up” for him and wonders when he’ll ever be home again.
3. “Houston” by Dean Martin
Dean Martin’s 1965 country-pop song “Houston” tells a melancholy yet moving story of a Houston native in the Depression Era.
He leaves the city to find work, but the grass is not greener on the other side. In fact, the narrator doesn’t eat for a week as he walks back to Houston in the rain, jobless and sorrowful.
Interestingly, Martin was from Ohio. Yet, the artist captures the soul of this Depression Era Houstonian so well. That speaks to the city’s unmistakable and homey charm.
4. “Houston Is Hot Tonight” by Iggy Pop
In June of 1981, famed punk rock musician Iggy Pop released the rock song, “Houston is Hot Tonight.” It’s a catchy and easy track to dance to, though the lyrics are slightly cryptic. One thing is for certain, and that is Iggy Pop’s repetition of the phrase in the song’s title.
Based on the cold winds from Chicago that Iggy Pop references, he is likely referencing Houston’s high temperatures as compared to the rest of the United States.
Of course, there is a double meaning as the irrepressible lyrics also reference a party vibe synonymous with Houston.
5. “Bloody Mary Morning” by Willie Nelson
The 1970 song “Bloody Mary Morning” by country musician Willie Nelson tells a sad story with the promise of Houston on the other end.
A man’s wife parts with him, so he decides to leave Los Angeles. He has a bloody Mary in the morning to numb the pain and then sets off on a flight to Houston.
While his wife’s decision to leave may continue to pain him, he chooses the Texan city for its unique and welcoming comfort.
Willie Nelson himself is from Texas, though he grew up in a much smaller town than Houston.
6. “H-Town” by Dizzee Rascal
In 2013, Dizzee Rascal released “H-Town”, one of Houston’s most common nicknames. While Dizzee Rascal grew up in the United Kingdom, his time in Texas inspired him to devote a rap to Houston.
The song gives some insight into the fun and wild side of Houston. Dizzee raps about how he is rolling through H-Town. Between bars, strip clubs, and parties, the city knows how to have a good time.
The music video aptly showcases the rapper driving through Houston, visiting some iconic landmarks and other musicians.
7. “Heaven, Hell, or Houston” by ZZ Top
The rock band ZZ Top formed in Houston, so it is no surprise that they sing about their hometown. ZZ Top released this song in 1981 on their album El Loco. “Heaven, Hell, or Houston” includes warped vocals, cool guitars, bells, and a reference to the streets of Houston.
Some of the lyrics reference the city’s racy side, which only emphasizes its diverse character. Plus, the tune has a sound that is just as unique as H-Town itself.
8. “Houston Solution” by Ronnie Milsap
Ronnie Milsap has the right idea with his Houston-centric country hit from 1989. Although he grew up in North Carolina, this song shows he knows how special Houston is.
In “Houston Solution,” he sings about a trip to Houston being the solution to his sadness. He has friends down there, and he knows that they will not ask him why he’s feeling so down. Instead, he can call them up and head down to Space City for a drink.
The tune is a testament to the southern comfort that Houston brings and the warmth of its people.
9. “Letter from Houston” by Rod Wave
In 2020, Rod Wave released this track about missing the person he loves. Although he is sad while singing “Letters from Houston,” the song remains honeyed and good-natured.
Houston is a party city with plenty of art, but it also has a reputation for being romantic. If someone is not with their lover, it can be easy to miss them. Rod Wave seems to agree as he laments about being all alone in Houston.
10. “Houston #1” by Coldplay
“Houston #1” is a song with a poignant history. In 2017, the band was unable to play in Houston due to the extensive damage from Hurricane Harvey. They performed this song on a live stream, sending their hearts out to the city’s residents.
The song’s lyrics declare Houston to be special. It names specific neighborhoods and hails the harmony that runs through the city.
Coldplay ends the song by urging Houstonians to keep going on no matter what. Their 2017 performance of this song was the first and last, making it just as special as the city.
Summing Up Our List Of Houston Songs
H-Town, Space City, Bayou City, The Big Heart—whatever name gets used, it all refers to the same exceptional city.
Houston is a warm city full of talented and kind-hearted people. That is part of what makes it such an easy subject for songs.
For Houstonians, there is a certain pride that comes with referencing the city in their music.
Of course, whether or not an artist is from Houston, they will still pick up on the city’s heart and turn it into a beautiful tune.