"San Antonio, TX" by Frank Black and the Catholics is hardly the most adoring song about the city.
San Antonio may not have as many referential songs as New York or London, but our beloved home city has a few good hits. Heavy on folk and country and light on other genres, most songs about this town seem strikingly similar to each other in theme and lyrics. In our search for the best, most unique and most dear songs that memorialize good ole San Antone, we came up with these ten. If you have more to add, sing it in the comments.
One of the few songs where Michael Nesmith shows his Texas roots, this short 1967 ballad about a lover in Mexico and a train back to San Antonio name-drops Saytown in its chorus. Though written by Michael Martin Murphey and not by Nesmith, he probably picked it up for the Monkees' third studio album because his mother lived in Leon Valley at the time.
"Deep within my heart lies a melody, A song of old San Antone" go the often repeated and covered opening words of this 1940 Texas classic. The first national that propelled Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys to a wider audience, this short and tender song about a lost love and a moonlit stroll by the Alamo felt especially genuine coming from a Texas native.
Not the first or last George Strait song to mention San Antonio, but probably the best. Released in 1998 when The King of Country already had a hell of a career behind him, this track reminds his lover to recall the beginning of their love along the "ol' river" and "by the mission." A song that makes you want to see George in concert, if the Cowboy hadn't already ridden away.
Poppy and slightly dated but a sweet dedication to our city nonetheless. Surprisingly not about a walk on the River Walk, this lesser known tune is about a San Antonio line dance that is rumored to help you fall in love. The titular dance must have died in the 70s with this song, because most people have heard of neither.
Now for a change of pace. Straying from the themes of blossoming love in San Antonio and complimentary descriptions of the city, this 1992 hip hop single was imagined as a diss-track to Tim Dog's "Fuck Compton" at the height of the East-West gangsta rap battle. Featuring the 22-year-old DJ making tours of different cities around the U.S., he makes a stop in San Antonio to dance in front of the North Star boots and rap about a friend who got shot in the face.
Although not explicitly about San Antonio, this song does mention it in the opening lines. Actually about the sleepy 210 suburb of China Grove, this song was supposedly inspired by a search for drugs after the Doobie Brothers' San Antonio live debut. We may just get a name-drop, but the song's awesome enough for us to let it slide.
From Pixies frontman Black Francis comes this track about a motel in SA and his desire to get out of there as soon as he can. While not the most adoring song about San Antonio, it's title and musical worth are too much to leave it off this list, even if Frank Black does sing the most unspeakable San Antonio sin: "The Alamo, I've never seen it."
A dedication to a Texas beauty, "San Antonio Girl" names more landmarks than any other song on this list. From Hemisfair to Mi Tierra, Lyle sounds like a travel agent rattling off all the places he's checked out with his local lady. Besides working as a tourism guide for out-of-towners, it's a nice anthem for any local girl who's "a little bit pretty."
Popularized by the Jerry Garcia Band, this 1973 tune was originally written and performed by Peter Rowan when he played alongside the Grateful Dead frontman. Following the popular theme of a moonlight meeting near the Alamo, this bluegrass classic helped popularize to popularize the genre and continue the legacy of songs that mention the Alamo.
It wouldn't be a San Antonio list without Selena. Granted, this song is about a jilted lover who has been left for another woman and not about San Antonio. But the entire music video was filmed locally at Casa Rio, Brackenridge Park, and Sunset Station, so it fits the list of San Antonio-themed music just fine.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.