There’s no place like home, at least according to our list of top 10 classic rock songs about going home. No matter where we are and what we do, memories of our childhood and the home we grew up in often define who we’ve become as human beings. One of the most popular topics musicians use for their songs will be about the homes they came from. Some of them are songs of joy while others tug at the heartstrings. Among the biggest names in the music industry, several artists have shared with their audience stories about their past in the form of a song.
Many of them became big billboard hits, especially as regional favorites. There are also many songs that make references to going home but don’t always involve a specific location. Sometimes, the song is making reference to a loved one and the singers are pouring their hearts out by using the one method of communication they do best. As fans, we get to hear these musical masterpieces once they’re either released as singles or as part of an album’s tracklist. Our list of classic rock songs about going home peers into what makes each of them so great and why some fans can’t seem to get enough hearing them over and over again.
Top 10 Classic Rock Songs About Going Home
#10 – Going Home (performed by Leonard Cohen)
From the legendary Leonard Cohen, “Going Home” was a wonderfully poetic song released in 2012 from his twelfth and final studio album, Old Ideas. This ballad shared the man’s point of view when it came to living the kind of life he did. This Canadian-born musical genius began performing at a professional level in 1967. He, along with other legendary greats such as Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, influenced so many musicians going into the 1970s that shaped rock music into the most diverse and popular genre worldwide. While “Going Home” may be the youngest of the songs about going home on the list, the impact of Leonard Cohen’s infamous baritone voice once again delivered a thought-provoking tune that’s already destined to become a classic.
Leonard Cohen’s approach to going home included dealing with dirty dishes and a dirty house. If there was ever a song to define Leonard Cohen’s legacy of wry humor and appreciation for humanity, “Going Home” is it. The lyrics of “Going Home” was first published as a poem in The New Yorker magazine before Old Ideas was released as a record. The album debuted on the US Billboard 200 at number three, which proved at seventy-seven years young he still had the chops to produce hit music. You won’t find this song as a heavy rocker. This is a folksy ballad that laid out the desire of going home from a legend that had shared so many incredible tales as one of the most enigmatic recording artists ever known.
#9 – Goin’ Home (performed by The Rolling Stones)
“Goin’ Home” was released in 1966 by the iconic English rock group, The Rolling Stones. It was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in what became the longest song of its kind at the time. At eleven minutes and thirty-five seconds, this was featured on the band’s album, Aftermath. This bluesy rock classic sang about the intention of going home, knowing how it was when they first left wasn’t going to be the same once they return. Nevertheless, it’s still home.
Like many songs making reference to going home, the singer pined over an old flame with the hope to reconnect. Between Mick Jagger’s soulful vocal performance and the guitar solos by Keith Richards‘, “Goin’ Home” became a favorite so many fans could relate to. After heading out to take on the world, the desire to come back sooner or later will create a sense of homesickness. The best cure is to come back home, at least for a little while, until one is rejuvenated enough to take on the world again.
#8 – My Town (performed by Glass Tiger)
Released in 1991, “My Town” was a song performed by the Canadian rock group, Glass Tiger. From their third studio album, Simple Mission, Rod Stewart collaborated with this Celtic-inspired rock song as a guest vocalist. The song made reference to Coatbridge, Scotland, the hometown of Alan Frew. Frew was born in Scotland in 1956 before moving to Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. In 1983, he cofounded Glass Tiger in Ontario with bassist Wayne Parker and keyboardist Sam Reid.
Joining the lineup was Alan Connelly as guitarist and songwriter. Together, Connelly and Frew wrote “My Town” as a song of reflection that shared Frew’s Scottish ancestry. On the Canadian Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number eight after it was released as a single. On the UK Singles Chart, it peaked as high as number thirty-three. It also charted at number fifty-one in Germany, and at number sixty-two on the Eurochart Hot 100. As a rock song, “My Town” is a wonderful gem that highlighted there’s no place quite like home.
#7 – Take Me Home (performed by Phil Collins)
“Take Me Home” was a single first released by Phil Collins in 1985. It peaked as high as number nineteen on the UK Singles Chart, and as high as number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100. On the contemporary music charts belonging to Canada and the US, “Take Me Home” peaked as high as number two. It was a number twenty-three hit on the Canadian Singles Chart, as well as a number sixty-four hit in Australia. The song came from his third studio album, No Jacket Required, and was regarded by many fans and music critics as one of Phil Collins’ best. “Take Me Home” made reference to a mentally challenged patient that simply wanted to go home instead of remaining locked up at an institution. There is a special haunt that comes from the lyrics of this song, as well as the incredible musical performance by Collins. It became a favorite song featured in many movies, as well as television programs.
#6 – Home (performed by Daughtry)
Released as a single in 2007 by American rock group Daughtry was “Home.” It came from the band’s self-titled album as its second single, which peaked as high as number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 and on the Canadian Singles Chart. On the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart and the US Billboard Adult Top 40, it became a number-one hit. It even became a Christian rock favorite as it peaked as high as number twelve on the US Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart. Admitted by Chris Daughtry, the song took about twenty minutes to write as he thought about his family roots and hometown.
As a musician who officially made it big as a star, the realization sunk in that life as he knew it was now forever changed. Despite this, home is still home and there is no other place in the world that’s quite like it. This power ballad won a Peopple’s Choice Award in 2008 as its Favorite Rock Song and has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America three times. “Home” was also a song that already appeared on the music charts before it was officially released as a single. It remains a solid favorite among fans who can relate to the longing of going home after already enduring some of the highs and lows that come from being away for so long.
#5 – Who Says You Can’t Go Home (performed by Bon Jovi)
Have a Nice Day was Bon Jovi’s ninth studio album, which was released in 2005. “Who Says You Can’t Home” was a single written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora as they continued to venture into the fusion of country and rock as their new sound. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked as high as number twenty-three, and it was a number five hit on the UK Singles chart. There is a country version of this song Bon Jovi performed with Jenifer Nettles that topped the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song itself was about staying true to your roots and that there is no place like home. Bon Jovi’s roots began in New Jersey and they are proud to call it their home.
No matter where they go, New Jersey will always be their true home. It also served as lyrical thanks to the fans who’ve followed Bon Jovi ever since they first began as a rock group in 1983. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” is one of those rare gems where both the country version and the rock version performed by the same artist earned awards and accolades in the music industry. In 2007, it was chosen as Favorite Rock Song at the People’s Choice Awards. Also in 2007, the country version earned a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.
#4 – Lights (performed by Journey)
“Lights” was a song about going home performed by Journey that was released as a single in 1978. Although the song made reference to the group’s home city San Francisco, California, it was intended to be about Los Angeles. Steve Perry wrote the song while he was in LA but found his love for San Francisco was too irresistible, especially when singing about its infamous bay. When this song was first released it was a minor hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number sixty-eight. Over time, the song’s popularity grew to become a cult classic. It’s one of the signature songs played at the hometown baseball games of the San Francisco Giants, as well as the Oakland Athletics.
In the NFL, it’s also a favorite for the San Francisco 49ers. The live version of “Lights” was released in 1993 and it became a number thirty hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs chart. “Lights” also has a nostalgic flair that may cause fans to think about classic rocks earlier roots that date as far back as the 1950s. When someone loves their home enough to sing about it as they long to go back to their roots, it’s always a powerful performance. The longing for home is what makes “Lights” a passionate favorite.
#3 – Mama, I’m Coming Home (performed by Ozzy Osbourne)
Released by Ozzy Osbourne in 1991 as a single, “Mama, I’m Coming Home” came from his sixth studio album, No More Tears. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it became a number twenty-eight hit. It peaked as high as number two on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. In Canada, even though the song didn’t appear on any official music charts, it became certified platinum after it sold eighty thousand copies. Elsewhere in the world, “Mama, I’m Coming Home” peaked as high as number twenty-seven in Germany, thirty-two in the UK, forty-two in Austria, forty-eight in New Zealand, and sixty-two in Switzerland. Ozzy Osbourne’s classic ballad made reference to his wife, Sharon Osbourne, as he sang about returning home to her. She was actually more than his wife.
After the two married, she bought Ozzy’s contract from her father, Don Arden, once he broke ties with Black Sabbath to pursue a solo career. The composition of “Mama, I’m Coming Home” Ozzy wrote with his guitarist, Zakk Wylde. The song’s title was a line Ozzy often told his wife whenever they spoke on the phone as his touring schedule approached its end. The lyrics were written out by Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister.
The vulnerability Ozzy shared as he sang about the love of his life had him at his best. As a whole, No More Tears was an important shift of direction for Ozzy Osbourne as a recording artist. It was a gamble that paid off as over four million copies of the album were sold in the United States of America alone. Throughout the 1990s, he was one of the few rockers over forty years of age that was able to produce several hits worldwide.
#2 – Sweet Home Alabama (performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd)
The cult classic “Sweet Home Alabama” was a hit performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd that would become a staple favorite almost immediately after it was released as a single in 1974. It was the group’s response to Neil Young’s 1970 hit, “Southern Man.” There were certain corrections made by a band that felt a false image of the American state was painted by the Canadian singer-songwriter legend. Even Young admitted his error as he realized his song’s content wasn’t as well thought out as it should have been. Oddly enough, even though the song was about longing to return home to Alabama, this is not the state Lynyrd Skynyrd came from.
Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant were from Florida while Ed King was from California. Regardless, their love for the American South rallied Lynyrd Skynyrd to perform a song that would become an anthemic hit. Between the riffs and the memorable lyrics, “Sweet Home Alabama” became a cult favorite that would skyrocket Lynyrd Skynyrd’s career to new heights. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked as high as number eight. In Canada, it became a number seven hit.
When “Sweet Home Alabama” was released in the UK in 1976, it peaked as high as number thirty-one there. In 2008, the original single was released again and hit the UK Singles Chart again, this time at number forty-four. In 2021, it made another American music chart appearance, this time on the US Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart at number thirteen. This serves as a testimonial that no other song about going home is as impactful as “Sweet Home Alabama.”
In sales, “Sweet Home Alabama” was certified platinum in Denmark, Germany, Italy, and the US. It became double platinum in the UK. Since its first release, the single has been covered by many artists, including an altered version by Kid Rock. “All Summer Long” paired up with the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic that would become a massive hit worldwide. Nothing beats the original, though. “Sweet Home Alabama” has been used as the American state’s theme song that has been used to promote tourism, as well as state-wide pride that there is no place that can measure up to Alabama’s southern-style charm.
#1 – Home Sweet Home (performed by Motley Crue)
“I’m on my way” was the infamous line as the singers announced they were anxious to go back home. First, “Home Sweet Home” was a power ballad recorded and released as a single from Motley Crue’s 1985 album, Theatre of Pain. It was released again in 1991 from the compilation album, Decade of Decadence 81-91. Since its release, “Home Sweet Home” has been covered by a long list of recording artists who’ve released versions of their own. Nothing beats the original, though. When “Home Sweet Home” was released in 1985, a music video shared footage of the group’s numerous concert performances during their busy tour schedule.
The 1991 remix added instrumental overdubs that would be titled “Home Sweet Home ’91.” The signature riffs that became a big part of Motley Crue’s trademark sound added that awesome oomph that made both versions of “Home Sweet Home” easy favorites for heavy metal fans. The 1985 release of this single was a modest hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number eighty-nine. It was more popular in the UK at number fifty-one. The 1991 remixed version saw better performance on the charts as it peaked as high as number thirty-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.
“Home Sweet Home”also became a hit in Australia at number eighty-eight. In 2019, “Home Sweet Home” was released again and became a number twelve hit on the US Billboard Hot Rock & Alternative Songs Chart. What made this an easy pick as a going-home classic was the sharing of the band’s experiences. Now on the road, there is a longing to return home where life doesn’t seem to be as complicated. The song brought up all the highs and lows of a band that was happy to be successful but also missed the simplicities of home.
Feature Photo: The wizard95, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons
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