LISTEN: Top 10 Boston-centric songs of all time

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For a city with its own character and rich culture, it’s no surprise that Boston has been featured in many different pop songs. Whether musicians have passed through the city during a tour, vacationed, or grew up here, Beantown has obviously left a lasting impression on many artists.

Whether rock or folk, each of the songs on this “classic Boston playlist” will resonate with music fans throughout New England.

10.  “M.T.A” or informally known as “Charlie on the M.T.A” – Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes (1949)

A song deeply intertwined with Boston lore, Charlie on the M.T.A. was adopted by the Department of Transportation when it created the electronic transit fee collection system we so fondly call “The Charlie Card.”  The song tells the story of a man named Charlie trapped on the Boston transit system known in the 1950s as the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The original version of the song was recorded and released by the Kingston Trio in 1959 and became a huge hit. We can only hope that the old-school M.T.A. operated better than today’s MBTA system.

9.      “I Want My City Back” – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones via their 2002 album A Jackknife to a Swan

This Boston-based ska-core band pays their respects to Beantown in their song “I Want My City Back,” referencing some famous local landscapes such as Storrow Drive, Kenmore Square and the Citgo Sign.

8.      “Two Angry Kids” – Street Dogs via their 2008 album State of Grace

The Street Dogs, formed in 2002 with former Dropkick Murphys frontman Mike McColgan, who allegedly wrote this track reminiscing of the times spent with Dropkick Murphys bassist Ken Casey. The song reflects on being “two angry kids” growing up in north Quincy.

7.      “Please Come to Boston” – Dave Loggins via his 1974 album Apprentice (In a Musical Workshop)

A mixture of country and soft rock, this track spent two weeks at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in August 1974. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Male Pop Vocal performance. In the song, the narrator begs a woman to join him in Boston, Denver and Los Angeles. The song has been covered by legendary folk singer Joan Baez, who embarked on her music career in the Boston-Cambridge area. “Please Come to Boston” was included on Baez’s 1976 live record From Every Stage. The song has also been covered by other notable artists such as Willie Nelson, Tori Amos, Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffet.

6.      “Boston Girl” – Didn’t Planet via their 2012 album We’re Going Nowhere

It’s a perfect song (and band) for all you power-pop fans out there. Fondly calling Beantown the “city underground,” Didn’t Planet longs for the Boston Girl, an anonymous figure they see everywhere, from underneath the bleachers (assumedly referring to Fenway Park) to the MBTA.

5.      “Rock and Roll Band” – Boston via their 1976 album Boston

This Boston-based rock band named after the city was originally written by Paul Ahern, who performed this song for Charlie McKenzie in order to convince him to join the unnamed band that was to become “Boston.” Named by the Boston Globe as one of the biggest rock anthems of the ’70s, “Rock and Roll Band” has been recognized by MTV, Entertainment Weekly and eventually made it to the video game “Rock Band” and is also available for “Guitar Hero World Tour.”

4.      “She’s from Boston” – Kenny Chesney via his 2005 album Be As You Are (Songs from an Old Blue Chair)

One of the most successful country artists of all time, Chesney expressed his love for the city as he sings about a girl with the Red Sox cap that hides her baby dreads. Chesney has built close relationships with his New England fans and has reached out to the Boston Medical Center to establish the “Spread the Love” Fund following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

3.      “Dirty Water” – The Standells via their 1966 album Dirty Water

Recorded by a 1960s California rock band, the song gives a nod to the city’s then-infamously polluted Boston Harbor and Charles River and references to the curfew given to female students at Boston University and Simmons College at the time. The band once performed the song at Fenway Park from atop the Green Monster. “Dirty Water” became a victory anthem for the Boston Bruins and the Boston Red Sox. The track has also been covered by legendary artists such as Steely Dan, Bruce Springsteen and Aerosmith.

2.      “Boston” –Augustana via their 2005 album All the Stars and Boulevards

Simply titled after the city, this  ballad is perfect for any outsider who longs to move out of their hometown in the hopes of starting anew. “Boston” has been used in popular TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory, Scrubs and One Tree Hill.

1.       “Shipping Up to Boston” –The Dropkick Murphys via their 2005 album The Warrior’s Code.

This is a classic Boston track, and the single is the band’s most successful song to date. The track was featured in the 2006 Academy-Award winning Best Picture The Departed and on the film’s soundtrack. The song is also a favorite for pregame music at professional and college sporting events.

Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!