10 songs about Louisville, KY

Jack Harlow isn’t the only artist with Derby City on their mind.


Louisville has inspired songwriters through the decades.

Photo by Steve Grider

These days, Jack Harlow has put Louisville at the top of the Billboard charts by shouting out tons of local spots in his songs. But he’s not the only musician who’s sung about you, LOU.

Today, we’ve got a playlist of Derby City needle drops and Louisville licks you can listen to when you’re in need of a hometown hit.

“Louisville, K-Y” | Ella Fitzgerald
The “Queen of Jazz” hopes you’ll take her back to Derby City, where she longs to hear the whippoorwill.

“Louisville” | Amos Lee
The second track on the singer-songwriter’s 2018 album “My New Moon” gets bonus points for how Lee pronounces “Lou-uh-ville” — it’s almost perfect.

“Eight More Miles to Louisville” | Grandpa Jones
Louisville is the “hometown of my heart” in this classic tune, written in 1956 by banjo-strummer Grandpa Jones, who was born in Henderson, Kentucky.

“Follow Me Back to Louisville” | Don Williams & The Pozo-Seco Singers
Released in 1979, Williams invites someone to follow him back to Derby City “to find out if you care.” Don’t worry, Don, if that special someone doesn’t follow you back, we’ve got a few places in mind where you can let it all out.

“Louisville” | Jann Browne
Country singer-songwriter Browne says in this 1990 single that she’s been waiting six weeks in “this old river town,” and that she’s set to take a bus to LA. A lot has changed since then, though — Browne might’ve taken a direct flight from the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport if the song were written today.

“Home Away From Home” | Pokey LaForge
LaForge may be from Bloomington, Illinois, but he seems quite familiar with LOU in this song from 2013. LaForge sings about traveling down Bardstown Road, doing the “Nanny Goat Strut on down to Market Street,” and walking “hand-in-hand through the Tyler Park tunnel.”

“Lily of the West” | Bob Dylan
When Dylan “first came to Louisville,” he found “a damsel there from Lexington.” You really steal our hearts, too, LEXtoday. Maybe Dylan’s fond memories are why he’s bringing The Last Refuge, a brand experience for Heaven’s Door Whiskey, to NuLu.

“The Son of Clayton Delaney” | Tom T. Hall
Born in Carter County, Kentucky, Hall was nicknamed “the Storyteller” because of the way he weaved narrative into his country songs. In this tune, Hall tells a tale that begins in a Derby City honky-tonk on 4th Street in 1978, where he listens to a band while sipping beer.

“Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)” | Milton Ager
You may have heard of “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” but what about Bill? This classic song from 1924 has been recorded by several artists over the years, including Merle Haggard, Ry Cooder, and Van Halen. It tells the tale of Bill from “way down yonder in Louisville” who “had the whole town scared to death” — but Bill becomes “Sweet old Willy” after finding love here.

“Louisville, Look What We Can Do” | Hazel Miller
In 1982, when the Galleria opened, the City of Louisville commissioned local singer Hazel Miller to write a theme song for LOU, and she produced an absolute banger. She came back to perform it last year at the inauguration of Mayor Craig Greenberg.

Want to give these songs a listen? We’ve rounded them up in a Spotify playlist for you:

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