There are plenty of songs about home that celebrate that safe, familiar place that makes us feel all warm and cozy inside. However, there are just as many great songs about going home (or ‘coming home’).
So many in fact, that we thought it worthy of an entire article. Of course, the notion of going home is often symbolic. Going home is often about going back to your roots, or ‘finding yourself’ again.
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
We can’t have a list of songs about going home without this classic John Denver track, ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’! It contains the classic line “West Virginia, mountain mama, take me home, country road,” which is now part of pop culture – I wager most people know it, even if they can’t name the song!
Recommended: Our list of country karaoke songs (which includes this one)
“Two of Us” by The Beatles
Towards the end of The Beatles’ incredible story, McCartney and Lennon seldom collaborated like in the early days. ‘Two of us’ was one of the exceptions where they did. In this sweet nostalgic song, the pair sing and harmonize, reminiscing about “spending some else’s hard-earned pay” and celebrating finally going home – whether that’s a physical home (Liverpool), or a spiritual one.
“New York Citys Killing Me” by Ray LaMontagne
The song resonates with those who have spent a significant amount of time in New York. It initially highlights the city’s uniqueness, but gradually evokes a longing for one’s hometown. Particularly for those living alone in New York, the song can induce feelings of homesickness.
Recommended: Our selection of Ray LaMontagne’s best songs.
“Going Home” by Leonard Cohen
You can always count on Leonard Cohen for a unique perspective on things. Here, he sings from the point of view of his own muse who is critical of his intentions as a songwriter (“he wants to write a love song, an anthem of forgiving…but that isn’t what I need him, to complete”).
The chorus is Leonard himself speaking, where he rejoices at finally being let go of this torment (“going home, without my burden, going home, behind the curtain, going home, without this costume that I wore.”)
“Coming Home” by Leon Bridges
Leon Bridges’ song “Coming Home” is a heartfelt tribute to a loved one, whom the singer refers to as his home. The lyrics reveal the singer’s disillusionment with his global jet setting, making him want to return home to his lover (for some “tender sweet loving”… ok, we get the picture!). The song emphasizes the importance of finding a home in a loved one, suggesting that being with this person is the ultimate comfort and refuge.
“I’m Coming Home” by Johnny Mathis
‘I’m Coming Home’ was written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed (who wrote many soul hits for groups such as The Delfonics, The Stylistics, and The Spinners.) It pictures the narrator sitting at the railway station with his suitcase, ready to go home. He’s had enough of people using him for their own means (“watching them destroy my dreams”) and needs a big slice of home comfort to sort himself out. Don’t we all!
“Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel
Here’s a great song about going home. In a peculiar 7/4 time signature, it depicts the narrator climbing Solsbury Hill (near the city of Bath in the UK). He has an encounter with an eagle (as you do) who shares something so profound, “I did not believe the information.” It’s generally considered this song is about Gabriel finding the inspiration to go it alone after splitting with the band Genesis. However, many people think it’s about an alien visitation. If you read the lyrics, it sort of figures (“grab your things, I’ve come to take you home”). I’ll let you decide.
Recommended: More from Peter Gabriel’s discography.
“Goin’ Home” by Neil Young
One of Young’s rare cuts, ‘Goin’ Home’ is a trailblazer of a song that never seems to get much of a mention. But here’s the thing: it’s freakin’ great. Rolling Stone magazine features it on their excellent list of 20 Insanely Great Neil Young Songs Only Hardcore Fans Know (a must-read) and calls it a spiritual cousin to his mid-70s anthem, ‘Cortez the Killer’. High praise, indeed.
“Home” by Daughtry
This song is a tribute to the feeling of missing home. Daughtry’s first experiences being away from his family while working in the music industry served as the inspiration for the song. Despite his career taking him away from his family, the song reflects his sentiment that nothing compares to the feeling of returning home to his loved ones. This song became the send-off song on the US TV show American Idol when contenders got the boot.
“I’m Coming Home” by Lionel Ritchie
In this lesser-known Ritchie song, Lionel looks back at the things he could or should have done, all his past mistakes and regrets. The song explores themes of youth, regret, and the wisdom gained from making mistakes. When you’re young, he sings, “all you know how to do is run”. He admits you’ve got to lose it all to know what really matters. Despite the pain he’s experienced, Richie acknowledges the importance of these life lessons and uses them to guide his journey home.
“Let Me Take You Home Tonight” by Boston
Of course, when it comes to courting, the line “let me take you home tonight” has a completely different – and rather naff – meaning. In the context of the song, it’s a pick up line – he’s suggest he takes her to his home. He’s desperate to get her back to his place and show her “sweet delight.”
“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” is a response to Neil Young’s “Southern Man,” which expressed disappointment about racism in the South. This 1974 classic includes a line referencing Young’s critique. The song also mentions “the governor,” a reference to George Wallace of Alabama, indicating the band’s disagreement with his pro-segregation stance. If you’ve ever done karaoke, you’ll know all about Sweet Home Alabama, as it’s a staple of many karaoke sessions. The big wheels keep turning on the way home “to see my kin” and “‘ole’ ‘bamy once again.” It’s definitely one of the most famous songs about coming home.
Recommended: More Lynyrd Skynyrd greatest hits.
“Coming Home” by Enrique Iglesias
After a break-up, it’s normal to miss your ex. Here, singer Iglesias decides enough is enough. He hears her favorite song on the radio, and it makes him think of “everything we used to do”. He admits he’s made a mistake and wants to come home and sort things out. We never get to hear whether she’s waiting with open arms, or has changed the locks.
Recommended: Our curated list of Enrique Iglesias hits.
“Mama, I’m Coming Home” by Ozzy Osbourne
Here’s Ozzy’s classic song about coming home. With words written by Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister and music partly written with guitarist Zakk Wylde, this song was a big hit for Ozzy. It was especially popular among GIs serving in the Gulf War, who’d send it back to their sweethearts. ‘Mama’ is Ozzy’s nickname for this wife, manager, and X-Factor (the UK equivalent of American Idol) celebrity Sharon Osbourne.
“Goin’ Home” by The Rolling Stones
While the life of a touring musician sounds idyllic in many ways, it’s hard to hold down a relationship or family life. Countless songs have been written on the subject, such as this one by Jagger and Co. He’s utterly fed up of being on the road: “maybe you think I’ve seen the world, but I’d rather see my girl.”
“Coming Home” by Kaiser Chiefs
Here, northern British rockers Kaiser Chiefs declare “we’re coming home” and urge the listeners to “light a fire”. It’s like they’ve been on a long journey – like Frodo and Sam in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – and are coming back to the shire (or in their case, Yorkshire) to tell the epic tales of what they’ve seen. Better not mention the ring though, eh.
“Home In A Boxcar” by Hoots and Hellmouth
In “Home in a Boxcar,” Hoots & Hellmouth explores the concept of home, initially through a speaker who reflects on a photograph of himself and friends while stowing away in a train boxcar, celebrating his escape from the law and his old home. As the song progresses, the speaker experiences a sense of ennui, growing roots in the various towns he passes through and contemplating how to return home. Despite this, he maintains that he can return home anytime in his dreams and continues to celebrate his new, transient home on the road.
“Lights” by Journey
Dallas Green and the band Journey both express struggles with personal connections while on tour. Journey’s song “Lights” is about the singer’s longing for his home city of San Francisco, particularly when he’s lonely. The song’s simple lyrics and vocal harmonizing evoke a sense of yearning for one’s hometown.
“You’re My Home” by Billy Joel
Billy Joel’s song “You’re My Home” presents the idea that home doesn’t have to be a physical place, but can be a person. The lyrics reveal that the singer, who identifies as a “crazy gypsy”, has never had a physical place to call home, but is content because his lover is his true home. The song emphasizes the importance of personal connections, suggesting that as long as he has his lover, he will never be alone.
“Young Love” by Coheed And Cambria
Coheed and Cambria, often recognized for their hit song “Welcome Home,” actually have many songs about the concept of home, including the poignant “Young Love.” The song is about a house, referred to as the Big Beige, that the band’s frontman Claudio Sanchez and his wife rented out, only for it to be turned into a drug den and damaged in a police raid. The song is a heartfelt apology to the house, personifying it as a true home and expressing the deep emotional connection one can have to a place.
“Comin’ Home” by City And Colour
This song is a reflection on the artist’s experiences of constant travel and longing for home. The song reveals that travel has become so routine for him that he no longer takes pictures or souvenirs, knowing he will soon return. The main focus of his thoughts is his troubled relationship with his lover back home, leading him to choose to return home over seeing more sights.
“Gone” by Benjamin Clementine
In this song, the singer revisits his old neighborhood, recalling memories of walking home with food for his family and observing the familiar streets, pavements, and fields. However, he finds that everything has changed, including the road he used to cross to school now full of prostitutes, and he wonders about the whereabouts of his old friends and neighbors.
“Ravens” by Mount Eerie
Mount Eerie’s “Ravens” is a song about the artist’s experience of losing his wife to cancer and the impact it had on his life. The song details his journey of raising their child alone in the home they built together, which now feels empty without her. A poignant moment in the song involves a trip to Haida Gawii, the island where they first became close, where he decides to grieve and celebrate her life in the forest surrounding their property.
“Take Me Home” by Phil Collins
Phil Collins’ song “Take Me Home” is often misunderstood and is actually a solemn examination of mental institutions. The lyrics depict a narrator who is trapped in his home, possibly an asylum, and is scared of the outside world. The song’s title and recurring plea, “take me home,” is the singer’s desperate request as he no longer remembers his actual home.
“A Home” by Rivers Of Nihil
Here, Rivers of Nihil explores the concept of home and belonging. The lyrics reveal a man surrounded by unfamiliar faces, suggesting that physical surroundings and material possessions do not constitute a home. The song concludes that the true home the singer seeks is within himself.
“Coming Home” by Diddy – Dirty Money Ft. Skylar Grey
Diddy-Dirty Money’s song “Coming Home” reflects on the mistakes Diddy made in his life and his desire to move past them. The song, which features vocals from Skylar Grey, is also a tribute to Diddy’s friend, the Notorious B.I.G. The lyrics express Diddy’s gratitude for becoming a better person and his longing to be with the people who are important to him.
“I’m Coming Home” by The Spinners
The song “I’m Coming Home” by The Spinners, a soul and R&B number, concludes the list. The song, featuring a bright brass section and an addictive set of strings, is a melancholic celebration of home, a place of comfort amidst chaos. The lyrics tell the story of a singer who, after facing disappointments and setbacks, decides to return home to start anew and become a better person.
“Moonlight Mile” by The Rolling Stones
Another Stones song? Well, no such thing as too many! Here, Jagger sings about the comforting and welcoming feeling of returning home – or if not home, a place of solace. This poignant track capped off the wonderful Sticky Fingers album beautifully.