46 Best Songs About Home – Leaving, Missing and Coming Home

From pop to rock to country to R&B, musicians have been writing songs about home ever since pen was put to paper.

Many songs are about missing home and loved ones, possibly because songwriters get homesick while they’re on tour. While it sounds great to you and me, touring is often a grueling, lonely existence. Listen to Roger Water’s account of it in Pink Floyd’s Nobody’s Home to hear what a downer it can be.

Others are about returning home (for example, Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill) and a celebration of where you’re from. As you’d expect, quite a few are about leaving home (a pretty big event in most people’s lives).

Finally, many songs equate home with love, such as Jack Johnson’s ‘Home’ (‘home is wherever we are if there’s love there too’), or the joyous ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (‘home is whenever I’m with you’)

So here are the best songs about home. Enjoy!

Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver

We have to start with arguably the most popular song about home, ever (the list gets more interesting, promise!).

More commonly known as ‘Take Me Home’ or ‘Country Roads’, this classic from the early 70s was one of John Denver’s most popular songs.

It was co-writers Nivert and Danoff (who were married) who came up with the idea for the song. To pass the time en route, they made up a ballad about the little winding roads they were driving down en route to a family reunion.

‘Massachusetts’ was considered rather than ‘West Virginia’ as both are four-syllable state names but settled on West Virginia. ‘Massachusetts, Mountain Mama…’ just doesn’t have the same appeal, right?!
 

Small Town by John Mellencamp

Live in a small town? You’ll love this John Mellencamp classic then. He wrote this nostagic number bout his experiences growing up in the suitably small Seymour, Indiana.

Ever since its release in the ’80s, Mellencamp has often been labeled as a champion of small-town America. 

Defending the song, in 2013 he told Rolling Stone magazine “‘you don’t have to live in New York or Los Angeles to live a full life. I was never one of those guys that grew up and thought, ‘I need to get out of here.’ It never dawned on me. I just valued having a family and staying close to friends.'”

John Mellencamp wrote this song in his laundry room at home. Just goes to show that when creativity strikes, take action (the socks can wait!).
 

Our House by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Certainly not one of CSN&Y’s best songs, but probably one that made them boatloads of cash.

Some of the lyrics are absolutely shocking. Two cats in the yard, things used to be so hard, now everything is easy cause of you’…I mean, really?!

It’s hard to believe it ever made it out of the studio, but alas it did and has been used by banks and building societies to sell home insurance ever since!

On the plus side, there are some gorgeous harmonies from maestros David Crosby and Graham Nash.

 

Our House by Madness

Another song named ‘Our House’ recorded some 20 years later by British ska-loving band Madness. This chart-topping track in the UK was the only Madness song to reach top 10 status in America.

With a great beat, reminscent of The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’, it tells the story of a busy North London household in the 1970s (Father wears his Sunday best, Mother’s tired she needs a rest, The kids are playing up downstairs).

It also talks about the need to escape that so many teenagers feel when they reach ‘that age’ with the line at the end ‘Something tells you that you’ve got to get away from it’

A musical featuring Madness songs called called ‘Our House’ ran in London’s West End in the early noughties.
 

Homeward Bound by Simon & Garfunkel

One of the finest songs ever written about missing home, Homeward Bound is a beautiful, autobiographical song.

Simon wrote the track while he waiting for an early morning milk train to London from the north of England. He’d been ‘on a string of one night stands, my suitcase and guitar at hand’.  

Paul Simon wrote the song is Widnes railway station (in the UK), which has a plaque commemorating the event. Simon was later reported as saying ‘if you’d ever seen Widnes, then you’d know why I was keen to get back to London as quickly as possible’. One assumes the plaque hasn’t been disposed of by the locals!
 

Home by Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson has a knack for writing songs that bring a lump to your throat just like that. This is one of them.

This song has a beautiful sentiment – that home isn’t any one place but more of the people you love the most, no matter where you are.

So long as you’re with those people, you feel home. ‘Home is wherever we are, if there’s love there too’.

Jack Johnson was a national surf champion
 

Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill

Before Ed Sheeran found global mega-stardom, he was a regular guy from a regular town.

Ed Sheeran’s hit ‘Castle on the Hill’ is an autobiographical song about this very place, which one would assume is his home town of Framlingham in the UK. The song is all about growth, personal transformation, and reconciliation. 

He went away, now he’s coming back, and this is what he remembers and how he feels. It’s a lyrically brilliant song.

It’s tinged with sadness ‘found my heart and broke it here, made friends and lost them through the years’, his first kiss ‘had my first kiss on a Friday night, I don’t reckon that I did it right’ and driving way too fast ‘driving at 90 down those country lanes’. All the stuff of youth.

But all in all, it’s about the joy of going back home and reconnecting ‘but these people raised me and I can’t wait to go home’.

Ed Sheeran was invited to perform at the castle in the song! (Framlingham Castle)
 

Home by Iggy Pop

The song ‘Home’ is from Iggy Pop’s ninth studio album ‘Brick by Brick’. It’s a simple song that centers around the idea that ‘everybody needs a home’.

If the lead guitar sounds familiar, that’s because it’s no other than Slash playing the solos.
 

 

Goin’ Home by The Rolling Stones

This blues-inspired track Goin Home was the final track on their 60’s album Aftermath. What’s notable about the track was its length: it was one of the first songs to break the ten-minute mark by a major recording act. The likes of Dylan were regularly hitting the five-minute mark (e.g Like a Rolling Stone).

Much of the track is a loose, open-ended ‘jam’, and according to music historian Nicholas Schaffner, ‘the first extended improvisation released by a major rock group’

At 11 minutes 35 seconds, it displaced Dylan’s song ‘Desolation Row’ (that was 11:21) as the longest recording in popular music. Intentional? Who knows!
 

Nobody Home by Pink Floyd

In Pink Floyd’s Nobody Home, the notion of home is used figuratively rather than literally.

Written by Roger Waters and appearing on the classic The Wall album, it’s an autobiographical portrayal of life on the road and the Water’s lonely life of isolation behind his ‘self-created mental wall’. There he is, holed up in a hotel room with only his possessions and ’13 channels of shit on the TV to choose from’.

The lyric ‘I got nicotine stains on my fingers, I got a silver spoon on a chain, Got a grand piano to prop up my mortal remains’ was directed at keyboardist Rick Wright who was allegedly addicted to cocaine at the time.
 

Two of Us by The Beatles

Originally titled ‘On Our Way Home’, this McCartney penned song appeared on the Beatles final album ‘Let it Be’.

By 1969 the Beatles had all but finished working as a cohesive group and were a fractured, shadow of their former selves. The ’60s had taken its toll on the fab four, and many of the lyrics reflect on the passing of time, such as ‘you and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead’.

It’s a subject of debate who the two of us really refers to. Was it Lennon and McCartney, was McCartney and his wife Linda? Does it have to be anyone in particular?

It’s thought that the lines ‘you and me chasing paper, getting nowhere’ was McCartney addressing Lennon and contractual troubles they were having. Who would have thought a contractual dispute could conjure up such a great line!
 

Can’t Find My Way Home by Blind Faith

Written by Steve Winwood, this classic track from supergroup Blind Faith (which included Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker) is one of those timeless masterpieces.

Noted for Ginger Baker’s highly innovative percussion, and some classic lines ‘I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home’, it reflected on the grueling, drug-laden life of a rock band on the road.

 

Home Again by Michael Kiwanuka

London-based singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka blend of rootsy vintage soul and funk is one a thing to behold. This song from his first album is a wonderful little acoustic number with gorgeous, longing lyrics ‘Home again, One day I know, I’ll feel home again’.

 

Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd

This upbeat 1970s hit about Alabama was southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd’s second hit single. At first glance, it sounds like a dreamy sort of bubblegum pop song, but on closer inspection, some of the lyrics deal with racial politics.

In the first verse, they take Neil Young to task for his ‘accusatory and condescending’ words about Alabama (that’s how Neil Young himself described this choice of words in a later interview) on his track Alabama from bestselling album Harvest. They then take potshots at the Governor of Birmingham for his ‘does your conscience bother you?’ in relation to the civil rights movement. 

Since 2009 the State of Alabama has used the phrase ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ as the official slogan on car license plates.
 

Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Yet another song about home that Alabama, this is another superb song.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (great name!) is an American 10-person-strong folk-rock band from LA. This song is a gorgeous duet between frontman Alex Ebert and his partner Jade Castrinos.

With portions of spoken word from both, an eclectic mix of instruments (including trumpets), and lots of whistling (nearly three minutes worth!), it’s got an otherworldly feel and is wonderfully evocative.  

The band’s name is based on a story lead singer Alex Ebert wrote in his youth about a messianic figure named Edward Sharpe.
 

Home by Foo Fighters

The album closer on the Foo Fighter’s sixth album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, this ballad featuring Dave Grohl on the piano and was the best song he’s ever written, according to Grohl.

It’s a beautiful track, it has to be said.

Grohl thought so highly of the song, that he considered calling the album ‘The One With That Song On It’!
 

Back to the Old House by The Smiths

Back to the Old House is a beautiful acoustic piece with the dulcet tones of Johnny Marr’s guitar.

Lyrically, it’s also a masterpiece of missed opportunity, typical of songwriter Morrissey.

He sings ‘I would rather not go back to the old house’ but then we hear why…he never plucked up the courage to tell the person he really liked them.

‘And you never knew
How much I really liked you
Because I never even told you
Oh, and I meant to’

Just goes to show, don’t leave anything till tomorrow, you might regret it.

The album the track came from (Hatful of Hollow) is number 44 on Q’s list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
 

Caledonia by Dougie McLean

This Scottish folk ballad written by Dougie MacLean in 1977 is one of the most popular folk songs ever, played up and down the land in pubs and by buskers. It will pull on the heard strings of any Scots reading this (‘Caledonia’ is a Latin for Scotland).

MacLean actually wrote the song on a beach in Brittany, France, while he was feeling homesick for Scotland.
 

Who Says You Can’t Go Home by Bon Jovi

A change in direction here for Bon Jovi, with this their first venture into the country-pop style. There’s also a duet version of the song featuring vocals from Jennifer Nettles of the American duo Sugarland.

The song tells the familiar story of someone on the road, longing to go home. We’ve all been homesick once in a while, right?

The song has been used frequently at Republican Party events, much to the annoyance of Bon Jovi who are ardent Democrat supporters.
 

Coming Home by Leon Bridges


The album and title song Coming Home is by Texan singer Leon Bridges.

This retro-soul man has a smooth, Sam Cooke-esque croon, and the track is delightfully nostalgic and takes you right back to the late Fifties.

Leon Bridges begun his career with a string of open-mic night shows. See, there is hope for us all!
 

More Songs About Home for Good Measure

  • Home by Michael Bublé
  • My Hometown by Bruce Springsteen
  • Home by Dierks Bentley
  • Take Me Home by Phil Collins
  • Far From Home by Five Finger Death Punch
  • Mama, I’m Comin Home by Ozzy Osbourne
  • Letters From Home by John Michael Montgomery
  • Home by Goo Goo Dolls
  • Coming Home by P Diddy featuring Skylar Grey
  • Long Way Home by Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Carry You Home by James Blunt
  • Give Me Back My Hometown by Eric Church
  • The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert
  • Green Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones
  • Homegrown by Zac Brown Band
  • Lego House by Ed Sheeran
  • Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue
  • Take Me Home Tonight by Eddie Money
  • Welcome Home by Dave Dobbyn
  • Home by Phillip Phillips
  • That’s What I Call Home by Blake Shelton
  • Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood
  • Turning Home by David Nail
  • Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk
  • Home by Three Days Grace
  • Sugar Mountain by Neil Young
 

Summary

So there you have it, our pick of the best songs about coming home, leaving home, or just simply missing home!

Which was your favorite?

Ged Richardson

Ged is editor-in-chief and founder of Zing Instruments. He's a multi-instrumentalist and loves researching, writing, and geeking out about music. He's also got an unhealthy obsession with vintage VW Campervans.

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