Songwriters like Neil Young and Elvis Costello are featured on this indie-inspired playlist. Rockers like ZZ Top and Poison make appearances as well, with a few of their off-the-beaten-path tracks.
From history-driven songs like Springsteen’s ‘Vigilante Man’ to fan-favorites like Amy Winehouse’s cover of ‘Valerie,’ here is an Americana-inspired list of songs that start with “V.”
It’s Very, Very good :-).
Vacation – Dirty Heads
Vocalist Jared Watson helped his band Dirty Heads go viral on social media platform Tik Tok by uploading their song ‘Vacation’ as part of a “Vacation Challenge” users were participating in, featuring clips of them living a life they love so much they don’t have to take a break from it. Watson’s video highlighted band performances, with their own song ‘Vacation’ focusing on him overcoming addiction to create the life he’d always dreamed of.
Related: This belter appears on our list of holiday tunes.
Valley Girl – Frank Zappa and Moon Zappa
In true Zappa fashion, cultural commentary is at the heart of ‘Valley Girl.’ The eclectic artist often took a critical view of mainstream society and its trends, and with this song he pokes fun at the ’80s valley girl obsession that began with well-off teenage California girls. Frank Zappa’s daughter Moon provided the lines in the song from the valley girl’s perspective.
Valentine’s Day – David Bowie
In 1929, towards the end of the Prohibition era in America, a shooting took place involving mob members of two opposing gangs who were selling alcohol on the black market. The devastation from the event is the center of David Bowie’s prog rock track ‘Valentine’s Day,’ a direct reference to the event which took place on February 14th. For Bowie, he wanted to highlight the psychotic state of someone in the song who could do something so terrible to other people.
Valerie – Amy Winehouse feat. Mark Ronson
Originally a song by UK group The Zutons, the band wrote it about one of their friends who was going through a tough time with alcohol. After completing Amy Winehouse’s critically acclaimed Back to Black album, producer and musician Mark Ronson started on his own album project, Version, which featured a slew of cover songs. He convinced Amy to get back in the studio, and for Ronson’s album project, she covered ‘Valerie.’
Violet Hill – Coldplay
One of Coldplay’s older songs that never made it on an album, after a few band mates started work on ‘Violet Hill’ again, frontman Chris Martin was convinced to put it on their 2008 effort, Viva La Vida. ‘Violet Hill’ draws from Beatles protest music, and is a political protest song itself. The title is a reference to a street near the famous Abby Road that is so closely associated with The Beatles.
Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley
A good part of Elvis Presley’s career took place in Las Vegas, where he did a longtime residency at The International hotel. ‘Viva Las Vegas’ not only captured the glitzy part of Vegas he often experienced while performing there, it was used as an integral part of his film by the same name, which featured him as a starry-eyed young boy coming to Vegas and working to settle a debt.
Related: Try your luck with more songs about las vegas.
Video Phone – Beyoncé feat. Lady Gaga
A sexy number appearing on Beyonce’s popular album, I Am… Sasha Fierce, pop star Lady Gaga joined in on the fun during the recording process for ‘Video Phone.’ Years later, Beyonce would return the favor by teaming up with Gaga once more for her single ‘Telephone,’ which features a woman trying to let loose on the dance floor despite her lover constantly calling to check in on her.
Vanilla Twilight – Owl City
The 2009 album release Ocean Eyes proved to be a breakout project for Adam Young, who goes by the stage name Owl City. His tune ‘Vanilla Twilight’ was written years before his musical debut. He wrote it while experiencing heartbreak for the first time when his high school love interest moved away. It was only temporary though, after a few years they reconnected and he fell in love all over again.
Ventura Highway – America
Band leader Dewey Bunnell first wrote ‘Ventura Highway’ when he was a youngster in the seventh grade. His father was in the military and they had just been relocated to California. As he and his family stood on a highway leading into Ventura due to a flat tire, he looked around for the first time and was amazed at the clear blue sky and vast ocean in the distance. The picturesque scenery inspired him to write the top ten single.
Related: Check out more california themed tunes.
Valentine – 5 Seconds of Summer
“I love the light in your eyes and the dark in your heart.” Despite the song’s sometimes gothic styling, 5 Seconds of Summer attempted to write the perfect lover’s tribute with ‘Valentine.’ The song not only fluctuates between light and dark, offering a romantic duality that can sometimes accompany young love, but the heart of the single also drives home the message, relationships should really feel like it’s Valentine’s Day everyday.
Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles
When The Buggles released ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ in ’79, it became a popular single in Europe but barely scratched the surface in America. When MTV debuted two years later in ’81, that all changed. The catchy song, reminiscent of punk protest music from days gone by, was the first video to premiere on the feldging station, and it spurred a large spike in record sales for the band.
Related: This one appears on our list of 80s new wave songs.
Valleys of Neptune – Jimi Hendrix
The title track to a Hendirx album released postumously, ‘Valleys of Neptune’ was one of several unreleased songs originally meant to be included on the blues-rock artist’s iconic album, Electric Ladyland. A notorious perfectionist, Hendrix never felt he got the sound quite right with the tune, so he left it in the archives from his early recording days in ’69. When Valleys of Neptune was released in 2010, it not only included this number, but several other previously recorded but unreleased tracks.
Vasoline – Stone Temple Pilots
Written by lead vocalist Scott Weiland, Stone Temple Pilot’s ‘Vasoline’ is actually named after a misinterpreted lyric in the single. Originally the line “Flies in the vasoline we are,” was supposed to include “Life in the fast lane,” the title of a popular song his father used to play. When band mates thought he said ‘Flies in the vasoline,” he couldn’t resist keeping it. The tune ended up representing Weiland’s tragic descent into drug addiction.
Velcro Fly – ZZ Top
Known for their bluesy rock hits like ‘Sharp Dressed Man,’ ZZ top released their single ‘Velcro Fly’ on their mid-80s album, Afterburner. Frontman Billy Gibbons is a big fan of the sticky material, so much so he worked it into songwriting material. While the tune might pay homage to one of his favorite inventions, in keeping with the long tradition of rock and roll, sexual undertones lace the track as well.
Vincent Price – Deep Purple
This eerie tune is a direct reference to horror film actor Vincent Price, who starred in scary movies throughout the mid to late 1900s, including 1959 cult classic House on Haunted Hill. Band members of Deep Purple are longtime fans of his work. So when they began penning a song that contains classic ’60s horror ingredients like rattling chains and zombies, they naturally named the song after their cinematic hero.
Veronica – Elvis Costello
Written with his aging grandmother in mind, Elvis Costello partnered with Beatle founder Paul McCartney while writing this moving track. The song tells the story of an elderly woman in a nursing home who is slowly losing her ability to remember the past. Costello’s own grandmother ultimately passed away due to complications from Alzheimer’s. ‘Veronica’ was a breakout hit for Costello in America.
Valley Of Lost Souls – Poison
“No angel of mercy, coming down to save the soul of me.” ’80s rock band Poison takes a wild ride through New York City with ‘Valley of Lost Souls.’ This adventurous tale opens up with a 16 year old protagonist striking it out on his own for the first time. As he makes his way into the city and “lives it up,” he meets “Miss Misery” along the way. They spend the night together, but no one is enough to hold our roaming lothario down.
Va Va Voom – Nicki Minaj
This fantastical tune was originally supposed to be Nicky Minaj’s debut single. Instead, her team decided to release the rapper’s now-popular song ‘Starships,’ which proved to be the right move. Though the title isn’t found in the lyrics, ‘Va Va Voom’ is a popular slang term referencing excitement, particularly physical excitement over someone or something.
Vigilante Man – Bruce Springsteen
Folk artist Woody Guthrie originally wrote ‘Vigilante Man.’ The pensive song appears on his 1940s Dust Bowl Ballads album. The song has deep historical ties, with the story centered around the violence that took place in America’s Great Plains region during the Dust Bowl catastrophe. Rocker Bruce Springsteen was one of many to cover the track. His rendition appears on his album, Folkways: A Vision Shared.
Vacancy – Neil Young
Featured on his Homegrown album, ‘Vacancy’ and other songs from the release were so painful for Neil Young to record, the songs didn’t see the light of day for almost a half-century. A full album’s worth of music exploring his devasting breakup from his first wife, Carrie Snodgress, Young wrote and recorded the tracks in 1975, but didn’t release the album until 2020.
Van Diemen’s Land – U2
While Bono is responsible for writing and singing several of U2’s hits, guitarist The Edge took over frontman duties for this lesser-known but equally as poignant track, ‘Van Diemen’s Land.’ The song is a historical reference to one of the first convicted men of Ireland to be banished to the wild frontier of Tasmania to live out their sentence. Van Diemen is well-known in Ireland as a key historical figure. He plotted a revolt against government officials during the Great Famine.
Valleri – The Monkees
In the 1960s, vocal group The Monkees got their start with their popular TV show by the same name. From ’66 to ’68, the group had to churn out recordings to keep up with the music needed for their in-demand series. The songwriting duo of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart became their go-to source for material. The Monkees scored their first hit song with the songwriting team’s ‘Last Train to Clarksville.’ Released towards the end of the show’s running, ‘Valleri’ was the band’s last major hit.
Vampires Will Never Hurt You – My Chemical Romance
With their heyday taking place during the height of the emo movement, My Chemical Romance released the genre’s highly appropriate ‘Vampires Will Never Hurt You’ track on their 2002 album, I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love. Though frontman Gerard Way originally wrote the song as a critique on societal greed, he realized later on it was an early song dealing with the beginnings of his bout with alcoholism.
Valentina – Prince
This cheeky Prince track mentions actress Penelope Cruz and her daughter, Valentina. After working on a music video for Prince, Cruz became enamoured with the artist, as many women have over the years. The two struck up a friendship after working together, and during a televised live performance Prince even exited the stage to strum and sing by Cruz, who was one of the audience’s most enthusiastic participants.
Vampyre – Pete Yorn
With a play on words between vampires and fiery funerals of day’s gone by referred to as “pyres,” Pete Yorn’s ‘Vampyre’ is a fan-favorite from his Nightcrawler album. The open-ended lyrics leave room for each listener to draw their own conclusions about the dark track. Though classic vampire references like a “stake through the heart” are mentioned, the moody lyrics stay purposely generalized. ‘Vampyre’ is the most popular track off the 2006 album.