Music lyrics with a Boston theme

The Boston composers project : a bibliography of contemporary music

Boston Area Music Libraries ; Linda I. Solow, editor
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, c1983.
Music Reference ML107.B7 B67 1983 LIB USE ONLY

Selected popular music with Boston themes

Note: To find lyrics, type the song title (with quotation marks) in Google and add lyrics.

Dirty Water

The Standells wrote this humorous song about the Charles River.

Irish music in Boston

This  Boston College site provides excellent background information on  Irish-American  music, including the history of Irish music in the Boston area.

Please Come to Boston

Song made popular by Joan Baez.


Satirist Tom Lehrer wrote this parody when he was attending Harvard in 1944.

I Want My City Back

This song was written by the Bosstones, a popular 1980s Boston band.   Click on the “View lyrics” link.


Made nationally popular by the Kingston Trio, this venerable song recounts the tale of a  peripatetic Boston commuter who gets lost traveling on the city’s trolley system.   According to the lyricist Sam Berman, it was sung on the campaign truck for Walter O’Brien who ran for Mayor of Boston on the Progressive Party Ticket in 1949. (Peter Dreier and Jim Vrabel, “Banned in red scare Boston: the forgotten story of Charlie and the M.T.A.,” Dissent Spring 2008)

The Padrone

Opera set in the North End. Composer: George Whitefield Chadwick (1854-1931) Discussed in a dissertation:Jon Steffan Truitt, ” American Verismo? Insights into the Padrone, an Opera by Geoerge Whitefield Chadwick” (Louisiana State University, 2004).