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[dl] Music

Let us help you tailor your tunes to your destination.

HERE’S A TRAVEL TIP YOU WON’T FIND IN FODOR’S: For a completely localized experience, it helps to be prepared with the right song for after you land. So when you touch down in a new town, slip in some earbuds and hit play on a singular ditty of the city: maybe the Clash’s “London Calling” for overseas jaunts or Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl” when you reach Newark. We’ve matched eight U.S. cities with their perfect musical pairings — songs that point out landmarks, were written by hometown artists or just encapsulate a city’s spirit — to welcome you the right way.

DETROIT
“Hotel Yorba,” the White Stripes
From: White Blood Cells, 2001

Motown wasn’t the only thing born in the Motor City. Detroit was also the country’s first garage-rock epicenter, and hometown duo the White Stripes has always shined by combining the best of the city’s musical extremes. This rollicking tune has a particular attachment to the titular Detroit hotel; the band recorded it in room 206.

CLEVELAND
“Burn On,” Randy Newman
From: Sail Away, 1972

Newman’s tribute to Cleveland comes complete with his signature somber piano play, and the song’s dire tone makes sense; after all, “Burn On” is dedicated to when the city’s big river, the Cuyahoga, caught fire in 1969. Forty years later, its metaphors of light and fire could more kindly apply to the bustling city’s growth and its hip Lakewood neighborhood.

BOSTON
“Twilight in Boston,” Jonathan Richman
From: I, Jonathan, 1992

Singer-songwriter Richman grew to cult fame in Boston with his peculiar twists on pop-rock in the 1980s, only to record this solemn, acoustic ode to his hometown while in California the following decade. In his baritone-beatnik fashion, he recalls every detail of his old Beantown strolls with long, homesick pauses: “Taking a left, going by the Fenway, by the Marshland Park.”

NEW YORK
“Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
From: The Blueprint 3, 2009

Sinatra’s classic take on the big city rings hollow these days, while today’s rock and rap stars act like the Big Apple took a bite out of them. Where’s the love? Enter Jay-Z, Brooklyn’s most well-known musician of the modern era, who celebrates the city’s landmarks and riffs equally about its struggle and shine. “I’m out of Bed-Stuy, home of that boy Biggie,” he raps. “Now I live on Billboard and I brought my boys with me.”

SAN FRANCISCO
“San Francisco Blues,” Peggy Lee
From: Blues Cross Country, 1962

Lee pines for plenty of America on her Blues Cross Country record, and she’s particularly sweet on Frisco as she lists off every place in town she’d like to visit while a trumpet-fueled big band blares behind her. But even her thick, sweet voice can’t convince her Bay-loving beau to stop painting the Golden Gate Bridge and come along with her. “As long as he paints that bridge,” she laments, “he might as well be on Alcatraz.”

SEATTLE
“Black Hole Sun,” Soundgarden
From: Superunknown, 1994

Seattle’s biggest bands of the 1990s didn’t write songs about local destinations like Pike Place Market or Lake Washington, so this song is the closest road warriors will get: an idyllic grunge classic full of trademark guitar feedback that mines the Seattle cliché of endless precipitation. “Won’t you come and wash away the rain?”

LAS VEGAS
“Night Life,” Elvis Presley
From: Elvis Double Features: Viva Las Vegas and Roustabout, 1993

Wrong Elvis song for Sin City, you say? Listen again. The slinky pace of this 1964 tune, fueled by a full brass band and the raspy, fuzz-guitar sound of the era, fits like a velvet suit in any Vegas lounge. And so the King struts, taunting your eventual gambling losses by singing, “You can’t be a quitter when you’re caught up in the glitter of the nightlife!”

MEMPHIS, TENN.
“Graceland,” Paul Simon
From: Graceland, 1986

Simon’s melancholy trip to Elvis Presley’s estate speaks to a musical pilgrimage on which he is accompanied by the ghosts of his country and blues heroes as well as his life’s tribulations. The music, the destinations and his memories well up together in appropriate fashion. “Maybe I’ve a reason we all will be received in Graceland,” he sings.