As a county with a very rich musical history, there are plenty of songs about Yorkshire in music’s big back catalogue. Whether they’re referencing the towns and cities of the county, examining some of the events that have happened within its boundaries or even trying to get away to somewhere the writers perceive to be better, celebrate Yorkshire Day with one of these 9 songs about the land of the white rose.
Richard Hawley – Coles Corner
Coles Corner is a street corner in Sheffield, where the old Cole Brothers department store used to stand. It’s apparently popular meeting place for lovers, so, of course, Sheffield’s premier crooner Richard Hawley immortalised it by doing what he does best – writing a song so beautiful and elegant you’ll want to go meet your significant other there too.
Arctic Monkeys – ‘When The Sun Goes Down’
You could put most of Arctic Monkeys‘ debut album in this list, but ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ is one of the album’s grittier odes to their hometown of Sheffield. The song narrates goings on in the city’s Neepsend district and a night in the life of a prostitute there.
Pulp – ‘Sheffield Sex City’
There’s not a lot that’s sexy about nylon sheets and watching TV, but on this early Pulp track, Jarvis Cocker makes Sheffield sound like a place you should be lusting after.
The Cribs – ‘Mirror Kissers’
“We kicked around down Water Lane,” sing the Jarman brothers on this disparaging attack on the posers and pretenders they encountered in Leeds in the noughties.
The Smiths – ‘Suffer Little Children’
A dark piece of Yorkshire’s history is documented here by The Smiths. ‘Suffer Little Children’ is about the Moors murders, and the moor where the bodies were buried used to lie within the county’s boundaries. Saddleworth Moor is now considered part of Greater Manchester, but at the time the crimes were committed was in West Yorkshire.
Stanley Brinks & The Wave Pictures – ‘Wakefield’
“It rained all day in Leeds/So I was at the pub all day just hanging out,” opens this twee indie-pop song before continuing “You fulfilled all my needs in Wakefield that night“.
Kaiser Chiefs – ‘I Predict A Riot’
Kaiser Chiefs breakthrough track details a night out on the rowdy streets of Leeds, with references to the area and its people. There’s John Smeaton, an 18th century engineer from the city, and Old Leodensians, which is the name given to those who attend Leeds Grammar School.
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – ‘Thankfully Not Living In Yorkshire It Doesn’t Apply’
It seems Dexy’s weren’t big fans of Yorkshire. On this track from their 1980 album ‘Searching For The Young Soul Rebels’, the band sing “Keep me away from Leeds/I’ve been before, it’s not what I’m looking for“.
Iron Maiden – ‘Sheriff Of Huddersfield’
“Life in a city living in LA/Is a long way from Huddersfield town,” observe Iron Maiden on this b-side, which imagines the Sheriff of Huddersfield’s life after moving to LA. Spoiler: it involves ladies and hot rods, but also “a good game of arrows” and pork pies. Of course.