If there’s one thing Americans can’t live without, it’s food and music. Whether it’s love songs, songs about sex, or songs about money, artists are always using food-related metaphors in their work.
People everywhere seem to like songs about food. Some of the items in this list are from the last few years. Other entries are decades old. Here are 24 popular songs about food. You’re sure to recognize some of them.
1. Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows – By Lesley Gore
To be honest, you probably saw this one coming from a mile away. What better way to compare the one you love than with all the sweetest things in life: sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. This song was written by Lesley Gore and released in 1963.
It’s a classic song that’s appeared in plenty of media. If the song couldn’t be any more food-related, it was also featured in the 2009 movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It’s the type of tune you’d think of when you imagine love films in the late 50s and early 60s.
2. Candy Shop – By 50 Cent
Anyone who had a radio in the 2000s has heard “Candy Shop” by 50 Cent. The song features Olivia Longott on the hook. The not-so-innocent lyrics are suggestive, raunchy, and make for excellent club music.
“Candy Shop” made its way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and it’s considered one of 50 Cent’s most popular songs. Candy Shop has more than 750 million views on YouTube. Lyrics include innuendos like “I’ll let you lick the lollipop.”
3. Escape (The Pina Colada Song) – By Rupert Holmes
Everyone’s listened to this song before. It’s appeared in so many movies and TV shows that it’s practically universal, especially for such an old song. The song is formally called Escape, but most people call it the “Piña Colada Song.”
Rupert Holmes released “Escape” in 1979 when it became the final song in the United States to reach number 1 in the 70s. It’s a song about a man who intends to cheat on his wife. He finds a newspaper ad written by a woman looking for romance but eventually discovers it was written by his wife. The song ends with the couple laughing and rekindling their love.
4. Custard Pie – By Led Zeppelin
“Custard Pie” was released in 1974 on the Physical Graffiti album. The meaning of the song is pretty obvious, the title itself being a sexual innuendo. The lyrics are extra-suggestive, with the song ending with the words “chew on a piece of your custard pie.”
Like most Led Zeppelin songs, this one is raw and unfiltered. “Custard Pie” is loud, in-your-face, and everything a classic rock song should be. It’s something that sounds as good today as it did back in the 70s.
5. Chicken Fried – By the Zac Brown Band
Compared to the last item on our list, this entry is much more down-to-Earth. “Chicken Fried” is a country song released in 2005 by the Zac Brown Band. The mellow lyrics match well with the imagery of a cold beer and a chicken dinner.
The tone is family-based: the song is about the love of your wife and children and simple country dinners. It’s the type of thing you’d hear on the radio after a long day at work. “Chicken Fried” is the perfect song to kick back and relax while you appreciate the things in life that really matter.
6. American Pie – By Don McLean
The beginning of the 1950s and the end of the 1960s couldn’t be more different. American Pie, by Don McLean, is about yearning for the past and coping with loss. McLean’s song gets its name from the expression “as American as apple pie.” It’s an appropriate expression for a song about American nostalgia.
“American Pie” recounts the tragic loss of three important musicians, referred to as the day the music died. The day the music died refers to February 3rd, 1959, when Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, and J.P. Richardson died in a plane crash.
7. Say it Ain’t So – By Weezer
“Say It Ain’t So” is a 90s hit and arguably Weezer’s most iconic song. People who pay close attention to the lyrics will notice that the somber tone of the song reflects the deeper meaning of alcoholism and addiction.
The song was written by Rivers Cuomo about the dangers of alcoholism regarding family matters and marriage. It’s a bittersweet melody that matches the content of the lyrics. Say It Ain’t So contrasts with many of the other songs on this list for its darker tone and message
8. Lemonade – By Gucci Mane
“Lemonade” is the ultimate flex. The song is about luxury, fame, and just about everything else a young artist could desire. If there’s anything Gucci wants you to know, it’s that everything he owns is yellow. The song mentions lemon 57 times and the color yellow 39 times. It’s a good song about accomplishing what so few can.
“Lemonade” is certified platinum and beloved by hip-hop fans. The song was released in 2009 and has more than 40 million views on YouTube. Parts of the song have been sampled by plenty of different famous rappers, like Yelawolf, Big Sean, and Curren$y.
9. Red Red Wine – By UB40
“Red Red Wine” was originally written by Neil Diamond in 1967, but UB40’s cover is better known. UB40’s version is a slow, reggae ballad about forgetting your troubles in a glass of wine. It reached first place on the UK Singles Chart in August 1983.
UB40’s cover of “Red Red Wine” is upbeat, happy, and very relaxed. This version is lighthearted and positive, especially compared to other songs about alcohol. In 2014, UB40 had gone on to sell their own wine, which of course, they call Red Red Wine.
10. Sex and Candy – By Marcy’s Playground
“Sex and Candy” is a post-grunge hit released in 1997. If you’re noticing a theme, you aren’t alone. Like many other entries on this list, “Sex and Candy” uses food-based imagery to elicit sexual themes. It’s a slower song with a catchy hook and excellent vocals.
The sultry tone of the song does a lot for its contents. It uses a lot of Freudian themes to compare smells and senses with the singer’s lust for his love interest. Verses involving “double-cherry pie” and references to disco music are good examples of this.
11. Burritos – By Sublime
Some days you wake up sapped with energy, not wanting to eat, work, or do anything. On days like that, Sublime has you covered. “Burritos” is a relatable song about being lazy and bed-stricken. It appeared on the band’s 1996 album Sublime.
The late and beloved Bradley Nowell sang the vocals for the song. Fans of the album find this song much more fast-paced than a lot of their other works. “Burritos” is a rework of one of the band’s older songs from 1986, “Fighting Blindly.”
12. Sugar, Sugar – By The Archies (Jeff Barry and Andy Kim)
“Sugar, Sugar” is the living embodiment of 60s love songs. It was recorded in 1969 and intended for the Archie comics universe. The Archies is a fictional band based on the comic series and led by Ron Dante and Toni Wine.
Although the band might be fictional, the song’s success is anything but fake. “Sugar, Sugar” is unique for reaching number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. It was the 1969 number-one single of the year. For a song about sugar, its melody is appropriately sweet.
13. Lollipop – By The Chordettes
“Lollipop” is an American classic that was released in 1958. The Chordettes cover of the Ronald & Ruby song made a big impact in its day. The song is nearly 70 years old, and to this day, it still holds up as a beloved novelty. It’s an old but sweet song about food and love.
Love and sweetness are often paired. There’s a reason people call their loved ones sweetheart. The taste of candy evokes the same warmness and comfort that you’d feel for the people you care about. The hook of this song is annoyingly catchy – it’s the type of song you’ll catch yourself whistling during your day.
14. That’s Amore – By Dean Martin
“That’s Amore” is instantly recognizable. It’s a Dean Martin hit originally composed by Harry Warren in 1953. The song expresses its Italian charm with accordion music and its signature verse: “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s amore.” The lyrics make several references to food, drinking, and romance.
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and the other members of the Rat Pack are well-known for their love songs and vivid lyrics. Like most love songs of the time, it’s short and sweet. The instrumental upbeat swing and slower ending make for a good combination.
15. Collard Greens – By ScHoolBoy Q
“Collard Greens” is ScHoolBoy Q’s most famous hit to date and features verses from hip-hop giant Kendrick Lamar. The song is the lead single from his 2014 album Oxymoron and is about smoking, sex, and drug culture. The phrase collard greens is a common euphemism for weed.
The tempo is fast-paced, rhythmic, and catchy. “Collard Greens” has over 400,000,000 listens on Spotify. This song arguably set a precedent for the enormous amount of traffic that ScHoolBoy Q gets on his streaming outlets. It’s one of the better-known hip-hop songs from the mid-2010s.
16. Sugar – By Maroon 5
“Sugar” by Maroon 5 is the ultimate feel-good song. It’s marketable, fresh, and is one of the best-known songs of the 2010s. This song has more than 1 billion listens on Spotify and almost 4 billion views on YouTube. Its reception has been unprecedented. Like Pharell’s Happy and
Many people regard Sugar as a popular wedding song. It plays at almost every wedding and has been a radio hit for eight years and counting. In 2018, Adam Levine and David Dobkin also produced a reality-streaming series based on Sugar’s music video.
17. Sunday Morning Coming Down – By Kris Kristofferson
What’s more peaceful and serene than a neighborhood stroll on a Sunday morning? This song, written by Kris Kristofferson, evokes all the things that comfort a man amid a hangover: warm water on his face, desolate sidewalks, and the smell of fried chicken.
For a song about a hangover, it’s pretty easy-going. Johnny Cash also covered “Sunday Morning Coming Down” in 1970. His version reached Number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart that year and gave the song a broader audience.
18. Food, Glorious Food – By Lionel Bart
“Food, Glorious Food” is the most stereotypical song you’d find on this list. You can hear it at almost every baseball game as the song tends to drive hungry visitors to the food courts. This song is about food, eating food, enjoying food, and, most importantly, fantasizing about it. It’s the ultimate song about food.
The piece comes from the Broadway musical Oliver! at the start of the play. Lionel Bart wrote this song in the 60s. Some mouthwatering lyrics include “just picture a great big steak fried, roasted, or stewed” and “Food, glorious food we’re anxious to try it, Three banquets a day our favorite diet.”
19. Milkshake – By Kelis
“Milkshake” is probably the most suggestive entry on this list. For anyone who can’t already tell, the word milkshake is an innuendo for the way Kelis shakes her chest. “Milkshakes” and big breasts are two things everyone loves, so it makes sense that everybody loves this song.
The song made its way to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for a Grammy. It’s been featured in just about every piece of media, so it’s very unlikely you haven’t already heard it. The hook is sexual, addicting, and paired with lots of percussions. It’s one of the raunchiest songs of the early 2000s.
20. Tamale – By Tyler The Creator
“Tamale” is a fast-paced in-your-face song by Tyler the Creator, which is featured on his 2013 album Wolf. Unlike other songs on the album, this one doesn’t have a deeper meaning. It’s a simple, fun song full of boisterous percussion and rowdy lyrics.
True to his nature, Tyler’s song is vulgar, cartoonish, and loaded with shock humor. The song starts with a female singer, Tallulah, shouting the word tamale over and over again. The music video features him in costumes, holding giant props, and bouncing up and down on a girl’s butt like a trampoline. You better believe he had a lot of fun making this one.
21. Passionfruit – By Drake
Long-distance relationships aren’t always the most fulfilling. You end up longing for someone who’s miles away from you. “Passionfruit” is a song that represents that feeling of forlornness. It does this with a slow melody, soft vocals, and lots of anaphora surrounding the word passion.
“Passionfruit” is a song by Drake that appears on the 2017 mixtape More Life. It’s a song that relates desire and lovesickness to the bittersweet taste of passion fruit. It’s an excellent comparison because it accurately depicts the problems of long distances.
22. Day O! – By Harry Belafonte
You’ve probably heard someone humming this at work on more than one occasion. It’s one of those tunes that people recognize without even hearing the words. This song is more well-known as the “Banana Boat Song.”
The song is about workers loading crates of bananas onto a boat. A banana boat. It’s a simple melody that is extremely hard to forget once you’ve listened to it. Harry Belafonte recorded his version in 1956, though it existed before as a Jamaican folk song.
23. I Want Candy – By The Strangeloves
Like many of these entries, “I Want Candy” is a song about being in love. Its lyrics include verses like: “Candy on the beach, there’s nothing better, but I like candy when it’s wrapped in a sweater.” The hook repeats the lyrics that describe the desire for the singer’s love interest.
“I Want Candy” is catchy, upbeat, and honestly kind of annoying, like an earworm that is hard to get rid of. A more recognizable cover version was released by Bow Wow Wow in 1982. This version includes a lot more new wave elements than the original.
24. Cheeseburger in Paradise
Believe it or not, this is literally just a song about food. Jimmy Buffet seems to really like cheeseburgers. He likes them so much that he wrote a song about them, and it ended up ranking 32 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Cheeseburger in Paradise” is one of Buffett’s most popular songs. This wouldn’t be the first time Jimmy Buffet made a popular hit on the food he enjoys. He wrote “Margaritaville” a year before this, in 1977. “Margaritaville” even made it into the Grammy Hall of Fame.