Why do we love food so much? Well, we need it to survive, for one thing. But just being a necessity isn’t what makes it special; it’s the variety and the culture around it. If we’re going to be forced to eat merely to be able to live, then it makes sense that we would want to make that experience enjoyable.
From home-cooked meals to five-star restaurant gourmet dishes, and even to a simple candy bar, we love food so much that not only is there an endless variety of it available to us to consume, we’ve also written many songs about our desire to eat.
I’ve taken a deep dive into music with particular culinary mentions, and I’ve come up with some favorites. Here are my top picks for songs about food that you can’t resist.
Top Songs About Food
“Banana Pancakes” – Jack Johnson
Sleeping in and making banana pancakes can be one of life’s best little joys. The song “Banana Pancakes” was released by Jack Johnson in the year 2005. It was included on rock singer-songwriter’s full-length album ‘In Between Dreams.’
Other popular songs from American singer-songwriter Jack Johnson include “Better Together”, “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing,” and “Upside Down.” This is one of the most popular songs about food, or about anything really, for beginners to play on the ukulele.
“Tutti Fruitti” – Little Richard
Charles Connor played the drums for the record, which was released through the Specialty 561 music recording label. Little Richard was one of the first rock ‘n roll musicians. He is well known for his eccentric voice and lyrics.
“Mango Tree” – Sara Bareilles and The Zac Brown Band
The song “Mango Tree” was written and recorded for The Zac Brown Band album ‘Jekyll + Hyde.’ The album ‘Jekyll + Hyde’ was released in the year 2015. This romantic song is about relaxing underneath a mango tree with someone you love. Other popular songs by The Zac Brown Band include “Heavy is the Head,” “Remedy,” and “Loving You Easy.”
“Candy Shop” – 50 Cent
Most people know that the candy shop mentioned in the song “Candy Shop” by 50 Cent is more of an erotic euphemism than a literal candy shop, and this certainly is not unique in songs about food. 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, takes the metaphor a step further with lyrics about licking lollipops.
The song “Candy Shop” was released in the year 2003 as a part of the popular rap record ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin.’ Other popular songs by the American rapper 50 Cent include “In Da Club,” “21 Questions,” and “Just A Lil Bit.”
“A Taste of Honey” – Peggy Lee
Honey is sweet, delicious, and comforting. The jazz song “A Taste of Honey” was orginally written by songwriters Ric Marlow and Bobby Scott and performed by singer Billy Dee Williams. The romantic lyrics to this song describe honey as being much sweeter than wine.
“Stir Fry” – Migos
The American rap group Migos is comprised of three members – Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff. The Migos song “Stir Fry” song mentions Popeyes chicken, soda, blue cheese, curry chicken, stir fry, and other delicious foods.
This song is not actually about making stir fry but it is about the flick of the wrist that is required to do so. “Stir Fry” was produced by popular hip hop artist and producer Pharrell Williams for the 2008 Migos album ‘Culture II.’
“Passionfruit” – Drake
Passionfruit is a mouth watering, tropical, sweet, and complex food. This is in the company of other songs about food that doesn’t actually mention the food itself, being passionfruit. But, perhaps the drink that Drake mentions sipping was passionfruit flavored. This song was included on Drake’s 2017 record ‘More Life.’ “Passionfruit” was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for Best R&B/ Hip Hop Song.
“Watermelon in Easter Hay” – Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa is well known for his strange experimental rock songs like “Black Napkins,” “Peaches en Regalia,” and “Bobby Brown Goes Down.” This sardonic song does not mention watermelon, or any fruit at all. “Watermelon in Easter Hay” was released as a part of the 1979 Frank Zappa record titled ‘Joe’s Garage.’
“Mayonaise” – The Smashing Pumpkins
Some people love mayonnaise – others prefer Miracle Whip. Some people will refuse a sandwich if either touches it. Alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins released the song “Mayonaise” as a part of their full-length album ‘Siamese Dream.’
The song was written by James Iha and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins. Other popular songs by The Smashing Pumpkins include “Soma,” “Disarm,” and “Cherub Rock.” The Smashing Pumpkins were originally formed in the year 1988 in Chicago, Illinois. The alternative rock band went through several lineup changes and eventually broke up.
“The Onion Song” – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell recorded and released many hit songs together. These hits include “Aint No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I Need to Get By,” and “The Onion Song.” “The Onion Song” is among the many songs about food that uses fare as a a metaphor. In this case the image of an onion was a metaphor for the world. In this soulful tune, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell croon that life is an onion, meant to make you cry.
“Sugar” – Maroon 5
Using food as an allegory for love is fairly common in music. But here, I’m talking about a powerful craving that is more than just having a sweet tooth. Going too long without food can make your body weak and bereft of energy. Likewise, this song suggests, can you feel down if you go too long without love.
Whether that love is a deep emotional bond or just a physical craving for intimacy, it’s no surprise that most of us are always happy to have a little sugar now and then.
“I Want Candy” – The Strangeloves
Most dentists will say that too much candy is no good for you. But what if you’re smitten by a girl named Candy? They can probably make an exception in that case. Both the sugary confections and the girl of your dreams are able to make your mouth water, so there’s nothing wrong with declaring your desire for candy.
This song has such a catchy beat that it’s been covered in quite a few instances to keep up with the times, simply updating the tune a bit but keeping the lyrics mostly the same, though sometimes Candy is a boy. But he’s probably just as sweet.
“Cherry Pie” – Warrant
Cherry Pie is such a staple of American culinary history, it’s no wonder there’s a song about it. Not just a song, it’s practically an anthem at this point. It’s one of the most recognizable hair metal songs from the 90’s, and one of the only songs about food from this genre.
Naturally, I’m talking about more than just the pastry dessert here, but the point is that both forms of cherry pie are very satisfying. Whether it’s the kind you eat or the kind you share with another special someone, cherry pie is always sure to take care of that sweet tooth of yours.
“Sugar Sugar” – The Archies
Another song about love so sweet that it can only be compared to sugar. The candy girl here is also compared to honey. Two savory, sweet foods that can be used to complement any number of dishes. So too can the candy girl complement your life by merely being by your side.
This song harkens back to American summers, going on picnics and vacations, meeting other people, making memories and having wonderful experiences. If you have those memories, hearing this song is sure to bring them to the forefront.
“Candy Shop” – Madonna
The candy shop was naturally a lot of people’s preferred place as children. All the candy you could ever eat, all in one place. You’d be lucky to convince your parents to let you get some candy every now and then, and maybe you could save a little bit of money and get some yourself.
Having complete and total access to a candy shop might not be the best thing, as it could lead to overindulgence, but as long as you set your limits, candy shops are pretty sweet.
“Red Red Wine” – UB40
Not everyone’s old enough to drink, but if you are, then sometimes a nice glass of red wine is what you need. Especially if you’re trying to cope with the loss of someone leaving you. This is amongst the rare songs about food that is an ode to the actual beverage.
Nobody is saying you should drink yourself in a stupor, but being able to take the edge off some of the pain with some wine is acceptable. Nobody likes a broken heart. Neil Diamond wrote Red Red Wine but perhaps the most famous cover is UB40’s reggae-inspired hit.
“Cake By The Ocean” – DNCE
What could be more relaxing than eating cake by the ocean? This song is all about savoring the moments of life that are worth it, and not wasting time with things that don’t matter. We don’t always have the greatest view when it comes to our own priorities, so some important things might fall by the wayside.
But it’s mindful to remember the big things, while also not forgetting the small things. Yes, take care of the important stuff, but also make time for the little things, otherwise, you might look back and wish you had set aside some time to have some cake by the ocean.
“Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Def Leppard
One of the amazing rock songs about food from the last century, this one paints of picture of using sugar as a topping for oneself. Like you’re saying that you, yourself, are a sweet treat, and you’ll only get sweeter with a nice topping of sugar.
A lot of people think highly of themselves, and whether or not that’s true, self-confidence is a great thing to have. Considering yourself to be a tasty dessert that others would be so lucky to have a taste, now that’s having a lot of self-confidence.
“Peaches N Cream” – Snoop Dogg
We all wish we could be millionaires. Having enough money to be able to buy anything you want. Peaches N Cream tells the story of someone being so wealthy that it’s become trivial to find love (or at least companionship) when you have so much to offer. I might even be enough to tempt people away from their companions.
Whether or not this is a good thing is neither here nor there, but it’s something to be aware of. It may not be enough for everybody, but you can’t deny that having those opportunities opens the door to many possibilities, including as many peaches and cream as you want.
“Birthday Cake” – Rihanna
Everybody loves a birthday cake! And of course, you can still have some birthday cake even if it’s not someone’s birthday. This song is sexy, flirty, and on of the many songs about food that are not at all appropriate for family birthdays.
“Vegetables” – The Beach Boys
Not a song one usually associates with a band better known for “Fun Fun Fun,” “Vegetables” is a spare little tune written by the band’s main songwriter Brian Wilson in one his trippier periods. At the time, Brian was interested in healthy eating. It features, as ever, the band’s peerless harmony vocals on the verses, even as they rhythmically chew vegetables on the chorus. Say what you will, the band walk the walk here.
“Black Coffee in Bed” – Squeeze
Squeeze were one of England’s best kept secrets in the 1980s, releasing tons of smart, melodic pop songs. “Black Coffee in Bed” from 1982 was no exception. The vocalist describes being over and done with an ex. In fact, he’s quick to tell us that he’s “out with her friend.” Yet—again and again—he returns back to the coffee stain she left on his notebook. Another of the songs about food that is symbolic of love or love lost.
“My Boy Lollipop” – Millie Small
This is a very sweet song—and one that would prove immensely important as it provided an eventual beach head for reggae. Cut by 17-year-old Jamaican singer Millie Small, she proclaims her love for her “sweet as candy” boyfriend Lollipop. The first ska hit in England and the U.S, this bouncy derivation of American R&B soon slowed its tempo, eventually turning into reggae by the late 1960s.
Still, nothing beats the freshness of Small’s original single.
“Egg Man” – The Beastie Boys
Taken from the Beasties’ ground-breaking Paul’s Boutique, this track is awash in the manic sampling that permeates that album. The trio rhymes about their throwing eggs at unsuspecting passersby.
One of the best fun songs about food – the track is funny, yet filled with an abundance of lyric and sonic detail for a premise that’s rather silly. Nonetheless, they manage a little unexpected wisdom: “You made the mistake you judge a man by his race/ You go through life with egg on your face.”
“She Don’t Use Jelly” – The Flaming Lips
This loopy hit single introduced America to the psychedelic whimsy of frontman Wayne Coyne. The jelly in question could be one of several kinds, an idea that Coyne enjoys singing about throughout the song. Indeed, the band’s view of breakfast fare is probably not one shared by many. In an era when alternative rock celebrated all kinds of craziness, this strange—but sweet—anthem still stands out.
“One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)” – Bob Dylan
This deep cut comes off of Dylan’s 1976 album Desire. The song tells of the narrator’s dissatisfaction with a lover. He loves her but senses that she belongs “to the stars above.” Understanding that it’s time to leave—literally and emotionally—he gets a cup of coffee for the road.
This mug allows the narrator an opportunity for one last, wistful, opportunity to bask in the moment before fate arrives. Then, the narrator leaves to the “valley below.” One of the most beautiful songs about food as expected from the great Dylan.
“Polk Salad Annie” – Tony Joe White
It’s a Southern swamp classic made famous by Elvis, but don’t sleep on the original. Written and sung by White, pokeweed is said to be a delicious ingredient for a polk salad. The weed is also toxic and only safe to eat after being boiled several times. The song is indeed about the dish, but it’s even more a vivid character study (“made the alligators look tame”), set to a great beat.
“Eat at Home” – Paul McCartney
From McCartney’s 1971 album Ram, this is a deliciously Buddy Holly-esque chugger evoking feelings of relaxing at home, forgoing a fancy dinner at the new hot spot. Why not rediscover the joys of eating in bed, pigging out a little on comfort food alongside your paramour instead? McCartney sounds relaxed and happy throughout.
It evokes the joys of Netflix and Chill--decades before its 2010’s equivalent. This is in the class of songs about food that adequately deliver the cosy feelings around eating.
“Honey” – Moby
1999’s Play put electronica artist Moby back in the front of the pack, but the album had some interesting detours. Over a muted breakbeat, Moby here samples blues artist Bessie Jones singing “When my honey come back, sometimes,” taken from none other than a recording made by Alan Lomax in the 1960s. The track is an irresistible concoction of old and new—some serious soul made ready for the dancefloor.
“I Like Food” – Descendents
Pioneering pop-punk band Descendents have never made a secret about their love of food. Another early tune was about making an order at the hot dog emporium Weinerschnitzel. Over a racing beat, vocalist Milo Aukerman lists his favorite fast-food orders (with an odd choice or two). “Turn dining back to eating,” he shouts. Who are we to disagree? Another one of the fun songs about food.