The Ultimate Playlist About Photography

By Diane Berkenfeld

Photography and music go together like peanut butter and jelly. Well, maybe not like PB&J, but there are a lot of songs out there about photography, which in a way is a blending of art forms. Google “songs about photography” and the results will include many compilation lists that have been put together through the years. I’ve been thinking about compiling a list of my favorite photography focused songs (yes that pun was intended) for years and finally got to working on it, only to find there are many, many more songs that I had been aware of. Seeing how an editor’s job is doing the grunt-work for your readers, I’ve compiled what I think is the ultimate list of songs about photography, complete with links to Wikipedia pages about the songs or musicians/albums and interesting tidbits from those Wikipedia pages.

In my research, I found that some lists included songs that have the word “picture” in the title even if the song doesn’t talk about a photographic picture. These didn’t make my cut. I’ve included only songs with lyrics that really focus on photographs, cameras or the like.

The list includes almost every genre of music, from Paul Simon’s Kodachrome (the quintessential photo-related song) to Outkast’s Hey Ya! with the line “Shake it like a Polaroid Picture”.

Interestingly, eight different songs on the list are titled “Photograph”.

The songs are in no particular order.

Song: Kodachrome

Album: There Goes Rymin’ Simon

Musician: Paul Simon

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodachrome_(song)

Wikipedia Tidbit: Paul Simon didn’t start out to write Kodachrome about the iconic film, but the lyrics he was working on weren’t as catchy as Kodachrome turned out to be.

Song: Girls on Film

Album: Duran Duran

Musician: Duran Duran

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girls_on_Film

Wikipedia Tidbits: According to the above mentioned Wikipedia page, a Canon camera’s motor drive was used to create the effects for the beginning of the song. Also, the uncensored full-length music video of the song was made before MTV launched in the U.S.

Song: Hey Ya!

Album: Speakerboxxx

Musician: OutKast

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hey_Ya!

Wikipedia Tidbit: The lyrics “Shake it like a Polaroid picture” and the song’s success helped to revitalize the Polaroid Corporation.

Song: A Photograph of You

Album: A Broken Frame

Musician: Depeche Mode

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depeche_Mode

Song: Photographic

Album: Speak And Spell

Musician: Depeche Mode

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depeche_Mode

Wikipedia Tidbit: The song was originally recorded on the band’s debut album.

Song: Freeze-Frame

Album: Freeze-Frame

Musician: J. Giles Band

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeze_Frame_(The_J._Geils_Band_album)

Wikipedia Tidbit: Freeze-Frame has been released as a download for Guitar Hero.

Song: Centerfold

Album: Freeze-Frame

Musician: J. Giles Band

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centerfold_(song)

Wikipedia Tidbit: The song has been covered by Euro-Pop, Indie-Rock, Ska-Punk, and Fun-Metal bands.

Song: Kamera

Album: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Musician: Wilco

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilco

Wikipedia Tidbit: After being recorded, Wilco’s label cut them loose, and gave them the album gratis. They began streaming it on their website, and were picked up by another label. (Incidentally, both labels were owned by the same conglomerate.) Yankee Hotel Foxtrot turned out to be Wilco’s most successful album.

Song: Picture Book

Album: The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

Musician: The Kinks

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kinks

Wikipedia Tidbit: The Kinks are considered a British Invasion Band.

Song: People Take Pictures of Each Other

Album: The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society

Musician: The Kinks

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kinks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kinks_Are_the_Village_Green_Preservation_Society

Wikipedia Tidbit: The album The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society is #255 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time List.

Song: Photograph

Album: All The Right Reasons

Musician: Nickelback

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickelback

Wikipedia Tidbit: In 2009, The Word magazine readers voted Nickelback “Worst Band In The World”.

Song: Photograph

Album: Pyromania

Musician: Def Leppard

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photograph_(Def_Leppard_song)

Wikipedia Tidbit: The song was written as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe.

Song: Photograph

Album: Ringo

Musician: Ringo Starr

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringo_Starr

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photograph_(Ringo_Starr_song)

Wikipedia Tidbit: The song was written by Ringo Starr and George Harrison

Song: The Camera Eye

Album: Moving Pictures

Musician: Rush

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_Pictures_(album)

Wikipedia Tidbit: Moving Pictures is one of two Rush albums listed in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Song: Camera

Album: Reckoning

Musician: R.E.M.

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.E.M.

Wikipedia Tidbit: Reckoning took somewhere from 11 to 25 days to record in the studio.

Song: Photograph

Album: Born to Choose

Musician: REM with Natalie Merchant

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_to_Choose

Wikipedia Tidbit: Born to Choose is a compilation album, released as a benefit album with proceeds supporting NARAL.

Song: Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)

Album: Listen

Musician: Flock of Seagulls

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Flock_of_Seagulls

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wishing_(If_I_Had_a_Photograph_of_You)

Wikipedia Tidbit: The song is performed almost entirely on the black keys of a keyboard.

Song: Pictures of You

Album: Disintegration

Musician: The Cure

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cure

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pictures_of_You_(The_Cure_song)

Wikipedia Tidbit: There are multiple remixes of this song including the original album version, multiple 12” vinyl single versions, as well as 7” vinyl versions, CD singles and extended remixes of the original album.

Song: 3×5

Album: Room For Squares

Musician: John Mayer

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mayer

Wikipedia Tidbit: 3×5 is not on the original album, but was added to the Columbia re-release of Room For Squares.

Song: Miniature Secret Camera

Album: Love Hysteria and Pump Up The Volume Soundtrack

Musician: Peter Murphy

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Murphy_(musician)

Wikipedia Tidbit: Murphy is known as the Godfather of Goth.

Song: All the Negatives Are Destroyed

Album: Telephono

Musician: Spoon

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_(band)

Song: I Turn My Camera On

Album: Gimme Fiction

Musician: Spoon

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_(band)

Wikipedia Tidbit: The song is a popular YouTube dance tune for the Japanese robot Keepon, which has over 2 million hits.

Song: Photograph

Album: Catching Tales

Musician: Jamie Cullum

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Cullum

Wikipedia Tidbit: Cullum likes to beatbox during his concerts.

Song: Picture Of You

Album: The Tennessee Fire

Musician: My Morning Jacket

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Morning_Jacket

Wikipedia Tidbit: The band’s moniker comes from the monogram MMJ, once seen on a discarded coat by guitarist Jim James.

Song: F-Stop Blues

Album: Bushfire Fairytales

Musician: Jack Johnson

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Johnson_(musician)

Wikipedia Tidbit: The son of surfer Jeff Johnson, Jack had a very brief stint as a pro surfer till an accident at Pipeline, on Oahu’s North Shore resulted in 150 stitches and a few knocked out teeth.

Song: Paparazzi

Album: The Fame

Musician: Lady GaGa

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paparazzi_(Lady_Gaga_song)

Wikipedia Tidbit: There are over two dozen remixes and edits of the song that have been done around the world.

Song: This is Not a Photograph

Album: Signals Calls & Marches

Musician: Mission of Burma

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_of_Burma

Wikipedia Tidbit: Contemporary music critics point to Mission of Burma’s work as a pivotal turning point in North American Indie music. Some of the many bands that cite the group as inspiration include Nirvana, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Pixies, and Moby.

Song: Take A Picture

Album: Title of Record

Musician: Filter

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_a_Camera_(song)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_(band)

Wikipedia Tidbit: The album is the band’s most popular hit, and a departure from their normal industrial rock sound.

Song: Please Just Take These Photos From My Hand

Album: A Hundred Million Suns

Musician: Snow Patrol

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Patrol

Wikipedia Tidbit: The band founded Polar Music, a publishing company run through Kobalt Music, which signs bands of all genres.

Song: Picture

Album(s): Cocky (Kid Rock)

The Best of Sheryl Crow (Sheryl Crow)

Musician: Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheryl_Crow

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocky_(album)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kid_Rock

Wikipedia Tidbit: Crow plays 12-string guitar, bass and sings vocals. Rock sings Vocals, and plays lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, Dobro, banjo, steel guitar, synthesizer, turntables, organ, piano, and bass.

Song: Photograph

Album: Weezer

Musician: Weezer

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photograph_(Weezer_song)

Wikipedia Tidbit: During live shows in 2005, the band would close out their first set by having Weezer drummer Patrick Wilson take lead vocals and guitar on “Photograph” while lead singer/guitarist Rivers Cuomo played drums.

Song: Photograph

Album: Villains

Musician: The Verve Pipe

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Verve_Pipe

Wikipedia Tidbit: Photograph was the first single released by the band.

Song: Panorama

Album: Panorama

Musician: The Cars

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panorama_(The_Cars_album)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cars

Wikipedia Tidbit: The band emerged from the early new wave music scene in the late 1970s.

Song: Camera

Album: After the Storm

Musician: Crosby, Stills, Nash

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crosby,_Stills_%26_Nash

Wikipedia Tidbit: With Neil Young on board, the group’s second gig was at Woodstock.

Song: Photobooth

Album: The Forbidden Love

Musician: Death Cab for Cutie

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Cab_for_Cutie

Wikipedia Tidbit: In 2001, the band released the LP The Photo Album.

Song: Pictures of Lily

Album: Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

Musician: The Who

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pictures_of_Lily

Wikipedia Tidbit: David Bowie has covered this song.

Song: Camera Shy

Album: Naturaliste

Musician: Lucksmiths

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lucksmiths

Wikipedia Tidbit: Lyrics often feature wordplays or puns.

Song: Pictures of Me

Album: Either/Or

Musician: Elliott Smith

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliott_Smith

Wikipedia Tidbit: All instruments were played by Smith on this song.

Song: Carry This Picture

Album: A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar

Musician: Dashboard Confessional

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashboard_Confessional

Wikipedia Tidbit: The album peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboard charts.

Song: Distant Camera

Album: Silver and Gold

Musician: Neil Young

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Young

Wikipedia Tidbit: The album was accompanied by a live concert film.

Song: Into The Lens

Album: Into The Lens

Musician: Yes

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_(band)

Wikipedia Tidbit: Yes is regarded as one of the archetypal bands and pioneers of the progressive rock genre.

Song: Photographs and Memories

Album: Photographs and Memories

Musician: Jim Croce

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Croce

Wikipedia Tidbit: Photographs and Memories is a greatest hits album released posthumously.

Song: Fades Like a Photograph (Dead Angel)

Album: The Trouble With Angels

Musician: Filter

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trouble_with_Angels_(album)

Wikipedia Tidbit: Release date: August 17, 2010

If I’ve missed any songs, please use the comment field to add it to the list—and happy listening!

A special treat for your listening pleasure (for scrolling this far)…

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Comments

  1. Jason says:

    Another choice to the play list, “These Photographs” by Joshua Radin.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Were_Here

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