100 Best Songs About Water

Updated on November 9, 2019
Ansel Pereira profile image

I have been an online writer for over two years. I am passionate about books, philosophy, music, and the music industry.

Water has been used as a metaphor for thousands of years. These songs use this metaphoric image perfectly.
Water has been used as a metaphor for thousands of years. These songs use this metaphoric image perfectly. | Source

A number of songs mention the word water in their lyrics or title. While many songs convey the literal meaning of the word, certain songs use it metaphorically to convey deeper meaning.

Lyrics about water can be interpreted in many different ways. Modern music continuously brings new life to this age-old metaphoric image.

The list below showcases a diverse number of songs about water and its many associations. If you have strong opinions about these songs, or would like to suggest some other songs related to the topic, feel free to speak up in the comments section.

Top 10 Best Songs About Water

  1. “Cry Me a River”—Justin Timberlake
  2. “Bridge Over Troubled Water”—Simon and Garfunkel
  3. “Smoke on the Water”—Deep Purple
  4. “The River”—Bruce Springsteen
  5. “Water”—The Who
  6. “Down to the Waterline”—Dire Straits
  7. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”—Otis Redding
  8. “Rock Me on the Water”—Jackson Browne
  9. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”—Creedence Clearwater Revival
  10. “When the Levee Breaks”—Led Zeppelin

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Use of Water as an Image in Music

The word water has been used by singers and songwriters to explain an event, a setting, or a state of mind. While the image has been used in a diverse number of ways, it's often used to make comparisons that explain relationships or the lyricist's feelings about a person. Water, and various terms associated with it, is a common image across many different music genres. Bodies of water, such as seas, lakes, oceans, canals, and rivers are often used as metaphors in order to draw attention to the lyricist's emotional state.

Best Songs About Water #11-20

11. “Water Under the Bridge”—Adele

12. “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”—B.J. Thomas

13. “Rain”—The Beatles

14. “Black Water”—Doobie Brothers

15. “Down By the River”—Neil Young

16. “The River of Dreams”—Billy Joel

17. “Madman Across the Water”—Elton John

18. “Beyond the Sea”—Bobby Darin

19. “Purple Rain”—Prince

20. “Hold Back the River”—James Bay

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Concepts and Ideas About Water in Songs

Of course, different listeners will interpret the metaphoric meaning of water differently, but that's exactly what makes it such a great metaphor. Profound lyrics often convey deep meaning by allowing listeners to think about the metaphors and images from multiple viewpoints.

Best Songs About Water #21-40

21. “Yellow Submarine”—The Beatles

22. “Moon River”—Audrey Hepburn

23. “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall”—Bob Dylan

24. “Waterfalls”—TLC

25. “Dirty Water”—The Standells

26. “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”—Coldplay

27. “Octopus’s Garden”—The Beatles

28. “Green River”—Creedence Clearwater Revival

29. “New World Water”—Mos Def

30. “Blue Bayou”—Linda Ronstadt

31. “Rivers of Babylon”—Boney M

32. “Let the River Run”—Carly Simon

33. “Only the Ocean”—Jack Johnson

34. “The Water Song”—The Incredible String Band

35. “May This Be Love”—The Jimi Hendrix Experience

36. “Come Sail Away”—Styx

37. “Lies of Serpents, a River of Tears”—Zao

38. “Down to the River to Pray”—Alison Krauss

39. “Water No Get Enemy”—Fela Kuti

40. “A Knife in the Ocean”—Foals

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Hidden Meanings in Songs About Water

Certain songs use the image of water to convey or reflect a hidden meaning. The image is frequently used to denote alternative concepts that can best be symbolically represented by water's mysterious and ever-shifting qualities. In fact, the word is so dynamic that it can even be used in a diabolic manner to explore dark sarcasm in relation to past events or unsettling memories.

Best Songs About Water #41-60

41. “I Sat By the Ocean”—Queens of the Stone Age

42. “Ocean”—Martin Garrix featuring Khalid

43. “Don't Fight the Sea”—The Beach Boys

44. “Across the Sea”—Weezer

45. “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)”—Enya

46. “Back to the River”—The Pretty Reckless

47. “Ocean of Noise”—Arcade Fire

48. “The Ocean—Mike Perry featuring Shy Martin

49. “Take Me to the River”—Al Green

50. “Grown Ocean”—Fleet Foxes

51. “Walk on the Ocean”—Toad the Wet Sprocket

52. “Down By the Seaside”—Led Zeppelin

53. “Children of the Sea”—Black Sabbath

54. “Yellow River”—Christie

55. “Head Above Water”—Avril Lavigine

56. “I Am a River”—Foo Fighter

57. “The River”—Garth Brooks

58. “Fire Lake”—Bob Seger

59. “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”—Ella Fitzgerald

60. “Told My Troubles to the River”—Tom McRae

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Best Songs About Water #61-80

61. “Into the Ocean”—Blue October

62. “At the River”—Groove Armada

63. “Cold Water”—Major Lazer featuring Justin Bieber and MO

64. “Ocean”—Lou Reed

65. “Where the River Goes”—Stone Temple Pilots

66. “The Wreck of the Edumnd Fitzgerald”—Gordon Lightfoot

67. “Ocean Rain”—Echo & the Bunnymen

68. “Down By the Water”—PJ Harvey

69. “Mighty River”—Mary J. Blige

70. “Ocean Breathes Salty”—Modest Mouse

71. “Ripple”—Grateful Dead

72. “Come On Down to My Boat”—Every Mother’s Son

73. “River of Love”—George Strait

74. “Oceania”—Bjork

75. “Following the River”—The Rolling Stones

76. “Cake By the Ocean”—DNCE

77. “Girl and the Sea”—The Presets

78. “Across the River”—Bruce Hornsby & the Range

79. “Big River”—Johnny Cash

80. “Ocean Avenue”—Yellowcard

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Best Songs About Water #81-100

81. “Lake by the Ocean”—Maxwell

82. “Walk on Water”—Thirty Seconds To Mars

83. “Sea of Love”—Phil Phillips with the Twilights

84. “River”—Eminem

85. “Sea Within a Sea”—The Horrors

86. “Ocean”—Goldfrapp

87. “Kern River”—Emmylou Harris

88. “Oceans”—Pearl Jam

89. “Don’t Drink the Water”—Dave Matthews Band

90. “Cool Water”—Jack Scott

91. “Ocean Eyes”—Billie Eilish

92. “The River”—Good Charlotte featuring M Shadows and Synyster Gates

93. “Once in a Lifetime”—Talking Heads

94. “Meeting Across the River”—Bruce Springsteen

95. “Edge of the Ocean”—Ivy

96. “The Ocean”—U2

97. “River of Deceit”—Mad Season

98. “Lake of Fire”—Meat Puppets

99. “Don’t Go Near the Water”—The Beach Boys

100. “Aqueous Transmission”—Incubus

Other Notable Songs About Water

  • “Up on Cripple Creek”—The Band
  • “Wade in the Water”—Tedeschi Trucks Band
  • “Like a River”—Carly Simon
  • “Wet Hair”—Japandroids
  • “Draggin' the River”—Blake Shelton
  • “God of Ocean Tide”—Counting Crows
  • “Raindrop in my Skull”—of Montreal
  • “Something in the Water”—Carrie Underwood
  • “Dead Sea”—The Lumineers
  • “Pool Party”—Julia Jacklin
  • “You Don’t Miss Your Water”—William Bell
  • “I Go Swimming”—Peter Gabriel
  • “Moody River”—Pat Boone
  • “Baby, You Wouldn’t Last A Minute on the Creek”–Chiodos
  • “Splish Splash”—Bobby Darin
  • “Beach Monster”—Strfkr
  • “Wide Sargasso Sea”—Stevie Nicks
  • “Blue Ocean Floor”—Justin Timberlake
  • “Across Five Oceans”—Madina Lake
  • “The Cruel Sea”—The Dakotas
  • “Ocean Street”—Aloha
  • “Oily Water”—Blur
  • “Tenerife Sea”—Ed Sheeran
  • “Indian Lake”—The Cowsills
  • “Lake Pontchartrain”—Ludo
  • “River of No Return”—The Jeff Healey Band
  • “Sea of Darkness”—Sonny & the Sunsets
  • “Under a Silent Sea”—Loney Dear
  • “Ocean Skies”—Ludacris
  • “Sea of Love”—The National
  • “Bow River”—Cold Chisel
  • “Ocean Blue”—Willow Robinson
  • “God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise”—Ray LaMontagne
  • “Tree By the River”—Iron & Wine
  • “See the Sea”—Example

  • “Lost River”—Murder by Death
  • “Oceans”—Jay-Z
  • “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea”—The Cure
  • “Wading in the Velvet Sea”—Phish
  • “Rivers in Your Mouth”—Ben Howard
  • “Live By the Ocean”—The Hoosiers
  • “Cried Me a River”—Kristinia DeBarge
  • “Raindrops”—Dee Clark
  • “Binary Sea”—Death Cab for Cutie
  • “Many Rivers to Cross”—Jimmy Cliff
  • “Inland Sea”—...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
  • “To the Sea”—Jack Johnson
  • “Water Woman”—Spirit
  • “Swimming”—Kero Kero Bonito
  • “Whiskey River”—Willie Nelson
  • “Lemonade Lake”—Jungle
  • “Turn Soonest to the Sea”—Protest the Hero
  • “Black River”—Paul Weller
  • “Oceans”—The Format
  • “Made Up English Oceans”—Drive-By Truckers
  • “Water Water”—Empress Of
  • “Life's a Bath”—John Frusciante
  • “A Teardrop to the Sea”—Bon Jovi
  • “Night at Lake Unknown”—Conor Oberst
  • “Running to the Sea”—Royksopp featuring Susanne Sundfor
  • “The Ocean”—Led Zeppelin
  • “Deep River”—John Oates
  • “Love, Reign o’er Me”—The Who
  • “Deeper Water”—Paul Kelly
  • “Water Is Blood”—Catman Cohen
  • “On Golden Sea”—Thor
  • “Lost at Sea”—Zedd
  • “Black Lake”—Bjork
  • “Dam That River”—Alice in Chains
  • “Big Tree, Blue Sea”—Golden Earring
  • “Ocean Spray”—Manic Street Preachers

  • “Capsizing the Sea”—Trivium
  • “The Heart of the Sea”—Flogging Molly
  • “She Took Him to the Lake”—Mallory Knox
  • “Gloomsday”—Pillar Point
  • “The River”—PJ Harvey
  • “Walk Into the Sea”—Johnny Marr
  • “L.A. River”—Rancid
  • “River God”—Nichole Nordeman
  • “Wide River”—Steve Miller Band
  • “Rocks in the Ocean”—Al Stewart
  • “Cool Water”—Sons of the Pioneers
  • “River Song”—The Maccabees
  • “The Sea”—Corinne Bailey Rae
  • “Cry a River”—Alter Bridge
  • “Sea Cruise”—Frankie Ford
  • “Oasis”—A Great Big World
  • “Meet Me By the Water”—Rachel Yamagata
  • “Red River Blue”—Blake Shelton
  • “Sinner in the Sea”—Calexico
  • “On the Ocean”—K'Jon
  • “Mouth of the River”—Imagine Dragons
  • “Girl in the Sea”—No More Kings
  • “The River”—Hillary Scott & The Scott Family
  • “Red River”—Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  • “Water”—Brad Paisley
  • “Drink the Water”—Jack Johnson
  • “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”—Hillsong United
  • “Delta”—Mumford & Sons
  • “River Anacostia”—PJ Harvey
  • “Candle on the Water”—Helen Reddy
  • “River”—Patty Griffin
  • “O.K., Meet Me Underwater”—Jay Som
  • “Under the Sea”—Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
  • “Oceans”—Coldplay
  • “Water Your Hands”—Aloha

  • “Ocean”—TK Kravitz featuring Jacquees
  • “Yes, the River Knows”—The Doors
  • “Somewhere Down the Crazy River”—Robbie Robertson
  • “Drown”—Jay Som
  • “Phone in a Pool”—Ben Folds
  • “River”—Josh Groban
  • “Tennessee River”—Alabama
  • “Fog on the Tyne”—Lindisfarne
  • “Ol' Man River”—Paul Robeson
  • “Big River”—Van Halen
  • “La Mer”—Nine Inch Nails
  • “Rio Grande”—Brian Wilson
  • “This Is the Sea”—The Waterboys
  • “Behind the Sea”—Panic! at the Disco
  • “Deep Forbidden Lake”—Neil Young
  • “River Deep — Mountain High”—Ike & Tina Turner
  • “My House by the Water”—Mac DeMarco
  • “Go Into the Water”—Dethlok
  • “River”—Leon Bridges
  • “Nightwater Girlfriend”—Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin
  • “Cry Me a River”—Joe Cocker
  • “One Ocean”—Chevelle
  • “Deeper Water”—Public Image Ltd.
  • “The River Is Wild”—The Killers
  • “Niagara”—Braid
  • “Boat on the River”—Styx
  • “River”—Emeli Sande
  • “Gather at the River”—Point of Grace
  • “Atlantic”—Rainer Maria
  • “River to Consider”—White Denim
  • “River Man”—Nick Drake
  • “The Light and the Sea”—Dar Williams
  • “Oceans Burning”—The Horrors
  • “River—Bishop Briggs

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    © 2019 Ansel Pereira

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