Give me a laundry list, and I’ll set it to music.—Gioacchino Rossini
“Driving In San Francisco,” Bill Cosby
Before you even think of getting behind the wheel of a rental car, pay close attention to Bill Cosby’s musings on navigating the streets of San Francisco, from his 1965 classic “Why Is There Air?” More than 30 years later, the advice—or shall we say warning?—still stands true.
“(Sittin’) On the Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding
Even though Otis wrote this tune in Sausalito, you’ll feel the soul no matter which dock you’re siting on…
“(Theme from) The Streets of San Francisco,” Patrick Williams
Imagine Karl Malden riding shotgun as you hit the streets to take out the bad guys. Sirens optional.
“San Francisco Bay Blues,” Jesse Fuller
It’s been covered by everyone from Peter, Paul and Mary to Clapton, but we still dig the original, penned in 1954.
“San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair),” Scott McKenzie
Although McKenzie was a one-hit-wonder, this song will forever be known as the Summer of Love anthem that fueled the California Dream and helped define a generation.
“I’m Always Drunk In San Francisco,” Carmen McRae
“Why does San Francisco, just like a lover’s kiss, go straight to my brain?” We don’t know either, but we like it too…
“Frisco Bay Blues,” Memphis Slim
He may be from Memphis, but the blues are universal.
“San Francisco Days,” Chris Isaak
This track is cool and brooding, just like our foggy summer nights.
“San Francisco,” Judy Garland
In 1936, the movie wins a single oscar—for sound recording. Decades later, Garland’s take on the theme inspires karaoke stars and drag queens everywhere.
“East Bay Way,” Tower of Power
A shout out to the East Bay, from Oaktown’s funkiest.
“Mean Old Frisco Blues,” Muddy Waters
Repeat after us: Only a bluesman can get away with the F-word: “Frisco.”
“(Theme from) Dirty Harry,” Lalo Schifrin
Three words: Make My Day.
“Steve McQueen,” Drive-By Truckers
If the “Streets of San Francisco” theme hasn’t pushed the limits of your Avis, this song might…
“San Franciscan Nights,” The Animals
We’re not sure which is more surreal, the psychedelic lyrics or the fact that a bunch of Brits are singing about San Francisco.
After the sun sets, head up to Coit Tower, take in the glittering skyline and do your best to sing along with Steve Perry.
“I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” Tony Bennett
We end, of course, with the quintessential classic. We know you’ll leave your heart here, too…
Download this compilation at the iTunes Music Store.