What does the fall feel like? There’s a certain sadness there that summer is gone, but also crisp coolness that can be refreshing. There’s also the smell of musty fallen leaves and pumpkin pie, and Halloween makeup. But what does fall sound like?
The best songs about fall or autumn are songs that capture snapshots of fall scenes or the feelings they inspire. These can range from the nervousness of going back to school, to the excitement of autumn holidays, to the shiver of winter on its way.
These songs can be warm and comforting or sad and mournful, or anything in between. So, let’s see which artists have done fall justice.
Top 50 Best Songs About Fall
I have put the best autumn songs in groups but not in any ranking.
September – Earth, Wind & Fire
Let’s start with the first month of fall, September, with a peppy song by the same name. “September” was put out in 1978 by the Disco-Funk band Earth, Wind, & Fire. This is one of the most celebratory, joyous songs about the fall season that I know.
It just has a wonderful funk sound…
And, a great beat that you can groove to. Add in full percussion, brass, and keyboards, and you have a huge sound that brings a wonderful energy to the song.
It’s all about a love that started in September when there “never was a cloudy day.” There’s also a lot of ba-dee-ya’s and other gibberish in the song, but it simply makes the vocals sound like horns blaring out a happy blast.
This song has also been covered and sampled all over the place, making a solid place for itself in music history.
Pale September – Fiona Apple
And “Pale September” is one of them…
Poor Fiona is known for her sad, mournful style, and this comes through on this autumnal track. The song is just Apple singing and playing the piano, with a little bit of sparse bass, strings, and percussion.
It has this open, minimal quality, and the piano chords seem to fall one after each other like dead leaves or early snowflakes.
The lyrics take us from summer through fall and winter and back again. In the September part, “…the embers of the summer lost their breath and disappeared – My heart went cold and only hollow rhythms resounded from within.” Is that somber or what?
Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day
Green Day isn’t necessarily the first band you think of when you think of soulful ballads. After all, they were usually the ones causing mayhem rather than singing sad songs about it.
But, on 2005’s American Idiot, the band put out a sad song about the autumn that just might make you go through tissues as fast as you do with the flu.
Honestly, it goes deep…
“Wake Me Up When September Ends” is a song about the loss of frontman Billy Joe Armstrong’s father when he was just 10. However, it was released and charting when Hurricane Katrina hit and was sort of a live soundtrack to the event.
It has also been used as a remembrance song for victims of 9/11. The whole tune is pretty sad and may make you want to miss this heavy month altogether.
Let’s move on to songs about October for our next section of the best songs about fall.
October – U2
“October” is the title track from the 1981 album of the same name. U2 released this album in October, appropriately, and several of the tracks have a deep and contemplative feel to them.
This is not one of U2s more popular albums, though it includes some growth and experimentation that would later make them the biggest band in the world.
This track is slow, sad, and almost all instrumental…
It’s mostly the Edge playing the piano, with a little bass and some light percussive tapping. Only near the end does Bono’s voice come in, powerful but gloomy.
There are only two short verses to the whole song, so here they are. “October – And the trees are stripped bare – Of all they wear – What do I care? October – And kingdoms rise – And kingdoms fall – But you go on – And on.”
My October Symphony – Pet Shop Boys
Things aren’t always dark and gloomy in October. But this next track is still a bit brooding, as much as the Pet Shop Boys ever get, anyway. The Synth-Pop duo put this track out on their fourth album, Behavior, in 1990. And, while you could technically dance to it, this is not the cheeriest song out there.
The beat is very late 80s/early 90s Dance Hop, and there are some ambient, even spacy sounds here that make the track pretty chilled out and even trippy. The lyrics are often clever, even if they are a bit dark.
Here’s my fav: “So we’re all drinking – As leaves fall to the ground – Because we’ve been thinking – How October’s let us down.” Yep, that feels like fall to me.
October Song – Amy Winehouse
Songbird Amy Winehouse also put out an October song on a record released in October. Frank was her 2003 debut, and it included “October Song,” our cheeriest song from this month so far.
It’s cheery, to a point…
The song is about a bird that flew the coop but gained her freedom. There could be an analogy here – she could be talking about a person instead, but we may never know.
“October Song” has a strong, funky beat and jazzy chords to back up Winehouse’s jazzy voice. But, it also includes weird sound effects like bells dinging and bird tweets and whistles in the background.
This gives the song a light and much more fun atmosphere than anything else we’ve heard this month. And, while a bird flying away is a symbol of the fall, it’s not sad here but celebrated.
Moving right along this list of the best songs about fall, let’s have a look at some great songs about November.
November – Tom Waits
As we get deeper into the fall, with winter just around the corner, the music can get a little bit darker. That’s the case with “November” by Tom Waits.
This haunting song comes from The Black Rider, an album of songs Waits composed for the play by the same name that was written by William S. Burroughs. These songs are theatrical and dramatic, like so much of Wait’s work.
“November” is a slow, sad dirge…
The music is minimal, with a few drums, accordion, piano, and what seems to be the haunting sounds of the Theremin. Wait’s voice is a mix of barking and gravel, which adds to the overall melancholy of the song.
And lyrics like “November has tied me – To an old dead tree – Get word to April – To rescue me” let you know what Waits thinks of this month.
November Has Come – Gorillaz (feat. MF Doom)
Thank goodness this song is a bit of a relief to the heavy November feelings. “November Has Come” is a track from the virtual band Gorillaz off their famed second album, 2005’s Demon Days. This album features collaborations with all sorts of incredible artists.
In this case, it’s British rapper and supervillain MF Doom…
Doom lays down some clever rhymes like “These kids is too fast – Juiced off a junk treat – Who could get looser off a crunk or a funk beat?” with his strong voice. This comes over a juicy beat and some smooth bass laid down by Murdoc Niccals.
Some sweet backing vocals, simple guitar chords, and scratching fill out the sound of this laid-back track. The chorus is still a bit melancholy, but at least you can still dance to it.
Gone till November – Wyclef Jean
Haitian-American rapper and musician Wyclef Jean once tried to run for president of Haiti. And, while he didn’t make it into the running, his fame could have carried him far.
He was a member of The Fugees before going solo in 1997, and “Gone till November” is one of the big hits that made him a household name.
The original version from his album, The Carnival, has a chilled-out beat and features Jean singing over an orchestral arrangement. The sweeping strings blow the song away like a pile of dried leaves before he comes back in with some strong verses.
It’s all about saying goodbye…
And heading off to hustle, leaving a love behind. I think anyone who has to be away from home for long swings can definitely relate to the feeling this song brings on.
November Rain – Guns N’ Roses
You were waiting for it, and now you’ve got it – the best-known November song of them all. “November Rain” is one of GNR’s biggest hits and also one of the most listened-to and watched songs of all time. It’s undoubtedly one of the most popular songs about the fall.
The video has nearly two billion views! And that doesn’t count any of the radio and TV time this song has seen over the decades since its release in 1991 on Use Your Illusion II. And I do mean time – this song is about nine minutes long, making it one of the longest songs to ever hit the Top 10.
The song is a story, a ballad…
Axel Rose singing about the death of a rockstar’s wife after catching him straying too many times. So there’s this sad and mournful element that runs through the whole song.
This track focuses on Rose on the piano before moving to a full orchestral arrangement. Slash has two of his most powerful and memorable solos in this song – well, probably since you’ve heard it for the past 30 years.
Fall & Autumn Songs
Many of the best songs about fall aren’t about any specific month. Instead, they reference fall or autumn, either by name or through their imagery. Here are some favorites.
Autumn (The Four Seasons) – Antonio Vivaldi
What better place to start our Autumn songs section than with “Autumn” from Antonio Vivaldi’s famed collection of violin concertos, The Four Seasons?
This work is Vivaldi’s masterpiece…
He used different instrumentation and musical phrasing to represent the different aspects, feelings, characters, and natural spaces of each season. His concertos, written back in the early 1700s, were also accompanied by sonnets helping to express their character.
“Autumn” (or “L’autunno” in the original Italian) is probably the best known of these concertos, at least in the first section, the allegro. This part is fiery and bouncy, representing a harvest feast. The middle section, the adagio molto, is slower and more reflective.
Then, the final section…
Another allegro, again bouncy and quicker. It represents a hunting party pursuing a beast through the woods. The music is, of course, old and familiar, but not as much as the feelings evoked. Vivaldi has truly captured autumn here in all its glory.
The accompanying sonnets describe the scene perfectly as well. “Celebrates the peasant, with songs and dances – The pleasure of a bountiful harvest – And fired up by Bacchus’ liquor – Many end their revelry in sleep.” Sounds like one heck of a Thanksgiving party.
Autumn Serenade – John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman
Saxophone legend John Coltrane and jazz singer John Hartman had known each other since the 1940s before they put out a collaborative album in 1963.
This album, John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman, has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its importance to jazz and just downright beautiful music. It also features McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on double bass, and Elvin Jones on drums.
“Autumn Serenade” is one of the sweetest songs from this album…
The music is slow and relaxed, giving Coltrane lots of room to play off-kilter licks that sound like leaves dancing on the breeze. Hartman’s voice is like melting butter here as he croons with the best of them.
The lyrics are lovely, too, with lines like “Let the years come and go – I’ll still feel the glow – That time cannot fade – When I hear – That lovely Autumn serenade.”
Autumn in New York – Vernon Duke
Staying in the jazz arena, our next fall song is “Autumn in New York” by composer Vernon Duke. It was originally written in 1934 and was first sung in the Broadway musical Thumbs Up! that same year.
Since then, the song became a jazz standard that has been recorded by just about anyone who’s anyone. I’m talking Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Sarah Vaughn, Charlie Parker, Diana Krall, and the list goes on and on.
My favorite version, though…
…is the version by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. This is jazz royalty at its smooth crooning finest. Fitzgerald shoots up and down the scales with ease, and Armstrong’s gravelly voice provides a beautiful contrast.
And, against the slow, smooth jazz background of this song, the lyrics present a picture of a beautiful season. “Autumn in New York – Why does it seem so inviting? – Autumn in New York – It spells the thrill of first-nighting.”
Harvest Moon – Neil Young
Neil Young has been known as a Folk musician and the godfather of Grunge. But, in 1992, he released the album Harvest, which was something different again. These songs were thoughtful, introspective, and representative of a maturing artist.
“Harvest Moon” is the title track…
And arguably, its most popular track. This is a slow, quiet song with a swinging beat that you can shuffle around the dance floor too. As the lyrics say, “Because I’m still in love with you – I want to see you dance again – Because I’m still in love with you – On this harvest moon.”
Young’s voice here is sensitive and fragile, and the sparsely arranged music gives a peaceful, cozy feel to this song. It is dedicated to Young’s wife and represents a lifetime of love perfectly.
Autumn Shade (1, 2, 3,& 4) – The Vines
The Vines have little in common with Vivaldi. They’re a 90s-2000s Alt-Rock garage band from Australia. Vivaldi was an 18th-century Italian composer.
But they have one thing that connects them…
Vivaldi wrote his The Four Seasons in four majestic parts. Well, the Vines wrote their ode to autumn in four parts, too.
“Autumn Shade” was a song that came out on the band’s debut album, Highly Evolved, in 2002. This track is a slow, spacey rocker. It’s ambient and chilled out and makes you feel like you might sleep right through the winter if you fall asleep in the autumn shade.
Then the band did something unusual, putting out a track called “Autumn Shade II” on their next album, Winning Days, in 2004. This song is very similar, but not the same as the first. OK, it’s a part two that’s also slow but a lot less relaxed and with more of a rock edge.
The Vines put out their fourth album in 2008, and it had another “Autumn Shade” on it. This time, it was called “A.S. III,” but you can’t fool us, Vines! This A.S. was back to the slow, spacey sound of the first part, but is still a completely different song, albeit with a similar ambient feel.
Finally, in 2011, the band put out Future Primitive, their fifth album, with another “Autumn Shade” on it. Labeled “A.S.4”, this track is spacey and slow, too, but has a distinct psychedelic groove that harks back to the 60s.
So, there’s a whole cohesive work here, hidden in four albums over nine years. But, all together, these tracks speak about drifting away in the autumn shade and going on a sleepy voyage through time and space.
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground – The White Stripes
Even in-your-face rockers, the White Stripes have been inspired by the fall. On their 3rd album, White Blood Cells, which came out in 2001, the duo put out a bunch of their most popular songs. Among them, and opening the album was a strange ode to autumn, “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.”
This track is still sort of moody and brooding, even though it’s a strong, powerful rocker. Meg White plays her signature style, simple rhythms for the verse and bashing big heavy beats for the chorus.
Jack White’s guitar work is smashing, as usual, hitting hard chords full of distortion to fill up the band’s sound. He sings in his harsh, staccato way, and it works here to give a melancholy feel, especially with lyrics like “Dead leaves and the dirty ground – When I know you’re not around.”
Autumn Sweater – Yo La Tengo
Indie band Yo La Tengo (yeah, it means “I have it,” but what “it” do they mean?) has been around since 1984. They’ve dappled in guitar Rock and Pop, Electronica, and even Bossa Nova, especially on their 1997 album, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One.
This album contained the track “Autumn Sweater,” which is a mid-tempo but quiet song. It has a synth organ, poppy guitars, and a strong beat, but still comes across as very chilled out.
The lyrics are a bit ambiguous here, but they capture a scene with feeling. “We could slip away – Wouldn’t that be better – Me with nothing to say – And you in your autumn sweater.”
My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion – The Flaming Lips
Let’s end with the weirdest fall song of all. “My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion” is from the Flaming Lips’ 2006 album, At War with the Mystics, and is all you’d expect from this band doing an ode to the fall season.
The song starts airy and sparse, with just vocals and weird synth sounds. But halfway through, it explodes into a thick, sludgy space opera track with laser blasters and rockets firing behind growling guitars.
This is actually a pretty romantic song…
Singer Wayne Coyne sings about the birds flying south and everything else dying in autumn. But, he adds hopefully, “This one bird didn’t leave you – You can hear it as it flies – It’s not very loud but you can hear it if you try.”
This is a hopeful song reminding you that while everything seems to die in the fall, the world will spring back and be complete again.
More Best Songs About Fall
Autumn Almanac – The Kinks,
Fallen Leaves – Billy Talent,
Leaves That Are Green – Simon & Garfunkel,
Autumn in Rome – Dean Martin,
After the Fall – Journey,
Autumn’s Child – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band,
Autumn Leaves Are Falling – Nina Simone,
Autumn Shade II – The Vines,
Autumn Comes Too Soon – The Stranglers,
Autumn Sweater – Ariel Pink,
Fall Into Me – Emerson Drive,
Autumn ’68 – Pink Floyd,
Autumn Flower – The Samples,
Fall Down – Toad The Wet Sprocket,
Autumn Breeze – Kasey Chambers,
Autumn Arrives – Johnny Cash.
Autumn Child – Linda Perhacs
Autumn in Vermont – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Autumn Song – Van Morrison
Autumn Time – Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians
Harvest Home – Big Country
Harvest for the World – The Isley Brothers
Harvest Moon – Cassandra Wilson
The Fall of Rome – The Airborne Toxic Event
Forever Autumn – Justin Hayward
October Song – Nick Drake
Song to the Siren – This Mortal Coil
When It’s Cold I’d Like to Die – Moby
Indian Summer – The Doors
November Song – The Avett Brothers
Fall In Love – Phantogram
Red Leaves – Alexi Murdoch
Want to Find More Songs About the Seasons and Weather?
If so, take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Spring, the Best Songs About Winter, the Best Songs About Rain, the Top Songs About Snow, and the Top Songs About Storms for more great song selections.
Also, you’ll need to hear them. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, and the Best Headphones for Hip-Hop you can buy in 2023.
The Very Best Songs About Fall
The months of September, October, and November create a very distinct season. This is a time when the world changes around us. Leaves turn brilliant shades, and animals migrate and actively find food for the winter.
But autumn can also be a melancholy time…
When everything seems to shrivel and die, the weather gets colder, and the warmth of summer drifts away.
Whether you’re looking for songs to paint these pictures accurately or to just hold you in a warm embrace as the cool weather comes in, you’ve got them here. Some songs are about a specific month and a specific feeling, while others paint in sweeping strokes, coloring the whole fall season.
Many are sad, mournful, and even dark, but some celebrate the changes around us perfectly. So, whatever you need to help keep you from falling into the autumn blues, take it and play it loud.
Until next time, happy listening.