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Top 7 Songs About The Jungle

There are plenty of different takes on songs about the jungle. Some are about the jungles of inner cities, others are metaphorical journeys, and some are love stories. Whatever the meaning behind these songs about jungles, there is certainly a lot to choose from. So, here are my top picks, starting with the classic…

Songs About The Jungle

Top 7 Songs About The Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses

The song was released in 1987, though this was initially in the UK only, for whatever reason. A year later, it was released in the US. This was a full year after the debut album it was taken from, Appetite for Destruction was released. 

Interestingly, “Welcome to the Jungle” is a very similar song to “Paradise City,” which was also taken from the same album as the fourth single. 

So, what was the common theme?

Both songs were about the hedonistic and wild lifestyles of musicians in 1980s Los Angeles and California. Guns N’ Roses, and many other bands, were living the sex and drugs dream, or nightmare, whichever way you want to look at it.

They were times of excess, and “Welcome to the Jungle” is a commentary of the time. It’s also a commentary on the dangers that exist if you allow the madness to envelop and take you over. You can safely assume that this is essentially an autobiographical account.

It’s a highly aggressive, high-tempo song that is filled with heavy riffs and drums, all played with a ton of attitude. It also has a gutsy vocal performance with a stack of shrieking and screaming courtesy of Axl Rose.

It’s all very Guns N’ Roses as we now know them…

But, at the time, it came as a complete shock to most music lovers. That’s because “Welcome to the Jungle” was only their second single after their rather restrained and tepid debut single, “It’s So Easy.” 

However, following the release of “Welcome to The Jungle,” the screaming and high energy continued along with the band’s increasing popularity.

The single charted well on both sides of the Atlantic. It went gold in America and platinum in the UK. It’s fair to say from this point on, the band had truly laid down their marker and were on their way to becoming global superstars.

Concrete Jungle by Bob Marley and The Wailers

This was an important song for Bob Marley and the Wailers. It was released in 1972 and came straight after their first international hit, “Stir It Up.” Both of the singles were released from the album, Catch a Fire.

Until this time, Bob Marley and The Wailers were relatively unknown outside of Jamaica. However, these two singles gained them international recognition and helped them crossover to the mainstream and bring Reggae to a much larger audience.

A year later, the band released their next album, Burnin’, which contained the hits “Get Up, Stand Up” and “I Shot The Sheriff.” This further consolidated their global success, and after a full ten years as a band, they finally became global musicians.

Now, back to “Concrete Jungle”…

In some ways, this isn’t a typical Bob Marley song. It has a slow musical build-up for the first thirty seconds until the vocals kick in. Then, you’ve treated to that beautiful Reggae beat and the wonderful vocal tone of Bob Marley at his very best.

Like many of Bob Marley’s songs, “Concrete Jungle” was very much a social commentary on the events around him. It was about the harsh condition of the poor in his native Jamaica. It’s about the lack of freedoms the poor experience in everyday life.

An incredible song about the urban jungle by an incredible artist.

Concrete Jungle by The Specials

The Specials is a UK band formed in 1977, and they are still going strong today. They play a combination of Ska, Reggae, and New Wave, which is a highly distinctive sound that is seldom heard outside of the UK. 

The band has always been politically active, and “Concrete Jungle” was very much a social commentary of the time. It appeared as a track on their first album, The Specials, which was released in 1979. 

The album was released through the lead singer’s 2 Tone record label. It was produced by the incredibly talented British singer-songwriter Elvis Costello.

1979 was a difficult time in the UK… 

There was wide-scale unemployment, and the country was still trying to claw its way out of a recession. The Specials featured several tracks that spoke of the anger and disaffection felt by large sections of the young unemployed population.

Concrete Jungle” captured the mood of the grim and depressing city life in Britain in the 1970s. It was an account of the low-quality housing, general poor living conditions, and high crime rates many had to endure.

In the UK, The Specials had two number-one hits, “Ghost Town” and “Too Much Too Young.” However, internationally they are not very well known. Despite this, if you’ve never heard their music, I highly recommend giving them a listen.

Jungle by Electric Light Orchestra

Electric Light Orchestra is one of my favorite bands. I’ve loved them since I first heard, A New World Record as a starry-eyed teenager back in 1976. Since then, I’ve frequently parted with my hard-earned cash for their music and will continue to do so.

In 1977, following the successful release of A New World Record, they brought out a double album, Out of The Blue. This proved to be the band’s most successful album. 

It sold over ten million copies and got to #4 on the US Billboard 200 charts and #4 in the UK. It was the album that truly got them noticed internationally, and it also happens to feature the single “Jungle.”

The album released five singles, all of which were hits… 

These were “Turn to Stone,” “It’s Over,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Wild West Hero,” and “Sweet Talking Woman.” However, for whatever reason, “Jungle” was never released as a single. Nevertheless, it is still a great track and worth the listen.

Jungle” is everything you’d expect from an Electric Light Orchestra track. You get complicated musical arrangements with lots of different instruments, including strings. 

Likewise, you get an amazingly beautiful mix that defies the complexity of the music. Plus, you also get the beautiful vocals of the singer-songwriter and producer Jeff Lynne.

So, what’s the song about?

The lyrics are very ambiguous. But, the most probable meaning centers around how animals have a better perception of the earth and a better connection to it than humans. 

He uses the analogy of jungle animals to make this point. You get a few jungle-like sounds at the beginning of the track to emphasize the point. All of this makes it one of the best songs about the jungle.

Jungle Boogie by Kool & the Gang

I love this band and think they’re one of the coolest bands on the planet. Honestly, I can’t believe that they are still going after almost 60 years. They were formed in 1964, and despite having more band member changes than you could imagine, they are still making great music.

I love them so much that I want “Celebration” to be played at my funeral. I’d love them to be there in person, but a cover band would be fine. That should at least give everyone something to smile about. So far, my family is strangely very much against it.

Kool & the Gang has a lot of musicians that, include trumpeters and saxophonists. This helps to create a nicely textured, almost Big Band feel. Although they mostly play, Disco, R&B, Funk, and Soul. 

Jungle Boogie” is more of a mix of Funk and Soul… 

Consequently, it’s more restrained than my funeral song and a lot of their other more Disco-focused hits like “Get Down On It.”

Jungle Boogie” was released in 1973 and got to #4 in the US. It sold over a million copies and, unsurprisingly, was also a big club hit. The album it was taken from, Wild and Peaceful, charted at #6.

Without even realizing it…

You may have heard the song before. That is because it is featured in the classic movie Pulp Fiction. It was played in one of the legendary scenes from Jules’ car radio as he hilariously describes the differences between Europe and America. 

Jungle Boogie” is another song about living in a concrete jungle and the challenges that may involve. It’s specifically about the inner cities of America in the 1970s. 

The lyrics give the listener very little to go on. But, it can be reasonably inferred that the netizens in these kinds of environments were, at the time, merely trying to get by and survive.

Tarzan Boy by Baltimora

I can remember this like it was yesterday, but it was released in 1985. Unlike most of the other songs on my list, this was the 80s, so things were a little better around the world than they had been in the 70s. 

The recession and mass unemployment were, for most of the world, over, and the good times were rolling. And “Tarzan Boy” nicely reflected the feel-good mood of the time. 

Unlike the other songs about the jungle… 

There was no serious message. It was merely a happy Disco/Pop song released by Baltimora and headed up by Jimmy McShane. An unlikely dancing, make-up, and white trouser-wearing bloke from Northern Ireland. 

It should be pointed out, though, that the rest of the band, producer, and record label were all Italian. This was therefore considered to be an Italian band.

It’s a song I couldn’t get out of my head for ages… 

The whole tune was super-catchy and consequently made it to #3 in the UK and #13 in the US. It even made it to #1 in The Netherlands and France.

The song was released from the album, Living in the Background. Very little interest was shown in it or the subsequent 1987 album release, “Survivor in Love.” This was also the case for their follow-up single, “Woody Boogie,” which was released in 1985.

The result was the band split up in 1987 after just three years together. It’s, therefore, fair to say that “Tarzan Boy” was a one-hit wonder about the jungle

Jungle Fever by Stevie Wonder

Out of all of the well-known songs about jungles, this one is a bit of a puzzler. The thing that puzzles me most is that it was only written about thirty years ago, in 1991. Listening to the lyrics and the Motown vibe honestly makes it feel much older. However, it is the lyrics that stand out the most as feeling like they belong to a different generation.

Let me explain…

Jungle Fever” is about a relationship between a mixed couple. The guy is black, and the girl is white. Nothing unusual about that these days, and not especially unheard of in 1991. 

However, the lyrics tell of prejudice and lack of acceptance in the town where they live. Their love is seen as wrong, and the song is about their fight to continue their relationship.

It’s a horrible glimpse of what I sincerely hope are now dead prejudices, bigotry, and racist nonsense. If this was commonplace in 1991, I can’t honestly say. However, the experiences of the places I was living in thankfully didn’t mirror what was going on in the song.

It still feels like the song still belongs in the 50s or 60s to me…

Jungle Fever” was released from the soundtrack album of the same name. The movie was a romantic comedy and included some huge stars like Tim Robbins, Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry, and Wesley Snipes. 

The soundtrack made it to #1 on the R&B/Hip Hop Billboard charts and sold 500,000 copies. The movie made $43 million at the box office, so hardly a blockbuster hit.

And the Song?

That’s even more perplexing because despite having the same title as the album, it was never released as a single. That makes no sense at all.

Looking for Songs About the World Around Us?

Well, take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Nature, the Top Songs about Rivers, the Top Songs About The Moon, the Best Songs About Sunsets, and the Top Songs About Storms for more great song selections.

Also, you need to hear them. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Tailgate Speakers, the Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speakers, the Best Solar Powered Bluetooth Speakers, the Best Waterproof Speakers, and the Best Wireless Outdoor Speakers you can buy in 2023.

Songs About The Jungle – Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed my selections of jungle-themed songs. I also hope that there were one or two of your favorites among them. 

If I omitted any songs that should have been obvious inclusions, then I apologize, but do let me know in the comments section below. However, hopefully, this was a good basis to build up your own jungle playlist.

Until next time, happy listening.

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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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