Have you ever played that car game where you take turns naming things by letter? You know, A-Atlanta, B-Boston, C-Cincinnati… It goes pretty well until you get down to the end of the alphabet with W, X, Y, and Z.
And Z can be one of the hardest letters to work with since there are barely any words that start with this letter.
So, how about songs that start with the letter Z?
You might automatically think of artists like ZZ Top and Frank Zappa. But song titles starting with Z are few and far between, but they do exist.
So, this list of Z songs is for all you Zachs and Zoeys out there who know that we always save the best letter for last.
- Top 12 Songs That Start With The Letter Z
- Zombie – Cranberries
- Zooropa – U2
- Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie
- Zanzibar – Billy Joel
- Zebras and Airplanes – Alicia Keys
- Zack And Codeine – Post Malone
- Zeus – Eminem (feat. White Gold)
- Zero – Chris Brown
- Zeze – Kodak Black (feat. Travis Scott & Offset)
- Zero – The Smashing Pumpkins
- Zeroes and Ones – Jesus Jones
- Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah – James Basket / Paula Abdul
- Want Songs with Certain Words in the Title?
- Songs That Start With The Letter Z – Final Thoughts
Top 12 Songs That Start With The Letter Z
Zombie – Cranberries
That is, of course, when we make an exception and start with the best. Or, at least the best known Z song out there. “Zombie” came from the Cranberries’ second studio album, No Need to Argue.
This song was a massive hit in 1994 for this Alternative Rock band, going to #1 in several countries and winning an MTV Video Award in 1995. Since then, the video for it has amassed over 1 billion views and counting.
So, what’s it about?
This song is an unusually heavy and intense rock song for this normally mild-mannered group. Late singer Dolores O’Riordan wrote the sad song as a tribute to two young children killed in bombings in Ireland in 1993.
This was at the height of “The Troubles,” the period of Irish independence fighting against the British state. O’Riordan wails in her unique yodel-like voice about how retaliation and the cycle of violence turn people into zombies while the band turns it on hard and loud.
As a bonus point, this song is hands down the most popular foreign song in Thailand, where it is often still accompanied by stage shows and sexy dancers. They seem to largely miss the point.
Zooropa – U2
Another Irish Pop-Rock band, U2, put out an album called Zooropa in 1993, which was a risky step in a new direction. It used Alternative Rock and Electronica as well as sound effects to take the band in a new direction. Well, “Zooropa” is the title track and opening song to this album…
And it makes a big statement…
The band was reacting to the changes in modern life that they were experiencing and witnessing all over Europe. They also saw a degradation of many norms in society, hence mixing the words “zoo” and “Europe.”
This song starts with a slow ambient build-up over radio noise before The Edge’s guitar comes in, and the band smashes into a pop-rock-dance song.
Bono’s lyrics refer to changes and also serve as a critique when he sings lines like “And I have no compass – And I have no map – And I have no reasons – No reasons to get back.”
Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie
If you thought of Ziggy Stardust as one of your first Z’s, you’re in luck. Not only was this the name of a character created by the legendary David Bowie, but it was also the name of a song. It comes from the rather wordy album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
This was a concept album, a sort of Rock Opera, that Bowie released in 1972. The song is a story about Ziggy Stardust, a bisexual alien rock star and messenger for aliens.
Have I got your attention?
This song starts with a solid guitar riff and the line, “Ziggy played guitar,” which sets the scene for this Rock story. The drumming here is epic, and the fuzzy guitars are held down by a heavy bass riff that ties everything together.
Bowie’s voice is, at times, strong and screechy, creating an excellent contrast between verse and chorus. This is a masterful composition and certainly one of Bowie’s best songs ever. And it is easily one of the best songs that start with the letter Z.
Zanzibar – Billy Joel
Not long after Ziggy, we get another great song starting with Z in “Zanzibar” from Billy Joel. This track was on his 6th album, 52nd Street, which came out in 1978.
This album was a real tribute to jazz, even though it is infused with Joel’s signature piano rock. And the song in question follows that formula as well.
“Zanzibar” is a mixed-up jazzy track that starts by working around a slow groove. Funky guitar blends with the piano and Joel’s strong voice as he sings stories about Zanzibar, which is a famous bar/restaurant on 9th Avenue.
In the middle of the song…
There is a double-time, swinging breakdown that gets hot with a speedy trumpet solo, and this part is also repeated at the end of the tune. Overall, this is a strong track that shows us Billy Joel’s versatility as both a singer and a songwriter.
Zebras and Airplanes – Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys is known for her soulful singing and passionate piano playing. But that doesn’t mean she’s stuck to that formula.
In 2014, she released a Valentine’s Day single called “Zebras and Airplanes,” which is a different piece of work. Here she creates a light and ambient sound with some synth sounds and a slow, thick beat.
This track was written more than a decade ago…
It was supposed to go onto her previous album, Girl On Fire, but it didn’t end up making the final cut. So, she decided to drop this lovely, sexy single as a special Valentine’s Day gift for her fans instead.
The lyrics are sweet and funny, as she sings about getting away from everything, just like airplanes. And, like zebras galloping away too? Weird, but sweet and romantic. Put this track on before getting down, and you won’t be sorry.
Zack And Codeine – Post Malone
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody is a Disney kids’ sitcom from the mid-2000s. While the show is pretty ridiculous, Post Malone decided it was a silly reference to build a song around. So the track “Zack And Codeine” was born.
The song starts with electronic sounds before Malone jumps in with the lines, “Man, my life so sweet, I feel like Cody – I wake up, rinse my mouth with fuckin’ codeine.” The beat is slow, and the music is light and sweet. Together you get a smooth, chilled-out track you can really bounce to.
Zeus – Eminem (feat. White Gold)
Still in the Hip-Hop vein, our next Z song comes from the master of controversy himself, Eminem. This track came from his 2020 album, Music to Be Murdered By, his eleventh studio album.
“Zeus” is the title, and references show up in the chorus hook sung by White Gold. “But I got my head in the clouds like Zeus – Swear, I could see the game from a bird’s-eye view.”
Eminem’s lyrics are controversial and meant to stir up trouble. He talks about a bunch of other artists and rappers, laying out disses but also apologizing to Rihanna for talking about her relationship with Chris Brown.
Eminem pretty much talks about how the industry and the people in it chew up artists and spit them out. He also references police brutality and racial inequality. Basically, he’s all over the place, but as he says, he’s a “rap god,” so I guess he can do whatever he wants, right?
Zero – Chris Brown
Since Eminem referenced Chris Brown in the last song, we should bring up his song next. We already know about his assault on Rihanna and their on-and-off relationship. But, it appears Brown couldn’t figure out who to be with.
His track “Zero” sounds like he’s talking to a woman who broke up with him, but it could easily be about himself going the other way. The zero in this song is both how much the other party in the relationship put into it, and also “That’s how many f*cks I give” after they split up.
As you’d expect…
The music is smooth R&B, and a bit of Funk as well. Brown’s use of autotune is clear in this track, giving his voice a spacey quality and the song an overall 70s sound, especially with the robot voice “Zero” chorus.
Zeze – Kodak Black (feat. Travis Scott & Offset)
Kodak Black got out of prison in mid-2018 after being convicted of arms charges but only serving six months.
Almost immediately after, he was in the studio (shades of Tupac?) recording for his new album, Dying to Live. The biggest track that came out of this album is “Zeze,” which then shot up to #2 in the charts.
This song features Travis Scott and Offset (from Migos) rapping with Kodak over an 808 beat. This track has a sort of laid-back feel thanks to a steel drum sample that plays throughout.
And the name?
The chorus refers to Zs, so the name ZZ or Zeze comes from that. “Pull up in a demon, on God – Lookin’ like I still do fraud – Flyin’ private jet with the rod – This that Z shit, this that Z shit.”
But, you gotta figure out for yourself just what the Z sh*t is.
Zero – The Smashing Pumpkins
Same name, but a different song. From Hip-Hop, we move on to Rock and the legendary The Smashing Pumpkins. “Zero” is the famous single from their third album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which came out back in 1996.
This album was darker and more melancholy than the band’s previous work, and a lot of that was found in this song.
“Zero” is heavy and dark…
The drums and bass pound a slamming beat while a sound force field is created by layering six rhythm guitar tracks together. A crazy, screeching solo completes the sonic assault. Lyrically, this song seems to be about unrequited love and self-hate as well.
Billy Corgan sings the famous line “Emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanliness – And cleanliness is godliness, and God is empty – Just like me” to capture these feelings perfectly.
Zeroes and Ones – Jesus Jones
Another song with almost the same name, “Zeroes and Ones,” is a track by British rock band Jesus Jones. They’re best known for their 1991 hit “Right Here, Right Now,” which was more Pop-Rock.
But, with their 1993 album, Perverse, the band took a darker, more industrial turn. “Zeroes and Ones” is one of the spicier songs on that album.
This track has a NIN-ish industrial sound over a 90s dance beat, making it a pretty unique combination. It’s moderately fast and somewhat heavy, and that’s probably why it didn’t make a huge splash back in 1993.
It was too heavy for dance and too light for metal…
But the lyrical content is interesting. Singer Mike Edwards sings that “This time the revolution will be computerized” and that “Zeroes and ones will take us there,” and boy did he get it right.
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah – James Basket / Paula Abdul
There’s no talking about songs that start with the letter Z without mentioning “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” This might be the first song anyone thinks of when asked about Z songs, even if the name is made up gibberish.
The song was written by Allie Wrubel and Ray Gilbert for a Disney movie, Song of the South, way back in 1946. In that movie, it was sung by James Baskett, who had an amazing voice that was perfect for this cheery song.
A little word of warning, though…
That movie has not aged well. Because it’s Disney, this song got into the pop consciousness and stayed there for decades. But, for some reason, Pop sensation Paula Abdul decided to dig it up and re-do it in 1993.
She added some neon and a funky early 90s beat for this track that was released on For Our Children: The Concert. And she made it fun and cool, too. “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay, my oh my, what a wonderful day!”
Want Songs with Certain Words in the Title?
Well, take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs with Baby in the Title, the Top Songs With Train in the Title, the Top Songs with the Word Star in the Title, the Top Songs With the Word “Heart” in the Title, as well as the Top Songs With Blue in the Title for more great song selections.
Also, you’ll want to hear those tunes. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best Headphones for Hip Hop, the Most Comfortable Headphones, and the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones you can buy in 2023.
Songs That Start With The Letter Z – Final Thoughts
Like I said at the beginning, it’s not all that easy to find anything that starts with the letter Z, let alone songs. But I’ve found a few, haven’t I? This is a cool dozen of the best and best known songs that start with Z.
From Jazz to Hip-Hop and from Rock to Pop, artists of all kinds catch Zs. I’m not talking about sleep. I’m talking about inspiration from the final and coolest letter of the alphabet.
Being picked last and thought of last can make everyone remember you, and maybe that’s why all of these letter Z songs are memorable, too.
Until next time, happy listening.