Travel songs about Asia
Popular culture has long looked at Asia as a place of contrast and oddities. Littered with war-zones, amazingly diverse cultures and some customs that strike Westerners as both odd and alluring, it's not surprising to see these themes appear in music.
Holiday in Cambodia - The Dead Kennedys
A darkly ironic punk track with confronting album artwork.
Cambodia - Kim Wilde
A heavy early 80s synth atmosphere drives this song about a pilot who disappears in Cambodia.
Katmandu - Bob Seger
A catchy song about the gateway to the Himalayas.
Kashmir - Led Zeppelin
The disputed territory between India and Pakistan has one of the most recognisable guitar riffs in all time.
One Night in Bangkok - Murray Head
From the musical 'Chess', this song manages to capture the seedier side of Bangkok 'The queens we use will not excite you.'
Singapore - Tom Waits
Tom Waits always writes some off-beat music and this pirate tune is no different.
I like Chinese - Monty Python
A song from the British comedians that contains both praise and irony - the trick is trying to work out which is which: 'I like Chinese food, the waiters never are rude.'
Visions of China - Japan
Yet another love song by Japan that is laced with Asian imagery.
China Girl - David Bowie
Obsession and love - exactly what people find people find themselves feeling when visiting Asia.
Hong Kong Garden - Siouxsie & the Banshees
An early punk song from this English band with confused lyrics that is actually about a Chinese takeaway shop in England. Which makes it perplexing with the following lines 'Leave your yens on the counter please'. Still, a good song to chant.
Walking on the Chinese Wall - Bailey Philp
This soft mid-80s tune that uses Chinese metaphors to talk about love.
Comets of Kandahar - Bruce Cockburn
An instrumental inspired by jets taking off at night in the war-zone.
Goodnight Saigon - Billy Joel
A song inspired by the ending of the Vietnam war.
Songs about Japan
Tokyo Joe - Bryan Ferry
Despite being laden with references and cliche sounds of Japan, it's a song that still captures the feeling being in the World's biggest city.
Turning Japanese - The Vapours
A song that is actually about masturbation but still a catchy chorus for anyone who spends some time in Japan. 'I think I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so. Nah-na na na na na naah.'
Watcha Waiting For - Gwen Stefani
Self-referencing lyrics merge with images of urban Japan, to capture a fast pace lifestyle: 'Osaka, Tokyo. You Harajuku girls, damn you've got some wicked style.'
Life in Tokyo - Japan
Maybe it's the sheer size of Tokyo that inspired Japan to sing: 'Life can be cruel. Life in Tokyo'.
My Woman from Tokyo - Deep Purple
Great guitar riffs and lyrics you can belt out at totally inappropriate times - like the Tokyo metro.
- Alone in Kyoto - Air
- Kyoto - Skrillex
- Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) - The Wombats
- Tokyo Melody - Helmut Zacharias
- Tokyo Rose - Idle Eyes