20 Most Popular Songs About Snakes Ever Written

songs-about-snakesThe snake, with its enigmatic presence and symbolic complexity, has slithered its way through centuries of folklore, mythology, and, intriguingly, into the heart of music.

Across genres and eras, musicians have been captivated by the serpent’s metaphorical richness, crafting songs that explore themes of temptation, danger, wisdom, and transformation.

Here, we delve into a curated list of 20 songs about snakes, showcasing the serpent’s multifaceted role in musical storytelling.

20 Most Popular Songs About Snakes You Might not Have Heard


#1 “Snake” by PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey’s “Snake” is a haunting track from her 1993 album “Rid of Me.” The song’s raw energy and Harvey’s intense vocal delivery create a chilling atmosphere. The lyrics metaphorically use the imagery of a snake to delve into themes of betrayal and transformation, showcasing Harvey’s skill in crafting deeply emotional and evocative music.

The minimalist instrumentation underscores the song’s dark and gritty tone, making “Snake” a standout track that captures the listener’s imagination with its powerful storytelling.

#2 “The Snake” by Al Wilson

Released in 1968, “The Snake” is a soulful narrative that tells the cautionary tale of a kind-hearted woman who takes in a frozen snake, only to be betrayed by its true nature.

Al Wilson’s smooth vocals and the song’s catchy rhythm make it an enduring classic. The lyrics, based on Aesop’s fable, serve as a metaphor for the dangers of ignoring true character, highlighting Wilson’s ability to blend compelling storytelling with soulful music.

#3 “Snake Eyes” by The Milk Carton Kids

“Snake Eyes” is a beautifully melancholic song by the folk duo The Milk Carton Kids, featured on their 2013 album “The Ash & Clay.” The song’s gentle acoustic guitars and harmonious vocals create a reflective mood, with lyrics that explore themes of fate and chance, using snake eyes as a metaphor for misfortune in love.

The duo’s tight harmonies and intimate performance style give the track a timeless quality, resonating with listeners who appreciate nuanced songwriting.

#4 “Crawling King Snake” by John Lee Hooker

A classic blues track, “Crawling King Snake” showcases John Lee Hooker’s deep, gravelly voice and his mastery of the blues guitar. The song, with its repetitive, hypnotic rhythm, is a staple of Hooker’s repertoire, embodying the raw power and emotion of the blues.

The lyrics, which speak of dominance and sexual prowess, draw on traditional blues motifs, highlighting Hooker’s influence on the genre and his ability to captivate audiences with his singular style.

#5 “Snake Farm” by Ray Wylie Hubbard

Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Snake Farm” is a gritty, humorous country song that combines catchy lyrics with Hubbard’s raspy vocals and a driving beat. The song tells the story of a man’s fascination with a woman who works at a snake farm, blending elements of love, danger, and the allure of the forbidden.

Hubbard’s tongue-in-cheek storytelling and the song’s infectious chorus have made “Snake Farm” a fan favorite, showcasing his talent for blending humor with insightful observations on human nature.

#6 “Union of the Snake” by Duran Duran

Duran Duran’s “Union of the Snake” is a synth-pop anthem that became a hit in the early 1980s. With its catchy melody and mysterious lyrics, the song delves into themes of subconscious fears and desires, symbolized by the snake.

The track’s compelling synthesizer arrangements and energetic rhythm section make it emblematic of the band’s innovative sound. The music video, featuring surreal desert landscapes and cryptic imagery, complements the song’s enigmatic nature, solidifying its status as a memorable piece of the New Wave era.

#7 “Black Snake Moan” by Blind Lemon Jefferson

A seminal blues track, “Black Snake Moan” by Blind Lemon Jefferson, is an acoustic masterpiece that showcases Jefferson’s powerful vocals and masterful guitar work. Recorded in the late 1920s, the song’s lyrics convey a tale of betrayal and sorrow, with the snake serving as a metaphor for pain and longing.

Jefferson’s emotive delivery and the raw authenticity of the recording have made “Black Snake Moan” a defining piece of blues history, highlighting the genre’s deep emotional resonance and its influence on subsequent musical styles.

#8 “Snakecharmer” by Rage Against the Machine

“Snakecharmer” is a hard-hitting track from Rage Against the Machine’s 1996 album “Evil Empire.” Known for their politically charged lyrics and aggressive sound, the band uses the metaphor of a snakecharmer to critique systems of control and manipulation.

The song’s explosive guitar riffs, combined with Zack de la Rocha’s impassioned vocals, create a sense of urgency and rebellion. “Snakecharmer” exemplifies Rage Against the Machine’s ability to fuse metal and hip-hop elements to deliver a powerful message about societal and political issues.

#9 “Serpents” by Sharon Van Etten

“Serpents” is a hauntingly beautiful song by singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten. Featured on her 2012 album “Tramp,” the track explores themes of betrayal and personal growth, with the serpent imagery symbolizing deception and hurt.

Van Etten’s poignant lyrics and emotional delivery, coupled with the song’s driving guitars and dynamic arrangement, convey a sense of resilience and catharsis. “Serpents” stands out as a testament to Van Etten’s songwriting prowess and her ability to craft deeply personal and resonant music.

#10 “Snakes” by No Doubt

From their 1995 album “The Beacon Street Collection,” No Doubt’s “Snakes” delves into the complexities of human deceit and cautionary awareness. The ska-punk track features Gwen Stefani’s distinctive vocals, energetic horn sections, and a catchy rhythm that belies the song’s serious message.

The metaphor of snakes is used to discuss the presence of deceptive individuals in life, showcasing No Doubt’s skill at blending upbeat music with introspective lyrics. “Snakes” captures the band’s early sound and the DIY spirit that characterized their work before mainstream success.

#11 “Snake Driver” by The Jesus and Mary Chain

This track from The Jesus and Mary Chain combines their signature noise-pop sound with dark, evocative lyrics that delve into themes of temptation and danger, metaphorically represented by the image of a snake.

The song’s blend of gritty guitar feedback, haunting melodies, and reverb-laden vocals creates an atmospheric quality that perfectly complements the sinister undertones of the lyrics. “Snake Driver” stands out for its ability to merge the band’s raw, edgy energy with more introspective, poetic content, showcasing their versatility and depth as artists.

#12″Snake Oil” by Steve Earle

“Snake Oil,” a song by Steve Earle from his 1986 album “Guitar Town,” is a scathing critique of American politics and commercialism, wrapped in the guise of a catchy country-rock tune.

The term “snake oil” is used metaphorically to describe deceitful promises and fraudulent dealings, with Earle’s gritty vocals and sharp songwriting drawing parallels to contemporary societal issues. The song’s driving beat and compelling narrative highlight Earle’s knack for storytelling, making “Snake Oil” a powerful statement on the pitfalls of blind faith in authority.

#13 “Trust in Me” (The Python’s Song) from Disney’s “The Jungle Book”

“Trust in Me,” sung by the seductive python Kaa in Disney’s “The Jungle Book,” is a mesmerizing lullaby that perfectly captures the character’s manipulative charm. The song, with its hypnotic melody and soothing vocals, lures the listener into a false sense of security, mirroring Kaa’s attempt to beguile Mowgli.

This track stands out for its clever use of music to enhance storytelling, using the snake’s perspective to add depth and intrigue to the film’s narrative.

#14 “Rattlesnakes” by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions

“Rattlesnakes,” the title track of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions’ 1984 debut album, features jangly guitars and literate, introspective lyrics. The song tells the story of a girl who metaphorically wears “rattlesnakes” to protect herself, weaving references to Simone de Beauvoir and Eva Marie Saint into a narrative of vulnerability and pretense.

Cole’s evocative storytelling and the band’s melodic, folk-rock sound make “Rattlesnakes” a poignant exploration of identity and illusion.

#15 “Diamondback Sturgeon” by Primus

“Diamondback Sturgeon” showcases Primus’s unique blend of funk metal with Les Claypool’s distinctive bass playing and quirky vocals at the forefront. The song humorously addresses the plight of the diamondback sturgeon fish, using it as a springboard to comment on environmental and societal issues.

With its complex rhythms, innovative instrumentation, and satirical lyrics, “Diamondback Sturgeon” exemplifies Primus’s ability to tackle serious topics in a whimsically engaging manner, making it a standout track in their discography.

#16 “Don’t Tread on Me” by Metallica

“Don’t Tread on Me” is a song by Metallica, featured on their self-titled album, often referred to as “The Black Album.” Released in 1991, the song serves as a bold statement of defiance and resilience, with its title drawing from the historical Gadsden flag, which features a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike.

The heavy, aggressive guitar riffs and James Hetfield’s commanding vocals emphasize a message of standing strong in the face of adversity, making it one of Metallica’s more politically charged offerings.

#17 “Sly” by Massive Attack

Featured on their 1994 album “Protection,” “Sly” by Massive Attack is a trip-hop masterpiece characterized by its seductive beats and the ethereal vocals of Nicolette. The song weaves a tale of elusive love and deception, likening a stealthy lover to a snake.

The track’s atmospheric sound, blending smooth rhythms with haunting melodies, encapsulates the band’s ability to craft music that is both deeply emotive and intricately layered, solidifying their status as pioneers of the trip-hop genre.

#18 “Viper’s Drag” by Fats Waller

“Viper’s Drag” is an instrumental track by jazz pianist Fats Waller, showcasing his virtuosity and flair for stride piano. Composed during the Harlem Renaissance, the song’s title is a nod to cannabis culture (viper being slang for a cannabis smoker) and features a playful, yet sophisticated arrangement.

Waller’s performance is both lively and technically brilliant, capturing the spirit and innovation of early jazz. “Viper’s Drag” remains a testament to Waller’s influence on jazz and his ability to infuse his compositions with humor and complexity.

#19 “Snake” by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

“Snake” by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is a dynamic track that showcases the band’s signature blend of psychedelic rock and experimental sounds.

The song, featured on their album “Flying Microtonal Banana,” explores themes of nature and its cycles through mesmerizing guitar riffs and hypnotic rhythms. The use of microtonal tuning creates an otherworldly sonic landscape, inviting listeners into a vivid narrative journey that is as unpredictable as it is engaging.

#20 “Python” by Miguel

Miguel’s “Python” is a sultry, rhythm-and-blues track that seduces listeners with its smooth vocals and intoxicating beats. Released as a standalone single, the song metaphorically uses the imagery of a python to explore themes of desire and entanglement.

Miguel’s masterful blend of R&B with elements of funk and soul, along with his evocative lyricism, makes “Python” a captivating ode to the complexities of love and attraction, highlighting his prowess as a songwriter and performer.

#21 “Boa Constrictor” by Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash’s “Boa Constrictor” is a humorous country song from his album “Everybody Loves a Nut.” The song tells the story of a man getting swallowed whole by a boa constrictor, with Cash’s deep, resonant voice recounting the ordeal in a playful manner.

The track’s lighthearted approach to storytelling, combined with Cash’s iconic sound, showcases his ability to infuse humor into his music. “Boa Constrictor” stands out for its whimsical lyrics and Cash’s engaging performance, making it a memorable piece in his diverse discography.

#22 “Snake in the Grass” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

“Snake in the Grass” by Bob Marley & The Wailers is a reggae track that delves into themes of betrayal and caution. The song’s steady rhythm and Marley’s soulful vocals create a laid-back yet poignant atmosphere, urging listeners to be wary of deceitful individuals.

The metaphor of a snake in the grass is used effectively to convey the message, highlighting Marley’s skillful songwriting and the band’s ability to address serious topics with their music. This track exemplifies the Wailers’ talent for blending infectious melodies with meaningful lyrics.

#23 “Oroborus” by Gojira

“Oroborus” by Gojira is a powerful metal track that explores themes of infinity and the cyclical nature of life, symbolized by the ancient symbol of a serpent eating its own tail. The song’s heavy riffs, complex rhythms, and intense vocals showcase Gojira’s signature sound, which combines technical prowess with deep philosophical lyrics.

“Oroborus” stands as a testament to the band’s ability to craft music that is not only sonically compelling but also thought-provoking, cementing their place in the metal genre.

#24 “Snake Dance” by The March Violets

“Snake Dance” by The March Violets is a post-punk anthem characterized by its dark, driving bassline and atmospheric synth melodies. The song’s catchy chorus and energetic rhythm make it a staple of the gothic rock scene.

The lyrics, filled with imagery of temptation and danger, mirror the seductive quality of a snake’s dance, encapsulating the band’s flair for combining gothic aesthetics with danceable beats. “Snake Dance” remains a favorite among fans for its blend of moody lyricism and infectious energy.

#25 “White Summer/Black Mountain Side” by Led Zeppelin

This instrumental track by Led Zeppelin, primarily performed by Jimmy Page on acoustic guitar, showcases a fusion of Celtic folk influences and Indian classical music motifs. The guitar work, reminiscent of a snake’s slithering movement, weaves a complex tapestry of sound that transports listeners to a mystical landscape.

The song’s intricate picking patterns and use of drone notes create a mesmerizing ambiance, highlighting Page’s virtuosity and Led Zeppelin’s experimental approach to music. “White Summer/Black Mountain Side” stands as a testament to the band’s innovative spirit and their ability to blend diverse musical traditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do artists frequently use snake imagery in their music?

Artists often use snake imagery in their music to explore themes of temptation, danger, wisdom, and transformation, capitalizing on the rich symbolic meanings associated with snakes across various cultures and mythologies.

Can snake-themed songs be found across different music genres?

Yes, snake-themed songs span a wide range of music genres, from blues and rock to country and pop, showcasing the versatility of the snake as a source of artistic inspiration and thematic exploration.

How do musicians convey the characteristics of snakes in their songs?

Musicians convey the characteristics of snakes in their songs through metaphorical lyrics that reflect the serpent’s enigmatic and dual nature, as well as through musical elements that mimic the slithering motion or sinister aura of snakes.

Have any snake-themed songs achieved significant commercial success or critical acclaim?

Many snake-themed songs have achieved significant commercial success and critical acclaim, with tracks like “Union of the Snake” by Duran Duran and “Don’t Tread on Me” by Metallica resonating with wide audiences and becoming iconic additions to the artists’ discographies.

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