Autumn brings with it some very noticeable visual changes, making it a great metaphor for changes in life itself. It is a time of harvest and abundance but also brings with it the idea of decline and slowing down.
For that reason, songs about fall have strong literary symbolism and there are some very poetic autumn-themed songs to be found…
However, when it comes to finding songs about fall, the subject matter is a little more ambiguous than some of our themed entertainment article content.
Of course, there are some songs with Autumn in the title that earned a spot on our list of the best fall songs, but the majority are a little less obvious.
We have started with some of the most obvious choices that are unquestionably songs about fall.
Table of Contents
25 Songs About Fall
1. Eva Cassidy – “Autumn Leaves”
The perfect opener for our list of songs about fall, with its heavy imagery. Autumn leaves become the perfect metaphor for a relationship that went stale a fizzled out.
“The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold”
Many artists have had a go at singing this beautiful jazz standard. It was originally composed in 1945 by Joseph Kosma with french lyrics.
The protagonist misses their old flame the most when the leaves change color and remind them of the fall that they left their life for good.
2. John Coltrane – “Autumn Serenade”
“Through the trees comes autumn with her serenade.
Melodies the sweetest music ever played.
Autumn kisses we knew are beautiful souvenirs.
As I pause to recall the leaves seem to fall like tears.
Silver stars were clinging to an autumn sky.
Love was ours until October wandered by.
Let the years come and go,
I’ll still feel the glow that time cannot fade
When I hear that lovely autumn serenade.”
Short and sweet lyrically speaking but chock-full of descriptive language that paints a picture in your mind’s eye. Nothing says autumn like this collaboration between Coltrane and Harman.
It was the sixth and last smooth jazz offering on their 1963 record and made such an impact it was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
3. Vivaldi – “Autumn (from The Four Seasons)”
When possible we like to include something a little more cultured, though we don’t often get a chance, with a topic of songs about autumn we simply had to include a classical offering from one of Vivaldi’s most famous concertos.
Although many of us are far more familiar with “Spring”, whether we realize it or not as it has featured throughout our lives, “Autumn” is a beautiful movement with plenty to discuss musically.
Each of the season’s musical scores was composed to honor four descriptive seasonally themed sonnets which some allude to may have been written by Vivaldi himself as no author has ever been found.
4. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – “Autumn In New York”
“Autumn in New York
Why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York
It spells the thrill of first-nighting“
Although composer Vernon Duke didn’t write this one with anything specific in mind, this 1934 song was picked up and used as a closing number in the musical revue “Thumbs Up”.
It later went on to be covered by many of the great jazz singers of the time. In ’47 Sinatra did a version, other notable singers to cover it include Billie Holiday and Buddy De Franco. Duke was bemused at its success as he really didn’t think the poem he had set to music had much appeal.
5. Simon & Garfunkel – “Leaves That Are Green”
This is another great example of autumn being used to convey the decomposition of a relationship. The lyrics, as with many on our list of songs about fall, are a little cliché but things don’t reach cliché status without being a darn good way of describing something!
“Once my heart was filled with the love of a girl
I held her close, but she faded in the night
Like a poem I meant to write
And the leaves that are green turn to brown
And they wither with the wind
And they crumble in your hand”
The harmonic folk duo gives us a melancholy narrative over a pretty upbeat musical treat littered with interesting percussive decisions.
6. Richard Burton – “Forever Autumn”
This prog rock song about fall was originally penned for a Lego commercial and went on to success, most recently it was covered by ex-Take That member Gary Barlow!
“The summer sun is fading as the year grows old,
And darker days are drawing near,
The winter winds will be much colder,
Now you’re not here.”
It is one of those songs about autumn that once again uses the seasonal change as a reminder of a person missing. Once the trees lose their leaves the outside world appears a little emptier as your life does after a breakup.
7. Lorrie Morgan – “Autumn’s Not That Cold”
This song about fall began life as a Skip Ewing B-side back in 1988 before Lorrie Morgan got her hands on it for her Something In Red studio album.
Like many of the songs we have already taken a look at, autumn becomes a metaphor for a lost relationship, however, in this narrative, the protagonist isn’t all that heartbroken stating that it’s not that cold.
They even admit they feel a little guilty in the final verse of this country song;
“I almost feel guilty
That the hurts not taking hold
Guess I’m just not that lonesome
And autumns not that cold”
8. Kenny Chesney – “The Boys Of Fall”
Sticking with the country autumn songs but this time a little more modern and we have a 2010 memory-filled treat from Kenny Chesney up for consideration.
It has all the key elements you expect in a song about fall but is centered around playing high school football, young and relatable without being irrelevant to older listeners who will reflect on it. It is stuffed to the nines with inspirational lyrics that tell the tale of comradery and team spirit.
“When I feel that chill, smell that fresh cut grass
I’m back in my helmet, cleats and shoulder pads”
9. George Strait – “The Chill Of An Early Fall”
This next country song with lyrics about autumn won’t leave a dry eye in the house, the opening lines give it to you pretty quickly. The singer laments and describes dying inside to have “her friends” see her in the state she is now in, he goes on to allow the listener to read between the lines that this woman is on her death bed.
“Oh how quick they slip away, here today and gone tomorrow.
Love and seasons never stay, bitter winds are sure to follow.
Now there’s no doubt, it’s gonna be cold out tonight;”
Sometimes the best fall songs are on the somber side.
10. Luke Bryan – “Harvest Time”
When you are looking for songs for the autumn celebration, this chipper tune featuring the Bartaks by country hunk Luke Bryan gets the thumbs up for authenticity. The singer penned it in homage to the Georgia farm-town he grew up in and there’s so much to relate to if you grew up this way too!
“There’s peanut dust and corn husk drifting through the air tonight
The marching band‘s warming up under the football lights
There’s tractor trailers backed up down by the elevators
Train track grain car’ll roll in later
Get filled up and head on out in the world”
Positive autumn attributes such as the productivity and fertility associated with the season make the best autumn songs.
11. Jason Aldean – “A Little More Summertime”
“If that sun would have just
Hung up in that sky
Just a little bit, yeah
Just a little bit longer”
Flipping the autumn lost love metaphor on its head we have a song that wishes summer could have lasted symbolizing the protagonist’s “if only” vibes in relation to his ended romance.
It’s filled with autumnal references and uses the cold weather as a simile for the loss of the other person’s presence.
“I brace myself against the cold
And let her memory take hold
Stirring that old fire up
As if I don’t miss her enough”
12. Iron & Wine – “Autumn Town Leaves”
On the hunt for songs that remind you of fall, you are going to find yourself inundated with songs about leaves! It is inevitable that this gentle folk composition from Sam Ervin Beam is a pretty poetic piece.
“In this autumn town where the leaves can fall
On either side of the garden wall
We laugh all night to keep the embers blowing”
The instrument choices give it an intimate feel that suit the lyrics superbly. The whole track feels effortlessly played and very sincerely written.
“Some get rain and some get snow
Some want love and some want gold
I just want to see you in the morning”
13. Neil Young – “Harvest Moon”
This one is a little less heavy than many of the fall songs we have featured thus far. Neil Young has gone on record to say that he considers the motifs used in this one ‘quasi-religious’ to him. The plucked harp-like motifs and heavenly harmonics of the backing vocals behind the melody are gorgeous and very moon-like.
“But there’s a full moon risin’
Let’s go dancin’ in the light
We know where the music’s playin’
Let’s go out and feel the night
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”
14. Cheryl Wheeler – “When Fall Comes To New England”
Another track packed to the rafters with solid autumnal visuals that mark the changing of the seasons poetically. Whether you are from Northeast America or not the colors and the chill of the air are so well depicted you’ll find yourself there.
It’s one of those love songs about fall that will have you falling in love with the season itself and neglecting that it was ever about a person as a listener. Songs that remind you of fall don’t get much more detailed.
“When the acorns line the walkways
Then winter can’t be far
From yellow leaves a blue jay calls
Grandmothers walk out in their shawls
And chipmunks run the old stone walls
When Fall comes to New England.”
15. Fiona Apple – “Pale September”
“Pale September, I wore the time like a dress that year
The autumn days swung soft around me, like cotton on my skin
But as the embers of the summer lost their breath and disappeared
My heart went cold and only hollow rhythms resounded from within”
A little-known dark ballad that Fiona Appleton dropped when she attempted a solo path away from the All Saints. The melody decisions give it some genuine interest and the foreboding repetitive musical motif beneath lulls all the while creating the hollow rhythms mentioned in the opening verse.
The lyrics are well-written and the pain conveyed is real as Appleton wrote it for an ex who cheated on her and broke her heart. Not the strongest vocals but the perfect melancholy entry for a sad song about fall.
16. Taylor Swift – “All Too Well”
There is no doubt about this break-up song with lyrics about autumn was spurred by Swift’s relationship with Gyllenhaal. The words tell an eye-opening tale from unbiased perspectives she fills it with reflection on the best and the worst parts of their relationship. Laying everything bare…
It must have a lot to say as the singer even recorded a re-release version that racked up a ten-minute playtime!
It is a less obvious choice when it comes to finding fall music, it isn’t one of those songs with autumn in the title, etc.
17. Earth Wind & Fire – “September”
Again we might be stretching with this one but Earth, Wind & Fire’s bouncing disco tune with its horn riffs belting out is a great addition to any playlist and if you are making one with autumn-themed songs in mind then we think it ticks enough boxes. September is autumnal after all.
“Ba-dee-ya, say, do you remember?
Ba-dee-ya, dancin’ in September
Ba-dee-ya, never was a cloudy day”
The date mentioned in the opening lyrics is rumored to be the due date of the singer’s son!
18. Donna Summer – “Autumn Changes”
Another disco offering that fulfills the criteria for best songs about autumn without any room for doubt is Donna Summer’s 1976 synth-driving, funk-bassline featuring throwback.
In this track, she acknowledges their love is fading like the season of summer turning to autumn but at the end of the song, the message is hopeful and confident. The protagonist is sure they can hold on to make it through winter and thrive despite it!
“Autumn changes, shiftin’ phases
Autumn changes, turnin’ stages
Surely somethin’ can help to patch it up
Oh, yes, we can
I know we can”
19. Manic Street Preachers – “Autumnsong”
Of course, the changing of the seasons isn’t always a metaphorical change for some the changes bring a genuine emotional change within. SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a depressive condition triggered by the outside world. For some this song is about exactly that;
“Now baby, what’ve you done to your hair?
Is it just the same time of year
When you think that you don’t really care?”
20. The Vines – “Autumn Shade”
Similar to the one above this one has a touch of depression. Musically it can be described as a happy sad song. The Autumn Shade in question could be a state between happy and depressive as autumn sits between summer and winter and the shade between the dark and light. But who are we to analyze?
Judge for yourself;
“Slip into the autumn shade
I could sleep for days
But I like the sun when
I can hear another sound
It’s a long way down
Keep my head up”
It is one of those songs with autumn in the title that may not be about the season itself.
21. The Kinks – “Autumn Almanac”
Another strong poetic opener with this retro delight;
“From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar
When the dawn begins to crack
It’s all part of my autumn almanac
Breeze blows leaves of a musty-coloured yellow
So I sweep them in my sack
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac”
The melody is chill but rhymical leading to the subtle tempo changes of the song and giving it an almost slurred drunken feel, it is a very “British” mellow rock track. There is a tonne of references in it that paint the era and landscape.
A quintessential non-album single from the Kinks with lots of great musical decisions that ice the cake!
22. Van Morrison – “Autumn Song”
This one was picked apart by critics for poor Van, however, those who appreciate the jazzier things in life might enjoy some of the braver decisions with this one. The brush rhythms on the drums with the elegant fills and piano trills bring the pitter-patter of the rain mentioned in the lyrics to life.
“Chestnuts roasting outside
As you walk with your love by your side
And the old accordion plays mellow and bright
And you go home in the crispness of the night”
There are off-beat, staccato almost scat-like sections that give the ear something to pay attention to as they break up the smoother sections. The piano played by Jef Labes is divine. Perhaps 10 minutes of autumn-enthused music was a little too much for the majority.
23. Aerosmith – “Seasons Of Wither”
Five and a half minute power ballad from Steven Tyler. Seasons Of Wither is likely a play on the word winter and the way things wither away but we think it has enough autumnal suggestions in its lyrics to make our list. How about you?
“Fireflies dance in the heat of
Hound dogs that bay at the moon
My ship leaves in the midnight
Can’t say I’ll be back too soon”
Regardless of whether it reflects fall or winter, it follows that same common metaphorical concept the other autumn songs we have taken a glance at share.
24. Guns n Roses – “November Rain”
Again we may be clutching but this one certainly seems to present the same sentiment, when love begins to dwindle between two people, and metaphorically get cold…
November Rain was a big hit for the group and holds the record of having the first ever video to surpass one billion views prior to the creation of YouTube which is pretty admirable.
“Nothin’ lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it’s hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain”
The candle is the flame of love that is being snuffed out by the November Rain or changing of moods represented by seasons subtly within the lyrics.
25. The Mamas & The Papas – “California Dreamin’”
We have saved what is probably one of the best-known songs about fall for last. That opening line with its call and answer backing vocals in full harmony is irresistible. You can’t help but want to sing along!
“All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown)
And the sky is gray (and the sky is gray)
I’ve been for a walk (I’ve been for a walk)
On a winter’s day (on a winter’s day)”
Okay so it does go on to end with ” on a winter’s day” but we’ll let that slide because the brown leaves create such strong autumnal imagery. Songs about leaves changing color are staples when it comes to songs that remind you of fall.
As you can see from our round-up, we have had to include lyrical content that constructs imagery associated with the changing of the seasons, such as the leaves changing color on the trees, colder weather, rainy days, and wardrobe choices with this one.
There are plenty of songs about fall to be found if you know how to spot them, some are subtler than others.
The majority as you will have no doubt noticed uses autumn as a metaphor for decaying love. Everything dies and I guess we can be pretty dramatic when it comes to love.
- Songs About Storms