Hats as a fashion accessory or symbolic statement have inspired many musicians over the years. Let’s showcase four tunes with memorable lyrics about different types of iconic headwear worth adding to playlists.
1- “Cowboy Hat” – Chris LeDoux
Released in 1986, Chris LeDoux’s “Cowboy’s Hat” vividly explores the rich symbolism and reverence embodied by the quintessential cowboy hat. The lyrics capture a tense encounter between a brash biker and a cowboy in a local bar. As tensions escalate, the cowboy holds fast, asserting the deep significance of his weathered hat, who contributed to it, and how much it means to him.
Calmly standing his ground, the cowboy points to years of wear on his prized lid, noting, “Now if your leather jacket means to you what this hat means to me, then I guess we understand each other, and we’ll just let it be. But if you still think it’s funny, man, you got my back up against the wall, and if you touch my hat, you’re gonna have to fight us all.”
2- “When Everyone Wore Hats” – Daniel Amos
Recorded by the rock artist Daniel Amos in 2002, “When Everyone Wore Hats” takes the perspective of someone reminiscing fondly about a bygone era when formal hats were still an essential component of everyday dress code. The lyrics muse with rose-colored nostalgia about high society and old-time propriety through the anchor of hat imagery, singing, “When everyone wore hats…They knew the grace of tradition…Possessed a love of decorum. Shook the hand of conviction. No one complained then of boredom.” The tune transports modern ears back to earlier, seemingly quainter times.
3- “A Hard Hat and a Hammer” – Alan Jackson:
Country music star Alan Jackson offers a musical salute to working-class grit with his 2009 track “A Hard Hat and a Hammer.” The song paints a picture of salt-of-the-earth folks who build and sustain communities through jobs requiring toughness over ties – calloused hands guided by determination rather than cushy offices. Jackson sings, “But there’s nothing wrong with a hard hat and a hammer. Kind of glue that sticks this world together. Hands of steel and cradle of the Promised Land. God bless the working man.”
The anthemic lyrics and rousing instrumentation champion those immersed in everyday labor – construction crews, mechanics, factory workers – as the backbone of heartland America, their hardhats representing hard-fought pride in providing through sweat and skill.
4- “Straw Hat Song” – Desi Arnaz
A Latin-infused celebration of panache, Desi Arnaz’s cheerful 1956 ditty “Straw Hat Song” pays tribute to his signature straw hat, placing it atop his head to instant suave effect. As Desi croons, “Whenever old man trouble makes trouble arise, just put a big straw hat over your eyes. You’ll never see the circumstance making you frown, if you just push your eyes under the crown.” With playful charm and Latin swing, Arnaz tips his hat to accessorizing allure capable of making an impromptu fiesta break out wherever he saunters in signature headwear.
Beyond obvious cowboy-inspired tunes, songwriters compose lyrics around hats as creative metaphors for individuality, sorrow, deception, rebellion, and more unique emotional contexts. Expand your music library with these four eclectic picks shining light on hats as a songwriting muse – ultimately allowing listeners to envision donning bold toppers beyond mere fashion statements but as symbols of the shared human experience.