Most people in North America have probably never spent any time in a jungle or rainforest but that doesn’t stop them from being fascinated by them.
Because they’re exotic, beautiful, and dangerous all at the same time, not to mention crawling with life.
And that danger aspect is one that gets a lot of attention in music, giving us terms like urban jungle, concrete jungle, and king of the jungle.
Basically, you have to be tough (or careful) to survive in some environments, no matter what the ecosystem is.
And though a lot of people refer to lions as the “king of the jungle”, that isn’t quite correct.
They may be tough but they don’t really live in jungles. That would be tigers.
But let’s not get too technical. In fact, some of these songs are downright silly!
So grab your Malaria pills and let’s check out some fun songs about jungles and danger.
1. **** (Jungle Law)
When Gothic Rock band Bauhaus broke up, 3 of the 4 members (excluding the singer Peter Murphy) formed Love and Rockets and took things in a more psychedelic direction.
Hmm. Do you think Peter Murphy was a difficult person to get along with?
And on their self-titled album, Love and Rockets kicked off things with this song about an urban jungle.
Buildings are referred to as concrete trees and the protagonist goes to confront someone for slandering him, presumably in newspapers or magazines.
And when it’s all over, the slanderer has fallen from the building and finds himself in the newspaper as an obituary.
Life may be tough in the jungle but it’s tough everywhere when you make enemies.
- Written by: Love and Rockets
- Year Released: 1989
- Album: Love and Rockets
2. The Lion Sleeps Tonights (Wimoweh)
Unfortunately there is a lot of controversy surrounding this song because the songwriter (Solomon Linda) didn’t make much from a song that made tons of money.
The song came from South Africa and the original was not in English but in isiZulu (the language of Zulu people).
Someone brought it back to the USA and it was recorded by an American group, becoming a huge hit.
And though the lyrics were rewritten, it was clearly Linda’s song.
While I think he did receive a little bit of money, he was basically told that South African copyrights weren’t protected in the USA because there was no agreement between the two countries. That’s pretty brutal.
But at least we have a fun song to listen to…
And before you start analyzing the lyrics, it’s probably just about the common problem of lions killing livestock in Africa.
- Written by: Solomon Linda (English lyrics by George David Weiss)
- Year Released: 1961
- Album: The Lion Sleeps Tonight (single)
3. Welcome to the Jungle
Lots of young men and women dream of going to Hollywood or the Big Apple to become successful.
But Guns N’ Roses knew what was up in major metropolises. And you either swim or sink; there is no floating along.
This song about Los Angeles (and New York City) exposes the cruelty of the pay-to-play entertainment industry and life in general when you are competing against so many people.
And as the first track off of their first album, it also set the tone for marketing the band as tough and dangerous, the perfect public image for a Rock band in 1987.
- Written by: Guns N’ Roses
- Year Released: 1987
- Album: Appetite for Destruction
4. Back in Judy’s Jungle
This song is about a squadron of soldiers traversing a jungle in an obviously futile maneuver.
But some people think there is more to the lyrics than that, and with someone like Brian Eno, there usually is.
A reference to eating your orders is interpreted by some as a reference to the British government testing acid (LSD) on soldiers to see if it gave them any military advantages. And that was a real thing!
Can you imagine someone saying “Let’s see if we can use hallucinogenic drugs as a weapon”? It’s mind-blowing.
- Written by: Brian Eno
- Year Released: 1974
- Album: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
5. Tarzan Boy
This Italo Disco song was a hit in the mid-1980s and it got a second chance at life in the early days of Youtube (2005).
Although the video is only 240p, it has racked up over 250 million views!
Sadly, the singer passed away in 1995 so he never got to see how popular the song would become in the future.
It’s a catchy and simple song about being alone in the jungle but still having fun and if the Tarzan-influenced vocal melody doesn’t make you smile, there’s probably something wrong with you.
- Written by: Maurizio Bassi and Naimy Hackett
- Year Released: 1985
- Album: Living in the Background
6. It’s a Jungle Out There
What started out as a theme song for the tv show Monk eventually was recorded as a full song.
And the song’s lyrics talk about a sense of disillusionment with the “progress” of the human race and what people are willing to accept as normal (“Noone seems to care. Well I do.”).
Government surveillance, disorder, violence, polluted air and water, etc., all make an appearance while people go about their business.
But it’s hard to make any large-scale meaningful changes as an ordinary citizen and Randy doesn’t offer any takes on what he thinks the solution is. Just be careful out there, I guess.
- Written by: Randy Newman
- Year Released: 2017 (the shorter theme song version for Monk is from 2003)
- Album: Dark Matter
If you’re tired of concrete jungles and dangers lurking around every corner this is the perfect song to get the bad taste out of your mouth.
This kooky song has a positive vibe and even has some jungle sound effects to go along with it.
While walking through a jungle at night, the character in the song discovers a huge group of animals singing and partying.
Upon inquiring what the nonsense lyrics to the animals’ song mean, he is told the translation: “Wondrous is our great blue ship that sails around the mighty sun. Joy to everyone that rides along”.
Finally, a happy ending to a song about jungles!
And if you’re ever in the mood to discover some great older songs, I think Electric Light Orchestra is a good place to start.
- Written by: Jeff Lynne
- Year Released: 1977
- Album: Out of the Blue
8 More Great Songs about the Jungle
|George of the Jungle||“Weird Al” Yankovic|
|Like a Jungle (Outnumbered)||YoungBoy Never Broke Again|
|Run Through the Jungle||Creedence Clearwater Revival|
|Stranded in the Jungle||David Johansen|
|Jungle Fever||Stevie Wonder|
|Bungle in the Jungle||Jethro Tull|
|Jungle Boogie||Kool & the Gang|
|Concrete Jungle||Bob Marley and the Wailers|
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.