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Tattoo Playlist: 52 Pop, Rock, and Country Songs About Tattoos

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

If you're one of the millions of people who see body art as a form of self-expression, then celebrate your body ink with a playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs about tattoos.

If you're one of the millions of people who see body art as a form of self-expression, then celebrate your body ink with a playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs about tattoos.

Tattoos Are Going Mainstream

Years ago when my daughter was a toddler I often reminded her, "Don't write on yourself." I was trying to prevent graffiti surprises on our walls, the upholstery, or on her skin. My admonishments, however, prompted an awkwardly memorable interaction when she accompanied me to a local veterinary clinic.

At first, I didn't notice that my three-year-old was staring, mouth gaping at the young woman behind the desk. The clerk donned a prominent throat tattoo encircling her neck; it spelled REVOLT in ginormous letters.

I was so accustomed to dealing with the woman (who was actually pretty mild-mannered, in spite of her proclamation) that I had to shake my gobsmacked kiddo a little and ask her what was wrong. "The lady wrote on herself!" my toddler urgently retorted very loudly. She then quickly quizzed the patient clerk about her choice of body ink ... what does that say, what does "revolt" mean, did she know that was never coming off, and what did her mom say?

You may not have body art that spells REVOLT, but chances get better every day that you have other designs. That's because tattoos are going mainstream. Celebrate body ink self-expression with a playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs about tattoos, including those that are new ink, old and faded designs, matching tattoos, or regrettable tattoos. We have a long list of songs to start you off!

Reader Poll

1. "Tattoos Together" by Lauv

As a couple, there's nothing like getting inked together to make lasting memories. In this catchy 2020 pop tune, a guy recounts a recent magical weekend in Portland with a new romantic partner when they threw caution to the wind and got tattoos together. He has fallen hard for her and he ardently hopes that their love will endure. However, even if it fizzles, at least they will have shared tattoos to memorialize their relationship.

2. "Rose Tattoo" by Dropkick Murphy

This 2013 rousing rock song has a strong Celtic kick and features a tatted up narrator describing his skin as the tapestry of his life. As the man does a show-n-tell of his body art, he explains what each design represents. Specifically, he takes care to point out his most prized tattoo:

I've got your name written here
In a rose tattoo, in a rose tattoo, in a rose tattoo
Signed and sealed in blood I would die for you.

3. "Tattoos and Scars" by Montgomery Gentry

In this 1999 country song, a young man meets an older one in a bar one night, and they compare notes on life histories. While the younger man's life milestones are etched upon his tattooed skin canvas, the older man's biography of hard work and wartime service is conveyed through a visual tour of his "ragged old and jagged ordinary scars." The elder gentleman is careful to point out to his youthful comrade that tattoos and scars are different things.

4. "Tattoo" by Jordin Sparks

The narrator in this 2007 worldwide pop hit has decided to move on with her life. After having grown weary of relationship gameplaying, she has learned some lessons from a relationship bust-up and doesn't plan on looking back with regrets. Instead, she regards their time together as an enduring part of who she is, wearing it like. a tattoo. (How very mature.)

5. "Tattooed Heart" by Ariana Grande

We all want to belong to somebody, and the woman in this romantic 2013 ballad is no exception. She wants to stake her claim on her partner through ink:

I wanna say we're going steady
Like it's 1954
No, it doesn't have to be forever
Just as long as I'm the name on your tattooed heart.

Country star Ronnie Dunn later recorded the song in 2016 as the title track to his album by the same name.

6. "Tattoo" by Van Halen

This bass-heavy tune was Van Halen's last Billboard Hot 100 hit before acclaimed guitarist Eddie Van Halen died in 2020. The 2012 rock track is a tribute to "poetry in ink" as a form of individual expression. The narrator particularly values brightly colored tattoos and dons a number of them himself, including Elvis on his elbow and hula girls on the back of his leg. Additionally, he sends out love to ladies with tramp stamps.

7. "New Tattoo" by Brian Dunne

Raw and emotional in its intensity, this 2018 pop ballad describes the disillusionment and doubt that often accompany aging. (Hey, adulting is a hard thing to master.) The protagonist in the song is a millennial who lives alone but still depends financially on his or her parents.

They get a new tattoo to remind them of their younger selves, back when they were untethered by expectations. Sadly, their desire for a no-strings-attached life has turned into a solitary one so that they now sleep alone, have no one to talk to, and they walk through life kinda numb.

8. "Angel with Tattoos" by Skylar Grey

Tattoos can harbor the weight of a lot of assumptions. In this 2019 pop song, a woman who has lived hard pleads for more understanding from her disapproving future mother-in-law. While the rest of her partner's family is supportive of the couple's relationship, her partner's mother remains judgmental and overprotective. The tattooed lady defends herself as a born-again tattooed angel whose evil past has faded like the ink in her body art. She swears she'll never do her man wrong.

9. "Like a Tattoo" by Sade

War is an experience that is seared into the psyche of those unlucky enough to have lived through it. This haunting 1992 jazz number is based on Sade's interpretation of a conversation she had with a Vietnam vet she met in a bar:

The war is still raging inside of me
I still feel the chill
As I reveal my shame to you
I wear it like a tattoo
I wear it like a tattoo
I wear it like a tattoo.

10. "Matching Tattoos" by Gene Noble

Thank goodness for small miracles, like that decision to forego matching tattoos. Didn't it seem like a cute idea at the time?

In this 2020 R&B ditty, a guy who has broken up with his lady is super glad they didn't go through with their often discussed idea about getting matching tattoos to forever memorialize their love. Not having that constant reminder staring back at him makes it easier to move on emotionally from their failed romance. Always remember this: love may disappear but tattoos are forever.

11. "5 Tattoos" by Ella Henderson

In this 2014 emotional ballad by the British X Factor contestant Ella Henderson, a woman suspects that she may have met her one and only. It's early in their courtship, but their attraction is intense. Mesmerized, her attention fixates upon him. She takes in all of his details and counts the five tattoos between his shoulders and his hands. This man may be the one to complete her.

12. "Tattoos on This Town" by Jason Aldean

The narrator in this 2011 country song notices physical signs that conjure up memories of a teenage romance as he revisits his hometown years after being away. All over town, the young couple left marks on the world like a tattoo, and they still remind him (as if he could forget).

Georgia boy Jason Aldean was married to his high school sweetheart for 12 years, until he was caught "acting inappropriately" in a bar with failed American Idol contestant and cheerleader, Brittany Kerr. The country singer subsequently filed for divorce from his first wife. He then married the younger woman and has since started a second family. Aldean wears tattoos in honor of his new wife and children.

13. "Tattoo" by Ava Max

In this playfully taunting pop song from 2020, a narrator teases her sweetheart that once she focuses her love on him, it will be indelible, just like a tattoo. Part threat, part promise, the edgy lady notes that she'll soon be under his skin. Her love will be permanent, just like tattoo ink. What's more, she flirts, is that he shouldn't resist. It's gonna hurt but he'll like it. Wait just a minute! Is this love or something else?

14. "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett

This laid-back 1977 country rock song defined Jimmy Buffet's career for more than four decades. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its cultural and historical significance.

The tune details a man's drunken escape to a tourist beach resort after a relationship breakup. He bullet points his vacation activities to include sunbathing and a whole lot of boozing it up. Proof that the guy is probably working on a serious substance abuse problem (let's be honest here) is that he now wears a brand new tattoo of a Mexican woman and has utterly no idea how it got there.

15. "Last Tattoo" by Rehab

If you're like many people, then you've probably fallen for a lover who turned out to have a roving eye. Unfaithfulness hurts like hell. In this 2005 rock song, a dejected man describers his heartbreak after discovering that his partner has not only abandoned him for another guy but also blamed him for her infidelity.

The love scorned man directs the tattoo artist to bear down hard in removing the tattoo of his ex's name. If only wiping away her memory were this easy:

This will be my last tattoo
To cover the memory of someone I thought I'd always need
Cover her name with a smoking gun
Make it hurt as much as possible and make it bleed.

16. "Tattoos Blues" by Corb Lund

Have you ever acquired a poorly considered piece of body art? Maybe it's located on your neck or head. Perhaps you allowed your friends to talk you into getting it on a whim when you were three sheets to the wind. If you can identify, then you'll particularly appreciate this funny poem about regrettable tattoos which has been set to music.

The 2020 guitar tune urges people to look at the tattoo artist's previous portfolio of work and consider the final nature of their choice of body ink. It also pokes fun at

  • badly drawn tats of your kids
  • Asian characters that aren't what you think
  • illegible script, and
  • misspellings.

Got a bad tattoo? We'd love to hear about it in the Comments Section below.

17. "Tattoos" by Shane Runions

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that's unfortunately not the personal experience of the heavily inked fella in this 2016 country song. His canvas of tattoos is a reminder of his sins, including a stint in prison. While some people use his body art as a weapon for casting judgment upon him, he reminds them that the tattoos haunt him more than they scare strangers. He wears those old prison tattoos proudly as proof of the sins that God washed away.

18. "Tattoo" by Stephen Lynch

Comedian Stephen Lynch offers up his opinions on what makes a tattoo cool in this 2012 song. Almost no tattoo is off limits from from his criticism: Laughing Jesus, barbed wire, angel wings, unicorns, Tweety Bird, school mascots, tramp stamps.

19. "Tattooed on My Heart" by Bishop Briggs

Have you ever wished you could press "undo" on that love relationship that crashed and burned? Unfortunately, starting over is harder when you've carved an ex's name into your skin and thus carry them as a constant reminder (think: Justin Bieber's Selena Gomez tattoo).

In this gospel-tinged indie pop song from 2019, the pained narrator regrets being played for a fool by her ex-lover whose memory continues to haunt and taunt her:

And if I'd known, if I'd known, if I'd known
If I'd known you'd rip it apart
Oh, I wish I didn't get your name tattooed on my heart.

Bishop Briggs is the stage name for British American singer songwriter Sarah Grace McLaughlin. The musician has more than two dozen tattoo and counting.

20. "Tattoo" by The Who

This 1967 rock ditty is a right of passage song about two teenage brothers who wonder what makes a man a man. Eager to prove their maturity, they borrow money from their mother and get themselves indelibly inked.

“Our bodies were printed as blank pages to be filled with the ink of our hearts.” ― Michael Biondi, American swimmer

“Our bodies were printed as blank pages to be filled with the ink of our hearts.” ― Michael Biondi, American swimmer

Even More Songs About Tattoos

Know a song that should be on this Tattoo Playlist? Make a suggestion in the Comments Section below.

SongArtist(s)Year Released

21. Tattoo Tears

iyla

2020

22. The One That Got Away

Katy Perry

2010

23. Tattoos

Tyler Childers

2017

24. Tattoo

Hillary Duff

2014

25. Closer

The Chainsmokers (featuring Halsey)

2016

26. Broken Heart Tattoos

Ryan Bingham

2015

27. Red Dragon Tattoo

Fountains of Wayne

1999

28. Tattoo

Hunter Hayes

2014

29. New Tattoo

Saving Abel

2008

30. Tattos to Heaven

Jay Allen

2021

31. Pretty Fly (For a White Guy

The Offspring

1998

32. Kissin' on My Tattoos

August Alsina

2014

33. Tattoo Song

Herman Brood & His Wild Romance

1984

34. New Tattoo

Mötley Crüe

2000

35. Tattoo Girl

Foreva (featuring Lil Wayne, T-Pain & Travie Mccoy)

2011

36. Old Tattoo

Alex Williams

2017

37. Tattoo Vampire

Blue Öyster Cult

1976

38. Ink My Whole Body

Wiz Khalifa

2009

39. Bad Tattoo

Franke

2017

40. Tattoos and Tequila

Jason Aldean

2019

41. New Tattoo

James Arthur

2013

42. Ink

Coldplay

2014

43. The Taste of Ink

The Used

2002

44. She Looks So Perfect

5 Seconds of Summer

2014

45. Let's Go Home Together

Ella Henderson & Tom Grennan

2021

46. I Don't Know About You

Chris Lane

2018

47. Tattooed On My Brain

Nazareth

2018

48. One More Night

Maroon 5

2012

49. Sucker

Jonas Brokers

2019

50. Smile

Avril Lavigne

2011

51. Nice to Meet Ya

Niall Horan

2019

52. Springsteen

Eric Church

2012

© 2021 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 26, 2021:

Devika - Thanks for sharing your perspective on tattoos. Although sometimes you'd be surprised at who has one, many Gen Xers and older don't have them. Younger people are more likely to have them.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 26, 2021:

Ravi - You are very kind. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your perspective. Have a wonderful day.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 26, 2021:

Tattoos have never been on my mind. The discomfort just keeps me away from thinking of it.Yet another great list of songs from you.

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on February 26, 2021:

I am not a fan of tattoos but I loved the selection that you have put here Flourish. I will surely go deep and listen to this playlist. Thanks for sharing this unique information.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 25, 2021:

Ann - You never know what pattern they'll take on as you age and the skin grows crepe-like, gets other scars, etc. Thanks for a chuckle. Medical conditions are probably a good practical use for tattoos, as the medical identification bracelets can get lost or forgotten. Thanks for sharing!

Ann Carr from SW England on February 25, 2021:

Well, what a lot of songs about tattoos! I don't understand why one would voluntarily have someone inflict pain! My partner has two - one for safety, to advertise his blood group, and one with a dagger and serpent, symbolising medics. We tease him about the red heart with the blood group, because it now looks more like a tomato or strawberry - rather faded and splodgy!

Well done!

Ann

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 25, 2021:

Gypsy - I never realized there were quite this number of songs until I researched it. Some of the songs simply mention tatts prominently, but most are about them. Thanks for stopping by!

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on February 24, 2021:

Never could understand the fascination with tattoos and thank you for sharing I did not know there were songs about tattoos as well

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 24, 2021:

Linda - It's definitely a personal preference, one way or the other. Some people get them to cover scars, like mastectomy scars or self-harm scars as a way of "reclaiming" or retelling their stories. With their rise in popularity, I'm surprised no one has spoken up about loving their ink. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 24, 2021:

Chitrangada - If you want to give them a real shock, get a temporary (removable) sleeve tattoo Amazon. The sheer size, intricacy, and decorative nature will surprise those youngsters and make them do a double take, thinking you've joined them. Perfect for April Fool's pranks.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 24, 2021:

Heidi - A much more adventurous/hard living friend my age (whom I reconnected with from my teen years recently) showed me a few of her tattoos. It didn't surprise me that she had them or that she had one regrettable image attempted at removal (not the best result). She loves her ink though and more power to her. We were always delightfully different as teens, and in adulthood that could totally not be more true.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 23, 2021:

I would never get a tattoo myself, but I enjoyed reading your article. I didn’t know that there were so many songs about tattoos! The story about your daughter was amusing.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 23, 2021:

Interesting, introductory paragraph, and an impressive collection of songs. I don’t have any tattoos, and won’t have either. But, the youngsters love it, and I enjoy seeing them enjoying themselves.

Thank you for sharing another interesting article.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on February 23, 2021:

Of course, me being me, I immediately thought of the Van Halen track.

Soooo... interest in tattoos because you're thinking of getting one? I'd have to know the story of why if yes.

Hey, this playlist may make it onto the Spinditty or TattRing HP sites. Fits on both.

Thanks for inking this playlist!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 23, 2021:

Pamela - You made me laugh regarding the clerk's neck tattoo. Because I was a regular customer and was so used to her I kinda looked right past the tattoo and just went right about my business but my daughter was a bit stunned. The young woman also had large gauges in her ears and had a shaved head so I was surprised my daughter didn't comment on those things as well. The spay/neuter clinic is nonprofit and tends to hire lots of local college students. I do wonder where the girl ended up working as a career with that tattoo on her neck.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 23, 2021:

Linda - You certainly are the cool mom! I'm glad the day is looking bright and sunny for you. Stay safe and have a beautiful day!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 23, 2021:

Liz - Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful week!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 23, 2021:

Peggy - My understanding is that it is a generational thing, with millennials and Zs being much more accepting. You never know though. When I was an HR investigator, I investigated a case of inappropriate professional conduct wherein a manager exposed their newly acquired tramp stamp to subordinates at work. People are funny.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 23, 2021:

Mary - I don't judge others if they want to write on themselves -- it's their bodies -- but for myself, I would worry about the fact that some of the ink stays in your system forever.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 23, 2021:

Bill - You make me laugh. I recall my great grandfather had deep blue/greenish tattoos from his time in the Merchant Marines, but until recently no one else in my family had tattoos. Times are different now and there's now a branch in my family that is all tatted up. I'm not on that branch.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 23, 2021:

I do not like tattoos, but they are surely popular. I don't care for many of those songs, but considering my attitude about tattoos I guess that makes sense.

I love the story about you daughter and that horrid neck tattoo. You did a great job with posting all of those songs and the extra information you provide, Flourish. Take care.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on February 23, 2021:

I was absolutely clueless on this one; gosh, I hadn't even noticed the tattoo references in the only 2 songs that I know on here (#14 and #31).

BTW, would you believe that I've been to not one but TWO Offspring concerts? My younger daughter loves them, and I'm the cool mom that gets to come along.

This was a fun list for what looks to be a pretty decent day. The sun is shining (finally) and at 10 am I've already finished my work for the day!

Liz Westwood from UK on February 23, 2021:

Lovely story about your daughter and a good playlist.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 23, 2021:

That is a cute story about your daughter. Out of this long playlist of songs about tattoos, I knew one. Margaritaville. I do not have any tattoos and do not even have my ears pierced. Needless-to-say, I am out of the mainstream. That is okay with me. Ha!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 23, 2021:

Flourish, I have to be honest, I am like you. I have no desire to write on myself. I don't think I'll change on this but I do appreciate designs in others who think out unique expressions.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 23, 2021:

Total blank! I swear, not one song came to mind. All I could think about was the old movie from the 60's, The Illustrated Man! This was a very weak attempt by me.

And no, I do not have a tattoo!