15 Iconic Pieces That Are Written About Istanbul and The Story Behind It

Istanbul, one of the important cities for people for centuries, has hosted different cultures and civilizations. This ancient city, which fascinates everyone who sees it with its beauty and inspires people with its experiences, is one of the indispensable subjects of art and culture. Istanbul, which finds its place in the pages of countless novels, in the lines of fascinating poems and in the frames of memorable movies, TV series and documentaries with its unique features, continues to be the subject of local and foreign iconic musical pieces from past to present. Let’s remember these iconic pieces and their stories, which are about Istanbul and touch your soul as well as your ears.

1. The Four Lads – Istanbul pas Constantinople

The swing-style song Istanbul pas Constantinople, whose lyrics were written by Jimmy Kennedy and composed by Nat Simon, was first performed by the Canadian band The Four Lads in 1953. This iconic piece, whose music and tone many of you are familiar with, is about the names given to Istanbul since the Ottoman conquest. One of the best covers of the song, which has been presented to the audience many times with different arrangements, is made by the band They Might Be Giants.

2. Tom Waits – Telephone Call from Istanbul

Tom Waits is undoubtedly one of the important names that left their mark in the music world. Waits, who has written unforgettable songs, mentions Istanbul in one of his songs and sends his greetings to Istanbul by saying “Telephone Call from Istanbul”. The song, which was included in the album Franks Wild Years, released in 1987, is about his lover returning to America from Istanbul.

3. MFÖ – Bu Sabah Yağmur Var İstanbul’da (It’s Raining This Morning in Istanbul)

MFÖ, one of the most important music groups of Turkish music, is among those who do not neglect to include Istanbul in their songs. MFÖ takes its listeners to a rainy Istanbul day with the song “Bu Sabah Yağmur Var İstanbul’da (It’s Raining This Morning in Istanbul)” and makes them feel the sadness of a lover to the fullest. This work, which is among these classics with the mention of Istanbul in its lyrics, met with music lovers for the first time in 1984.

4. Franz Ferdinand – Lucid Dreams

Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand is one of those bands that don’t leave Istanbul without greeting it. The group comes to Istanbul for a concert. Soloist Alex Kapranos meets a Turkish girl here. The dialogue between the two led to the writing of the song Lucid Dreams. This iconic track appears on the band’s album in 2009 called Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.

5. Teoman – İstanbul’da Sonbahar (Autumn in Istanbul)

Teoman’s song “İstanbul’da Sonbahar (Autumn in Istanbul)” from the album Gönülçelen, which made a big impact in 2001, is almost a tribute to the city. The rainy weather of Istanbul, the memories remembered, the Islands, the Maiden’s Tower, and much more meet music lovers thanks to the song. The song, which came to life with Teoman’s unique voice and heart-touching music, is still talked about to this day.

6. Brazzaville – Bosphorus

American indie pop band Brazzaville is very popular in our country. The band loves our country, especially Istanbul, so much that they even released an album called Brazzaville in Istanbul for the city in 2009. The song named Bosphorus (Bosphorus) became one of the most popular songs of that album. The song refers to the meeting of group member David Brown with a young woman named Özgecan Tapa.

7. Sezen Aksu – İstanbul İstanbul Olalı (Since Istanbul Became Istanbul)

When Sezen Aksu is mentioned, one of the first songs that come to mind is undoubtedly her song titled “İstanbul İstanbul Olalı (Since Istanbul Became Istanbul)”. The work was included in Aksu’s album Şarkı Söylemek Lazım, released in 2002. The song, which skillfully blends disappointment and love and touches hearts with its deeply meaningful lyrics, is one of the classic songs in which Istanbul is mentioned.

8. Brianna – Lost in Istanbul

Polish singer Brianna loves Turkey and Istanbul very much. Brianna, who had a big breakthrough with her song Lost in Istanbul, which met with music lovers in 2018, chose Istanbul for the music video of the song. The video shot in Galata, Ortaköy and Istiklal Street was as popular as the song.

9. Kultur Shock – Istanbul

Kultur Shock, which intertwines metal, punk, and art rock music with Balkan music, was founded in Seattle in 1996. This versatile group often comes to our country and gives concerts in Istanbul. Because of their love for Istanbul, they included a song called Istanbul, sung in Bosnian, on their album We’ve Come to Take Your Jobs Away, which they released in 2006.

10. Duman – İstanbul

Duman, one of the most famous rock bands in our country, looks at a different aspect of the city with its song titled İstanbul. Duman, who carries the dark aspects of Istanbul, which is constantly in motion and living, into his lyrics, also describes his love for Istanbul as a vagabond lover.

11. Brooklyn Funk Essentials – Istanbul Twilight

One of the iconic songs about Istanbul is the song titled Istanbul Twilight, from the album In the BuzzBag, released in 1998. The work bears the signature of Laço Tayfa, which brings together our valuable musicians, especially Brooklyn Funk Essentials and Hüsnü Şenlendirici. The song’s music video also includes images of Istanbul.

12. Birsen Tezer – İstanbul

Birsen Tezer is one of the artists who sends greetings to this ancient city with her song titled Istanbul, which was included in her album Cihan, released in 2009. Blending different images of Istanbul with the image of the lover, Tezer creates a peaceful piece with her voice that fascinates the listener.

13. Marc Almond -She Took My Soul in Istanbul

Marc Almond wants to take a photo of the Blue Mosque to put on the inside cover of his new record. Thereupon, he comes to Istanbul and has his photo taken. However, Istanbul is not the place he imagined. This story gives rise to the song She Took My Soul in Istanbul.

14. Edip Akbayram – Bekle Bizi İstanbul (Wait for Us Istanbul)

Bekle Bizi İstanbul (Wait for Us Istanbul), included in Edip Akbayram’s highly acclaimed album Türküler Yanmaz, released in 1994, is one of the artist’s unforgettable works. The lyrics of the work belong to Vedat Türkali and the music belongs to Onur Akın. The work masterfully describes the longing felt for Istanbul.

15. Pamela – İstanbul

Pop singer Pamela included a song called İstanbul in her album Şehir Rehberi, released in 2004. While bringing together the burden and conditions of the city with love, Pamela also touches upon people’s relationship with the city and presents a timeless work to music lovers.

Unforgettable Songs in an Iconic Venue: Pera Palace Saturday Morning Concerts

Pera Palace Hotel, which has preserved its first-day glory for over a hundred years, continues to be an iconic address in the heart of Istanbul. Pera Palace Hotel, which is much more than a hotel, is also a favorite address for unforgettable experiences. The hotel opens the door of the Grand Pera Ballroom to its guests for valuable events. Saturday Morning Concerts, which attract attention among these events, help you spend the weekend accompanied by unique music. You can visit the Pera Palace Hotel to reserve your place at the Saturday Morning Concerts or to get more information.


These articles may also be of interest to you:

World’s 15 Most Famous Detective Novelists and Their Works

Top 12 Books To Read From Crime Fiction Novelist Ahmet Ümit

8 World Famous People Strolled Around The Streets Of Istanbul

History of Istanbul Archaeological Museums

Consisting of three main units, Istanbul Archaeological Museums is among the most valuable museums of Istanbul and Turkey with its historical texture, more than a…

Get More Information

Exclusive for May 19th Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day: Development of Ballet in Turkey

Ballet, which manages to touch the human soul by offering an aesthetic visuality, is a type of art that brings different art disciplines together such…

Get More Information