When I think of songs about dragons, the first one that comes to my mind is “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter Paul & Mary. It’s one of the first songs I remember ever hearing, truth be told, and the song might not even be about a dragon!
But certainly there has to be more memorable songs than just that one, right? Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to explore today in this article!
The Best Songs About Dragons
“True Dragons” by Battlelore
Battlelore is a symphonic heavy metal band from Finland that has released seven albums over the last two decades. Their music tells tales of warriors and their swords, the ancient evils that lurk in the shadows of the night, goblins, and guardians, and on many occasions, they sing about dragons.
Battlelore’s most recent album, The Return of the Shadow, recalls (some of) the legend of The Eight or the Aratar – the “High Ones of Arda” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion. “True Dragons” has lyrics about “mountain caves, secret halls – endless treasures, rings, and jewels,” presumably guarded over, or hoarded completely, by the ancient creatures of Middle Earth.
“Night of a thousand years
The beast eternal
It knows your deepest fears
Knows you are near.”
“Eternal Majesty Manifest” by Stormkeep
Stormkeep is a melodic black metal band from Denver, Colorado. Their album, Tales of Othertime (2021), is a cumbersome (though extremely melodic) album that tells the tale of a medieval wizard in search of ancient wisdom and forbidden knowledge contained within the Serpent’s Stone which he eventually uses to resurrect the Dragon Kings.
The wizard uses the Serpent’s Stone to resurrect the Dragon Kings. Together they ride a “calvary of dragons” to help conjure enough wickedness within men and beasts to bring about eternal destruction.
“Eternal Majesty Manifest” is the 8-minute conclusion of the album in which the Dragon Riders embark on their journey of devastation.
“On wings of fire and ice
The wind of the north to guide
An army of beasts, ten thousand strong
The Dragon Kings ride on.”
“Dragon Attack” by Queen
This might just be one of the most enjoyable rock songs about dragons ever recorded. Said to be either about cracking under the pressure of a recording deadline, or a reference to buying, selling, or taking various drugs, “Dragon Attack” is a straight-up classic hard rock tune with loud guitars, cowbells, and sing-along hooks. I’m not well-versed enough in Queen’s history to know exactly where the song is coming from, but I think it deserves much more credit.
I like to think of a cool leather coat-wearing dragon named Mack when I hear this tune. He walks on his hind legs and smokes cigarettes. Everybody wants to be like Mack, but this is obviously a fantasy. In the same way as “Puff the Magic Dragon” could be about many other things besides a dragon. It’s the image that sells the song, and there must be a reason why drugs have been associated with dragons for so long.
Queen’s 1980 album The Game is more well-known for containing “Another One Bites the Dust,” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
“Where Dragons Dwell” by Gojira
It doesn’t get much bigger in the metal world than Gojira. They’ve crossed over into the mainstream along with bands like Lamb of God, Machine Head, and Mastodon.
“Where Dragon’s Dwell,” just like any Gojira song, is full of bone-crushing guitar riffs and snarling vocals. Not quite the stuff of nightmares, but Gojira does well at announcing one is on the way.
There’s a moment about halfway through that sounds like the dragon taking a breath as the vocals scream “I saw – I saw monsters!” They’re confronting all of the demons in front of them like warriors.
This song is from Gojira’s third album, From Mars to Sirius (2005), which many fans consider the band’s greatest achievement. If you’re seeking notable metal songs about dragons, look no further than “Where Dragons Dwell.”
“I met the dragon
in a cave by the mountain
Now I bring the evidence
the beast is alive”
“Dragons” by Nekrogoblikon
I saw Nekrogoblikon in concert about eight years ago at a club near where I live. They had a dude dressed as a goblin running around the stage and into the crowd. As far as I know, they still do. High-energy insanity. Talk about embracing your sense of humor!
“Dragons” is from their fourth album, Welcome to Bonkers (2018), and serves as a good introduction to what they have to offer. Keyboard-drenched, guitar-heavy, hyperactive folk metal. This song is about a happier, more clumsy, misunderstood dragon.
One of the more humorous lyrics says the dragon is “ripping you to shreds,” but “it wants to be your friend. It’s just trying to impress you, so won’t you let it be?”
“A Dragon-Hafted Key” by Fogweaver
Fogweaver is an enigmatic dungeon synth project based in Colorado. For the uninitiated, dungeon synth is a type of electronic music that uses vintage synthesizers to create epic soundscapes inspired by fantasy realms and ancient mythology. Fogweaver specializes in the Books of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin.
There are several dragons in the Earthsea books, and Le Guin’s dragon mythology is extensive. “A Dragon Hafted Key” comes from Fogweaver’s 2022 album Labyrinthine, which was inspired by the second Earthsea book, The Tombs of Atuan. Fogweaver’s music would make a great reading companion, for those so inclined.
“The Dragons’ Flight Across the Waves” by Amon Amarth
Are you ready to feast like Vikings?! With deep roots in the beautiful and often harsh Scandinavian countryside, Amon Amarth is always happy to supply the entertainment – and perhaps the beer.
Amon Amarth is named after Mount Doom from Tolkien’s The Return of the King, which is responsible for much of what we think about when we think about fantasy. Though not specifically dragons, in the case of The Lord of the Rings, it’s not a stretch to connect Mount Doom to the dragon Smaug from The Hobbit.
“The Dragons’ Flight Across the Waves” is from Amon Amarth’s first full-length album, Once Sent from the Golden Hall (1998). The song is about a fleet of Viking longships called dragons leaving the shores of their homeland to fight in a war. These ships had carved dragons’ heads on their bows, which must have only added to their menacing presence.
“The wind is strong
And the sun is war,
Their Dragons fly
Across the waves.”
“Smaug… the Dragon” by Smoke of Isengard
Smoke of Isengard is a stoner doom project by a Russian artist named Veralden Olmai. 2022 saw the release of an album called Orc Metal, and if you know anything about doom, you’ll not be surprised to learn the riffs are plentiful.
Bands like this regularly sing about wizards, bogs, hallucinogenic frogs, and dragons. They have names like Bong Wizard, Doctor Doom, and Telekinetic Yeti, and survive by obeying the Riff with a sense of humor. Smoke of Isengard takes all these things more seriously – with an attitude and a sound closer to early Black Sabbath.
In the Tolkien universe, Smaug’s evil greed is legendary. He lies around in a castle he stole from the dwarves and has been there for so long the gold underneath him has fused to his underbelly. After Bilbo Baggins, the hero of the story burgles a gold cup from the beast, Smaug takes to the sky in a rage and begins breathing fire into nearby villages.
“Smaug… the Dragon” sounds like what you can imagine the villagers saw as they ran for their lives. Pure terror – from the depths of the darkest places.
“Smaug the Destroyer” by Orcrypt
“Smaug the Destroyer” looks at the dragon from a different angle, as Orcrypt treats Smaug like a character from a Dungeon’s & Dragon’s campaign. It’s still an evil sound but from the perspective of someone who was not there – telling the story to the ancestors of survivors as they feast by the fire.
Joseph Pearce, a somewhat controversial Tolkien biographer, wrote that Smaug’s anger “at the loss of a single insignificant and practically useless trinket serves as a metaphor for modern man and his mania for possessing trash that he doesn’t need.” It was ironic then that Smaug’s weak spot was the one place gold couldn’t penetrate – his heart.
“His chest is gems and gold
To protect him from attack
His only weakness
Tempting the arrows of men.”
“I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran
Didn’t see this one coming, did you? And guess what – I dig Ed Sheeran. No apologies here.
I do find it entertaining to think of a Hobbit-sized Ed Sheeran singing songs about the Misty Mountains and the burning of ancient trees.
This song is from the soundtrack to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, directed by Peter Jackson. It plays at the end of the film during the credits, which I think is brilliant. If Smaug was real and folks were telling these stories around modern campfires, who better to sing about it these days than Ed Sheeran?
“And I see fire – Hollowing souls
And I see fire – Blood in the breeze
And I hope that you remember me.”
“The Death of Glaurung” by Nan Morlith
Glaurung was the first dragon, according to an article in Tolkien Gateway, which is an entertaining website that reads like all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth was (or still is) a real place. There you can read about Glaurung’s entire history, from his mysterious birth to his eventual demise. It may, however, be more enjoyable to read Tolkien’s Silmarillion.
One musician who would surely agree is Nan Morlith. His 2017 album “Narn i Chîn Húrin” is dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien and Christopher Lee, whose narration from the audio version of The Children of Húrin” can be heard at the end of “The Death of Glaurung.”
Nan Morlith is a Swedish musician who plays dark ambient dungeon synth. The sound is thicker than many of the same ilk – perhaps less dated. It’s a cool album to check out, should you get the chance.
“Die now, and the darkness have you!
Thus is Túrin, son of Húrin avenged!”
“Godzilla” by Blue Öyster Cult
No list of songs about dragons would be complete without mentioning Godzilla. There are some who argue Godzilla’s really a dinosaur, but they’ll never convince me of that. Godzilla breathes fire. And maybe he’s so angry because he’s the only dragon without wings.
Blue Öyster Cult’s “Godzilla” came out in 1977, which means that most of us have been aware of this song for as long as we’ve known about Godzilla. What do you see when you hear the lyrics, “with a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound – he pulls the spitting high-tension wires down”? And what does that sound like to you?
To me, it looks like a guy in a dragon suit smashing miniature buildings, and it sounds like classic rock.
“Oh no! They say he’s got to go. Go! Go! Godzilla!”
“King Ghidorah” by Witchspëll
King Ghidorah is the three-headed dragon that has been trying to kill Godzilla for decades. He’s been Godzilla’s Hollywood co-star many times. As recently as 2019 in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” by noted horror movie director Michael Dougherty (Trick r’ Treat, (2007), Krampus, 2015.)
Is this movie any good? A better question would be “does it matter?” Godzilla never had to be “good.” He’s Godzilla!
Witchspëll is a heavy metal band from Mexico that occupies a seat at the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal (NWOTHM) table. “King Ghidorah” is an instrumental track from their 2019 EP called Demons. They sound a like a band that might have influenced Metallica, or the lesser-known Canadian band, Anvil.
There is a website called “Wikizilla,” which I won’t use to reference anything specific. Except to say it’s a great example of Godzilla’s extensive appeal. Godzilla is not much different from The Lord of the Rings in that way.
Who do you think would win in a fight? Godzilla or the cartoon version of Smaug?
This article was written by Joel and edited by Michael.