Yesterday, I was told that I am eccentric. When I asked for some examples, I got the following:
I can read for hours at a time. (Is that strange?)
I have no food in my refrigerator. (At least I have a refrigerator.)
Sometimes I like to sit in the dark. (Sometimes lights hurt my eyes.)
Anyway, after three I said that was enough. I suppose that in some people’s opinions I am eccentric, but aren’t we all? After the conversation, I started thinking of things that may make me different from others, and I started wondering if the things I wonder about are the same things other people wonder about. For example, I have always wondered how many songs have the name of my state, Tennessee, in their title. I have searched this but can never find an answer. This is a musical place and has inspired many songs, so it may be an impossible quest.
Instead of just thinking about my state, I began to think about other states as well. Are all states remembered in song? With that in mind, I decided to make a list, and this post in the first installment. I will search for songs with states in their titles and list the ones I like the best. I will try to stay away from official state songs, but that may be impossible. After all, some states have been placed in music a bunch of times while others have been barely used. I will also include a link for people to listen if they like.
If there are some state songs that you like, then tell me about them.
Here are the first ten:
Alabama - Several songs have been written about Alabama, but I am going with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”. Recorded as an answer to Neil Young’s “Southern Man”, this song became a classic of the Southern Rock genre.
Alaska – “North to Alaska” was a hit for Johnny Horton in 1960. Included in the movie of the same title, it is a somewhat humorous chronicle of the Alaska Gold Rush.
Arizona – There are a few Arizona songs, but none that I really like. With that in mind, I am going with “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone (or Phoenix, Arizona)?” by Charley Pride, one of the few successful African-American performers in country music.
Arkansas – There are quite a few old-timey songs about Arkansas, but I am trying to keep this list in the latter half of the 20th Century. This time we will go with Bruce Springsteen’s “Mary Queen of Arkansas”.
California – This state is included in tons of songs, but on my list there is only one. My favorite song of all time is “Hotel California” by The Eagles. Nothing else even comes close.
Colorado – Alright, I didn’t pick a John Denver song. I know that would be the obvious choice, but sometimes it’s good to not be so obvious. Instead, I chose the aptly titled “Colorado” by The Flying Burrito Brothers.
Connecticut - Man, this was a tough one. This state doesn’t seem to lead to much musical inspiration. Maybe it hard to rhyme something with Connecticut. I finally found a short instrumental by Aerosmith called “I Live in Connecticut”.
Delaware – Another difficult one found me grasping for anything I could get my ears on. I finally discovered that Perry Como recorded a song called “What Did Delaware, Boy?”, which is based on an old joke.
Florida – This is a popular state for tourism and sun, and I thought that would lead to several songs. It didn’t. However, with sun, sand and ocean all around, I figured I might as well go with Mr. Sun-Sand-and-Ocean himself, Jimmy Buffett, and his song “Floridays”. I know the spelling is messed up, but the name is in there somewhere.
Georgia – Now, here is a state with a bushel of songs written about it. It seems like everyone who has ever recorded a song has come up with one about Georgia. With many choices, I have decided on the original version of “Rainy Night in Georgia” by Tony Joe White.
So, twenty percent of the states have been covered. Tune in next time for another ten classic tunes. Remember, if you have some ideas for your state or any other, then please let me know.