My pride in my musical knowledge suffered a bruise recently, while I was reading an article about former governor Huey P. long. The piece appeared in the July 16 issue of The Weekly Standard and was written by contributor Geoffrey Norman.
In his essay «The Shadow of the Kingfish» Norman quoted a song called «Louisiana,» which was a perfect choice for the a piece about the former governor of that state. It was written by the highly influential songwriter Randy Newman, so I was nearly shocked that I had never heard of the song before.
As I searched for the song on the Internet, I began wondering about other tunes that had just a state name for their titles. I immediately recalled numerous tunes called «California» so I wanted to brainstorm those songs named for other states, managing at last to come up with ten.
Arkansas by Glen Campbell
After scoring hits with songs mentioning cities like Wichita, Galveston, and Phoenix, the Rhinestone Cowboy tried his hand with this state.
Alabama by Neil Young
Lynyrd Skynyrd opposed this Harvest tune so thoroughly that they blistered the folk rock singer in their anthem «Sweet Home Alabama.»
Illinois by Dan Fogelberg
Most of the songs on the Souvenirs record were recorded in this very state, except of course for this one done in California.
Ohio by Neil Young
An unflattering view of the Buckeye State is at the core of this ballad, lamenting the four lives taken by the National Guard at a demonstration at Kent State.
Mississippi by Bob Dylan
Love and Theft is the home of this acoustic cut, but it would not have appeared at all out of place on the Time Out of Mind album.
Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen
«Atlantic City» was a bigger hit, but this title track might be the best song on the Boss’ iconic acoustic album.
Massachusetts by the Bee Gees
Before Saturday Night Fever forever marked the brothers as a disco group, they recorded pop gems like this one.
Montana by Frank Zappa
The influential musician and producer made a more well-known record about Alaska, but he managed to pay tribute to this Western state more than a wee bit south of the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Georgia by Boz Scaggs
On this gorgeous track from Silk Degrees Scaggs may be addressing a girl, but the lyrics certainly could apply to the Peach State as well.
Arizona by Mark Lindsay
After the demise of Paul Revere and the Raiders, Lindsay charted with this tale about running away to the Southwest.
Texas by George Strait
The Lone Star State has its share of rock stars like ZZ Top and the Old 97s, but it seems more appropriate for it to be used as the title of a country song.