Tag Archives: Elvis Presley

State Songs: Hawaii – Maryland

Continuing with one song for every state. A reminder of the rules–the song must mention a place in that state, use common sense. And you can’t use the same song for more than one state. Here goes the next set of states, alphabetically.

Hawaii: California Girls – The Beach Boys (1965)
“I dig a French bikini on Hawaii island.” I like the sound of Hawaiian music and really liked the music from The Descendants, but I’m not familiar enough with it to find a song that has the geographical reference. Using the Beach Boys here is a bit of a cop out but it’s within the rules. Peaked at #3 late summer 1965. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oRb9-mypxg

Idaho: What’s Your Name – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1977/1978)
More people who participated used Lynyrd Skynyrd for Idaho than for Alabama, which is somewhat surprising. “It’s eight o’clock in Boise, Idaho” and for another weak state, that’s a winner. Peaked at #13 in March 1978. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlKJiZ8ymM4

Illinois: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown – Jim Croce (1973)
I was going to go with the Kankakee reference in “City of New Orleans” but upon further thought, I like this song better. It’s a childhood favorite that holds up. It spent two weeks at number one in July 1973. Croce died in a plane crash in September of that year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwPRm5UMe1A

Indiana: Indiana Wants Me – R. Dean Taylor (1970)
It’s a decent pop hit and I just couldn’t think of anything better. This was Canadian Taylor’s only U.S. hit and was supposedly inspired by Bonnie and Clyde. It hit number five in November 1970. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZL_tZxyBDo

Iowa: Iowa – Bing Crosby (1944)
Iowa was tough, real tough. This song was written by Meredith Willson, who also wrote “Gary, Indiana” and other songs from The Music Man. Willson was born in Iowa and he wrote a few songs about Iowa, including the fight songs for the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. I don’t think Bing released this single, but he had some fun with it on his radio show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uSbp5NHaH0

Kansas: Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell (1968/1968-69)
Looks like two songs are popular for Kansas, including this one. I’m going with Campbell’s version. Written by Jimmy Webb about a lineman in Oklahoma, but Wichita fit the song better. “Wichita Lineman” peaked at #3 but hit number one on the country chart and the easy listening chart late in 1968. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q20Hj4FWbc

Kentucky: Kentucky Rain – Elvis Presley (1969/1970)
Should be no surprise to anyone who paid attention to my Elvis countdown and my rain songs countdown–I like this song quite a bit. That’s Jerry Scheff on bass, Ronnie Milsap on piano and Eddie Rabbitt is the songwriter. It spent two weeks at #16 in March 1970.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU2U3QAUGak

Louisiana: Walking To New Orleans – Fats Domino (1960)
Tough to choose just one for Louisiana. The Animals, Arlo Guthrie, CCR and Poco are among those with strong contenders. Few singers are as associated with one city as Fats Domino is with New Orleans. In 1960, he recorded this Bobby Charles composition. The New Orleans Symphony string section was brought in to add to the finished recording–a wise move. Peaked at #6 in August 1960. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-eWAuFmjN0

Maine: King Of The Road – Roger Miller (1964/1965)
Not surprisingly, others have chosen “King Of The Road” for Maine, we could have had back-to-back Roger Miller entries. Miller’s follow-up single, Engine Engine #9, mentions Baltimore. King Of The Road peaked at #4 in March 1965. Engine Engine #9 hit #7 in June. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0hI-8oybIU

Maryland: Moonlight Feels Right – Starbuck (1976)
In the end, however, I chose Starbuck over Roger Miller for Maryland. “Moonlight Feels Right” was Starbuck’s first and biggest hit. Spent two weeks at #3 in the summer of 1976. It references Ole Miss in addition to Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay. Here’s a recent live version. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_10voFFPKaI

Comments or suggestions?

My Favorite Elvis Songs

Well, Elvis Presley would have been (conspiracies aside) 80 years old today. In November, I participated in a countdown to rank my 30 favorite Elvis Presley songs. A tall order–he recorded A LOT of songs. I knew I’d leave something worthy out. I narrowed my list to 66 and ranked those. I then posted some info about my top 30 from that list. Here’s the full list:

from http://www.allvip.us/gallery
from http://www.allvip.us/gallery

1. Suspicious Minds
2. Kentucky Rain
3. Burning Love
4. Tomorrow Is A Long Time
5. Don’t Be Cruel
6. It’s Now Or Never
7. Can’t Help Falling In Love
8. In The Ghetto
9. (You’re The) Devil In Disguise
10. All Shook Up
11. Love Me
12. Love Me Tender
13. Little Sister
14. Good Luck Charm
15. The Wonder Of You
16. She’s Not You
17. If I Can Dream
18. Blue Christmas
19. Mystery Train
20. A Little Less Conversation
21. Separate Ways
22. Heartbreak Hotel
23. (Now And Then There’s) A Fool Such As I
24. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
25. Hound Dog
26. One Night
27. Jailhouse Rock
28. Don’t
29. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road
30. It Keeps Right On-A-Hurtin
31. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear
32. Stuck On You
33. (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame
34. Return To Sender
35. Bossa Nova Baby
36. Memories
37. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
38. My Way
39. Viva Las Vegas
40. I Just Can’t Help Believing
41. Surrender
42. Blue Suede Shoes
43. Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
44. Hard Headed Woman
45. I Need Your Love Tonight
46. Crying In The Chapel
47. Suspicion
48. I Feel So Bad
49. Kissin’ Cousins
50. Way Down
51. Always On My Mind
52. Blue Moon
53. Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn)
54. Pieces Of My Life
55. Doing The Best That I Can
56. Roustabout
57. Green Green Grass Of Home
58. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
59. Loving You
60. Too Much
61. I Beg Of You
62. I Got Stung
63. Gentle On My Mind
64. Moody Blue
65. A Big Hunk Of Love
66. Don’t Cry Daddy

Yes, there are some great songs with seemingly low rankings. “Jailhouse Rock” at 27?? Well, that’s no knock–Elvis was called the king for a reason! Any list like this is bound to stir some debate.

Note that the the late-’60s/early ’70s “comeback period” is heavily represented at the top. That’s my own bias. In my mind, that’s the period where Elvis shined.

I’ll try to post some more on my top 30 in the upcoming days, but for now, what do you think? What’s too low or too high or not there at all?

-Bob (1/8/2015)