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Five Songs About Alabama

List Of The Day

Last I checked there were 50 states here in the U.S. And each of them is deserving of a song. And as I began to think harder and become angrier at the mental exertion, I discovered that often there were quite a few songs that dealt with such geography and it occurred to me that this would be a great new way for me to explore the country without actually leaving my house. That and I received a memo from the dark overlords at Yahoo! insisting I pump up the tourist season with gratuitous mentions of states no one ever visits.

So, in fairness, I decided to tackle this sucker alphabetically. No one can accuse me of favoring any particular state. I'm doing them in the order that the English language commands. So, Alabama, you're the first state to be ruthlessly exploited here at List Of The Day. I visited you once in 1982 and really liked the name Tuscaloosa. I think my aunt even let me eat at the Burger King there. But I could be wrong. She kept me drugged for most of the trip, so what the hell do I know?

"Alabama"--Louvin Brothers: Country music emerged from the South so you have to expect that the genre would produce a decent number of tunes about the area. These guys sang harmony and scared people into thinking they were going to hell if they listened to what a dude named Satan had to say. An entire generation of Black Metal fans are clearly doomed. But this tune doesn't threaten anyone. It just makes the grass seem greener than just about anywhere in the world.

"Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)"--The Doors: I've never quite followed how this song happened. It's written by a bunch of German dudes and then covered by a '60s southern California rock band. Nothing about it remotely reminds me of Alabama but it's right there in the title and you can't argue with the title. Unless you're a jerk or something.

"Alabama Getaway"--The Grateful Dead: The Grateful Dead recorded a hundred albums and played three million shows that are all on tape and owned by thousands of loyal fans who keep trading them around like they're communal property. From what I've read of this band, that's pretty much the case. Even though the group turned out to be great capitalists and made tons of money, they never seemed to notice. I mean, they still dressed like they didn't have any money, though I bet the kitchen fixtures in their RVs were awesome.

"Stars Fell On Alabama"--The Mountain Goats: I read somewhere that Jimmy Buffett does a song with this same name, so in honor of ignoring Jimmy Buffett and sending props out of John Darnielle, a man who has made a living out of living the plural life as "The Mountain Goats," I nominate his "Stars Fell On Alabama" as the definitive song on the topic. He's also recorded a gazillion songs and albums and should probably be stopped before he goes too far.

"Alabama"--John Coltrane: Where would this column be without a few pathetic attempts at culture? So, rather than find some stupid metal band with some song about a girl they met in Alabama, I've decided to class it up and pick a jazz legend, John Coltrane, and his mournful, extremely touching, tribute to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. And with that we end this column with its first non-sarcastic, non-ironic final sentence. Feels weird.

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