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Five Songs About Arizona

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Ah boy. This is the state with the Grand Canyon and that 100 degree weather that even people who like dry heat say gets a bit much. But everyone needs to retire somewhere and apparently this is a good place to catch the early bird specials. Besides, the terrain is spectacular. All they need is water and they've got something here. Judging by the songs I came up with, it's still not a state many people want to sing about for too long. Which makes me nervous, because I'm really getting to feeling like this whole state-by-state concept is going to fall apart on me when I arrive at Wisconsin. So, please, if you're in a band, start writing songs about New Hampshire and Wisconsin?  Please.

"By The Time I Get To Phoenix"--Glen Campbell: I know what you're thinking. Didn't Nick Cave cover this song? He sure did! So did Isaac Hayes and he took an hour to finish it, which is a bit like driving through the state. It takes awhile. But in three short Glen Campbell minutes, composer Jimmy Webb and you can make it through several states. I've never paid attention to where he starts off and I don't remember where he ends up. But I do know that phone just keeps on ringing because it was written back in the day before voice mail and answering machines were commonplace. Never mind this whole cellphone conspiracy.

"Take It Easy"--The Eagles: Jackson Browne started this song. Glen Frey finished it. And the Eagles had a hit with it, forcing people all over the country to reconsider Winslow, Arizona as a place to drive through just to say you did it. I always find it so anticlimactic when I finally make it to these places. You get there and you wonder what you're supposed to do? Jump up and down and say Hoo-Ray? Take a picture and mail it to your friends? Send postcards?

"Yuma, Arizona"--Damien Jurado: Which leads us to this tune. Another fine melody from underrated folk titan Damien Jurado. He sings like he has mashed potatoes in his mouth, which I find an endearing and extremely positive attribute. It means you always know it's him. And in a world where so many singers are completely replaceable with another soundalike, well, when a record producer says "Send me the guy who sounds like he's singing with mashed potatoes in his mouth," there's only one guy who's getting that call!

"By The Time I Get To Arizona"--Public Enemy: Public Enemy were understandably annoyed that the state of Arizona wasn't behind celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Who doesn't take a free holiday? What? People should work more? Heck, I'm for celebrating frivolous holidays, so why should a legitimate historical figure be ignored? Let's not even go there. Instead, let's not only celebrate MLK day, but let's start drumming up national holidays for each member of Public Enemy! That would add at least four legitimate days off a year! Including Flavor-Flav day! Yes! More time to not work!

"Hotel Arizona"--Wilco: How cynical of these guys, huh? Sure the Eagles had a hit song with "Hotel California" and a best-selling album, too. So, we'll just cash in on the whole "Hotel" song craze and write one about living it up at the Hotel Arizona! Yeah, that'll sell fifty copies to the employees that work there. I can only hope that there will be a "Hotel Maryland" song awaiting me when I get to that beloved state. Please, Wilco, can you help me?

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