Saturday, July 27, 2013

Oklahoma: cradle of songwriters

Wow. JJ Cale passed away. Mostly known as a writer of hits for other performers, Mr. Cale was from Oklahoma.

Which for such a small state has a strong musical pantheon.

Start of course with Woody Guthrie.

Then consider that Lee Hazlewood was an Okie too. Who? You know, the "these boots were made for walkin'" guy.  His music was covered by Rowland S. Howard,  Vanilla Fudge, Lydia Lunch, Primal Scream,  Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Beck, The Tubes, Thin White Rope and Slowdive.

How 'bout if we hop over to Hoyt Axton next. Yep, he was an Okie. Wrote songs that were hits for Three dog night and Steppenwolf. "Jeremiah was a bullfrog Okie"!

Heck, Wallis Willis, who wrote "swing low sweet chariot" was an Okie.

Not impressed yet? OK, let's kick it up a notch

Jimmy Webb? Okie! You know, the "by the time i get to Phoenix" guy. His songs were covered by
Glen Campbell, The 5th Dimension, Thelma Houston, The Supremes, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes, Art Garfunkel, Amy Grant, America, Linda Ronstadt, R.E.M.,  Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand, and Carly Simon among others.

Then there is the great Leon Russell. I love this guy.

St. Vincent (Annie Clark) is an Okie. I just assumed she was (gasp) Canadian!

So is Dwight Tilley!

Was disappointed to find out that Wayne Coyne, the frontman of the amazing Oklahoma band Flaming lips was born in Pittsburgh! We'll still count him as an honorary Okie though (just like me).

And people I'm not even getting into the slew of modern country "artists" from here (Vince Gill, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, et. al).

That is a very strong line up.


Unknown said...

Seems like an impressive list, but I'd need a more exhaustive study to convince me that Oklahoma produced more successful songwriters than most other areas with a similar population density and income level.

Angus said...

LOL, sorry my blogpost wasn't rigorous enough Garrett. I guess you'll have to wait for the peer-reviewed article!

kebko said...

Hmm. I had a comment that must have been lost....The long and the short of it was that if you're ever in Muskogee, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame might be worth a visit. There isn't much there, but when we went, there was a docent that could have told stories about all these musicians all day long. (The 3 Rivers museum across the street was a decent little history museum, too.)

Unknown said...

Oklahoma is a pretty great state and has produced a lot of singer/songwriters throughout the years - for all genres of music. I'm from Oklahoma and still find it interesting just how many of the "greats" come from this state!