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100 Years of Music That Defined Arizona

Jason P. Woodbury

Phoenix New Times, February 09, 2012

"Not alone for gold and silver / Is Arizona great / But with graves of heroes sleeping / All the land is consecrate!" — "Arizona March Song"

The goal of finding Arizona's 100 greatest songs was hardly easy. We asked our readers to tell us what songs have defined Arizona over the past century. As we combed through e-mail submissions, one thing became clear: Arizona's musical heritage is as diverse, fascinating, and complicated as the people who live here.

From the early Latino folk music and cowboy laments to the funky strut of the Broadway R&B circuit to the jangle pop of Mill Ave to protest songs of today, Arizona has never been in lockstep with national trends, instead offering a diverse — sometimes obscure — sound that refuses to be easily categorized.

In addition to submissions, we dove into New Times archives, consulted historians, musicians, record collectors, scoured blogs, and slipped into YouTube rabbit holes to complete this list, focusing on artists you might've heard any given night in a dusty nightclub or bar.

These are the sounds of Arizona.

1915: "Arizona March Song," Margaret Rowe Clifford/Maurice Blumenthal

1929: "Cowboy's Wife," Billie Maxwell (Victor)

1939: "Los Abonos," Los Carlistas, featuring Lalo Guerrero (Vocalion)

1951: "Navajo Squaw Dance," Ed Lee Natay, Natay — Navajo Singer (Canyon)

1956: "The Fool," Sanford Clark, single (MCI/Dot) (Read more about "The Fool.")

1958: "Rebel Rouser," Duane Eddy, single (Jamie)

1958: "Need You," Donnie Wood, single

1959: "Night Beat," The Nightbeats, featuring Pete Ronstadt, single (Zoom)

1960: "How Many Times," Patti LaSalle, single (MCI)

1961: "Cookin'," Al Casey Combo, single (Ramco)

1962: "Working on a Building of Praise," Reverend Louis Overstreet, single (Arhoolie)

1962: "Son, Don't Go Near the Indians," Rex Allen, single (Mercury)

1963: "Drifting Heart," Roosevelt Nettles, single (Chess)

1965: "It (Ain't No Big Thing)," The Jordan Brothers (Id)

1965: "Why Don't You Love Me?" The Spiders, featuring Alice Cooper, single ( Mascot)

1966: "Funky Broadway," Dyke and the Blazers (Artco)

1966: "El Mosquito," Eddie Dimas & The Upsets, single (Cristy)

1968: "Oh No," Mike Condello, Phase One (Sceptre)

1968: "Ho Ho, Ha Ha, Hee Hee, Ha Ha" (theme from The Wallace and Ladmo Show), Mike Condello

1969: "Standing on the Corner," Michael Liggins and the Soulsations, single (Ramco)

1969: "Function Underground," We the People, single (Mighty)

1972: "Bullets Don't Have Eyes," Eddie & Ernie (unreleased)

1972: "Tuba City," Dolan Ellis, single (Capo)

1972: "When I Start Drinkin'," Vernon Wray, Wasted (self-released)

1973: "Western Winds," Hans Olson, Western Winds (Joplin)

1975: "White Punks on Dope," The Tubes, The Tubes (A&M)

1977: "Teen Love Song," The Consumers, All My Friends Are Dead (In the Red reissue)

1978: "Naomi's Song," Jerry Riopelle, Live in the Round (Little Eskimo)

1979: "Tonight," Blue Shoes, single (self-released)

1980: "Jesus Entering from the Rear," The Feederz, Jesus (Anxiety)

1981: "Arizona, I Love You," Rex Allen Jr. (declared the unofficial state anthem)

1981: "Do the Hannigan," JFA, Blatant Localism (Placebo)

1981: "Bombs Away," Loosely Tight, Fightin' Society (Star Struck)

1982: "Low Rider Rap," Poor Boy Rappers, single (Raina)

1982: "I Love You," The Jetzons, Made in America (self-released)

1982: "Monster Stomp," Grant and the Geezers, single (self-released)

1983: "Out Out!" Tone Set, Calibate (MLP)

1983: "Death Song — Lament," R. Carlos Nakai, Changes (Canyon)

1983: "Open the Door," Gentlemen Afterdark, EP (self-released)

1985: "Exterminator," Mighty Sphincter, Mighty Sphincter (Placebo)

1985: "We Got Cactus," Bloodspasm (Read more about "We Got Cactus.")

1985: "Up on the Sun," Meat Puppets, Up on the Sun (SST)

1985: "Pizza and Beer," Dave Pratt and the Sex Machine Band, The Worst of Dave Pratt (KUPD)

1986: "Swing of Kings," Sun City Girls, Grotto of Miracles (Placebo)

1986: "Draining You of Life," Sacred Reich, Draining You of Life (self-released)

1986: "Doomsday for the Deceiver," Flotsam and Jetsam, Doomsday for the Deceiver (Metal Blade)

1989: "Found Out About You," Gin Blossoms, Dusted (San Jacinto) (Read more about "Found Out About You.")

1990: "We Don't Do That Anymore," Sidewinders, Auntie Ramos' Pool Hall (Mammoth/RCA)

1994: "One Man Crusade," Rainer (Read more about the music of Tucson legend Rainer.)

1994: "Yer Ropes," Giant Sand, Glum (Imago)

1995: "The Roach Clip," Phunk Junkeez, Injected (Interscope)

1995: "I Don't Need You," The Fells, single (Bag of Hammers)

1995: "Arizona Woman," Chico Chism, Raw as Hell (Cher-Kee)

1996: "True Feelings," Supermarket, single (Dump Koch)

1996: "Banditos," The Refreshments, Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy (Mercury)

1996: "Scottsdale," Chronic Future, Chronic Future (ULG/Tommy Boy)

1996: "Hung Over with Jenny," The Beat Angels, Unhappy Hour (Epiphany)

1996: "Jerking It to the Trashwomen," The Wongs, single (Rerun)

1997: "The Inner Flame," Rainer (Read more about the music of Tucson legend Rainer.)

1997: "Just to Hold On to You," The Pistoleros, Hang On to Nothing (Hollywood)

1997: "Down for Yours," NB Ridaz, The First Chapter (Def Jam)

1998: "Out of Here," Sleepwalker, Man on the Moon (Hayden's Ferry)
(Read more about "Out of Here")

1999: "Goodbye Sky Harbor," Jimmy Eat World, Clarity (Capitol)

2001: "Concerto for Turntable," DJ Radar, single (self-released)

2002: "The Farm," Rainer (Read more about the music of Tucson legend Rainer.)

2002: "One More Minute," Authority Zero, A Passage in Time (Lava)

2002: "The First Single," The Format, EP (Western Thread)

2003: "Not Even Stevie Nicks," Calexico, Feast of Wire (Quarterstick)

2003: "Dale Earnhardt's Seatbelt," The Bled, Pass the Flask (Fiddler)

2004: "This Town," Reuben's Accomplice, The Bull, the Balloon, and the Family (Western Thread)

2004: "Dance On," Asleep in the Sea, Yeah, Okay (self-released)

2004: "¡Americano!" Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, ¡Americano! ( Emma Java)

2005: "Knee Deep," Job for a Cowboy, King of the Monsters (self-released)

2005: "The Drifter," Brad B & The Insects, The Drifter (Avenue of the Arts)

2005: "Breakfast Club," Z Trip, Z Trip (Hollywood)

2006: "Star Witness," Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti-)

2006: "This Really Happened," Fathers Day, This Really Happened (Gilgongo)

2006: "Jeremiah, Stop Taking Bukowski So Seriously," Peachcake, Now We Have Something to Celebrate (Western Thread)

2006: "Morning Over Midnight," Fivespeed, Morning Over Midnight (Virgin)

2007: "Faces," Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Scary Kids Scaring Kids (Immortal)

2007: "Rejoice," Andrew Jackson Jihad, People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World (Asian Man)

2007: "Sweet Talk," Dear and the Headlights, Small Steps, Heavy Hooves (Equal Vision)

2008: "Stay," French Quarter, French Quarter (Gilgongo)

2008: "Desert Music," Drunken Immortals (self-released)

2008: "Skin from Skull," Landmine Marathon (Rusted Eyes Awake)

2008: "Cannibal Queen," Miniature Tigers, Tell It to the Volcano (Modern Art)

2009: "Girl, I Love You," MC Magic, Magic City Pt. 2 (Nastyboy)

2009: "Phoenix Hambone," Big Jay McNeely & The Rocket 88's, AZ Bootin' (Big Jay McNeely Masters)

2009: "Gravity," Silver Medallion, single (self-released)

2009: "Push," Random, The Call (self-released)

2010: "Arpayaso," Treasure Mammal, The Chronicles of Sheriff Joe (Kingdom Mammalia)

2010: "Go Back to Mexico," Willy Northpole, A Line in the Sand (New Times)

2010: "Back 2 AZ," Mr. Miranada, A Line in the Sand (New Times)

2010: "The Buffalo and the Bird," Courtney Marie Andrews, Painters Hands and the Seventh Son (River Jones Music)

2011: "Yo Solo Quiero," Curse of the Pink Hearse, Meet the Curse of the Pink Hearse (Butt Shake)

2011: "Girl Not Gonna Leave," What Laura Says, Talk (Sundawg)

2011: "Green Valley," Puscifer, Conditions of My Parole (Puscifer)

2011: "Once, I Was a Mainsail," Kinch, Incandenza (self-released)

2011: "Don't Give Up on Us," The Maine, Pioneer (Action Theory)

2012: "Ran," Black Carl, The Fool (self-released)

"Found Out About You," Gin Blossoms, Dusted, (1989, San Jacinto)
Benjamin Leatherman

Having spent close to 15 years booking the old Long Wong's on Mill Avenue, Sara Cina played a huge role in Tempe's vibrant music heyday of the '90s. She was as much a part of the venerated Mill Avenue dive — an epicenter of the jangle-pop era that hosted local heavyweights like The Refreshments, The Beat Angels, and Dead Hot Workshop seven nights a week for more than a decade — as its graffiti-covered ceiling or the colorful mural of memorable regular Elvis "The Cat" Del Monte. As such, her favorite locally produced song from the last century is one of the bigger hits by Long Wong's most favorite sons. Namely, "Found Out About You" by Gin Blossoms.

Written in the late '80s by the late Doug Hopkins, a founding member of the band who penned most of their early hits, the melancholic song first appeared on the band's debut album, Dusted, and later was one of the hit singles (second only to "Hey Jealousy") on its breakthrough 1993 disc, New Miserable Experience.

Owning up to her longtime friendship with Hopkins, who endured a lifelong battle with depression and committed suicide in 1993 after being kicked out of the band due to his alcoholism, Cina says she'd heard the wistful lyrics and ambling, melancholic chords long it became a Billboard hit and a staple of alt-rock radio. "Doug wrote that song before . . . everything," she says.

"It even predates the Gin Blossoms. I know what it's about. I know who he wrote it for."

It's always been a very personal and beautiful song for her, she says.

"It's always had a different meaning to me. It's as if it were a person, someone who I knew when it was very little before they grow up and go off and succeed in the world," Cina says. "I've watched a lot of really great bands write songs, but not many of those songs [have] gone out into the world to be heard by lots and lots of people."