Some places are just so cool, people write songs about living there. Or going there. Or being from there. Or staying away from there. Well, you get the idea. Let’s take a musical journey through 10 great places to see, avoid or at least sing about.
1. Walking In Memphis – Marc Cohn
It hit the charts in 1991 and can still be heard on your favorite “soft rock” stations. Marc Cohn’s original hand written lyrics for Walking In Memphis are actually on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s a great song about spiritual awakening and despite what critics originally thought, Cohn explained he’s not a deeply religiously man – he just felt moved as he wrote the song, never dreaming it could actually one day become a hit.
2. Take It Easy – Eagles
A common trivia question asks what city is actually mentioned in this hit song by the Eagles and the answer is…. Winslow, Arizona! Their city website states that they have 9,655 “friendly people” living there. It doesn’t appear as though there’s much to do in the town however, other than some impressive rock formations and a tour of a meteor crater. Or as well call those here in the mid-west – potholes.
3. Nutbush City Limits – Tina Turner
As a teenager, I went on a date once with a girl who told me she had been to this little town in Tennessee called Nutbush. I can’t remember exactly what had happened to her there, but I do remember thinking the name of town was odd enough to do some digging. That’s when I discovered Tina Turner’s song (that she often closed her concerts with) called Nutbush City Limits about her birthplace and home town. While it’s not posted here – it’s worth looking into viewing one of Tina’s live concerts to see her perform it live. Simply unreal.
4. Heart Of Rock & Roll – Huey Lewis & The News
Okay so this one mentions more than just one city. But, the Heart Of Rock & Roll is in Cleveland, Ohio. Believe it or not Huey Lewis & The News still tour today and keep an incredibly busy schedule performing their hits around the world!
5. New York, New York – Frank Sinatra
Ok, truth be told – I didn’t really want to include New York City – sorry, you guys get included in everything. But, really, is there a bigger song about a city than Frank Sinatra’s anthem to the big apple? There’s a reason a million people sing it at the stroke of midnight every new years eve in Times Square. And, I’m afraid if I don’t include – Frank might just come back to life and kick my ass.
6. Love Shack – The B 52’s
Sure we know it’s a groovy little place but did you know the “place” was a cabin in Athens, Georgia? It even had the tin roof mentioned in the song. (The best part of that song may be when Cindy Wilson blurts out “tin roof!” – which was actually an outtake and meant to be cut out of the final version.) Athens was recently named the best “college music scene” in the United States.
7. Viva Las Vegas – Elvis Presley
Every time I think of Las Vegas, I have visions of that scene from Honeymoon In Vegas where dozens of Elvis impersonators descend upon the city via parachute! Vegas has the been the inspiration behind TV, movies and music since the start but this classic Elvis song really nails it. Fun Fact: Gaming doesn’t even make up half of the revenue earned in Vegas these days. And one of the biggest attractions in Vegas has nothing to do with casinos or shows — it’s the Grand Canyon.
8. La Grange – ZZ Top
The song made it all the way up to 41 on the Billboard Charts and was named by Rolling Stone as one of the top 100 guitar tracks of all time. There’s a La Grange located in North Carolina, Illinois, Georgia and Texas. But, the song was about a whore house located in La Grange, Texas called The Chicken Ranch. No word on if the guys from ZZ Top ever actually went there.
9. All My Ex’s Live In Texas – George Strait
One of the biggest hit songs by the proclaimed King of country music was this little ditty about a string of ex’s and where they all wound up. It makes perfect sense that anyone with that many ex’s spread across Texas would want to reside in Tennessee instead. The cities mentioned in the song include: Texarkana, Abilene, Galveston, and the town of Temple, Texas that claims there are at least 101 Things To Do there. (Tracking down George Strait’s ex isn’t one of them.)
10. Living On Tulsa Time – Don Williams
There’s something about this song that makes you feel like you’re right back in the heyday of the oil boom in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Don William’s perfectly smooth voice could make anyone want to be on Tulsa time. The time, should you care to adjust your watch, is Central Standard Time. The biggest draw in Tulsa is the Philbrook Museum of Art, which was featured in an episode of Bill On The Road in 2013. It’s the former home of the Phillips 66 oil founders and is now a beautiful art museum.