Jake over at NoFo got me thinking about songs that invoke a certain place, city or state, or state of mind with his recent post about going home to Iowa.
Iowa, of course, was immortalized by Meredith Willson in his musical, "The Music Man" in which he lovingly described his fellow Iowans thusly:
"Oh, there's nothing halfway about the Iowa way to treat you,
if we treat you, which we may not do at all.
We can be cold as the falling thermometer in December
if you ask about our weather in July.
And we're so by-gone stubborn
we can stand touching noses for a week at a time
and never see eye-to-eye...
but what the heck, you're welcome, join us at the picnic
you can have your fill of all the food you bring yourself.."
Oklahoma, of course, is in a category by itself. Rodgers & Hammerstein saw to that.
But both of those are musical theater.
Nobody ever wrote a musical about Virginia, or Maryland or (God forbid) Delaware. Not even New Jersey.
This is not to say that New Jersey doesn't have it's fair share of songs about it, and places in it.
"Wildwood Nights" Ah, my mispent youth.
"Palisades Park" Freddie "boom-boom" Cannon
and many others. But my absolute favorite, without exception, is this one. It's by The Boss. And Route 9 is real. It runs right through the Boss's hometown of Freehold. I've been on it and under it beaucoups plenty of times, usually on my way "down the shore" to Asbury Park, home of The Stone Pony where the "E" Street Band got it's start.
Here's the touching, tender, first verse, that so moved the hearts of thousands of New Jersey teenagers ever since it's release in the mid-70's:
"In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin' out over the line
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
'Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run..."
Hits ya' right here, don't it?
Are there any songs about your hometown or state that you just love?