Panel fine-tunes song list
BY TOM LINDLEY World Capitol Bureau
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
9/03/08 at 2:17 AM
Listen to the
cast your vote
for state rock ’n’
Voters to pick among Flaming Lips, Leon Russell and others
OKLAHOMA CITY — Do you realize that when it comes to having a party, home sweet Oklahoma rocks?
Well, sometime after Nov. 15 we'll all find out exactly how serious we are about rock 'n' roll because that's when the online voting will end to determine which of 10 songs will be on its way to being named the official rock song of Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Rock Song Advisory Panel, which was empowered by the state Legislature to narrow the field, announced its 10 rock song finalists in a news conference Tuesday at the Oklahoma History Center, which came up with the idea to give Oklahoma rock singers, songwriters and musicians some of the love often reserved for country music.
The list of finalists ranges from the early rock hit "Let's Have a Party" recorded by Wanda Jackson in 1958, to Leon Russell's 1971 release of "Home Sweet Oklahoma," to the Flaming Lips' 2002 hit "Do You Realize?" to "Move Along," recorded in 2006 by the All-American Rejects.
Representing all eras of rock 'n' roll as written or performed by Oklahomans, the list also includes "After Midnight" by J.J. Cale; "Heartbreak Hotel," Elvis Presley's hit song that was co-written by Oklahoma schoolteacher Mae Boren Axton; "Oklahoma," recorded in 1986 by The Call, which included Oklahomans Michael Been and Scott Musick; "Never Been to Spain," released in 1971 by Three Dog Night and written by Oklahoman Hoyt Axton; "Endless Oklahoma Sky," recorded by the Tulsa band John Moreland and the Black Gold Band; and "Walk Don't Run," recorded in 1960 by The Ventures, which featured Oklahomans Bob Bogle and Nokie Edwards and promoted Oklahomaw guitar-maker Semi Mosely's Mosrite guitars.
The winning song will be announced during the next legislative session when a bill to name the official state rock 'n' roll song is expected to be voted on by lawmakers. The selection will coincide with a history center exhibit on the state's rock history entitled "Another Hot Oklahoma Night."
While they each have their personal favorites, panel members were reluctant Tuesday to sway voters, instead focusing on the music community as a source of pride in Oklahoma and on the state's rich legacy of rock 'n' roll.
"The people will decide, but we've got some good stuff here," said panel member and radio disc jockey Ronnie Kaye of Oklahoma City.
Panelists acknowledged that a lot of other worthy songs didn't make the final cut, including "Oklahoma Breakdown" by Hosty Duo, "Been There Before" by Hanson and "Don't Stop Believin' " by Journey.
Hugh Foley of Rogers State University, chairman of the panel, said the process of culling the entries involved providing music from each rock era, as well as zeroing in on rock music that had lyrical sensors and key thoughts about Oklahoma.
"Rock means different things to different people, depending on the decade we're talking about," Foley said.
To panel member Steve Ripley, a musician, songwriter and studio engineer who has worked with Bob Dylan and Leon Russell, what constitutes pure rock 'n' roll is a philosophical question that has not been answered.
In acknowledging the significance of the day, Ripley said it won't be as easy to define the state rock song the same way the state rock, the Rose Rock, is defined.
"We are talking about the creation of this song and the guy who tossed the rock, the thrower of the rock. It's the marriage of not just the song, but the singer of the song and the writer of the song," Ripley said.
Now, everybody can at least have a say on what kind of rock Oklahoma wants to be.
Tom Lindley 405-528-2465
J. J. Cale
Mae Boren Axton
“Oklahoma” The Call
“Never Been to Spain” Hoyt Axton
“Move Along” All-American Rejects
“Home Sweet Oklahoma”
“Endless Oklahoma Sky”
John Moreland and the
Black Gold Band
“Walk Don’t Run” The Ventures
“Do YouRealize?” Flaming Lips
“Let’s Have a Party” Wanda Jackson