Thursday, May 7, 2009

Whisnant: Ditch That Creaky State Song

Adopted in 1927, our official state song, "Oregon, My Oregon," is getting a little creaky, with lyrics about Oregon being "conquered and held by free

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Adopted in 1927, our official state song, "Oregon, My Oregon," is getting a little creaky, with lyrics about Oregon being "conquered and held by free men" and "blest by the blood of martyrs."

So Central Oregon's own Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) has come up with what he thinks is a better candidate: "No Place Under the Sun Like Oregon," by singer-songwriter Lindy Gravelle, a Redmond resident who (according to The Oregonian) wrote it in the 1970s when she was living in Nashville and pining for her home state.

"It has such narrative description of the physical beauty of Oregon," she's quoted as saying. "I feel like it's a mini-ad for Oregon, for tourism."

It's definitely that, ticking off the state's natural beauties, from the coast to the mountains to the high desert. And by rhyming "Oregon" with "the sun," it has the added merit of possibly teaching new residents how to pronounce our state's name right instead of calling it "Oar-a-GAWN."

But the melody, while pleasant enough, would be difficult for amateurs to sing. And the tempo, in The Eye's opinion, is a little slow and draggy - not exactly calculated to set the pulse racing with state chauvinism.

As Kevin Kamberg points out on the Blue Oregon blog, a number of states have adopted state songs that aren't specifically about the state, such as "Hang On Sloopy" and "Do You Realize," the official "state rock songs" of Ohio and Oklahoma, respectively.

Without even trying, The Eye can come up with more than half a dozen rock, pop and jazz songs that could fill the bill if we want to dump "Oregon, My Oregon" (and we definitely should).

For instance, if we want to tie in with Oregon's biggest claim to fame - the rain - there's "Here's That Rainy Day" by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke, "Rainy Days and Mondays" by The Carpenters, "Rainy Day Women" by Bob Dylan, "Who'll Stop the Rain" by Creedence, "Purple Rain" by Prince and "I Wish It Would Rain" by The Temptations, to name just a few.

Or we could try focusing on our state's economy. "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas suggests itself as one likely choice. But our personal fave in that category is "The Party's Over" - not the Willie Nelson version, but the classic Nat King Cole version:

The party's over

It's time to call it a day

They've burst your pretty balloon

And taken the moon away.

It's time to wind up

The masquerade

Just make your mind up

The piper must be paid.

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