100 Years of Music That Defined Arizona

"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)

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35 comments
You know who this is
You know who this is

You're telling me Trunk Federation didn't make the list? What a bunch of nonsense. "Jello" was a 90's anthem.

matthew kuborn
matthew kuborn

Andrew Jackson Jihad could very well have been in there, shame it isn't considering how they embody the voice of the youth today, The Bled is a nice touch.

Rick
Rick

Why no Marty Robbins? Too obvious?

JaySee
JaySee

The Bled song is "You Know Who's Seatbelt" as opposed to the former and was reference to Dale Earnhardt.

Glen De Jongh Crimson
Glen De Jongh Crimson

No 'Billy Clone & The Same'???
Who came up with this list???!!!!
Obviously not someone 'in the know' about the AZ scene...

W_hardie
W_hardie

Major Lingo should have been on this list!

Rocstar573
Rocstar573

What about Mesa Town by Authority Zero?

AZ Guy
AZ Guy

This list doesn't really do a lot of good without some way of hearing most of these songs..

????
????

What's Western Thread?

Aharrymonster
Aharrymonster

AZ had some great metal bands that got national attention, Sacred Reich, Flotsam and Jetsam, Crushed... music critics' lists are crap. Dave Pratt... really?

Swig747az
Swig747az

Pound4pound self titled underground album along with the smash cd jagershots mixtape www.datpiff.com free download

DHWS 4EVA!
DHWS 4EVA!

Sorry, this list is incomplete. There's nothing on there by Dead Hot Workshop.

Kevin Dahl
Kevin Dahl

You guys missed the boat by not including the 1912 hit "Ragtime Cowboy Joe". It's wiki entry has the lyrics, which start off:

Out in Arizona
Where the bad men are,
And the only friend to guide you
Is an evening star,
The roughest, toughest man by far
Is Ragtime Cowboy Joe.

By the way, ragtime was controversial music. On Feb. 8, 1913, the University of Arizona banned ragtime dancing.

-Kevin Dahl

AZScene
AZScene

Great list. Surprised My Guardian Angel by the Pistoleros didn't make the cut.

Kaprqn4203
Kaprqn4203

Where is "Ghostriders in the Sky" by Stan Jones (from Douglas) -- 1950s?

Concerned Music Fan
Concerned Music Fan

So, almost 40% of the 100 best Arizona songs were written in the last 10 years, huh? That's pretty much what I expected.

John Coomer
John Coomer

Fun stuff. I'm a little surprised about the absence of anything Linda Ronstadt did and three '70's-'80's Tucson mainstays: Bob Meighan Band, The Dusty Chaps and the ever entertaining Chuck Wagon and the Wheels. Their Disco Sucks resulted in Mayhem in Chicago a few years after they released that album. All the old Wallace & Ladmo fans are glad to see Mike (Commodore) Condello on the list..who can ever forget the Salt River Navy Band!

Joe Baker
Joe Baker

Donnie Wood? The singer of "Need You" is the one and only, Donnie Owens!

Lost Dutchman
Lost Dutchman

Very chauvanistic - Phoenix-centric. What about Dearly Beloved, Lewlen brothers who consistently topped The Spiders (Alice Cooper) in the Battle of the Bands? Bo Street Runners who had one hit from Sierra Vista. Gene Fisher and the Mystics from Flagstaff, on and on.

Gregory Benenett
Gregory Benenett

You should make a sendspace file so we can download the playlist. Awesome article!

Steve
Steve

Whoops, even better, The Spiders...the original name of Alice Cooper!

Steve
Steve

Good Job! So glad to see Duane Eddy on there. My dad was his dentist! Also nice to see Grant and the Geezers, The Tubes(formerly Beans), Dyke and the Blazers and Jerry Riopelle in the mix. Did I miss any reference to Alice Cooper(the band,not the person)?

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

Unless you meant that we should included others. If so, please share.

Zakf
Zakf

Tucson resident

Phoenix New Times
Phoenix New Times

Lost Dutchman -- always excited to hear more about artists like that. Feel free to contact us at music@newtimes.com.

Concerned Music Fan
Concerned Music Fan

I didn't figure you knew much about old AZ music. So, of course, everything current is obviously the majority of the best..

Wayne Michael Reich
Wayne Michael Reich

Don't take it to heart, NT-
letting our cultural community down consistently is kinda your niche, and at that, you far surpass all of our expectations.

And as an aside- since your format is recently more blog-like than journalistic, we don't actually "read" your rag so much as "skim" it.

Otherwise, great work.

respectfully,

Wayne Michael Reich
(http://www.WayneMichaelReich.B...)

AZ Man
AZ Man

Would be amazing...you know, a way to actually *hear these songs*.

That would be something..

 
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