There have been more than 140 songs with lyrics about Arizona in them. Seriously. Some of them have been big hits by huge acts, too ("Get Back" by The Beatles, "Take It Easy" by The Eagles). The lyrics to these songs capture various snapshots of the Grand Canyon state, from Notorious B.I.G. listening to "slow grooves" in Tuscon to both Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe having dreams about dying in Mesa and tourists chewing watermelon gum, respectively.
We sorted through more than a hundred songs about Arizona, and compiled a list of the Top 40. We'll be counting down the best from 40 to 1 over the next two days. Today, we give you songs 40 through 21.
40. "Niggas Bleed" (Notorious B.I.G.): "Since it's on, I call my nigga Arizona Ron/From Tucson, pushed the black Yukon/Usually had the slow grooves on."
39. "Why Arizona" (Chris Richards): "Out there on a lonely desert corner/Clues are swirling though the air/When I get to Why Arizona, maybe I'll know where to go from there."
38. "Ghetto Cowboy" (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony): "These directions say we go to Tucson, Arizona/When we arrive, we'll cop a place we can bunk/And meet my boy in the morning for details and hookup."
37. "You Can Have Her" (Sir Mix-A-Lot): "I used to have this girl, let's say her name was Mona/Mona, fine young sugar comin' out of Arizona."
36. "Under African Skies" (Paul Simon): "I said take this child, lord/From Tucson, Arizona/Give her the wings to fly through harmony."
35. "Back in the Day" (Dred Scott): "Big Mo hooked me with a kid named Diamond D/Not the one from the east, he went to school in Arizona/Said he liked the way I rocked the microphone-a."
34. "Readymade" (Red Hot Chili Peppers): "I've got cousin making beats/Deep down in Arizona/We're gonna rocket to Ramone's/In the city of Pomona."
33. "Never Been to Spain" (Hoyt Axton): "Well I've never been to heaven/But I've been to Oklahoma/Well they tell me I was born there/But I really don't remember/In Oklahoma, not Arizona/What does it matter?"
32. "Your Arizona Room" (Everclear): "We can stay in bed until the sun turns into the moon/I will hold you and smile safe in your Arizona room."
31. "Alone in Arizona" (Exene Cervenka): "My heart's in California/I'm alone in Arizona."
30. "Tucson, Arizona" (Dan Fogelberg): "Tucson, Arizona/Rising in the heat like a mirage/Tony keeps his Chevy/Like a virgin locked in his garage."
29. "Route 66" (Bobby Troup): "You see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona/Don't forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino."
28. "Sissyneck" (Beck): "Now let me tell you about my baby/She was born in Arizona/Sitting in the jailhouse/Trying to learn some good manners."
27. "Arizona Star" (Guy Clark): "When you're cool, the sun shines all the time/So she always kept her shades on to keep from going blind/She was cool, she was out there so far/She was nothin' less and nothin' more than the Arizona star."
26. "Big Iron" (Marty Robbins): "Now the stranger started talking made it plain to folks around/Was an Arizona ranger wouldn't be too long in town/He came here to take an outlaw back alive or maybe dead/And he said it didn't matter he was after Texas Red."
25. "Song to the Orphans" (Bruce Springsteen): "How many wasted have I seen signed/ 'Hollywood or bust'/Left to ride them ever ghostly Arizona gusts."
24. "Comin' to Your City" (Big and Rich): "In Phoenix, Arizona/We Drank way too much Corona."
23. "King of Arizona" (Clutch): "Swallow took the sun/From that bitter ground/And now we were heavy/With the burden of a crown/We are the King of Arizona/We are the King of Arizona."
22. "King Tut" (Steve Martin): "Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia/He was born in Arizona, got a condo made of stone-a/King Tut!"
21. "Little Egypt" (The Coasters): "She had a picture of a cowboy tattooed on her spine/Saying Phoenix, Arizona, nineteen forty-nine."
Niki has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and PHOENIX magazine, and is now a full-time freelancer.