9 Best Songs About Arizona: The Desert Melodies
Arizona! A state known for its vast desert landscapes, the majestic Grand Canyon, and, of course, a unique musical heritage that’s as vast and varied as its topography. Let’s set the scene. Picture yourself on a road trip, windows down, cruising along Route 66, with the cacti silhouette painting the horizon. What’s missing? A playlist of Arizona-inspired tunes to serenade you through the journey. Buckle up, because we’re diving deep into songs that have been kissed by the Arizona sun.
1. “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” by Glen Campbell
This classic by Glen Campbell isn’t directly about Arizona but tells the tale of a man who leaves his lover and goes on a journey. As the title suggests, Phoenix, the bustling capital of Arizona, is a significant stop on his trip. The narrative offers listeners a journey of emotions and distances, where each city mentioned (Phoenix included) reflects a passage of time and a depth of sentiment. Campbell’s soulful voice does justice to the yearning and pain of leaving someone behind. Phoenix, in this song, embodies a pivotal point of reflection and distance from the past.
2. “Take It Easy” by Eagles
Ah, the Eagles! When you hear the line, “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona”, you can’t help but feel the sun-soaked vibes of this iconic state. “Take It Easy” is a light-hearted, breezy track that encapsulates the free spirit of the ’70s, and the mention of Winslow, a small city in Arizona, immortalized the place. So much so, that there’s now a park named “Standin’ On The Corner” in Winslow, paying homage to the song. If you’re ever passing through, you can literally stand on the corner, just like in the song!
3. “Arizona” by Kings of Leon
It’s all in the name! Kings of Leon, known for their raspy vocals and infectious melodies, brought forth a track that’s both haunting and beautiful. “Arizona” paints a picture of vast landscapes, echoing emptiness, and a sense of solitude. The lyrics aren’t directly about the state, but the mood of the song captures the ethereal desert nights and the raw beauty of Arizona. The haunting chorus echoing “Arizona” feels like a call to the wilderness, beckoning listeners to immerse themselves in the mystique of the desert.
4. “Route 66” by Nat King Cole (and many others)
Arguably one of the most iconic road trip songs ever, “Route 66” is a musical journey through the famed highway that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. And guess what’s a significant stop on this route? Yep, Arizona. With lyrics like “Don’t forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino,” the song captures the essence of these Arizona towns. Though covered by many artists, Nat King Cole’s version remains a timeless classic, offering a smooth and jazzy trip down one of America’s most historic highways.
5. “Willin’” by Little Feat
While the entire song isn’t exclusively about Arizona, there’s no way we could leave out a song that starts with the line, “I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow, drunk and dirty, don’t ya know, and I’m still…willin’.” This tune gives a nod to Tucson, and the narrative touches on the life of a truck driver traveling through the American Southwest. The weary but determined spirit of the song aligns perfectly with the rugged resilience of Arizona’s landscapes.
6. “Tucson Train” by Bruce Springsteen
The Boss, as he’s affectionately known, touches upon Arizona with “Tucson Train”. This song is a narrative about a man who leaves San Francisco for a fresh start, finding work on the railroads of Tucson, Arizona. The theme revolves around hope, redemption, and love. As the trumpets blare, resembling a train’s horn, Springsteen paints a vivid picture of a life rejuvenated in the heart of Arizona. Tucson, with its historic rail lines, becomes a symbol of moving forward, making it a key character in this beautiful tale.
7. “Hey Dude” by Kula Shaker
Not to be mistaken with The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”, this Britpop gem, while not strictly about Arizona, has a chorus that goes “All I have is all I need, enough for love but not for greed, yeah”. The video, though, was filmed in the desert, giving those vast, endless Arizona vibes. It’s a tune about finding oneself amidst chaos, and the vastness of the Arizona-like desert in the visual narrative provides the perfect backdrop for introspection.
8. “Arizona Star” by Guy Clark
Guy Clark’s “Arizona Star” is a heartfelt ballad that personifies Arizona in the form of a woman named Arizona Star. This track is an ode to a fearless, independent spirit, much like the state itself. The lyrics depict Arizona Star as someone who’s “wild as a mink but sweet as soda pop”. Clark’s gentle, narrative style, intertwined with vivid imagery, makes the state feel alive, breathing life into the tales of the old Wild West.
9. “Sedona” by Houndmouth
Named after the beautiful city of Sedona in Arizona, known for its red rock formations, this song is an upbeat indie anthem that captures the magic of the city in the ’70s. The city, during that time, was a hotspot for films, and the song encapsulates this era with lyrics like “Hey little Hollywood, you’re gone but you’re not forgot”. The catchy chorus and the vibrant energy of this track make you want to take a convertible ride through Sedona’s scenic views.
Arizona, with its sprawling deserts, iconic cities, and rich cultural tapestry, has been a muse for countless musicians. It’s more than just a state; it’s a feeling, an emotion, and a character in myriad tales told through the strings of a guitar and the words of a song. These tracks, each in their unique style, weave stories of love, hope, nostalgia, and the sheer awe of Arizona’s unparalleled landscapes. Whether you’re an Arizona native or someone who’s never set foot in the Grand Canyon state, these songs are sure to transport you to a land of sun, sand, and starry nights. So, the next time the travel bug bites or you’re simply in a mood to escape, let these Arizona tunes be your compass.