Inspired by Oklahoma Today‘s September issue focusing solely on country music, we’ll be counting down the Top 100 Oklahoma Country Songs over the next several weeks.
Every weekday, we will unveil another five songs that helped shape the way Oklahoma country music is heard by the outside world.
15. Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – “Faded Love” (1950)
The official country and western song of Oklahoma makes our list at number 15.
Written by Bob Wills, brother Billy Jack and father John, “Faded Love” is a sentimental song about a lost love. The song was a top 10 hit for Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys in 1950.
“Faded Love” was later covered by Playboys guitarist Leon McAuliffe, Jackie DeShannon, Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley and Ray Price and Willie Nelson.
14. Joe Diffie – “Pickup Man” (1994)
Joe Diffie’s double entendre-filled “Pickup Man” spent four weeks at No.1 on the country chart.
The Velma native’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics and humor on the song helped his 1994 album land platinum status.
13. Glen Campbell – “Wichita Lineman” (1968)
“I have a very specific image of a guy I saw working up on the wires out in the Oklahoma panhandle one time with a telephone in his hand talking to somebody. And this exquisite aesthetic balance of all these telephone poles just decreasing in size as they got further and further away from the viewer – that being me – and as I passed him, he began to diminish in size. The country is so flat, it was like this one quick snapshot of this guy rigged up on a pole with this telephone in his hand. And this song came about, really, from wondering what that was like, what it would be like to be working up on a telephone pole and what would you be talking about? Was he talking to his girlfriend? Probably just doing one of those checks where they called up and said, ‘Mile marker 46,’ you know. ‘Everything’s working so far.'” - Jimmy Webb
It has since been called “the first existential country song” and “the greatest pop song ever composed”.
“…one of those rare songs that seems somehow to exist in a world of its own – not just timeless but ultimately outside of modern music.” - BBC
The song (and another Webb composition “MacArthur Park”) was referenced by Homer Simpson in season 15 of “The Simpsons” (wav).
12. Brooks & Dunn – “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” (1992)
The song that inspired the line dancing craze of the 1990s, “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” was Brooks & Dunn’s fourth consecutive number one single.
Although it’s best known as a Brooks & Dunn song, Tulsa’s Ronnie Dunn originally wrote it for Asleep at the Wheel, who released in two years prior to this version.
11. Jack Guthrie – “Oklahoma Hills” (1944)
Written by his cousin Woody Guthrie, Jack Guthrie changed up some lyrics and music and made his western swing version of “Oklahoma Hills” a No.1 hit on the Juke Box Folk Records chart.
Jack was serving in the U.S. Army and stationed in the Pacific when the song was released. He would die just three years later from tuberculosis.
In 2001, Woody’s version was named the official state folk song of Oklahoma.
Hank Thompson made the song a top 10 country hit in 1961, while the song had also been covered by Chet Atkins, Gene Autry, Country Joe McDonald, Jim Reeves, Bruce Springsteen, Ernest Tubb and many more.