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.
35. Cross Canadian Ragweed – “Boys From Oklahoma” (1999)
Written by Cushing’s Gene Collier, “Boys From Oklahoma” was immediately a fan favorite for Cross Canadian Ragweed. The band never had a proper studio recording of the song, instead opting for two live versions – Live and Loud at the Wormy Dog Saloon in 1999 and Live and Loud at Billy Bob’s Texas in 2002.
“The track is a roll call for the rebellious. It’s smoky lyrics are enough to make you grin and grab some munchies.” - Nathan Poppe
Since the lyrics change with each time it’s sung, maybe it’s better that there is no set-in-stone studio version of the song.
“I’ve been playing this song for thirteen years. Stoney’s been playing this song for thirteen years. Jason Boland’s been playing this song for thirteen years. Hell, The Great Divide broke up because of this song.” - Cody Canada
34. Glen Campbell – “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (1967)
Just one of the several hits written by Elk City’s Jimmy Webb for Glen Campbell, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” was inspired from Webb’s breakup with Susan Ronstadt (Linda’s cousin).
“Well, it’s more of a song about something I wish I had done than something I really did, in that I did not get in my car and drive back to Oklahoma to punish this young woman for not reciprocating my love and affection. In fact, a guy approached me one night after a concert, and he had a map, and he had all the times, and he had a stopwatch. And he showed me how it was impossible for me to drive from L.A. to Phoenix, and then how far it was to Albuquerque and then — in short, he told me, ‘This song is impossible.’ And so it is. It’s a kind of fantasy about something I wish I would have done, and it sort of takes place in a twilight zone of reality. - Jimmy Webb
The song won Campbell two Grammy Awards and was named the third most performed song from 1940 to 1990 by BMI. Frank Sinatra called it “the greatest torch song ever written”.
“May I hasten to add that I think that the appeal of the song lies in its sort of succinct tale — its beginning, middle and end — and the fact that it sort of has an O. Henry-esque twist at the end, which consists merely of the guy saying, ‘She didn’t really think that I would go,’ but he did. And, in fact, I didn’t. I didn’t go. I stayed for more punishment.” - Jimmy Webb
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” has been covered by Ray Price, Reba McEntire, Dean Martin, Wanda Jackson, Isaac Hayes, Solomon Burke, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and others.
33. Blake Shelton – “Austin” (2001)
Despite having his record label shuttered while his debut single was rising on the charts, “Austin” spent five weeks at No.1 and even became a top 20 pop hit.
His five weeks at No.1 topped a record for a debut single, tying the mark set by Billy Ray Cyrus (“Achy Breaky Heart”) in 1992.
32. Bryan White – “Someone Else’s Star” (1995)
After two moderate showing on the country charts, it was 21-year-old Bryan White’s third single (“Someone Else’s Star”) that score him a No.1 hit.
The Putnam City West graduate would go on to have a run of top five and top twenty hits over the next several years.
31. Johnny Cash – “One Piece at a Time” (1976)
Written by Muldrow’s Wayne Kemp (who had his own hits with “Honky Tonk Wine” and “Listen”), “One Piece at a Time” was the last Johnny Cash song to reach No.1 on the country chart.