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.
95. Lynyrd Skynyrd – “You Got That Right” (1978)
I know, I know. Some of you are about to type “LYNYRD SKYNYRD WASN’T FROM OKLAHOMA!”…and you’re right, mostly. However, two members (Steve Gaines and his sister Cassie Gaines) of Lynyrd Skynyrd were from Miami, Oklahoma.
I know, I know. Some of you are about to type “LYNYRD SKYNYRD IS ROCK, NOT COUNTRY!”…and you’re right, mostly. Southern rock evolved out of roots rock and has many elements of country music present.
Steve Gaines co-wrote and shared lead vocals with Ronnie Van Zant on “You Got That Right”. The song was released as a single in 1978, after Steve, Cassie, Ronnie and three others were killed in that infamous plane crash.
“I expect we’ll all be in Steve’s shadow one day. This kid is a writing and playing fool. He’s already scared everybody (in the band) into playing their best in years.” - Ronnie Van Zant
94. John Moreland – “Ancient Youth” (2011)
“John Moreland’s latest full-length effort is Earthbound Blues, which is a stunning country gem. On the soulful track “Ancient Youth,” Moreland employs the singing talents of Ali Harter, Samantha Crain and Kelly Johnson. This combination of voices boosts the song into something that could fit on a Neil Young album.” - Nathan Poppe
John Moreland is a songwriting machine and truly one of the most talented and versatile musicians in our state, writing superb rock songs and composing hip hop songs. But with 2011’s Earthbound Blues, the Tulsa resident delves into his country and blues side.
93. Bob Childers – “Sunshine, Wind and Water” (1979)
“Bob Childers was a cornerstone in one of Oklahoma’s most influential music movements in the last 30 years: Red Dirt. His tune, “Sunshine, Wind and Water,” was highly acclaimed in the “no-nukes” movement. He truly was a pioneer.” - Jennifer Chancellor (Tulsa World)
“Sunshine, Wind and Water” was featured on Bob Childers 1979 debut album, I Ain’t No Jukebox. The song got him noticed by protesters of Three Mile Island, who invited him to perform the song at a no-nukes rally in Washington, D.C. The Ponca City native performed before Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger in front of a estimated crowd of 65,000 to 100,000.
92. Restless Heart – “I’ll Still Be Loving You” (1987)
Restless Heart was formed by Grove’s Tim DuBois and Clinton’s Scott Hendricks in 1983. They were originally called the Okie Project and featured three Oklahomans – Dave Innis of Bartlesville, Paul Gregg of Altus and Greg Jennings of Nicoma Park. (Binger’s Verlon Thompson was also briefly a member.)
“I’ll Still Be Loving You” was a No.1 hit on the Country chart and broke them into the Adult Contemporary chart. Their big ballads and tight harmonies earned them frequent comparisons to the Eagles.
91. Kelly Willis – “I Don’t Want to Love You (But I Do)” (1990)
Kelly Willis was raised in Lawton and now lives in Austin, Texas. “I Don’t Want to Love You (But I Do)” was her first single off her debut album, Well Travelled Love, on MCA Records. The next year, her voice appeared in the movie Thelma and Louise, singing “Little Honey.”