To help celebrate Oklahoma’s Centennial, we will be counting down the Top 100 Oklahoma Musicians over the next four weeks, leading up to Oklahoma’s Statehood Day on November 16. Every weekday, we’ll unveil another five Oklahoma musicians or bands that helped shape the way Oklahoma music is viewed from the outside world.
65. Hanson (formed in Tulsa)
From their beginnings as prepubescent bubblegum-popsters to their current state as independent musicians and activists, Hanson has covered a lot of ground in their 15 years in the music business. The band hit it big in 1997 with their infectious No. 1 hit “MMMbop” and was nominated for three Grammys in 1998. Their second major label album, This Time Around, marked a change in style for Hanson and the album never caught on with the general public.
During the recording of their third album, the band left Island Records and started an indie label, 3CG Records. 2004’s Underneath went on to peak at No. 1 on the Billboard independent charts and and No. 25 on the Billboard 200. Hanson recorded the song “Great Divide” with a South African school choir in 2006. The song was released on iTunes, with all proceeds going towards AIDS education and prevention in Africa. The band continues to work against poverty and AIDS in Africa, championing the causes while on tour.
64. Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts (raised in Picher)
Joe Don Rooney, guitarist for Rascal Flatts, began playing music in the Miami, Oklahoma band Unclethumbtack. In 2000, he joined Rascal Flatts and the band has been skyrocketing ever since, scoring three No. 1 albums in seven years. The band has charted 17 songs in the U.S. Country Chart’s Top 10, eight of which peaked at No. 1. Over the course of their career, Rascal Flatts has been named the Academy of Country Music’s Top Vocal Group five years in a row and named CMA’s Vocal Group of the Year four years in a row.
63. Lowell Fulson (born in Tulsa)
Lowell Fulson left Oklahoma in 1940 for a two-year stint with Texas Alexander. He scored his first R&B hit, “Three O’Clock Blues” on the Swingtime label in 1948. From 1949-52, Fulson recorded hits with “Blue Shadows,” “Lonely Christmas,” “Low Society” and “Every Day I Have the Blues.” His huge 1954 hit, “Reconsider Baby” was later covered by Elvis Presley and chosen by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll”. Fulson was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1993 and was nominated for a Grammy in 1995 for Best Traditional Blues Album.
Fulson passed away in March of 1999 due to complications from kidney disease, diabetes and congestive heart failure.
62. Hinder (formed in Oklahoma City)
Loved and loathed by many, Hinder has been very successful in their short stay in music’s mainstream. The group’s debut album, Extreme Behavior, has gone platinum twice, peaked as the No. 1 album in Australia and peaked as the No. 6 album in America. Their debut single, “Get Stoned”, barely made an indention on the charts. But their second single, “Lips of An Angel”, changed everything. The song peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Pop 100 and in Australia, New Zealand and Canada and garnered them regular spins on VH1 and heavy radio play. Hinder is set to enter the studio in January 2008 to record their sophomore album.
61. Cal Smith (born in Gans)
Following a stint in the military in 1961, Cal Smith joined the Texas Troubadours. He released his first solo album (Drinking Champagne) in 1969 and hit the Top 40 of the country charts with the title track. His 1972 top 10 hit, “I’ve Found Someone of My Own”, started a string of smash hits. His cover of Bill Anderson’s “The Lord Knows I’m Drinking” hit No. 1 on the country charts in 1973. Smith had two more No. 1s, “It’s Time to Pay the Fiddler” and “Country Bumpkin” in 1974.