8 Songs About Cities That
Don’t Deserve Songs
Why did artists write songs about these cities that don’t deserve songs? Well, keep in mind that musicians tend to do a lot of drugs …
By Eric Alt
There’s a reason why so many artists write songs about cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles — it’s because they attract artists with their culture, nightlife, and predatory talent-vampires who promise them fame and fortune and, once in a great while, deliver it. Those cities deserve songs.
But some artists also sing songs about cities that really don’t deserve them. We’re not talking songs like Billy Joel’s “Allentown,” which are all about how much the city blows. They’re songs that celebrate or attempt to immortalize the city. And these are eight cities that don’t deserve it.
“Rockaway Beach” | The Ramones (1977)
Before you argue that this is, in fact, a song about New York, keep in mind that the boys were referring to a rim of sludge that Queens calls a beach. (Admittedly, it’s slightly less sludgey these days.)
“The sun is out and I want some / It’s not hard, not far to reach / We can hitch a ride / to Rockaway Beach.”
Uh, who do these guys think they’re fooling? They were four of the palest men this side of Transylvania. Look at Joey in that photo — he’s practically see-through. Catch some rays at the beach? No way in hell. (Heroin, maybe.)
So Merle proves our point immediately. Thing is, he’s a bit of a hypocrite considering he is one of history’s all-time great drinkers. (That said, we like Merle.) Fun fact: Muskogee is named after a Native-American tribe that the weed-hating Okies slaughtered. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
“Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” | Dionne Warwick (1968)
Actually, we do! You start off in Los Angeles, drive north on the 101, reach San Jose, and keep driving as you continue on your way to San Francisco or Oakland.
As Dionne croons, “Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass.” So being numbed to the passage of time is the city’s biggest selling point? Well, at least they have an NHL team … that chokes every year in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“Tulsa Time” | Eric Clapton (1978)
This song, originally sung by a cowboy named Don Williams (it’s actually a great song, but we like the Clapton version better) is about a fella who leaves Tulsa to find his fortune, and then immediately returns: “And I really had a flash this time / I had no business leavin’, and nobody would be grievin’/ If I went on back to Tulsa time.”
Abandoning your dreams when they don’t immediately work out in order to return home to Oklahoma City’s little brother? Geez, stop bumming us out.