Monday, December 11, 2006


XWL, inspired by Blender, did a list of the 25 Greatest LA Songs. This made me wonder what the top Florida songs would be. (Orlando wasn't more than a town as recently as 50 years ago, so there's not going to be 25 songs about Orlando.) A few songs came to mind quickly, but they're mostly about somewhere else, despite the settings. "Gator Country" is very much about Florida, but "American Girl" is really about how much Tom Petty wanted to be in LA, and "Walk on the Wild Side" is really about whatever reality Lou Reed inhabits.

But one song keeps coming to mind as the perfect song about Florida... or at least the perfect song about what Florida has become. Far too much of this, and not enough of this. I've driven through some of the area described in that last article in the last few years, and I can tell you that as recently as 30 years ago places in what's now the massive suburban sprawl of Orlando used to be less developed than the area in that article is now. Give it another 30 years, and that'll be gone too. Since all of this is being caused by people from other places moving here, I figure I may as well grab a song about someplace else to repesent Florida. It'll make the new neighbors feel more at home. So the perfect song about Florida is, naturally, a song about Ohio....

"My City Was Gone"
by The Pretenders

I went back to Ohio
But my city was gone
There was no train station
There was no downtown
South Howard had disappeared
All my favorite places
My city had been pulled down
Reduced to parking spaces
A, o, where did you go Ohio

Well I went back to Ohio
But my family was gone
I stood on the back porch
There was nobody home
I was stunned and amazed
My childhood memories
Slowly swirled past
Like the wind through the trees
A, o, oh way to go Ohio

I went back to Ohio
But my pretty countryside
Had been paved down the middle
By a government that had no pride

The farms of Ohio
Had been replaced by shopping malls
And Muzak filled the air
From Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls
Said, a, o, oh way to go Ohio


bill said...

Isn't Carl Hiassen in a band? He's probably written some tourist hating songs.

In another direction, you might find something in the lyrics of Del Suggs. Sort of like old Jimmy Buffet. Met him once, nice enough guy. Figured out how to make a decent living sponging off Campus Activity Boards. Playing colleges has to be a lot easier and healthier than the local bars.

Del performs primarily at colleges and universities, and his standard fee is $1250 plus accommodations for the night of the show. This fee includes travel, and sound within the southeast region.

Icepick said...

Margaritaville's a long way from here. It's got more in common with the Bahama's than it does with most of Florida.

And Hiassen represents a very strange type - if everyone did what he wanted them to do, he'd be out of a job.

Anyway, it's not the tourists that are the problem. It's all the damned people who come here and stay.

bill said...

We lived in South Florida--Sunrise, to be exact--from the fall of 1977 to the spring of 1978. One horrible school year. I can't even imagine what living there through high school would have been like. I'm curious how much the area changed after the 1980 Mariel boatlift. When we were there, it was predominately New Yorkers and New Jerseyians. My 6-year old sister went from a North Carolina drawl to a Bronx accent.