My fine colleague Dave Cathey invited me to contribute a list of Oklahoma songs for a Valentine’s Day film and music list that ran in Tuesday’s Life section of The Oklahoman. Here’s a version of my Oklahoma Valentine’s Day playlist:
“You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma,” written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Larry Collins and Sandy Pinkard; recorded by David Frizzell and Shelly West; covered by Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert: This ballad from the 1981 movie “Any Which Way You Can” is quite possibly the best country song with an Oklahoma reference in the title. When the future Mr. and Mrs. Shelton performed it on a TV special, their chemistry was apparent.
“Mama’s Song” written by Carrie Underwood, Kara DioGuardi, Marti Frederiksen and Luke Laird; sung by Carrie Underwood: The Checotah native co-wrote this autobiographical ballad about a bride on her wedding day assuring her mother that her new husband is a good man.
“When Love Finds You” written by Vince Gill and Michael Omartian; sung by Vince Gill: The Sooner State native may just be one of the best country balladeers ever.
“Somebody” written by Dave Berg, Sam Tate, and Annie Tate; sung by Reba McEntire: The Oklahoma-born and bred songstress is actually better at belting about heartache than romance, but she encourages folks who haven’t found Mr. or Miss Right just yet to keep hope alive in her 2004 hit.
“Unanswered Prayers” written by Pat Alger, Larry Bastian and Garth Brooks; sung by Garth Brooks: The Oklahoma country music megastar co-wrote this smash based on true events. It’s about a man meeting his old high school sweetheart at a hometown football game and introducing her to his wife.
“Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung” by The Flaming Lips: A pair of lovers flee the society that wants to keep them apart and decide to throw themselves into an erupting volcano together, thus preserving their love forever in molten lava. Tragically romantic.
“Heartbreak Hotel,” written by Tommy Durden and Oklahoma-bred songwriter Mae Boren Axton; sung by Elvis Presley: Feel so lonely you could die this Valentine’s Day? Wallow with The King.
“Tennessee Waltz,” written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King; made famous by Patti Page: Page achieved a rare feat when her rendition of this sad slow dance became a No. 1 hit concurrently on the pop, country and R&B charts. As previously reported, the late, great Claremore native was honored last week with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and Kelly Clarkson belted “Tennessee Waltz” in Page’s honor during Sunday night’s Grammy Awards. To watch Clarkson perform “Tennessee Waltz,” click here.
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” written by Jimmy Webb; made famous by singer Glen Campbell: Webb’s most famous ballad definitely conveys the pain and dread of a broken love affair.
“Taylor the Latte Boy,” written by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich; sung by Kristin Chenoweth: The Broken Arrow native is known for her huge voice, but she has a keen sense of humor, too. Plus, I firmly believe, as this song indicates, that the giddiness of potential new love goes best with a nice cup of premium coffee.