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48 Songs About Arizona

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Celebrate the great state of Arizona—where the heat is scorching, the west is wild, and even the plants are dangerous—with a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs.

Celebrate the great state of Arizona—where the heat is scorching, the west is wild, and even the plants are dangerous—with a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs.

Arizona: A Natural Wonder

I'm not someone who usually wants to roast in temperatures as hot as the seventh circle of Hell. In addition, if I were surprised by rattlesnakes, scorpions, or tarantulas (like they have in the southwest desert) then I'd probably react like one of those fainting goats. Arizona wouldn't seem like my kind of vacation destination.

The Grand Canyon State, however, has somehow made it to my bucket list. I want to be awed by the seventh natural wonder of the natural world and meander its scenic byways. I want to gaze at Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and the Chiricahua National Monument. I want to wander Tombstone, "The Town Too Tough to Die," watch Wild West reenactments, marvel at giant cacti and the vastness of the desert—just not in the summertime.

Whether you're from Arizona, have enjoyed vacationing there, or have it on your bucket list like me, here's a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs that give the great state of Arizona a shout out. Enjoy!

Reader Poll

1. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" by Glen Campbell

Arizona signifies an emotional milepost for the narrator in this 1967 Grammy Award-winning country song. It became the first hit of Glen Campbell's five-decade career—a tune in which the narrator is finally ending his on-again/off-again love affair. As his girlfriend sleeps, the guy leaves her a goodbye letter on the door that ends their tumultuous relationship. He then sets off to drive from the west coast down through the southern part of the country towards Oklahoma.

As the newly single man passes through Albuquerque and then Phoenix that morning, he contemplates how his ex must be processing being left like this. By the time he reaches his intended destination, the narrator imagines that she will be sleeping again. The woman underestimated him. She never thought that he would actually leave.

2. "Oceanfront Property" by George Strait

The lovelorn cowboy in this 1986 country song uses landlocked Arizona to humorously convey how much he regrets breaking up with his honey. He rattles off some white lies to her, including that he doesn't love her, her memory won't ever haunt him, and he doesn't worship the ground she walks on. Then, in a moment of honesty, the heartsick fella confesses:

Now if you'll buy that
I got some oceanfront property in Arizona
From my front porch, you can see the sea
I got some oceanfront property in Arizona
If you'll buy that I'll throw the Golden Gate in free.

3. "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" by Nat King Cole

Pack your bags. It's time for a road trip! The chipper guy in this R&B-imbued ditty from 1957 invites you to hop in the car for an unforgettable journey on historic Highway 66. The iconic roadway reached from Chicago to Los Angeles, extending across much of the Midwest, Great Plains, and the southwestern United States. As the man in this song makes his way westward to California, he namedrops cities along the way, including three Arizona locations: Flagstaff, Kingman, and Winona.

The interstate system's I-40, I-55, and I-44 had replaced Highway 66 by the 1970s, so the old cross-country highway was officially decommissioned in 1985. That hasn't stopped people from singing about it, however. Many artists have covered this song, including Chuck Berry, Glenn Frey, The Rolling Stones, Asleep at the Wheel, The Manhattan Transfer, Depeche Mode, and John Mayer.

4. "Surprise, AZ" by Richard Buckner

This doleful, low-key folk ditty was inspired by a newspaper story about a mother and son who were killed in an automobile crash in the small town of Surprise, Arizona. The fact that their unplanned deaths occurred in Surprise only adds to life's bitter irony. (This is the type of stuff in life you can't make up.)

Surprise is an actual small town suburb of Phoenix. The town got its name because its founder said she "would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much." The 1994 song imagines a conversation between the dead mother and son as they lay side by side in pine boxes riding back to Oklahoma. They discuss relationships and how Surprise put an end to their sweet misery.

5. "Bobby in Phoenix" by Gorillaz (featuring Bobby Womack)

This 2010 song has an earthy vibe as the narrator urges a discussion about Phoenix that "has a way of helping you to breathe a little better." The song is the last in a trilogy by the virtual band Gorillaz. The first two songs of the trilogy, "Stylo" and "Cloud of Unknowing," are about embracing technology and refocusing on God, while this song promotes oneness with nature.

6. "There Is No Arizona" by Jamie O'Neal

In 2000, this chart-topping country hit by Australian singer Jamie O'Neal subsequently crossed over to the mainstream Top 40 Billboard chart. It's about a woman whose lover heads to Arizona and promises to send for her when he gets situated. (Yeah, right.) Her friends continue to ask the gullible lady about her plans and timeline for moving. However, as she waits on word from her boyfriend, it becomes grows increasingly awkward to answer their inquiries.

When months pass and all she receives from him is a postcard with no return address, the crestfallen woman must face the realization that there is no Arizona. He sold her a pipe dream and told her lies, while she was foolhardy enough to believe him. (No offense, but she should have seen that one coming.)

7. "Arizona" by Scorpions

The hard rocker in this 1982 song celebrates Arizona for the blast that he had there one night with a prostitute who approached him in the street. They transacted their (ahem) business in the car all night. The traveling man recalls the experience as "mind-blowing" and said that "morning came too soon."

8. "Tucson Train" by Bruce Springsteen

People can change. That's the earnest message delivered by the man in this 2019 rock love ballad as he awaits the 5:15 train from Tucson. He's a construction worker who left San Francisco and his lady friend behind for a new life in Arizona.

Their relationship was too fraught with disagreement, so he opted for a change. He didn't plan on missing her this much. Time, distance, and hard work have clarified his life priorities. Now he waits to be reunited with the sweetheart he misses, and he looks forward to showing her that he has truly changed.

9. "Take It Easy" by Eagles

One of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, this classic 1972 rock number is thumping with positive vibes. The song's narrator encourages the listener to loosen up, appreciate life, and live in the present moment.

The guy is road trippin' and makes an impromptu stop in Arizona to pick up a rider after he notices the attractive stranger:

Now I'm a-standin' on the corner in Winslow, Arizona
With such a fine sight to see
It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
Slowin' down to have a look at me
Come on, baby, don't say maybe
I've got to know if your sweet love is gonna save me.

Today, tourists can find a life-sized bronze statue of a man with a guitar in Winslow, Arizona's Standin' on the Corner Park. It honors this famous song.

10. "Arizona" by Mark Lindsay

Musician Mark Lindsay released this 1970 pop song when he was still the lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders. In it, a young man is smitten with his girlfriend, a simple-minded Bohemian beauty who goes by the name of Arizona (sounds legit, right?). He tries unsuccessfully to persuade his sweetheart to abandon her lifestyle and flights of fancy and be more like him but ends up relenting like lovers often do.

11. "Tucson, Arizona (Gazette)" by Dan Fogelberg

Singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg is best known for mellow soft rock ballads like "Leader of the Band," "Same Old Lang Syne," and "Longer," but this one from 1984 went way left. What happened, Dan? Bad impression of Arizona along the way?

The grim tune is a murder ballad taking place in Tucson, starring an angry man named Tony. Tucson Tony's father died of alcoholism, leaving him and his four siblings to be raised by a single mother. Tony's an adult now and still lives with Mom. The only real joy he knows is taking his prized Chevy out for a spin at night.

One night Tony gets up the nerve to ask out a barmaid, Mary Estelle Hanna. At first, she embarrasses him with rejection, but then the crass woman relents. Mary's body is found face down. Two weeks later, Tucson Tony is found with self-inflicted gunshot wounds inside his car that is half covered with sand. "What could make a good boy go so bad?" people wondered. People blamed drugs, the desert heat, and the home he never had. Excuses.

12. "Hey Willie" by Waylon Jennings

Outlaw Waylon Jennings recalls simpler times back in Phoenix before he and pal Willie Nelson were rich and famous. The two stars became lifelong friends when they met in 1965 in Phoenix after Nelson heard Jennings perform a set in a bar. The country legend fondly remembers the stars in the Arizona sky in this 1988 ditty, as well as wandering town to town in their bus. Music meant more than anything then, and Hoss wishes they could catch a slow train and travel back in time.

13. "I Love You, Arizona" by Rex Allen Jr.

Call it corny or call it the alternate Arizona state anthem, this 1981 ditty oozes enthusiasm for all magical things that are Arizona. That includes its mountains, deserts, outlaws, cactus and sage. There have been multiple petitions to replace the existing state anthem with this tune, but when they were unsuccessful, the song was designated the Official State Centennial Song and alternate anthem.

Arizona saying: "A hundred and ten in the shade is hot, but you don't gotta shovel it off your driveway."

Arizona saying: "A hundred and ten in the shade is hot, but you don't gotta shovel it off your driveway."

24 Famous Arizonans

ArizonanArizonanArizonan

Lynda Carter, Miss World USA and Wonder Woman actress

Ira Hayes, WWII veteran who was one of the six flag raisers immortalized in the iconic photograph, "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima"

Emma Stone, Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actress

Chester Bennington, Linkin Park lead singer

Geronimo, Apache leader, fearless warrior, and famous medicine man

Frank Lloyd Wright, visionary architect

Linda Ronstadt, Grammy Award-winning singer

Joe Jonas, singer in Jonas Brothers

Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac singer and solo artist

Jordin Sparks, pop singer and winner of sixth American Idol season

Michelle Branch, pop and rock singer

César Chávez, labor leader and civil rights activist who advocated for better conditions for agricultural workers

Barbara Eden, "I Dream of Jeannie" actress

Kerri Strug, Olympic gymnast

Alice Cooper, heavy metal singer

Cochise, chief of the Chiricahua Apache

Dierks Bentley, country singer

Marty Robbins, country singer

Brad Johnson, actor, former Marlboro Man

Aidy Bryant, comedienne on Saturday Night Live

Barry Goldwater, US senator and Republican Party nominee for President of the United States

Jimmy Eat World, alternative rock band

John McCain, war hero and US senator (Republican) who unsuccessfully ran for President in 2008

Gin Blossoms, alternative rock band

14. "King of Arizona" by Clutch

Metal band Clutch is known for its cryptic lyrics, but here's some help with interpreting this exciting track. The 2007 song is rich with American Indian symbolism, as Arizona is home to at least 21 federally recognized Indian reservations, including communities of the Navajo, Apache, and Hopi people.

Song narrators are assumed to be American Indians, the Kings of Arizona, who provide advice to listeners to be survivalists like the coyote and strong like the bear. Their heritage has known rebirth and power in the darkest days. From humility, they've grown strong to be the Kings of Arizona. The narrators criticize the helplessness of city dwellers ("townies"), who are consumed with troubled politics, bogged down by a formal and bureaucratic healthcare system, and lack of respect for heritage.

"“The Arizona desert takes hold of a man’s mind and shakes it.” - David W. Toll, American journalist

"“The Arizona desert takes hold of a man’s mind and shakes it.” - David W. Toll, American journalist

15. "Painted Desert" by Pat Benatar

In this 1984 rock ditty, the narrator references the Painted Desert of Arizona to describe how isolated she feels now that she is separated from her significant other. She feels lost and in need of an oasis, yet there is no apparent relief in sight.

The Painted Desert is a vast stretch of badland hills, flat-topped mesas, and buttes in northern Arizona. It consists of stratified layers of brilliantly colored sedimentary rock, mostly shades of red and lavender.

15. "She Is His Only Need" by Wynona Judd

There's someone for everyone, and Billy, a small town loner in Arizona, found Bonnie. This tender 1992 country song describes how a man cherishes the love of his life for all the years they are together. Although Billy's not an exciting man, he's a good person at heart with solid working skills and a desire to make Bonnie happy. Periodically, he surprises her with lavish gifts to show her how much she means because she is his only need.

17. "The Ballad of Boot Hill" by Johnny Cash

In the Old West, outlaws and cowboys were commonly buried in cemeteries named "Boot Hill" because they were the final resting place for those who "died with their boots on." The one in Tombstone, Arizona is the most famous.

This 1959 country song is about the 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, arguably the most famous shootout in the American Wild West. Lawman Wyatt Earp and his brothers faced off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in the infamous 30-second shootout on a Tombstone, Arizona, street which left three gunslingers dead.

18. "Send Me Down to Tucson" by Mel Tillis

When an employee jumps at the chance to travel to Tucson in the summertime, you know there's something up. In this 1979 country done-me-wrong song, Tuscon is the intended location for the narrator's tryst.

He's a philandering husband who gleefully tells his boss, "Go on and send me down to Tucson and I'll get the job done." The cheating man claims he's happily married but still carries a torch for one special Arizona lady who makes him feel every bit a man. The narrator justifies his actions by claiming that his wife doesn't satisfy him like this Arizona lady does.

19. "Arizona" by Kings of Leon

All the narrator wanted was quick sex from a beautiful girl. What he got was scared, shaking young woman. (How old was she?) Even drunk, he knew this was just plain wrong. Based on a real encounter with a prostitute in the Arizona desert, this anguished 2007 hard rock song points out that there are real women with pained life stories turning those tricks. He took the moral high road in leaving.

20. "King Tut" by Steve Martin

Saturday Night Live comedian Steve Martin pokes fun of the touring museum exhibit "Treasures of Tutankhamen" in this wild and crazy 1978 novelty song. The song criticizes the commercialization of the Egyptian mummy and related artifacts.

Martin's only hit reached #17 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, thus making him a one-hit wonder. Although the tomb of the famous boy-king was found in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, Martin leans on Arizona as for an easy rhyme:

Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia,
He was born in Arizona, lived in a condo made of stone-a
King Tut.

Unfortunately, Martin's humor hasn't necessarily stood the test of time. In 2017, students of an Oregon college denounced the song as racist. They called the comedian's memorable SNL skit (featuring the saxophone player emerging from a sarcophagus with his face painted gold) the "cultural equivalent of blackface."

“Even the plants in Arizona wanted to hurt you.”- Janette Rallison, American writer

“Even the plants in Arizona wanted to hurt you.”- Janette Rallison, American writer

Even More Songs About Arizona

SongArtist(s)Year Released

21. Phoenix

Aimee Mann

2008

22. Scottsdale

Chronic Future

1996

23. Get Back

The Beatles

1969

24. Summer Running

Billy Idol

2005

25. One Way Ticket

Billy Currington

2013

26. God Love Her

Toby Keith

2008

27. Furnace Fan

Robert Earl Keen

2003

28. Phoenix

Cady Groves

2010

29. The Fool

Old 97's

2008

30. Carefree Highway

Gordon Lightfoot

1974

31. Ride Cowboy Ride

Marty Robbins

1960

32. Tune Out

The Format

2003

33. Mesa Town

Authority Zero

1999

34. By the Time I Get to Arizona

Public Enemy

1991

35. Readymade

Red Hot Chili Peppers

2006

36. American Nights

Chase Rice

2020

37. Little Egypt (Ying-Yang)

The Coasters

1961

38. God Save Arizona

Ray Stevens

2011

39. Big Iron

Marty Robbins

1960

40. Hotel Arizona

Wilco

1996

41. Your Arizona Room

Everclear

2006

42. Painted Desert

10,000

1987

43. Yuma, AZ

Damien Jurado

1997

44. I Fell Into Painting Houses in Phoenix

Richard Fontaine

2007

45. Thumbelina

The Pretenders

1984

46. June on the West Coast

Bright Eyes

1998

47. Closer

The Chainsmokers

2016

48. Pray for Tucson

Dave Hause

2011

© 2020 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 13, 2020:

Adrienne - Thanks for sharing that bit about yourself and your background. Please be safe in this pandemic, especially since you're in a hotspot.

Adrienne Farricelli on July 13, 2020:

Being an Arizonian, I really enjoyed this article about songs of Arizona. I personally love Arizona. Although I miss the Mediterranean sea where I grew up as a child in Italy, Arizona still remains close to my heart. It's such a wild State with its dust devils, cactus, javelina and scorpions.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 03, 2020:

Peggy - I sure look forward to going!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 03, 2020:

Bob - I remember it too and remember him and Chevy Chase in skits as well as comedies of the time.

Robert Sacchi on June 03, 2020:

Great list. I suppose Steve Martin's "King Tut" could be on your song's they wouldn't get away with today. I remember watching Steve Martin perform it on SNL.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 03, 2020:

Glen Campbell's song is a classic, and I enjoyed several other songs you featured as well. We love all of the places that we have gotten to see as tourists in Arizona, primarily in the winter months. One trip through the state was in late spring. There is so much to enjoy in Arizona beyond the Grand Canyon.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 01, 2020:

Genna - What a talent he is! Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week and be safe.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 01, 2020:

Dora - I guess both extremes have their advantages and disadvantages. There are many who would gladly be you, calling the Caribbean home.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 01, 2020:

Lora - My fear of snakes comes from almost stepping on a large copperhead barefoot as a child. I stepped over him without knowing it. I also used to rent a house when I was fresh out of college and I found several snake skins among my canned goods in the pantry. As if I weren't already fearful, that was enough to engender quite a fear.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 01, 2020:

Nithya - Thanks for stopping by. I've always been an Eagles fan, too. Have a good week and be safe.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on June 01, 2020:

How I loved this hub, Flourish. You included one of my idols -- Bruce Springsteen. There is no one else like him. :- ) Thank you again for this wonderful music.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 01, 2020:

Sent a few days in Arizona, and I won't complain. The attitude of contentment in that Arizona saying is the same as mine here in the Caribbean. "A hundred and ten in the shade is hot, but you don't gotta shovel it off your driveway."

Lora Hollings on June 01, 2020:

Wow, what a great playlist about this fascinating state with so many terrains and interesting creatures of the desert. Don't forget the gila monsters, Flourish. They live in Arizona too! One of the few venomous lizards. I can certainly do without the scorpions and the rattlesnakes. But the snakes do leave you alone, I hear, unless you pester them or step on them by accident. Which is easier than you think because they are so well camouflaged in the desert! My favorite songs are "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" by Glen Campbell and (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" by Nat King Cole. I know one of my very favorite singers, Linda Ronstadt, lived in Tucson, Arizona for many years but I don't know if she ever sang a song about Arizona. I loved listening to these tunes!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 31, 2020:

Great songs about Arizona, enjoyed going through the list. My favorite is "Take It Easy" by Eagles" among many others.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 31, 2020:

Rajan - Holy moly! That's 113 degrees Fahrenheit. I don't know how in the world people stand that type of heat.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 31, 2020:

Mark - Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful week and be safe.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 31, 2020:

We presently have temperatures close to 45 deg C and I can understand it is no fun surviving this body roasting temperature. Good to learn about these Arizona songs.

Mark Tulin from Santa Barbara, California on May 31, 2020:

Another fine list, Flourish. I also associate Arizona with Spring Training, and have been there several times.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 31, 2020:

Linda - Although we have poisonous snakes where I live, including rattlesnakes, somehow they seem more dangerous in an unknown environment. And those other critters like Gila monsters! They're just plain scary.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 30, 2020:

I'd love to visit the Grand Canyon. I wouldn't like encountering rattlesnakes in Arizona, though! Thanks for sharing the music and the interesting information about famous people from Arizona.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 30, 2020:

Heidi - I've never understood the inclination to retire to another location, especially one that's so incredibly hot. I'll stay where my family is. Chicago has its own issues with the winter weather but goodness does it have exciting things to do that lots of places could only dream of! Hope your weekend is a fun one.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 30, 2020:

Pamela - It was bittersweet watching that video and how young he was.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 30, 2020:

Eric - An Arizona boy! Thanks for letting us know.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 30, 2020:

Clive - Thanks, buddy.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 30, 2020:

Linda - With this pandemic, it looks like my daughter may be doing college on-line (while I pay for her empty apartment at college!), so we may take a road trip during the November time frame or winter break. I'd love to go to Arizona if we safely can with the pandemic. Who knows what things will be like then.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 30, 2020:

Emge - I appreciate your kind comment. Each list takes me almost a week to compile. Have a wonderful weekend and stay safe.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on May 29, 2020:

Flourish, I have been to Arizona and saw the Grand Canyon. It was awesome and so is your collection Must have taken a lot of time to collect these songs. Thank you.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 29, 2020:

I think you've just about covered everything that has been sung about the state!

What do I think of when it comes to AZ? Retirement homes for snowbirds. I wouldn't be able to handle the "dry" heat for sure. I'll just stay here in the hot/humid/snowy/frigid/wait-5-minutes-and-the-weather-will-change Windy City.

Have a great weekend!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 29, 2020:

Mary - It sounds like you enjoyed your time there quite a bit. We like in a lovely area with moderate to warm temperatures year round and I've moved around my entire live so I don't want to leave, however I wouldn't mind a nice visit!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 29, 2020:

Devika - I appreciate your kind comment nd your stopping by. Have a great weekend!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 29, 2020:

Bill - He brushes over it in "Rock'n Me" very briefly along with the names of other places.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 29, 2020:

There are so many good songs about Arizone but it is hard to not put Glen Campbell's song first. I am amazed about the number of songs about Arizona. You did a great job with the vast nuber of Arizone songs.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 29, 2020:

Thank you, I will be back many times.

Just a country boy I was born on a Mountain 7,000 yes 7,000 feet high. It is known as Flagstaff Arizona. These references I call home.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on May 29, 2020:

As usual, great music list

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 29, 2020:

Flourish, I loved this one. In addition to visiting the Grand Canyon several times, my husband, daughter, and I have gone there for spring training--baseball in the spring, when the sky is clear and the heat isn't yet ratcheted up to triple digits.

It is a beautiful place (but much different from our Evergreen State, that's for sure). I hope you get to go there someday.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 29, 2020:

I have good memories of Arizona after staying there during our winter here in Canada. I have good friends there. I was really awed by the Grand Canyon and the other sites as they are so different from my usual environment. These songs are great reminders of such a beautiful experience.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 29, 2020:

I know a few songs but you never stop at surprising me of your list here. Songs that I had forgotten came back to me in a flash.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 29, 2020:

This was an easy one. So many of my favorite artists sang about Arizona. What about Steve Miller? Didn't he mention Arizona in a song? I'm drawing a blank on the title, but it seems like it.???

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