Texas Top 100 songs (76-100)
76 Ballad of the Alamo, Marty Robbins: About as dense as lyric-writing gets, this song packs a history lesson about the famous battle — with dialogue from Sam Houston, William B. Travis and Santa Anna — into just under four dramatic minutes. If you don’t think that’s impressive, consider that the John Wayne movie it was written for clocked in at nearly three hours.
77 Get Up (A Cowboys Anthem), Kelly Clarkson: It sounds like a lot of Clarkson’s other songs, with a defiant attitude and a big chorus, but in this case the Burleson-bred singer isn’t singing about how easily she’ll get over some guy who dumped her, but about the Dallas Cowboys. She’s a fan, y’know.
78 Dallas Got That Soul, PPT: The Dallas hip-hop trio filled its 2008 Denglish disc with lots of salutes to their hometown, like Dallas Lady and God Save the D, but this track really stands out.
79 Abilene, Dave Alvin: The Americana artist tells the story of a troubled woman headed back to Texas for one last chance in this sad and soulful track from 2007.
80 Blue Yodel No. 1 (T for Texas), Jimmie Rodgers: The country-music pioneer sings not just about a T for Texas, but a T for Tennessee — and a T for Thelma, the woman who made a fool out of him (and is doomed because of it). Lynyrd Skynyrd turned this simple but violent song into a nearly 10-minute concert showstopper in the ’70s.
81 Songs About Texas, Pat Green: He lives in Fort Worth now, but Pat Green knows a thing or two about all of Texas, from his days at Texas Tech and touring the state with his band. This song is a fitting ode to coming home to “old Cowtown” and “San Antone.”
82 Under the X in Texas, Red Steagall: A classic country gem with plenty of fiddle and steel guitar, and wistful lyrics from the cowboy poet of Texas.
83 Colors Are All the Same, Bill Pekar: Shiner’s own Pekar concocted this Romeo & Juliet of a Texas love song in which an Aggie and a Longhorn meet at a Robert Earl Keen concert and fall in love.
84 Texas Tornado, Sir Douglas Quintet: Anyone who has lived in Texas knows tornadoes are part of our reality, and this song by Doug Sahm and his band capture the helplessness we feel, with a bit of humor and twang.
85 Texas Me, Doug Sahm: A bluesy-country riff by San Antone’s Sahm, wondering what happened to his Texan identity after he left for the West Coast, “the real ol’ Texas Me.”
86 If You’re Ever Down in Dallas, Lee Ann Womack: A swooner about loneliness and heartache, the 2006 country song invites the listener to look me up, “if you’re ever down in Dallas.” Don’t mind if we do.
87 Fort Worth, Dallas or Houston, George Hamilton IV: The “Abilene” singer had a thing for songs with Texas place names, such as this 1964 country hit about his longing for a woman who doesn’t have to be pretty or sexy, “as long as she comes from deep in the heart of Texas.” John D. Loudermilk, who co-wrote Abilene, also did this one, which name-drops a half-dozen other Texas cities in the lyrics.
88 Better Off in Houston, Zac Brown: Very short, very spare and very conflicted, this 2007 ballad has the singer thinking he’s better off there than with a girl who’s “gotta get all high and mighty” on him. This even as he sings her lullabies. “And I have no doubt about it,” he rasps, “this is the pits.”
89 If You Ever Go to Houston, Bob Dylan: This is a cut from Dylan’s 2008 Together Through Life CD, and seems to be about trouble with the law in Houston: “If you ever go to Houston, better walk right. Keep your hands in your pocket. And your gun belt tight.” Musically it’s a mess, but the lyrics are pure Dylan.
90 T for Texas (Mistreated Blues), Pee Wee Crayton: If Crayton came back and hung out on Thomas St. in Uptown Dallas as he talks about in this classic blues track, he’d find a totally different world from the one he knew when it was an African-American neighborhood.
91 Houston Is Hot Tonight, Iggy Pop: A peculiar sample of early ’80s post-punk, this track from Iggy Pop’s Party LP alludes to oil, space and, yes, heat, but mostly feels like a song stitched together from hazy impressions of the city and state.
92 Houston Oilers, Mike Jones: Jones’ H-Town anthem isn’t about the former football team (despite name-dropping Warren Moon), or about oil, for that matter. But it is about getting oiled, and being proud of it.
93 Texican Style, Los Lonely Boys: San Angelo’s hometown heroes celebrate the Tex-Mex spirit in this ode to a woman who’s “wild” with her Texican style.
94 Making the Run to Gladewater, Michelle Shocked: A different kind of East Texas memory that many Texans can relate to: making the late-night beer run to the town 30 miles away because the county you live in happens to be dry.
95 Dallas, Willie Nelson: “She swings like a blonde with a millionaire,” Nelson croons, in this terrific paean to one of the state’s biggest (and, let’s face it, proudest) cities. It was part of an all-Texas themed covers album Willie recorded in 1968 called Texas in My Soul.
96 Home to Houston, Steve Earle: A truck driver’s lament, this 2008 song is not the most memorable of Earle’s work but it resonates with anyone who’s driven a rig through Texas.
97 Texas Me and You, Asleep at the Wheel: These guys have written about Texas so much they could have their own top 100. But this love letter ranks as one of their finest.
98 Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine, Asylum Street Spankers: Doubtless the most inappropriate song on our list, this — the most popular version of the 1985 Homer Henderson conspiracy ode — earns its place. It’s got both geography and irreverent hilarity going for it (“I was born in Dallas in 1952/Lee Harvey moved across the street/On Beckley Avenue … They say he shot the president/But I don’t think he did.”) It was first recorded by Homer Henderson & the Dalworthington Garden Boys. Last month, Henderson told the Austin Chronicle: “I think we wrote most of it while we were driving around drinking Slurpees and smoking weed. We’d pass by Oswald’s house, the Texas Theatre and Marsalis Avenue in Oak Cliff, where Jack Ruby had lived. Thirty years ago, people didn’t give a damn about it, but we knew all those places.”
99 Livin’ on the Edge (of Houston), the Reverend Horton Heat: A hard-driving, skull-rattling 3-minute rant from the Texas maniac’s 1991 album The Full Custom Gospel Sounds of the Reverend Horton Heat. It’s a funny and frenetic jab at the outskirts of Texas’ biggest city.
100 San Antonio Stroll, Tanya Tucker: This dancing anthem may or may not be about Texas (the protagonist is a young girl living in “South Caroline”), but Tucker is a Texas native – and can anyone hear the title without thinking of Texas?
Preston Jones, Cary Darling, Rick Press, Robert Philpot and Heather Svokos contributed to this report.