Every state across the country has its own type of music that makes it what it is. In a multi-part series, American Songwriter will examine each of the 50 states and the music that emanates from each of the varied and unique landscapes.
Next stop: Arizona
Where copper deserts touch turquoise skies, Arizona is the land of mystery, magic and music. Melting with the unforgiving heat and echoing through the barren land, the state’s diverse sounds can be heard deep in the canyons and highest plateaus.
This is a playlist of songs for Arizona on the state and by the statesmen that make up America’s Songbook.
1. “Edge of Seventeen” – Stevie Nicks
The white witch of rock and roll was born in Phoenix. At a young age, frequent moves took her away from her native Arizona to places across the West like Albuquerque, New Mexico, El Paso, Texas, Salt Lake City, Utah, and eventually California.
“More than Oakland or San Jose, this is actually my home,” she once told a crowd at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix when Fleetwood Mac visited the area.
The state still claims her as its own, having long since inducted the rock legend into its own music and entertainment hall of fame in Arizona.
2. “Take It Easy” – Eagles
Jackson Browne and Eagles member Glenn Frey, two people with no immediate connection to the state, wrote one of the most enduring lines for one of rock’s most iconic standards.
Browne reportedly struggled to finish the song that would become the Eagles classic “Take It Easy.” He decided to show it to Frey, who was living in the same building in Los Angeles at the time. Browne played the unfinished verse: “Well, I’m standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizonaâ¦”, and Frey added “It’s such a beautiful sight to behold. It’s a girl, sir, in a Ford on set, who slows down to look at me. They decided to finish the song together.
To honor his songwriting contributions, a life-size statue of Frey can be seen with a guitar in hand, standing in a corner of Winslow, Arizona.
3. “Come Back” – The Beatles
Jojo left her home in Tucson, Arizona / For California weed, plays a piece of the opening verse of “Get Back”. The state earned a memorable mention from the Fab Four.
Arizona has become a song-worthy state for many foreigners with English, Australian and Canadian musicians hailing the state.
reading list for arizona
“Edge of Seventeen” – Stevie Nicks
“Come Back” – The Beatles
“Arizona” – Kings of Leon
“Havalina” – Pixies
“There’s No Arizona” – Jamie O’Neal
“Better do it in your soul” – Charles Mingus
“In the End” â Linkin Park
“Take It Easy” â Eagles
“Arizona Skies” â Los Lobos
“By the Time I Get to Arizona” – Public Enemy
“Lady Pilot” – Neko Affair
“Different Drum” – Linda Ronstadt
“Big Iron” – Marty Robbins
“If you don’t, don’t” – Jimmy Eat World
“Bobby in Phoenix” â Gorillaz
“Everywhere” – Michelle Branch
“I’m Eighteen” – Alice Cooper
“Summer Race” â Billy Idol
“She’s His Only Need” – Wynona Judd
“Drunk on a Plane” â Dierks Bentley
“Carefree Highway” – Gordon Lightfoot
“Arizona” – Scorpions
“Painted Desert” – Pat Benatar
“I’m Not Lisa” – Jessi Colter
“Trucker’s Atlas” – Modest Mouse
“Mars Teenagers” â Misfits
“Lonesome Old River Blues” – Dom Flemons