Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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43 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph says:

    You left out this, though I guess he IS explicit it’s not the one in south CA:


  2. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    You cheesehead…Report

  3. Avatar Chris says:

    We are all going to Reseda someday, to die.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Growing up in a little township in Michigan, I remember getting really excited when Huey Lewis and the News yelled “Detroit” when he was rattling off cities in The Heart of Rock & Roll. (I was also thrilled in Karate Kid when Mr. Miyagi told Daniel where the cars came from.)

    For some reason, I’m less thrilled with Detroit Rock City, despite the entire song being about it.

    New York State doesn’t have a whole lot of songs about it. The City sucks all of the oxygen out of the room.

    Now, Colorado? Ah, Colorado.

    Sadly, we also have the Joe Walsh song which I will not be linking to here.Report

  5. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I was born in Salt Lake, and the only music I can think of that defines it is the Tabernacle Choir — of which I have a sum total of zero recordings.

    I grew up in LA, though, and I agree with you Burt that X might be the obvious choice. I might add Cheap Trick and The Doors, which more than any other have always felt to me like bands that couldn’t possibly have come from anywhere else.

    My hometown now is Portland, though, and its hard to pick just one artist. The Shins? Everclear? Sweater-Kinney? She & Him? All of those would be fine choices, but I feel like the best answer is Pink Martini.

    Of course that just artists. I will have to ponder the actual individual songs….Report

  6. Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

    I don’t know if there any songs about my inner-ring suburb of New York. F.Scott Fitzgerald did memoralize it as West Egg in the Great Gatsby.

    The number of songs and music styles that came out of New York and my current town of San Francisco are too many to count.Report

  7. Avatar Chris says:

    Every song is about Nashville, but “Tennessee” by Arrested Development will do.Report

  8. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Surprisingly, there’s not many songs about small towns in Indiana.

    But even though it’s not actually my town he’s singing about, this one works, especially as I also married an L.A. doll.

    And like Buck, I have walked the streets of Bakersfield.

    (FWIW, I also identify with X’s Los Angeles. Those who know SoCal geography and can connect the dots will understand why I always sing “she gets confused driving over the Grapevine.”)Report

  9. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Let’s see, from birth I’ve lived in California, Washington, California, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, New Jersey and Colorado. JB’s already put up John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High which was never a favorite of mine, but it’s iconic. The other I’d pick isn’t a song, but a genre: polka music at the German and Bohunk social clubs in South Omaha. Occasionally played as a fill-in on clarinet when my high school band director’s polka band needed someone; had to wear a sticker on my shirt that said “Don’t serve me” since the bartenders saw nothing wrong with serving beer to a 17-year-old, especially if he was in the band. In honor of those stickers, perhaps this one:


  10. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I still strongly identify with my hometown. If people ask where I’m from — meaning “Where do you currently live?” — I’m still likely to say The Neck. Which is odd because, save for a month when I was 22 and waiting for my apartment to be ready, I haven’t “lived” there in any meaningful sense of that word since I was 17.

    I claim Boston (5 years, 4 in college) before NYC (2 years) or even NY (6+ and counting, split between three locales and two separate stints). Which is weird because I’m much more NYC than Boston from a personality standpoint (which stems largely from Teaneck’s proximity). But, as a New Jersey native, you can’t count those years towards time served in NY. Rules are rules. Oh… And those two years in DMV? F that noise! Though, I’d love MoCo at 31 in a way I couldn’t at 24 but could never accept DC as “my city”.

    As for music, DMX and K-C and JoJo lived in Teaneck but weren’t natives. Jay-Z and Alicia Keyes’ NYC-centric anthem remains the crown jewel of such songs, even prompting at least one other city (DC) to cop a remix. The Dropkick Murphy’s do Boston proud when it comes pregame/entrance music, but it ain’t right for daily listening.Report

  11. Avatar Kimmi says:

    No songs for my hometown — too tiny, too suburb.
    An even tinier town got a mention in Sluggy Freelance though…Report

  12. Avatar Don Zeko says:

    I’m from Winston-Salem, so I guess it has to be something by Ben Folds. This works out, because I like Ben Folds, but I’m not sure which song is ideal. Hospital Song probably has the most explicit geographical reference (“Silas Creek Parkway is my only view”), but isn’t really about being from Winston per se, at least no more than everything else on the album is.Report

  13. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Growing up was less a city & more a region. Open a map of Wisconsin, draw a triangle between Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, and West Bend, and that was the territory I roamed as a boy & teen (if we need a zip code, Plymouth & Cascade would fit the bill).

    Madison, WI was where I got edumacated, and in many ways that was very much a hometown.

    As for songs about Wisconsin, or that mention it, there is this.

    However, the Puget Sound has now become my home, and although I often reminisce fondly about growing up & college, I have little desire to go back to WI except to see friends & family.

    And this is still my favorite Seattle anthem.Report

  14. Avatar JustRuss says:

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5J54RVZjYs&w=1280&h=750%5D

    Lived in Ventura for 20 years, and never experienced an alligator lizard infestation. Not sure what America was smoking. Now living somewhere colder and wetter, Ventura Highway’s sounding pretty good right now, I don’t care who sings it.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to JustRuss says:

      I see these fellas in the canyons to the south when I get out into the mountains. They like being near water, from what I can gather; maybe that’s just because they get lots of bugs to eat there. Out on the desert floor where most of my time is spent, we seem to get the ring-necked lizards instead.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to JustRuss says:

      An alligator lizard infestation is one thing, but if they are “in the air”, you should definitely speak to your doctor about reducing your dose.

      Most remixes don’t do much for me (at least, they rarely improve upon the original) but I have a soft spot for this one:


  15. Avatar North says:

    I am unusually lucky in that I was raised in Nova Scotia which was blessed with an exquisite cultural heritage of local folk music formed from a blending of French, Irish, Scottish, German and English immigrants. An excellent example of Nova Scotian/Maritime music is the Rankin Family.

    We played this song at his funeral- very apropos since he was literally the son of a fisherman. This is probably my favorite of theirs, so somber, proud, down to earth yet majestically beautiful:

    Gillis Mountain is in Cape Breton (the song leaves out that it’s lousy with mosquitos when the wind isn’t blowing) a cute song, happy yet with the tinge of backwards looking that a lot of Nova Scotian folk music has:

    The beautiful Orangedale Whistle addresses a very common theme in Nova Scotia, the awareness that the world is changing and that things are lost. Orangedale Whistle is so beautiful but melancholy, I wonder if the writers knew just how badly the changing world would hammer poor Nova Scotia and her traditional industries. Considering this was written after the fisheries collapse I suspect so:

    Nova Scotia was also the muse of, In my unhumble opinion, Canada’s most magnificent folk song writer the immortal Stan Rogers (though Stan technically hailed from Ontario- Nova Scotians had no inclination to turn away outside newcomers and so embraced him completely)

    Of Stan’s glorious library there’s Northwest Passage, Canada’s unofficial national anthem (especially piquant considering they actually have found the wreck of one of Franklin’s ships).

    Fisherman’s Wharf is one of Stan’s testaments to a Nova Scotia that was rapidly (during his era) slipping away. There’s so very little of it left now, the oldtimers are dead or near all dead, even their wharfs and their buildings are crumbling away. A wistful song for a vanished time yet with a hard-bitten realism that is very Nova Scotian pragmatism that informs my thought to this very day. Romanticism is grand but it’s true, there was no romance on a cold winter ocean and the gale sang an awful song. Still I’ve seen this song bring a lot of tears to old weathered eyes.

    And of course his iconic Bluenose, a proud sad song about how Nova Scotians used to beat the pants of New Englanders routinely (sorry Zic). It’s actually just about how being Nova Scotian used to be and again sweetly turning the knife about how it’s just memories and preserved icons now.

    Tiny Fish for Japan is one of several songs Stan wrote about the collapse of the north Atlantic fisheries. A slight bit of humor that sweetens what is otherwise a painfully beautiful but bitter song about the tragedy of the commons which along with Make and Break Harbour helps keep me anchored on the left and not drifting into the wild waters of libertarianism.

    But, to balance it out he sings songs like Free in the Harbour and The Idiot- playful energetic songs about how Nova Scotians labor to deal with the changing world and travel to other places if necessary to earn a living. This speaks to my own experience and keeps me from wandering too far to left into the stagnant stills of arch liberalism.

    And finally there’s giant, which is typically Nova Scotian looking backwards with gleaming eye at the origins of the provinces celtic people:

    Or the good ol cheerful Athen’s Queen that points out the upside of shipwrecks:

    Or one of his last songs, The House of Orange, in which Stan was down on terrorism long before it was cool to be down on it.

    I could go on in this vein for too long. I think I’ll stop.Report

  16. Avatar North says:

    I’m in moderation because I gave ya too much of what you asked for.Report

  17. Avatar aaron david says:

    Well, as far as I know, there are no song for Pullman WA, well except the “Fight, Fight, for the Crimson and Grey…”

    But I am ashamed to admit there is a complete horror show for the town that we moved to when my father got offered a tenure track:


  18. Avatar Damon says:

    No one sang about my hometown. The closest big city was Portland and frankly, I don’t think anyone thought much of Portland in the 80s 🙂 But it was the closes place we could get radio signals….Report

  19. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    Kishidan has a single about my hometown, but the video is as entertaining as this concert vid, where they give a big shoutout to Kisarazu, Chiba, the Oakland of Japan.

    youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl0-4X50Duw&w=560&h=315

    I don’t know if that will imbed, but if someone could help a brother out, I’d be obliged.Report

  20. Avatar Johanna says:

    Well Los Angeles is definitely the obvious song for me too. There are so many songs and bands that come to mind instantly that I love and make me think of home, I have to organize them in order make the list manageable in my head and to keep myself from writing a ridiculously long list of favorites.

    I’ll go with the fact that I get happy nostalgic feelings about songs that incorporate recognizable geography and street names. Two that come to mind immediately are Come a Long Way – Michelle Shocked and Free Fallin – Tom Petty.Report

  21. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    1) The songs that make me think of Milwaukee the most are “Beer Barrel Polka” by Jaromír Vejvoda and Eduard Ingriš and “Making our Dreams Come True” by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox. I don’t think they are about Milwaukee per se, though.

    2) As for my hometown, there are no songs, but for my home state, see the Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi catalogs.Report

  22. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I honestly can’t think of one for the town in which I grew up. There is a Steely Dan song called “My Old School” that explicitly references my alma mater, which meant everyone in the university had heard it at a party at least once.Report

  23. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    My hometown invented the term 420. True story.Report