Wonderfully weird rockers the Flaming Lips have been given their home state’s ultimate seal of approval: The song “Do You Realize” (from the band’s 2002 opus Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots) has been named Oklahoma’s Official State Rock Song. (Its main state song remains Rogers & Hammerstein’s musical-theater behemoth “Oklahoma”; there are also sanctioned picks for folk, children, and country-western songs.)
The State Legislature laid down the ground rules, but the Lips were actually the choice of the people. From an initial field of 454 songs by native sons and daughters — including the All American Rejects’ “Move Along,” the Ventures’ “Walk Don’t Run,” and “Heartbreak Hotel” (sung by Elvis, but penned by Oklahoma school teacher Mae Boren Axton) — “Realize” won a whopping 51 percent of 21,061 votes cast, to be exact.
Watch them here, performing the song on Letterman:
It also got us thinking: Forty-nine states have their own official songs (the exception? New Jersey, whose government has somehow failed to put Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” on the books), but it might be fun to modernize some of those classic-but-tired “Home on the Range”/”Yankee Doodle Dandy” picks. True, some have it easier than others — my home state of California, for example, has dozens of easy options, from the Mamas and the Papas to Tupac to Dead Kennedys, though my vote goes to Luna’s “California All the Way” — but what about the others? Maybe the legislators in Omaha could do the Boss a solid and choose his heartbreaking ballad “Nebraska,” seeing as NJ doesn’t need him? The B-52’s “Private Idaho”? Loretta Lynn’s “Portland Oregon”? Kiss’s “Detroit Rock City”? Public Enemy’s cutting MLK-Day screed, “By the Time I get to Arizona”? Represent, fifty-staters!