Top Ten Bands Named After States

by Noiz 11. September 2013 20:37

Top Ten Bands Named After States

Florida Georgia Line is blowing up.  The country music duo is about as hot as a Florida summer or a Georgia summer.  I’m sure one of those states experiences a really hot summer.  The boys are currently on the road with Luke Bryan but they begin their own headlining tour Oct. 3 in Brookings, South Dakota.  On that night, Florida Georgia Line tickets will be collected at the Swiftel Center.  Colt Ford will open all 32 FGL concerts.  Depending on the date, Ford will be joined by either Tyler Farr or Dallas Smith.

Florida Georgia Line inspired me to comprise a list of the ten best bands named after states.  There is a caveat to my rundown.  One, technically not all the bands are actually named after states.  They just share a name with a state but that makes for a clunky title.  Two, I’m sure all of the 50 states has at least one musical namesake.  To make my list however the band needs to have some level of notoriety.  So I apologize in advance to the bar band with “Wyoming” in their name and the independent transgender punk trio that managed to make a pun out of “Virginia.”

1. Alabama
To me, Alabama is that one really successful country music band fronted by Randy Owen and his awesome beard.  Just recently I learned something absolutely awesome about this group who just so happens to be from Alabama—what a coincidence!  In the 1980s, they had a run of 21-consecutive number one singles (on the country music charts).  In 1987, their crappy single “Tar Top” screwed everything up by peaking at a number seven.  Why did they even release that piece of crap?  They followed that disaster with a run of six consecutive chart toppers.  In total, they have 34 number one singles to their credit.  To recap: in the decade of the 1980s Alabama released 29 singles with 27 of them going to straight to number one.  That’s an amazing feat and it’s completely unequaled.

2. New York Dolls
Clearly, the New York Dolls were named after New York City and not the entire state of New York.  I doubt that their brand of proto-punk-glam-rock resonated with residents of Schenectady or Poughkeepsie.  Still, New York is the name of a U.S. state and therefore the New York Dolls are on this list.  It’s hard to believe but their first two albums came out in 1973 and 1974.  The Dolls were way ahead of their time and because of that they influenced acts like KISS, the Sex Pistols, and The Ramones.  In 2004, Morrissey organized a reunion concert for the surviving members of the New York Dolls.  Hey, if the band is good enough for Steven Patrick Morrissey then they’re good enough for me!

3. Kansas
I don’t know how or why but I know all the lyrics to “Dust in the Wind.”  I don’t even like the song but I can sing along to it and even do some of the harmonies.  I’m not alone.  I’ve talked to my friends about this phenomenon and about half of them agree with me—they‘re mysteriously and innately intimate with the progressive rockers’ only top ten hit.  The half that disagrees with my observation claims they’re inherently conversant with the group’s other big hit, “Carry On Wayward Son.”  And that my friends sums up Kansas.  They are a two-song band that’s great live (they were born in the 1970s but still touring).

4. Black Oak Arkansas
The southern rock band Black Oak Arkansas is named after their hometown Black Oak, Arkansas.  Their most successful single was a cover of “Jim Dandy” and their most famous member is their outrageous lead singer Jim “Dandy” Mangrum (he’s a southern version of David Lee Roth).  Over the years, the band has undergone a bazillion lineup changes and released a bazillion records.  Black Oak Arkansas was a grittier and harder alternative to the slick rock bands of the 1970s like the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and The Steve Miller Band.

5. Florida Georgia Line
I didn’t quite know where to put Florida Georgia Line.  They are really good but they’ve only released one album.  I found it hard to rank them on a list that’s basically a bunch of veteran bands.  In the end, I decided the best place for them is right in the middle.  I think, when it’s all said and done, they’ll be much higher than five.  They’re called Florida Georgia Line because Brian Kelly is from Ormond Beach, Florida and Tyler Hubbard is from Monroe, Georgia.  The duo’s debut album, 2012’s Here’s to the Good Times, has already been certified Platinum.  And everybody wants to “roll their widows down” and listen to their bouncy number one single “Cruise.”

Highlights Of Florida Georgia Line 2013 Tour Itinerary
>>Oct. 31 – Florida Georgia Line tickets for Hoffman Estates, IL @ Sears Center
>>Nov. 3 – Florida Georgia Line tickets for Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
>>Nov. 14 – Florida Georgia Line tickets for New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
>>Dec. 6 – Florida Georgia Line tickets for Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia

6. Ohio Players
The Ohio Players would have made this list even if they hadn’t changed their name.  Their original epithet was “The Ohio Untouchables.”  They would have been off this list if they hadn’t recorded and released their ineffaceable single “Love Rollercoaster.”  Now that’s a great song.  Their other big hits are “Fire,” “Funky Worm,” and “Sweet Sticky Thing.”  They peaked in 1974 when their album Fire went to number one.  The LP was the second of their three Platinum certified records.  The Ohio Players waned as the decade did.  They released three more albums in the 1980s but they all flounder at the cash register.  Don’t look for a reunion.  Sadly, many of the original members have passed away.

7. North Mississippi Allstars
The North Mississippi Allstars play that really strange brand of music you seldom ever hear anymore.  They play the blues. NMA formed in 1996 and since then they’ve released 16 albums, been nominated for a Grammy Award, frequently back up and tour with John Hiatt, opened for Robert Plant and Dave Matthews Band, and for a short time, served as the house band for the television show Last Call with Carson Daly.  The band’s two mainstays, Luther and Cody Dickinson, are sons of legendary producer Jim Dickinson.  The third member of the North Mississippi Allstars is bassist Chris Chew.

8. Texas
The alternative rock band Texas is not from Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio.  They’re from Glasgow.  I think that’s somewhere near Austin.  They aren’t actually named after the Lone Star State but the 1984 Wim Wenders film Paris, Texas.  Texas was founded by Johnny McElhone.  He was formerly in what two Scottish pop bands?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Nobody?  Okay, I’ll give you the answer: McElhone was in Alter Images (“Happy Birthday”) and Hipsway (“The Honeythief”).  I’m surprised no one got that.   Like Alter Images, which was fronted by female singer Clare Grogan, Texas features the sultry pipes of stunner Sharleen Spiteri.  Obscure yes, but they’ve released nine studio albums and are very popular in Europe.  Their biggest hit is “Say What You Want.”

9. Georgia Satellites
5. 77. 130.  No, those aren’t the measurements of my ex-girlfriend but the chart positions of the Georgia Satellites first three albums.  Their fourth didn’t even chart.  That is the career arch of a one-hit wonder.  That one hit was 1986’s “Keep Your Hands To Yourself.”  It peaked at the penultimate spot on the Billboard Hot 100.  In 1988, the Satellites released “Hippy Hippy Shake” (they recorded it for the film Cocktail) and a cover of Ringo Starr’s “Don’t Pass Me By.”  The former peaked at number 45 while the latter failed to chart.

10. Halloween, Alaska
You’ve probably never even heard of the indie band Halloween, Alaska.  That’s okay because very few people have.  They released four studio albums between 2004 and 2011.  Their entire discography has probably sold around a dozen copies (and all to their moms).  Their claim to fame is two of their songs were featured on the FOX drama The O.C.  The band is not from Alaska.  They are from Minnesota which is only slightly warmer.  There is no town named Halloween, Alaska.  The name was concocted by frontman James Diers.  He thought the words “Halloween” and “Alaska” poetically expressed the type of music he wanted to make.

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