30 songs that absolutely define 30 cities

These songs define some towns.
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The Southwest

"OKLAHOMA CITY" by Zach Bryan (2020)

The simple fact is that it is much easier to fit “Tulsa” into a song lyric than “Oklahoma City.” So even though there have been dozens and dozens of songs about the Sooner state, most talk about Tulsa (or about Lake Eufaula, which is the setting for the single greatest Oklahoma song). Oklahoma City often gets overlooked. If anyone was going to rectify that wrong, it was Zach Bryan, who refers to his Oklahoma roots in many of his songs.  His wistful tribute assures “If you ever decide to bring your pain and your pride back to this side of Oklahoma City – They’ll be a porch light on from the post you leaned on before you wound up on the wrong side of pity.”

"DENVER" by Willie Nelson (1975)

Willie’s minimalist love song covers a meeting at a dance in under a minute. And its opening lyric – “The bright lights of Denver are shining like diamonds – like ten thousand jewels in the sky,” is a little bit more laudatory than my other favorite Denver-based song, Hold Steady’s “Denver Haircut,” which proclaims “I’m sorry but this city’s a cesspool.” Never having been there myself, I can’t say which is more accurate, but I’d like to believe that Willie’s is.

"FURNACE FAN" by Robert Earl Keen (2003)

OK, this may specifically be set in Scottsdale, but I think it captures Phoenix rather well, especially in the lyric “You can fry an egg out there on the city sidewalk – You can fry your bacon and and and and – I understand why lizards live in sunny Arizona – Why people do and call it home I’ll never understand.”

"VIVA LAS VEGAS" by Elvis Presley (1964)

After his first couple of movies in the late 1950s, Elvis didn’t do many good films. They were mostly slapdash affairs. Viva Las Vegas stood out from his ‘60s movies in part because it had Ann-Margret, and in part because it had this awesome song, written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. ZZ Top and Bruce Springsteen have covered it, as has Jello Biafra, who mentioned speed and coke, something Elvis left out of the original.