There’s a certain prideful thrill that’s associated with hearing a familiar landmark mentioned in song, be it your state, a city or even an institution.
It creates a feeling of, “Yes — they get it and they understand why so-and-so is cool.”
Biloxi is no stranger to be mentioned in songs.
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In his song “We Are All Somebody From Somewhere,” which is the lead single from his upcoming album of the same name, Tyler runs through a list of cities and Shuckersville gets name-checked first.
“Sweet Biloxi to New York City / From that fine red wine off a vine to cheap brown whiskey / Seattle coffee, Memphis blues / Chi-Town wind, Miami cruise / There’s a thousand stories ‘tween me and you / Give me some love.”
Tyler co-wrote the song with Jaren Johnston from the band Cadillac Three.
I’ll never forget the first time I heard a song with a familiar institution as a reference. And no, it’s not “Starkville City Jail” by Johnny Cash. It was the 1976 song “Moonlight Feels Right” by the band Starbuck.
Starbuck featured Cleveland, Miss. native Bruce Blackman who was in the band Eternity’s Children.
The second verse of the song goes like this: “You say you came to Baltimore from Ole Miss
“A class of 74 gold ring.”
I would get so excited when I heard that line as a kid (I was five when the song was released) that I recorded it off of the radio with a portable tape recorder and my dad bought the 45 of the single. “Moonlight” and “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” were my jams.
I wasn’t even an Ole Miss fan as a kid but I thought it was so cool that someone was singing about it. Plus, the song has solos on a both a Moog synthesizer and a marimba so it’s pretty amazing anyway. The Ole Miss line just sealed the deal.
As if it couldn’t get any better, about a year later, Steely Dan released “Deacon Blues” which said the following in its chorus: “They call Alabama the Crimson Tide — Call me Deacon Blues.”
“Deacon Blues” was one of the highlights of my young life because Steely Dan got it and they were singing about Bear Bryant.
I was six when I heard the song for the first time so I had no idea what cynicism was and that Steely Dan lyrics Donald Fagen is a cynic. I was heartbroken when I read a 2006 interview with Fagen in “Rolling Stone” about the song.
Fagen said the Crimson Tide was about “crackers” being grandiose and he deserved a title of grandeur, too, so he became “Deacon Blues.”
This still hurts my feelings.
I hope Mr. Tyler was being sincere in his reference of my beloved “sweet Biloxi.”