When you think of the creators of a state’s official song, veteran psychedelic rockers the [artist id="1070"]Flaming Lips[/artist] — who over the past 25 years have released songs with titles like “Jesus Shootin’ Heroin” and “Talkin’ ‘Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues,” as well as their biggest hit, “She Don’t Use Jelly” — are probably not the first artists to come to mind.
And yet, the band’s 2002 track “Do You Realize??” has been named the official rock song of their home state of Oklahoma, beating out such songs written or recorded by Oklahomans as “Heartbreak Hotel” and “After Midnight.”
“We have an official state folk song and a state country song. With as many outstanding rock artists as we have in Oklahoma, it was time to recognize this music as well,” said State Senator Mike Schulz, according to The Associated Press.
More than 21,000 votes were cast online for a list of 10 songs selected by a panel of experts, according to the AP. The winner was announced Monday in the Oklahoma Senate.
“I never gave it that much thought,” band leader Wayne Coyne told the AP, adding that it was an honor to have been nominated, “and everything else is just extra. We’re in this just to have fun and we wind up winning.”
“Do You Realize??” — which was featured in a Land Rover commercial — was written by bandmembers Coyne, Steven Drozd and Michael Ivins, along with longtime producer Dave Fridmann, and hails from the band’s 2002 album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. The song’s lyrics, which do not mention Oklahoma, have a melancholy but ultimately uplifting theme (“Do you realize … that you have the most beautiful face … we’re floating in space … that happiness makes you cry … that everyone you know someday will die?”). The band’s latest release was the soundtrack to its long-percolating film, [news id="1599569"]“Christmas on Mars.”[/news]
In 2008, the Legislature adopted a resolution outlining the voting process, according to the AP. The Oklahoma Historical Society conducted a competition to select the official state rock song and Oklahomans nominated 454 songs. A panel then narrowed the list to 10, and the people of the state cast their ballots. Out of the 21,061 votes cast, 10,738, or nearly 51 percent, picked “Do You Realize??”
Other finalists were “Let’s Have a Party,” recorded by Oklahoman Wanda Jackson; “Walk, Don’t Run,” recorded by the Ventures; “Home Sweet Oklahoma,” written and recorded by Oklahoman Leon Russell; “Oklahoma,” by the Call; and “Move Along,” by the [artist id="1231961"]All-American Rejects[/artist].
The “official state rock song” is not a terribly common category: According to several online sources, the only others states to have them are Ohio (the McCoys’ 1960s hit “Hang on Sloopy”) and Washington (Richard Berry’s “Louie Louie”).