Looking Back On 10 Times Where El Paso Was Mentioned In Music
Recently Khalid has become the BIGGEST star to come out of El Paso & continues to show love with his new EP coming out in December. But there were many times in music where El Paso was the inspiration of the song so let's take a look at some artists that mentioned El Paso in their music.
1. Steve Miller Band "Take The Money And Run" (1976): A staple in classic rock & one of the first times I've personally heard El Paso get mentioned in a song. Two outlaws, Billie Joe & Bobbie Sue, "they head down to old El Paso", ran into some trouble but escaping the long arm of the law. Also it's got such an iconic drum intro that I always have to air drum every time I hear it.
2. ZZ Top "She's A Heartbreaker" (1976): Of course a band FROM Texas would show love to El Paso. From ZZ Top's Tejas album, "She's A Heartbreaker" talks about a woman who's tough as nails but she can be sweet as can be. And if she wants, she'll knock you down, break a heart & take all the love she needs. I heard that she wound up in El Paso...
3. Kinky Friedman "A-hole From El Paso" (1976): Released the same year as "Take The Money And Run", the song was written by Chinga Chavin but became popular when Kinky Friedman recorded the song, a parody of Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee". You might hear this song occasionally on the Buzz Adams Morning Show when they do their "Am I the A-Hole" segments. And I'm sure you don't need me to say but the lyrics are definitely NSFW so just be advised on how loud your speakers are when you play this song.
4. W.A.S.P. "Blind In Texas" (1985): Off of "The Last Command", "Blind In Texas" became very well known for being a drinking/partying-it up rock song throughout the state of Texas. Many cities are mentioned in the song including Dallas, Austin, Houston, & of course... El Paso. And it wouldn't be a TX music video without a cameo from ZZ Top...
5. Clutch "A Quick Death In Texas" (2015): One of the more recent songs on this list, Clutch has been known for their blues rock sound & their hilarious music videos. Just like Blind In Texas, a dozen of TX cities are named dropped:
"Beaumont, Amarillo, got a line on me
Galveston, El Paso, Nacogdoches, Abilene"
Also right after the first chorus, there's a nod to Mr. Gibbons. (I wonder who THAT could be)...
6. Taking Back Sunday "El Paso" (2011): One of the heavier songs in TBS's catalogue, "El Paso" was actually named after spending a few weeks writing at Sonic Ranch Studios. The album was recorded in California but the song, according to an interview Adam Lazzara did with Noisecreep, "embodies both the mood of the environment we were in down there, and the mood we were in about being back together again and writing new music". Even though the lyrics don't mention El Paso, I included this song because it was a major reason for the recording of the Taking Back Sunday album a decade ago.
7. The Tragically Hip "Yawning Or Snarling" (1994): We've all had moments of going to a bar or a nightclub & have seen some... interesting characters. That's exactly what this song by The Tragically Hip is all about: experiencing the nightlife, the hot desert sun, & the occasional bus of kids giving you the fingers. Well maybe not EVERYONE has experienced that...
8. Johnny Cash "Wanted Man": A tale about a wanted man making his way all across the US written by Johnny Cash & Bob Dylan.
"I got sidetracked in El Paso,
Stopped to get myself a map
Went the wrong way in Pleura with Juanita on my back"
Something about hearing this song performed by Johnny live at San Quentin Prison feels appropriate.
9. Ian Moore "Muddy Jesus" (1995): Austin's Ian Moore pays homage to El Paso in this song from his 1995 album "Modernday Folklore" with additional mentions to Juarez & the Rio Grande.
"Jesus cross the Rio Grande Jesus made his run on a hot and humid Friday night
But his vision was blinded by the bright El Paso lights"
10. Marty Robbins "El Paso" (1959): And of course... we can't forget about, possibly, the most ICONIC song about El Paso by Marty Robbins. A story all about a cowboy, frequenting Rosa's Cantina, falling in love with a Mexican girl named Feleena. But the story would actually continue in two sequels, 1966's "Feleena (From El Paso)" & 1976's "El Paso City".
Of course there are many more mentions of El Paso in music and with El Paso getting more & more exposure in art (film, television, video games, etc), I think we'll see even more songs & artists show love to El Paso.