Tim Rice, the multi-Oscared lyricist of The Lion King, Aladdin, Evita, etc, has been hosting a BBC Radio 50-part series on music from all 50 American states. On Thursday night, he gets to his penultimate stop with a show devoted to New Hampshire music.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “What New Hampshire music?”, join the club. Tim asked me, as a musically-minded resident of the Granite State, if I knew any songs about my adopted home, and I realized with a heavy heart that I’d somehow wound up in the most unsung state of the Union. No “Georgia On My Mind”, no “Yellow Rose Of Texas”, no “California, Here I Come” – and certainly no “Moonlight In Vermont”. The only reference to my state in even a near-standard song is one rhyme in “Rhode Island Is Famous For You”:
A camp chair
In New Hampchair
That’s for me!
So I wasn’t much help to Tim. It turns out I know more songs about Burma (“Road To Mandalay”) and even Samoa (“I’d Like To See Some Mo’ O’ Samoa”) than I do about my own state. So I’ve no idea how he’s going to fill an hour of BBC airtime, but I gather he’s including Barry Manilow’s “Weekend In New England” on the grounds that, although it doesn’t specifically mention New Hampshire, it doesn’t specifically exclude New Hampshire. Dream on. I think it’s safe to say that, when Barry Manilow’s planning a weekend in New England, New Hampshire comes a distant sixth.
But being reduced to grasping at an implied 16.67 per cent of a Manilow song is the final humiliation. So, if any NRO-ers have any genuine Granite State songs in them, I’d love to hear them. Where are the New Hampshire primary numbers? Where are the primary candidates so desperate to suck up to plaid-clad old coots that they’re willing to write their own love ballads to our great state? C’mon, Mitt: Where’s “By The Time I Get To Wolfeboro”? “Granite On My Mind”? “I wish they all could be White Mountain girls”? “I wanna wake up in a city where last orders for dinner are at 6pm”?
[UPDATE: In the comments John Hudock suggests an unpopular popular song from 1906 called "Ain't You Coming Back To Old New Hampshire, Molly?" You have to get up earlier than that to catch me, John. I not only know it, I've sung it.
On a broader but related point, thank you for all the state songs, college songs, 19th century songs. But what we're looking for here are good songs - on a par with the ones mentioned above. "Moonlight In Vermont" is about the only thing in Vermont the Dems haven't wrecked.]