. . . that we have an official state Rock Song?

We do, the Flaming Lips’ Do You Realize, but thanks only to our Governor Brad Henry. The Senate voted 46-0 “Aye”, but the House only voted 48-39 in favor, a “Nay” vote since 51 votes were needed for passage of the Senate Resolution. More about that below.

“What has this to do with Oklahoma City history,” you ask. The Flaming Lips is an Oklahoma City based band and its leader, Wayne Coyne, still lives right here in Oklahoma City. The band even has its own alley in Bricktown. We like ’em!

Here are the lyrics:

Do You Realize – that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize – we’re floating in space
Do You Realize – that happiness makes you cry
Do You Realize – that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes – let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize – Oh – Oh – Oh
Do You Realize – that everyone you know
Someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes – let them know
You realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do You Realize – that you have the most beautiful face
Do You Realize

Great song and powerful lyrics, that’s for sure.

But, how did it happen to become our state’s official rock ‘n roll song?

It certainly didn’t happen back in the 1950s when rock ‘n roll was said by many adults, pastors, parents, and community leaders, to be a work of the one and only most evil one, the Devil, himself. I was a lover of rock ‘n roll in its beginnings, way back then when I was a youngster in junior high school … I snuck off to see Blackboard Jungle and listen to Bill Haley’s Rock Around The Clock and I was entranced by the Diamond’s Little Darlin’ and got jittery by Jerry Lee Lewis’ Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On … name that tune and I can tell you want I was doing in that time of my life, just as many of you other old timers can do, as well.

I pretty much figured that those “devil” times gone by were very ancient history. I mean, who doesn’t like those great rock ‘n roll tunes today?

Silly me, I hadn’t taken the Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature into account. I’d kinda forgotten about them, as high as I am on Oklahoma City and living in a non-Republican district that actually has a gay representative in the Legislature. Silly silly me. In those Republicans, the “evil” is still alive and well.

A resolution came up for a vote about adopting Do You Realize as the state’s official rock song.

And, so, I paid only passing attention that a vote was being or had been cast for the state’s official Rock Song. Kinda like the having an official state bug (yes, we have one, it’s the black swallowtail butterfly, adopted in 1996). State bugs, state songs, state whatevers, it really just doesn’t matter.

Or, so I thought.

And then I dropped in on Steve Lackmeyer’s OKC Central blog to see what I’d been missing lately. To my amazement, the Flaming Lips was a hot topic and my mind got awakened. See this article and this one — Governor Henry will sign an executive order as well as his post containing Ed Kelley’s video, shown below.

As for the state’s official rock song, an unofficial referendum had apparently been put to the people at this website. We didn’t have one of those things … so let’s have one and what should it be? While I adore the Flaming Lips and Wayne Coyne in particular for his loyalty to Oklahoma City, as well as the group generally, I didn’t get caught up in the vote and didn’t even realize that one existed, so I didn’t even vote.

This official state rock song thing was going on well below my radar. According to the Rolling Stone,

According to a press release from the Oklahoma Historical Society, the state’s legislature voted to affirm the track’s importance, putting Wayne Coyne and Co. in the history books for real as part of Senate Joint Resolution 24.

The 2002 track from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots beat out some stiff competition: the 10 finalists that were “representative of the pervasive influence of Oklahoma and Oklahomans on the development of rock & roll” included “Let’s Have a Party” by Wanda Jackson (1958); “Walk Don’t Run” by The Venture (1960); “Endless Oklahoma Sky” by John Moreland and the Black Gold Band (2008); “Home Sweet Oklahoma” by Leon Russell (1971); “Move Along” by the All-American Rejects (2005); “Never Been to Spain” written by Hoyt Axton (1971); “Oklahoma” by The Call (1986); “Heartbreak Hotel” written by Mae Boren Axton (1956); and “After Midnight” by J.J. Cale (1965).

An official Official Oklahoma Rock Song Advisory Panel was convened in 2007 to recognize the role the state has played in rock history and after the nominations were gathered in 2008 (2,498 were submitted for 458 different tunes) and narrowed down to 10 by the panel, the public voted on the Website oklahomarocksong.org. When the 21,061 votes were counted, the Lips were on top.

My inattention changed when I visited Steve Lackmeyer’s par excellence OKC Central blog yesterday evening. It was there that I noticed what I’d missed and my ancient ostrich ears and fuzzy eyes got perky really quick.

First, I noticed an embedded video there of Ed Kelley, the Oklahoman’s managing editor. Frankly, Mr. Kelley, I have thought, is not all that well suited for public video … do you ever see any real emotion in Ed’s face as he says what he has to say? Have you ever seen anything in his videos that makes you think of something sexy … no disrespect intended, but we’re talking about what captures public fancies here, and, in those respects, Ed will never likely be a video king.

But … wait … this time, at least for me, I noticed something different. If the tune is still playing above, go up and click the Stop button and then listen to what Mr. Kelley had to say …

What’s that? The managing editor of the Oklahoman, a powerful conservative voice in the city, lambasting the Oklahoma conservative House of Representatives? Are my ears totally messed up? Are yours?

No, Ed Kelley’s words are still the same even if you get the wax out of your ears and listen again. Yep, I owe Ed Kelley an apology for stereotyping him and thinking that he was kinda boring to listen to. No, he wasn’t, not this time.

“Wow,” I thought, “I’ve been underestimating this guy, big time.”

They voted to override the will of the people they so piously claim to represent.
* * *
This latest temper tantrum at the Capitol is another black eye for Oklahoma.

Did a guy representing the Oklahoman really say those things? Maybe it’s time that I rethunk some things about the Oklahoman.

The State Senate passed the state rock song resolution 46-0. In the House, the vote was 48-39, with 51 needed to pass. Some members were apparently offended by According to Oklahoman capitol reporter Michael McNutt, here are the 39 who voted “No,” should you wish to consider them in your next voting opportunity:


Name Party Where From
Ames, Don Republican Faxon
Coody, Ann Republican Lawton
Cooksey, Marian Republican Edmond
Dank, David Republican OKC
DeWitt, Dale Republican Braman
Denney, Lee Republican Cushing
Derby, David Republican Owasso
Duncan, Rex Republican Sand Springs
Enns, John Republican OKC
Faught, George Republican Muskogee
Hickman, Jeffrey Republican Dacoma
Holland, Corey Republican Marlow
Johnson, Dennis Republican Lawton area
Jordan, Fred Republican Tulsa
Joyner, Charlie Republican Midwest City
Kern, Sally Republican OKC
Key, Charles Republican OKC
Liebmann, Guy Republican OKC
Martin, Scott Republican Norman
Martin, Steve Republican B’ville
McCullough, Mark Republican Tulsa area
McNiel, Skye Republican Tulsa area
Miller, Ken Republican Edmond
Moore, Lewis Republican Arcadia
Murphey, Jason Republican Guthrie
Nelson, Jason Republican OKC
Ortega, Charles Republican Altus
Osborn, Leslie Republican Tuttle
Ownbey, Pat Republican Ardmore
Peters, Ron Republican Tulsa
Peterson, Pam Republican Tulsa
Reynolds, Mike Republican OKC
Richardson,Phil Republican Minco
Schwartz, Colby Republican El Reno area
Shannon, TW Republican Lawton
Tibbs, Sue Republican Tulsa
Watson, Weldon Republican Tulsa
Wesselhoft, Paul Republican Moore
Wright, John Republican Tulsa

What Ed Kelley said about bad press was prophetic … the black eye part. With all the good things being said about Oklahoma City these days in the national media, it’s sad that the Oklahoma House of Representatives offered fodder for those who think of us, as Ed Kelley said, as just a bunch of backwater hicks.

Here’s a sampling of reports: The Los Angeles Times wondered, “Flaming Lips: Are they too communist for Oklahoma?” here; the Dallas Morning News covered the story here and here. Hartford, Connecticut picked up the story here; heck, even the people way up northwest were talking about the matter in Snohomish County, Washington, as did the Rolling Stone. Yes, and Fox News.

Thanks a hell of a lot, 39 Republican Legislators, thanks a lot.

NOT.The real thanks goes to Governor Brad Henry, and, yes, to the Oklahoman via its Editor, Ed Kelley. Thanks, guys!