To many people, California is a chalice cradling their dreams: a place to make money, a place to gain fame, a place of natural beauty, a place to get a thrill, a place in which to settle and make a home. The reality of California has morphed like a salty rumor passed down a line containing dozens of people with poor hearing, whispering about the beach culture and the glitter of Hollywood. People who don’t live there have an idea of what California is, but it doesn’t come at all close to the dense multi-faceted richness which is the state’s mighty character.
This playlist is an attempt to reflect a few of the larger-than-life ideas that the general public has about the state in which I was born. I now live more than halfway across America; all I seem to want to do is to go back.
Approximate playing time: 79 minutes.
- The Main Ingredient “California My Way”
- Neko Case “In California” (2001)
- Mason Jennings “California (Part II)” (1997)
- The Sons of the Pioneers “Out California Way” (1946)
- José Feliciano “California Dreamin’” (1968)
- Rufus Wainwright “California” (2001)
- Annette Funicello “Beach Party” (1963)
- The Chantays “Pipeline”
- The Beach Boys “Girls on the Beach” (1964)
- Tom Waits “San Diego Serenade” (1974)
- Johan Blomgren “California Sundown”
- Linda Ronstadt “The Dolphins” (1969)
- Ned Doheny “Postcards from Hollywood” (1973)
- Jackie Greene “Hollywood” (2006)
- Kool & the Gang “Hollywood Swinging” (1974)
- The Standells “Riot on Sunset Strip” (1966)
- Chicago “South California Purples” (1969)
- Arctic Monkeys “Fake Tales of San Francisco” (2006)
- Cass Elliott “California Earthquake”
- Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton & Linda Ronstadt “High Sierra” (1999)
- Lucinda Williams “Here in California” (1998)
Incidentally, there are enough songs suitable to this theme to re-create this playlist uniquely several times over. Take that, Kansas!