This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
I've visited Albuquerque quite a few times; my sister lived there for a few years before hightailing it to San Francisco, and I've also visited several times since. I've stretched the criterion a bit today because although there are some songs about the city, most of them just mention it in passing.
As I said, a lot of the songs are about passing through or over Albuquerque. That's common to places that aren't on either coast. A prime example is by CHUCK BERRY.
Chuck woke up high over Albuquerque on a jet to the Promised Land.
Most of us reading this would be familiar with the song Route 66 from the original by the writer of the song, Bobby Troup, through to Nat King Cole's version (my favorite), Mel Tormé's and on to the Rolling Stones and many more besides.
None of these mention Albuquerque (even though the road runs through it). There is one that does though, and that's by PERRY COMO.
I don't know if all the others (including Bobby) just used a chopped down version of the song or whether Perry (or someone close by) added some extra verses mentioning a lot more places along the way.
Whatever is the case here's Perry with the expanded Route 66.
Jimmy Webb was fond of name-checking places in the songs he wrote, and probably the most famous interpreter of these would be GLEN CAMPBELL.
The song I have in mind is By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Albuquerque is in there as one of the place he "by the time he gets to.”
ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL play Western Swing, in the mould of Bob Wills and others.
They are certainly the best at that genre playing today – that's not their only style, they're very versatile. They have a song that's actually about the city. It's called Albuquerque.
There's only a single mention of our city in FRANK SINATRA's song, but that's enough.
Albuquerque isn't a place you tend to associate with Frank but if the songwriter slips it into a song, well there you go. In this case, the writers were husband and wife team Mann Holner and Alberta Nichols. The song is Why Shouldn't It Happen To Us.
Johnny Burnette and his brother Dorsey were two thirds of the JOHNNY BURNETTE TRIO, also know as the Rock and Roll Trio. The third member was Paul Burlison.
They grew up in Memphis and used to jam with Elvis before any of them were well known. Johnny later had a solo career before he had a boating accident, as did Dorsey (the career, that is), but a heart attack eventually brought him down.
Paul lived to a reasonable age. Probably the best known song the trio recorded was The Train Kept A'Rollin', and that mentions our city.
I've crossed the Rio Grande in Albuquerque – it flows through the city. It's quite easy - just a single step across it and you're somewhere else. Where you are is a metre or two from where you were. No big deal.
TOM RUSSELL, though, is going lengthways, Down the Rio Grande, and it gets quite a bit wider down river.
Tom has written some excellent songs about the Rio Grande, set both north and south of the border. As I said, this one is along the length of it.
Here are the Sons of the Desert.
Oops sorry, wrong SONS OF THE DESERT.
The band named themselves after Stan and Ollie's film. They formed in Waco and contain a couple of members whose surname is Womack. There seems to quite a number of people named that in the music business, most of them unrelated.
Anyway, The Sons perform Albuquerque, a different song from the one above.
TIM MCGRAW is a country singer and a bit of an actor as well, appearing is several well-regarded films.
He's married to Faith Hill who is also a country singer and actor. They are well known for their philanthropy. Tim's song is Everywhere, and Albuquerque is the first mentioned place.
There were three Glaser Brothers and they performed as a trio. Two of them had solo careers as well, the most prominent of those was Tompall. However, today I'm interested in JIM GLASER.
Besides his solo career and with his brothers, Jim was a long time member of Marty Robbins' band. Can't do better than that. Jim's song is The Lights of Albuquerque.