♫ Arizona ♫

Isn’t it funny how a song you haven’t heard nor thought about for decades suddenly pops into your head?  And stays … and stays … and before long it is invading your every waking moment and you’re even softly whistling it while trying to get to sleep as the sun is rising in the east, and the poor cat raises her head, glares at you as if to say, “Shut up and go to sleep, hooman!!”  This song did just that to me this week, so guess what, my friends?  I just had to share it with you, and perhaps some of you will be singing it at 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morn!  I was happy to find that I hadn’t played this one yet in all my years of music posts!

This song was written by Kenny Young and recorded in 1969 by Mark Lindsay, a solo effort while still lead singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders.  Lindsay was backed by L.A. session musicians from the Wrecking Crew. The single peaked at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on 14 February 1970 and was awarded a RlAA Gold Disc in April 1970. A version by the British band The Family Dogg was also released in 1969 — no, I did not go listen to it, for it is already 1:30 a.m. and I’m hoping to get to bed sometime tonight … to whistle yet another song!

The song’s title, Arizona, refers to the singer’s girlfriend, whom he considers innocent and naïve. The singer wistfully describes Arizona’s idealism and lifestyle, which he considers absurd and immature (“you’re acting like a teeny bopper runaway child”). He then urges Arizona to discard her hippie trappings, including “hobo shoes”, “rainbow shades”, and “Indian braids”, and view the world through more realistic eyes. However, even as he exhorts Arizona to become more worldly, the singer continues to praise her, describing Arizona as “a little-town saint”. In the end, his love for Arizona and what she represents to him overcomes his cynicism, and the singer decides to follow her example, adopting her view of the world, instead of expecting her to accept his.


Mark Lindsay

She must belong to San Francisco
She must have lost her way
Postin’ a poster of Poncho and Cisco

One California day
She said she believes in Robin Hood and brotherhood
And colours of green and grey
And all you can do is laugh at her
Doesn’t anybody know how to pray?

Arizona, take off your rainbow shades
Arizona, have another look at the world
My my
Arizona, cut off your Indian braids
Arizona, hey won’tcha go my way

Mmmm strip off your pride you’re acting like a teeny-bopper run away child
And scrape off the paint from the face of a little town saint
Arizona, take off your hobo shoes
Arizona, hey won’tcha go my way

You gotta follow me up to San Francisco
I will be guide your way
I’ll be the Count of Monte Cristo
You’ll be the Countess May
And you can believe in Robin Hood and brotherhood and rolling the ball in the hay
And I will be reading you an Aesop’s fable
Anything to make you stay-ay-ay

Arizona, take off your rainbow shades
Arizona, have another look at the world, my my
Arizona, cut off your Indian braids
Arizona, hey won’tcha go my way

Hey, Arizona, take off your hobo shoes
Arizona, have another look at the world, my my
Arizona, get off your 8-ball blues
Arizona, hey won’tcha go my way

Come on, hey, Arizona, take off your rainbow shades

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Kenny Young

Arizona lyrics © Emi April Music Inc., Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Universal Music Corp., Reptillian Music, Cassadee Pope Music Llc, Mike Gentile Music, Pw Arrangements

28 thoughts on “♫ Arizona ♫

  1. The chorus was familiar, yet unfamiliar at the same time. So I listened the Family Dogg version, and that was more familiar but still not quite right. This song was from an era where many popular hits from the US and the UK were covered by a local artist, and I suspect this might be one of them. The strings that dominate in the Family Dogg seem more familiar than the trumpets in the Mark Lindsay version which seem rather jarring to my ears.

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    • I still haven’t listened to the Family Dogg version, but one of the things I think I liked best about the Mark Lindsay version WAS the trumpets! We all have different tastes — ’tis what makes music so fascinating!

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  2. Pingback: ARIZONA. |JILLDENNISON.COM | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  3. Sorry, but I don’t think there’s much danger of this one getting stuck in my head! I don’t think I’ve heard it before, though the chorus reminds me of something – can’t put my finger on it, though. I don’t know the Family Dogg version either, though as they gave us the awful sickly sweet Way Of Life I think I can guess what it would be like!

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  4. I must have heard the Family Dogg version at some stage because it sounds vaguely familiar.
    The topic is kind of sad. If the song had been written four years before the singer would be celebrating all these traits in the era of Flower Power…but ’69 – ’70 all the sheen and optimism was gone and this is all about ‘ I still love you so much…. but….Wake Up. Get Real,’.
    There’s a raw honesty to it.
    There was a lot of that and cynicism going around in those years. Only the commercial light-weight bands were singing about ‘Peace ‘n Love’ by then.
    Ah well…..

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