Monday, March 24, 2008

My Town Monday - Sing me Song

Since it has been a few days since I posted, and I was away and didn't do a My Town Monday last week, I'm posting this week's edition extra early. To read past My Town Monday posts, click here. This week's version is going to be about Amarillo's role in song. Here is my first attempt at adding a video and this also is probably the best known song about Amarillo.

The song Amarillo By Morning is one of country music's all time recognizable songs and it certainly helped launch George Strait's career. George never has written his own music and this particular song was around long before he cut it. The song was written by primarily by Terry Stafford though Paul Fraser is credited as well. Here is an interesting link to an obituary about Terry Stafford who was an Amarillo boy. In my humble opine, both Terry's 1973 version and rodeo champion turned singer, Chris Ledoux's, are better and sang with more feeling than George's so if you get a chance check them out.

But if you live on the other side of the Atlantic this might be the song you most associate with Amarillo.

Is This the Way to Amarillo was written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, but was popularized in Europe by Tony Christie. Amarillo was chosen as the title city because Sedaka couldn't think of any other city name that rhymed with the words willow and pillow.

The following comes from this wikipedia article ...

The song was recorded by Tony Christie and released in the UK in November 1971, initially reaching number 18 in the UK Singles Chart. However, it was a substantially bigger hit at that time across Continental Europe, notably in Germany and Spain where it made number one. In Germany, the song's chorus is widely adapted as a chant by football and hockey fans even today. Following its re-issue in 2005 - when it reached number one in the UK - the song gained even greater popularity. In 2006 it was played at the World Cup Final in Berlin and was also played by The Central Band of the Royal British Legion on Centre Court at Wimbledon before the start of the Men's Singles final.

To be honest I never heard this song until it was rereleased in England in 2005 for some kind of comic relief benefit. I ahve also seen a video of a bunch of British soldiers dancing to the song. Maybe DebbieLou, Lyzzydee, Stephen Parrish, or the globe-hopping Alex Keto can vouch for the European popularity, but I can promise most people in Amarillo know very little if anything about this song. Though I find it quite catchy it is not my favorite song about Amarillo.

This is ...

Not only is Amarillo Highway my favorite song about Amarillo, but Robert Earl Keen is my favorite songwriter, though he did not write this little ditty. Terry Allen did though his version is a bit slow paced in my opinion. Nothing goes with this song like a six pack of Shiner Bock and the company of good friends.

For those of you not from The Texas Panhandle Plainview, Idalou, and New Deal are town names from the area. This song makes me think of warm summer nights, cold beer, and outdoor concerts. I have seen Robert Earl perform it many times live and it never fails to make me tap along and sing off key as I drive.

There are many more songs that include Amarillo in the lyrics and I'll get to a few in future My Town Mondays. My hometown is also the birthplace or hometown to some talented songwriters which I'll also discuss in later editions but next week I think I'll talk about food and how living here has made me a beef man through and through.

So tell me which of these three songs is your favorite? Or do you have another tune that you like that mentions Amarillo? I'm betting Ol' George wins out, but don't worry I won't hold that against you.

Links to other My Town Monday participants can be found below as they are posted. If you plan to participate drop a line in the comments to let me know.

Shauna Roberts introduces us to Riverside California and the mother tree.

Lana Gramlich takes us on a stroll through Abita Springs, Louisiana's historical district.

Patti Abbott talks about the original Borders bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the state of book buying today.

DebbieLou gives us a fascinating post about Bishops Stortford, England that isn't a bit corny despite being all about corn.

Barrie Summy tickles your appetite and the ivories at a San Diego joint made famous by the movie Top Gun.

Stephen Parrish hoops it up about his former town Louisville, Kentucky.

Claire Dickinson introduces us to Livingston County, Michigan.

Lois Karlin from Women of Mystery relays how hard it is to focus and write during springtime in rural New York.

Josephine Damian gets Jakey with a post about New Rochelle, New York's founding father.

Ello gives us a bit of history on the Georgetown area of Washington D.C.

Anti-Wife gives us a picture from her formative years in Peoria, Illinois.

WordVixen offers up a mouth watering post about the Coffee Co. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Britta Coleman's post on Fort Worth, Texas goes to the dogs this week.

Jason Scott Adams, my childhood best friend introduces us to his town Sugar Creek, Missouri.

Lyzzydee tells us how garden cities such as her town, Welwyn Garden city, England came about.


Patti said...

i am fixated on how in the hell you got your date to show as monday when you obviously posted this on sunday. is it my fever or witchcraft?!

CamiKaos said...

I am not a country music fan....

that said amarillo by morning is one of my favorite songs ever.

Travis Erwin said...

Patti - I ran really fast and entered a time warp where I posted this, but that wasn't the hard part then I had to run backward to come back to today.

Actually I just clicked on post options and manually entered the date.

Camikaos - I am not a fan of today's mainstream country (the pop with a fiddle that Nashville pumps out but I am really into the independent Texas country and folk music or what is sometimes called y'allternative or Americana

holly said...

well i am a neil sedaka fan. so i like his one a little better knowing he wrote it.

i can tolerate country music, so i like george a bit. i can take him in small doses. i do like amarillo by morning. but it reminds me of stuff i don't want to remember. so i'm mediocre on it.

as i am in the uk, i have a love hate relationship with the tony christie cut. it is a happy fun song. but if i hear it again, i will take a hostage. i did not click on that.

cami : i heart you *more* (although i thought it not possible to love you more) knowing that you don't like country music but love that song. girl, you are so awesome.

Skiingred said...

george strait is awesome! Thanks for the songs...

I plan on posting for the my town mondays -- great writing project! Will let you know when I have my site updated!

Happy Monday!

Unknown said...

Definitely George Straits song.

I watched half of the second video but, honestly, didn't like it. Maybe it's my mood? I'm tired and worn out.

And I love that, "Y'allternative to Americana". That is great! And yea, some of the new country isn't really country at all, is it?

Katrina said...

Amarillo by Morning has always been a favorite of mine. It brings back memories of cold beer, dancing till dawn and trying make it to work (in Amarillo) after a long night of parties!! Thanks for the memories, Travis.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Travis,

Great Music! I might be a city girl but I like some country when I can get it!

A couple of months back I commented on your post

which had a picture of the Amarillo Sky that I like Jason Aldean's version of "Amarillo Sky."

Perhaps the next time you are in a musical mood . . .

BTW, Patti Abbott has her MTM post up.


Travis Erwin said...

Terrie - I remember your comment and I know the song. It was written by John Rich of Big & Rich fame. He is an Amarillo boy who graduated high school with my wife, but I' ruing a future My Town Monday post so that is all I'm gonna say for now.

Stephen Parrish said...

The Tony Christie cover is the only one of the three I've heard, and you're right, it was a big hit in Germany. Turn on an oldies station and wait patiently; you'll hear it.

Debbielou said...

Travis - When I first saw your post - my first thought was of the Tony christie song - I had never heard of the other ones - but very nice.

I must admit ( sorry Holly) that when I do hear the Comic relief one ( with one of my favourite comedians Peter Kay) - I am one of those people that will get up and do the strange march - where ever I am ( if I'm taken as a hostage- you won't keep me alive very long as - I'll drive you mad humming it continuosly!)

Some years ago when the song was popular we were at an airport waiting for a flight - my son who was about 9 at the time heard an announcement for Amariilo in Spain. With no hesitation he went up to the uniformed air crew and started singing "Is this the way to Amarillo??" complete with dance actions. He got a round of applause from everyone in the terminal - the madness must run in the family. For a while I did have the song on my playlist on my Blog - but after a while it started to drive me crazzzzzzzzzzzzyy !!

Barrie said...

Very nice touch with the videos!

I posted on the Kansas City Barbeque. Of Top Gun fame. :)

Clair D. said...

Oo-- can I play! I posted my first My Town Michigan at It's about Livingston County Michigan.

This is neat, Travis.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have to admit I was familiar with none of the Amarillo songs. Thanks. Much fun.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Travis,

I didn't know John Rich wrote Amarillo Sky. I have a couple of Big and Rich CDs. Like them a lot.

Over at women of mystery, Lois just put up a MTM post called Diversions.


Anonymous said...

There was a cute video a few years back circulating on the web (or at least thru e-mails) called "On My Way to Armyrillo" and featured troops in Iraq. It was really cute and I wish I had it to share. Maybe someone has it online somewhere???

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Sorry Travis, I can't do country music, but the post is great! I'm having a late start with my Monday post. Am working on it right now and will get back to you!

Travis Erwin said...

Debbie that video is available on You Tube and I nearly posted it instead. They are British soldiers and supposedly got in a lot of trouble for making that.

Josephine Damian said...

Patti: I too have tried to figure out how our MT host MT's on Sunday and make it look like Monday. I tried to change the date to no avail.

TE: I'm back at again with a post on New Rochelle's founding father, Jacob Leisler - the former governor of NY and an upstart who was exectuted for his rebel ways:

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Hey Travis - my post on Georgetown is up!

Barrie said...

So, you like the "brilliant", eh? :)

The Anti-Wife said...

I love country music.

My My Town Monday entry is up. Very short this week.

Charles Gramlich said...

I never did quite understand the attraction of singers who just sing other folks songs. I mean, sometimes they can do a song justice, but it's always good to see them do their own music as well. I used to dislike country music soundly, but I've mellowed toward it as I've gotten older.

WordVixen said...

Well, I held off as long as I could, but here's my post:

Warning- it's looooong.

Britta Coleman said...

I have to say Amarillo by Morning is my favorite of the three. It's a great dancing song.

My Town Monday is up...

Lyzzydee said...

What a great post, I can confirm as Debs has already done so that the second one with Peter Kay (The greatest comedian in Great Britain!!) was a huge hit, they seem to be able to find a different sing along song to murder every year, this one hung about for ages. Once its in your brain, thats it! I also knew the original Tony Christie one, but sadly not the country one. Great post though!
I feel cheated becasue there has to my knowledge never been a song imortalising the beauty of Welwyn Garden City!!!!

Design Goddess said...

I like the second song the best. Very catchy! Plus, I know you have that same suit in your closet. Come on, you can admit it. We're all friends here! :D

Don't forget to add my sister (surviving life as me) to your list of those participating!! :)

JasonScottAdams said...

Well... I've jumped on the bandwagon. My Town Mondays are also now featured at


Thanks for all the good memories about my place of birth, Amarillo. I'd forgotten about the crazy road signs.

But Lord knows I'll never forget the king of Panhandle country - George Strait.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Travis.....I sang "Is this the way to Amarillo" in my dreams last night. Have been singing it for 24 hours now. Please put something else up so I can erase my memory! lol


Cicily Janus said...

Great video's Travis. And again, congrats on your latest pub!



Lana Gramlich said...

Another interesting post. Sorry I haven't been around, but back problems have been keeping me mostly down. Can't sit at the computer long enough to watch all of your videos. Will come back when I'm feeling better. I still have to visit all of the other, wonderful MTM posters, too!