The 100 Best Texas Songs: The Complete List

100. Tripping Daisy, "Sonic Bloom" Before this album, the band had a grunge-pop affectation, but this song, from 1998's Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb, was more heartfelt than anything they'd done before. - Daniel Hopkins

99. Pleasant Grove, "The Plaque at 16ft" Bret Egner wrote "The Plaque at 16ft," a peaceful song in which he sings about his view from underwater. There are vague hints of suicide or death, but overall the song is majestic in its peacefulness and simplicity. - Daniel Hopkins

98. Old 97's, "Timebomb" With an opening riff that sounds like Billy Zoom playing a Carl Perkins song, this classic Old 97's tune understandably registers with people to this day. A staple of the band's repertoire since it was written, Rhett Miller's smooth vocal delivery works perfectly over a busy, train-kept-a-rolling rhythm section. - Eric Grubbs

97. Devin the Dude, "Doobie Ashtray" Devin uses the minor annoyance of discovering a guest took the last bit of herb from an ashtray to illustrate how frustrating it is to lose something and be left with nothing, whether it's as big as a yacht or as small as some pot. - Jesse Hughey

96. Baboon, "Night of the Long Knives" As heavy as it is melodic, urgent and noisy, this was always a crowd favorite during Baboon's frequent shows back in Denton's glorious '90s. It could have been some kind of fight anthem, but the guys in the band seemed too nice to inspire anything more serious than some moshing -- if a pit could keep up with the blazing guitar. - Jesse Hughey

Lyle Lovett
Lyle Lovett

95. Lyle Lovett, "She's No Lady, She's My Wife" While Lovett's catalog is bursting with examples of clever word play, this song's sly humor is about as good as it gets. - Doug Davis

94. At the Drive-In, "One Armed Scissor" Many screamo bands have attempted to make something as good as At the Drive-In's material, but you can't argue with an original. - Eric Grubbs

93. Lil Keke ft. Paul Wall and Bun B, "Chunk Up The Deuce" Under the tutelage of Michael "5000" Watts, Swishahouse became one of the preeminent independent Houston labels at the height of America's obsession with everything grain-gripping and syrup-sipping. With its drum patterns and daunting keys, Lil Keke's "Chunk Up The Deuce" eventually became one of the most memorable songs from the period. - Austin Staubus

92. Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Pride & Joy" "Pride & Joy" was Texas Flood's most enduring track. The song's blues-rock riff hides a bit of improvisation, reminding listeners that guitar solos didn't have to be compartmentalized and predictable. - Shahryar Rizvi


91. ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, "Richter Scale Madness" From their 1998 self-titled debut, this song stands out more for the fire they put into it live. A Trail of Dead show could always end in chaos, and if you Google this song, you'll see proof of how many times it did. - Audra Schroeder

90. The Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready To Make Nice" This song not only pushed them farther away from the country establishment they had grown to hate as much as it hated them, it offered an intelligent and sincere response to those haters. Oh, and it helped the Chicks sweep the Grammys in 2007. - Kelly Deamore

89. Polyphonic Spree, "Soldier Girl" A few years ago, I was patrolling CD Source for an album with a friend. 2002's The Beginning Stages Of... was playing in the background of the busy store, yet the flutey, weird chorus caught both of us. - Nick Rallo

88. Scratch Acid, "Owner's Lament" Remember when Scratch Acid had a violin in one of their songs? - Audra Schroeder

87. Nomads, "Be Nice" This '60s Fort Worth foursome share a name with several other aggregations, most notably some sonically similar '80s Swedes, and included future jazz guitarist Bill Ham. "Be Nice" is notable for the most blood-curdling shriek ever uttered by a 15-year-old boy while his mother waited in a station wagon outside the recording studio. - Ken Shimamoto

86. Spoon, "The Way We Get By" Between the song's personality, Britt Daniel's rascally croon and the gloriously off kilter aesthetic that would soon come to define the band, "The Way We Get By" will forever be Spoon's crowning achievement, a timeless Polaroid of the Texas pop legends at the tip of their creative summit. - Zach Hale


85. Woodeye, "The Fray" Few outside Fort Worth heard this cow-punk quartet, which contributed a guitarist and drummer to Hayes Carll's band. Frontman Carey Wolff's songs have been known to reduce strong men to public tears, rendering the seamy side of romance with a novelist's eye for resonant detail. - Ken Shimamoto

84. Meat Loaf, "I Would Do Anything For Love" There were three very important cassette tapes in my collection when I was a kid: Vanilla Ice, "Ice Ice Baby"; Garth Brooks, In Pieces; and Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell II. When my parents were out, I used to jam the tape in the player, wheel the volume to crackling levels and absolutely lose it. We're talking leg-kicking with untied tennis shoes, fist-to-sky rock dancing. - Nick Rallo

83. The Telefones, "Rocket Rocket" Brothers Jerry and Chris Dirkx were the leaders of The Telefones, and "Rocket Rocket" came off the Dallas group's 1980 debut, Vibration Change. Another important track from that album was "The Ballad of Jerry Godzilla," but "Rocket Rocket" was the song that always kept me coming back to the album and the band. - Darryl Smyers

82. The Hugh Beaumont Experience, "Eric's on Thorazine" Way back in 1980 in Fort Worth, Brad Stiles and some other disaffected teens (including future Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey) were making an awful punk rock racket under the banner of the Hugh Beaumont Experience. Supposedly written about Dead Kennedys frontman Eric Reed Boucher (aka Jello Biafra), "Eric's on Thorazine" was just one of the many wonderful gems found on Virgin Killers, a belated full-length released in 1993. - Darryl Smyers

81. Kashmere Stage Band, "Do You Dig It, Man" Conrad O. Johnson's band of students from Houston's Kashmere High School had several iterations, but his soulful arrangements never strayed from the Otis Redding sound that inspired him, and continues to inspire hip-hop producers and DJs. For more on their tale and Johnson's inspiring story, see Kashmere's reunion documentary, Texas Thunder Soul, narrated by another Texas son, Jamie Foxx. - Deb Doing Dallas

80. Butthole Surfers, "Sweat Loaf" Only The Butthole Surfers could rip off Black Sabbath and somehow make it sound better. - Audra Schroeder


79. Lift to Experience, "Falling From Cloud 9" From one of the best albums of any North Texas act in recent history, "Falling From Cloud 9" is one of the more accessible songs on 2001's The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads. It's probably the one that caught my ear when I first saw the band perform at Trees in 1999. "Put your dreams in a bottle, smash it to the ground / Slip off your slippers, and dance all around / It's just blood." - Daniel Hopkins

Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs
Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs

78. Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, "Wooly Bully" Dallas' own Domingo "Sam "Zamudio took his alter ego to chart success with a song based on his cat. A novelty? Perhaps, but it's still a pretty sweet twist on your standard blues song. And that organ line owns the whole thing. - Audra Schroeder

77. Kris Kristofferson, "Me and Bobby McGee" A song sung by many (Roger Miller, Janis Joplin), but penned by the Brownsville native, who went on to have a successful career of his own, including a stint with the Highwaymen (Willie, Waylon, Johnny Cash). - Audra Schroeder

76. Destiny's Child, "Bills, Bills, Bills" Like many songs produced by Kevin Briggs, "Bills" featured harpsichord over an R&B rhythm and the then-quartet Destiny's Child passing lyrics to each other. Those lyrics introduced an empowerment theme Destiny's Child would cover again in "Independent Women" and "Survivor." - Shahryar Rizvi

75. Patty Griffin, "Moses" Griffin has been exploring her gospel side and teaming with Robert Plant and his Band of Joy in recent years. The acoustically-powered "Moses," from her 1996 album Living With Ghosts, is remarkable for the way in which she blends the Biblical feats of Moses with people who find love "with their wine and beer." - Kelly Dearmore

74. Centro-matic, "Fidgeting Wildly" "Fidgeting Wildly," from their Redo the Stacks album, blends a fantastic hook with that signature Will Johnson timbre. An ode to your own devices, he sings, "You're trapped in your room, and you're the only audience." Narcissism has never sounded so good. - Deb Doing Dallas

73. The Hochimen, "God Was A Flower" Reggie Rueffer's musical genius encompasses Ray Price (with whom he toured as a teenager), Mahler (whom he studied as an SMU orchestral student) and XTC (whose influence he copped while playing in Deep Ellum dumps). He made his most personal statements with the Hochimen, on whose debut album, Totenlieder, he wrestled with his lapsed Methodist's existential anguish. - Ken Shimamoto

72. Meat Loaf, "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" "Paradise" lives on as its own mini-rock opera: Boy meets girl, boy makes out with girl, boy presents overly-wrought baseball metaphor about going all the way, girl turns boy's desires into a forced confession of eternal love, both are miserable ever after. - Deb Doing Dallas

71. Terry Allen, "Amarillo Highway" Lubbock's Terry Allen has received minimal fanfare and acclaim over the years, making his remarkably personable bar-band aesthetic all the more potent. Armed with a buoyant piano hook and Allen's pronounced vocal twang, it's easy to see why Robert Earl Keen would pay homage with a cover. - Zach Hale

70. Deep Blue Something, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" Four years after the Denton band's formation, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995. And while this is as good as it ever got for Deep Blue Something, we're pretty sure they made a few bucks off royalties. - Catherine Downes


69. The Relatives, "Don't Let Me Fall" This Dallas gospel group saw a renewed interest in their music over the last two or three years, thanks to Austin's Heavy Light Records, and this was the song that resurrected them after nearly two decades. - Audra Schroeder

68. Townes Van Zandt, "Marie" Where Hank Williams conjured loneliness, Townes brought feelings of despair on all who listened closely. I heard this song for the first time while watching his documentary Be Here To Love Me. I chose it not because it's a great song, but because it's the saddest song I've ever heard. - Daniel Hopkins

67. UGK, "Pocket Full of Stones" When Pimp C was in junior high running B-side dub mixes in Port Arthur, his stepfather gave him advice that would alter the course of his life. He said, "That music you're making is noise. Try to put some music into it. I bet if you can put some music in that you can dominate and you can get rich, know what I mean?" Although Pimp C's stepfather died on the day UGK received the master for "Pocket Full of Stones," the single opened doors for the Texas rap legends, sparking their storied careers. - Austin Staubus

66. ZZ Top, "Just Got Paid" Before the stupid beards, the stupid keyboards, and Eliminator, the little band from Texas were swaggering blues-rock badasses. The mean guitar riff really sells that feeling of a fresh paycheck. Too bad their own got so big they forgot their synth-free roots. - Jesse Hughey


65. Blind Willie Johnson, "John the Revelator" Many have covered this tune, but none matched the Biblical passion and fury, nor Johnson's otherworldly growl. Nick Cave came the closest. - Audra Schroeder

64. The D.O.C., "It's Funky Enough" Dallas native D.O.C. was a co-writer and guest MC for N.W.A., and this 1989 track, with a funkier-than-necessary beat by Dr. Dre, shows he was more than capable of supporting a solo career. Sadly, a car wreck crushed his larynx, badly damaging his vocal chords, and while he continued to write, his career as a performer all but ended. - Jesse Hughey


63. Slobberbone, "Barrel Chested" The huge riff is lifted straight off an AC/DC album and all the amps are set at 11. I loved each and every Slobberbone song, but with "Barrel Chested," Brent Best may have never had a finer moment. - Darryl Smyers

62. Gary P. Nunn, "London Homesick Blues" Willie Nelson might be Texas' musical gift to the world, but Gary P. Nunn is the present we decided to keep for ourselves. It's not that he hasn't made an impact well beyond the Red River, it's just that he's stayed close spiritually while perfecting a model he helped design. - Kelly Dearmore

61. Erykah Badu, "Tyrone" Thanks to this full-on old-school groove becoming a favorite for bands to cover, most notably My Morning Jacket, it continues to be a living, breathing classic. - Kelly Dearmore

60. James McMurtry, "Levelland" Simplicity is profound in the right hands, and when McMurtry sings about a West Texas mother who "hasn't seen the sky since they put the satellite dish in," the question of what progress is worth is posed in a beautifully frank manner. - Kelly Dearmore


Tum Tum
Tum Tum

59. Tum Tum, "Caprice Music" For years, the Dallas hip-hop community's had a love affair with the Chevy Caprice Classic. Tum Tum's "Caprice Music" was an ode to that car culture, illustrating the unique trends specific to our city in the wake of Drank Epidemic Vol 7. - Austin Staubus

58. Tripping Daisy, "Waited a Light Year" Lost in the doldrums of a major label system turnaround, Tripping Daisy's Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb remains a gem from start to finish. "Waited a Light Year" could very well be mistaken for a Polyphonic Spree song. - Eric Grubbs

57. Pantera, "Walk" Pantera knew how to grab people right away: Put the money riff at the center and everything else will fall in place. Recognizable from the first note, this track off the Arlington four-piece's 1992 LP Vulgar Display of Power holds up to this day. Where else could a ZZ Top-style boogie mesh with Black Sabbath heaviness? - Eric Grubbs

56. Centro-matic, "Only in My Double Mind" As prolific as Will Johnson is, one could pick several dozen Centro-matic songs to add to this list. The towering, heavily reverbed vocals and pounding piano make "Only in My Double Mind," from 2011's Candidate Waltz, especially memorable, and the song's power shows that he and the band are still a force 15-plus years into their career. - Jesse Hughey

55. Joe Ely, "All Just to Get To You" This 1995 train-hopping rocker reminded people Ely wasn't merely a Flatlander from the past, but a star in his own right. By the end of the song, his vocals make sure he beats his "fists against the moon" in order to get what he wants. - Kelly Dearmore

54. Selena, "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" The shoulda, coulda, wouldas surrounding Selena's brief and heartbreaking career have not gone away over time. The Corpus Christi singer represented so much of what Texas really is: fiercely independent, larger than life. When you reach for that one Selena hit, "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" always gets the job done. Don't miss "Baila Esta Cumbia" either. - Deb Doing Dallas

53. Bun B, "Draped Up" When Pimp C was arrested in 2005, faithful UGK fans were concerned their historic run had come to an end. Bun B, however, released a debut solo album, with "Draped Up" serving as the first single. The single became so popular, Bun's label released an "H-Town" remix that featured Chamillionaire, Paul Wall and Slim Thug. - Austin Staubus

52. George Jones, "Cup of Loneliness" My dad used to say "Amazing Grace" sung in a bar full of sinning drunks on a Saturday night would always be superior to the Sunday morning version. That applies here, too, as Jones really sells the miserable keening for some kind of redemption, which he knows all too well, even if his cocaine addiction, lawnmower rides and another couple of marriages were still ahead of him back in 1960. - Jesse Hughey

51. Townes Van Zandt, "No Place to Fall" This song is not his best, but with Townes fallen to where no mortal can catch him, it's easily one of his more prophetic. - Doug Davis


50. Lil' Wil, "My Dougie" Focused on style rather than substance, Lil' Wil's "My Dougie" embodied everything Dallas, catching the attention of even the most hardened music executives. "My Dougie" became a national sensation, inspiring CNN's own Wolf Blitzer to "dougie" on air. - Austin Staubus

49. Big Boys, "Fun, Fun, Fun" While the rest of the punks were taking themselves seriously in 1982, Austin's Big Boys were putting out songs like this, and daring to like both the Cockney Rejects and Joy Division in the same breath. It still resonates so much, there's now even a festival named after it. Not a bad legacy. - Audra Schroeder

48. Cherubs, "Stag Party" The omnipresent dial tone throughout this song gives it some added menace, though Austin's noise-punk Cherubs had enough of that already. 1994's Heroinman was their finest hour, and we'll take that reunion show anytime, fellas. - Audra Schroeder

47. Dorrough, "Ice Cream Paint Job" Garnering over 15,000,00 views on YouTube, Dallas rapper Dorrough's "Ice Cream Paint Job" seemingly came out of nowhere. The song resonated so strongly, Cash Money's Lil Wayne remixed "Ice Cream Paint Job" on his critically acclaimed "No Ceilings" mixtape. - Austin Staubus

46. Jerry Jeff Walker, "L.A. Freeway" The beauty of a simple story told honestly is not one many can master. Thankfully, Walker is one of many plain-spoken Texan poets that can pack a novel's worth of gravitas into a three-minute ditty. - Kelly Dearmore

45. Waylon Jennings, "Rainy Day Woman" Waylon Jennings knew how to write a so-called outlaw song, and a TV theme for lake-jumping rednecks, but he also knew how to write a love song. While his buddy Willie Nelson loved to sonically strip a song to its skeleton, Jennings thrived when the tempo was high and the band was in full roadhouse mode. - Kelly Dearmore


44. Erykah Badu, "On & On" "On & On" takes me back to the first time I heard Baduizm, and was transformed. Nearly 15 years later, "On & On" hasn't aged a bit. It's frequently the vamp when Badu is about to drop some real talk on her audience. "What good will your words do, when they can't understand you?" - Deb Doing Dallas

43. Red Krayola, "Hurricane Fighter Plane" From 1967's Parable of Arable Land comes a song that's entirely driven by that glorious bassline. The Houston group, led by Mayo Thompson, has been playing one-off shows recently. Texas deserves one, don't you think? - Audra Schoeder

George Strait
George Strait

42. George Strait, "All My Ex's Live in Texas" This song could have been written in any decade across the last century, but Strait did it in 1987, subsequently making us wonder if he was a smug asshole or in on the joke, which is a testament to his grasp of irony, story and true country. - Audra Schroeder

41. ZZ Top, "La Grange" In recent years, the Top have recycled their shtick a bit too often, but this track, from 1973, was the band at their peak. They turned a local news story about a whorehouse into two kick-ass guitar solos and smacked the world upside the head. - Doug Davis

40. Freddie King, "You've Got To Love Her With a Feeling" This won't be the last appearance by King on our list. The Dallas blues guitarist gives some real talk: Love your woman with a feeling, or you won't have her at all. And, as usual, King rips into a wig-lifting solo halfway through. - Audra Schroeder


Billy Joe Shaver
Billy Joe Shaver

39. Billy Joe Shaver, "Live Forever" "Live Forever" is an emotional experience. The line, "Don't let the darkness take them" is tear-inducing, given that his own son, Eddy, was taken by heroin. Shaver's definition of "living forever" isn't what most envision; he's singing about seeing his family again on the other side, not about playing dive bars until he drops. - Kelly Dearmore

38. Selena, "Dreaming of You" "Dreaming of You" is the title track off Selena's sixth, and final album. Dreaming of You was released in 1995 and debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts, four months after the singer was tragically murdered by the ex-president of her fan club. The ballad was Selena's biggest single, and is probably one of the songs she's most recognized for. - Catherine Downes

37. The Dicks, "Saturday Night at the Bookstore" "Another Saturday night at the bookstore, and it looks like every fucking piece of trash in town blew in," sings Gary Floyd, introducing this four-minute screed against homophobia. The Austin punks never minced words, especially Floyd. He feverishly directs its taunting chorus at hypocrites and bigots: "I'm at the bookstore/I'm at the bookstore/I'm at the bookstore/You're at the bookstore too!" - Audra Schroeder

36. Bugs Henderson, "Shuffle King" Henderson passed earlier this year, but he left a hefty back catalog to pick from. - Audra Schroeder

35. Butch Hancock, "Split and Slide" Hancock essentially penned a short story here, about two characters stumbling through the Texas desert. Butch knows his audience, and seeing this novella done live is the best way to absorb it. - Audra Schroeder

34.Tex Ritter, "Dallas Darling" Singer, politician movie star, father of John Ritter. Tex had a big life, but his buoyant voice was always the centerpiece of every country song. - Audra Schroeder

33. Guy Clark, "Dublin Blues" This somber, but sweet tale grows even more heartfelt when Clark sings about missing the Mad Dog margaritas of Austin's Texas Chili Parlor. Because let's face it, those things are terrible. - Kelly Dearmore

32. Sir Douglas Quintet, "At the Crossroads" A pure product of San Antonio who managed to embody its country, R&B and Tejano traditions, Doug Sahm first broke through by masquerading as an Englishman, at the behest of "Crazy Cajun" Huey P. Meaux. He penned this absent lover's lament from a drug fugitive's exile in the more freak-friendly Bay Area, but left no doubt where his heart still resided. - Ken Shimamoto


31. Daniel Johnston, "True Love Will Find You In the End" Despite the flashes of popularity, curiosity and heartbreak that have sprung up around Johnson in the last two decades, his songs have always remained pure, unconcerned with fads or the passing of time, forever obsessed with monsters and love and the parallels therein. - Audra Schroeder

30. 13th Floor Elevators, "Slip Inside This House" "You're Gonna Miss Me" is usually the go-to when talking about the Houston psychedelic group, but this track, from 1967's sophomore LP Easter Everywhere, shows how they could also nail a long-form song. - Audra Schroeder

29. Jimmie Dale Gilmore, "Dallas" Perhaps we're a little biased on this one, since the blog gets its name from it, but the line, "Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eye/A steel and concrete soul with a warm-hearted love disguise" seems eerily prescient. - Audra Schroeder

28. Ornette Coleman, "Lonely Woman" The prophetically titled The Shape of Jazz to Come would manifest its shapelessness with avant-garde improvisation and arrangements that were completely devoid of orthodoxy or structure. "Lonely Woman" is the album's standout, and one of the greatest examples of how unpredictable melody can be just as powerful as harmony. - Zach Hale

27. Buddy Holly, "Everyday" Like all of Holly's best, the song is remarkably simple, yet it exudes a profoundly earnest and deceptively bold song craft. - Zach Hale


26. Albert Collins, "Frostbite" Remember that scene in Adventures In Babysitting, where the singer of a blues band tells Elizabeth Shue, "Nobody leaves this stage without singing the blues"? The "Master of the Telecaster" lived on the stage. - Audra Schroeder

25. Townes Van Zandt, "Pancho and Lefty" Written right here in Dallas, this song is as moving as it is ambivalent. Did Lefty sell Pancho out? Did the federales really just pity him and let him go? Were they the same person, or Pancho just the fantasy of a washed-up obscure blues singer? Even the late Van Zandt himself wasn't sure, to hear him tell it, but a it's beautiful ballad nonetheless. - Jesse Hughey

24. T-Bone Walker, "Trinity River Blues" This 1929 cut from Dallas' own Aaron "T-Bone" Walker, back when he was known as Oak Cliff T-Bone, was the original Texas flood. - Audra Schroeder

23. Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, "New San Antonio Rose" Somewhere between jazz, country and swing stood Bob Wills, whose music is still a staple of dancehalls and honky-tonks across Texas. Wills spent some time in Dallas recording, and it can be heard here. - Audra Schroeder

22. Willie Nelson, "Can I Sleep In Your Arms" It really doesn't get much more stupendous, minimalist or beautiful than Willie Nelson's ballads. The scene paints itself as soon as you hit play: a tequila hangover; snug, dirty boots on your feet; and the smell of a cowboy hat over your face. - Nick Rallo

21. Blaze Foley, "If I Could Only Fly" Please consult Duct Tape Messiah, Kevin Triplett's documentary on the Austin singer-songwriter, for proof of Foley's tempered genius. That he and Townes Van Zandt were buddies comes as no surprise; their lives were parallel in the most heartbreaking way. - Audra Schroeder

20. Sir Douglas Quintet, "Mendocino" That swirling organ line alone is enough to secure a spot on this list. This 1968 single was the Quintet dressed in their San Antonio best. - Audra Schroeder


Billy Preston
Billy Preston

19. Billy Preston, "Nothing From Nothing" Houston pianist Billy Preston got to hang around some decent talent (The Beatles, The Stones), but his solo material went in another direction altogether. This is his most well-known hit, but check out "Space Race" as well. - Audra Schroeder

18. Ray Wylie Hubbard, "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother" One of the most poignant of tales bringing hippies and rednecks together. Buddy Jerry Jeff Walker then went on to record the song in 1973. - Audra Schroeder

17. Janis Joplin, "Piece of My Heart" Joplin doesn't just sing a song, she muscles all of the longing, flirting and humor out of a melody and heaves it at you. If you have ever questioned her vocal delivery, consider how she makes giving away her broken heart sound inevitable but downright fun. Plus, that chorus is history-making. - Deb Doing Dallas

16. Cindy Walker, "You Don't Know Me" If the shy boys and girls of the world ever acknowledge their secret society, Walker's 1956 hit "You Don't Know Me" (co-written with Eddy Arnold) should be the theme song. - Doug Davis

15. Buddy Holly, "That'll Be the Day" The lyric -- both lovestruck and vaguely threatening in a passive-aggressive way -- captures the panicky feel when one half of a couple doesn't want a relationship to end, over an incongruously upbeat melody. Add to that a great guitar solo, vocal harmonies, a run-time of just a bit over two minutes and you've got the formula for countless rock gems to follow. - Jesse Hughey

14. Gene Autry, "(I've Got Spurs That) Jingle Jangle Jingle" Texas has spawned more than a few singing cowboys over the years, none as successful as Gene Autry. "(I've Got Spurs That) Jingle Jangle Jingle" is an ode to wandering and bachelorhood, and Autry's original is great, but it's the version sung on horseback by Olive Oyl, siren of the cartoon world, that rattles around in my head. - Doug Davis

13. 13th Floor Elevators, "You're Gonna Miss Me" The song encapsulates the raw, psychedelic energy heard throughout much of the 60s and 70s, with a long-standing impact that's endured nearly a half-century, as any self-respecting garage rock aficionado can attest. - Zach Hale


12. Lightnin' Hopkins, "Bring Me My Shotgun" Any song from the Centerville guitarist could be mentioned here, but this one has some added emotional heft. He was incredibly prolific in his 70 years on this planet, and even recorded with the 13th Floor Elevators. - Audra Schroeder

11. Roy Orbison, "In Dreams" Orbison's great falsetto delivery and the song's epic climax showcase what a singular talent the Vernon, Texas native was. The perfect marriage of emotion and song cemented the status of Blue Velvet, too. - Doug Davis

10. Ernest Tubb, "Waltz Across Texas" Ernest Tubb was the role model for old school country, with simple sentiments sung off key, and pedal steel playing a prominent role in the arrangement. "Waltz Across Texas" remains a dance hall standard that serves as a touchstone to an era gone by. - Doug Davis

09. Joe Tex, "Skinny Legs and All" This song was Joe Tex in his soul phase, the polar opposite of the funky "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)." It was an anthem of sorts, an empowering talk-sing build up over triumphant horns. - Audra Schroeder

08. Freddy Fender, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" Baldemar Garza Huerta, aka Freddy Fender, collaborated with Augie Meyers and Flaco Jimenez in the late-'80s as the Texas Tornados, but his solo run, which included this song and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights," showcased his incredible voice, in English and Spanish. - Audra Schroeder


07. Roy Head, "Treat Her Right" Those horns, those splits. Roy Head was the Houston flipside of James Brown, and this 1965 single would have been number one on the Billboard Hot 100, if not for those meddling Beatles. - Audra Schroeder

06. Big Mama Thornton, "Ball and Chain" Listen, around the 3:20 mark, your chest is going to be split open, your heart is going to be ripped out, and you're going to be better for it. Willie Mae Thornton left no soul unshaken. - Audra Schroeder

05. Willie Nelson, "Crazy" With its efficient but biting lyric, jazzy progression and off-kilter timing, "Crazy" defined the career of Patsy Cline and gave Nelson the freedom to establish his own solo career. - Doug Davis

04. Freddie King, "Going Down" "Going Down" never charted and is probably better known as the theme song to Eastbound and Down. The Dallas icon's 1971 version of the Don Nix song features scorching guitar and an insistent piano part from producer Leon Russell, with the late Donald "Duck" Dunn holding down the low end. - Jesse Hughey

03. Barbara Lynn, "You'll Lose a Good Thing" This Beaumont southpaw is often overlooked when it comes to both soul singers and guitarists, but for the mid-'60s, she was a trailblazer. This single, which she wrote, is an almost perfect pop song. - Audra Schroeder

02. Sir Douglas Quintet, "She's About a Mover" There are about 20 songs from the late, great Doug Sahm that should be included in any list of great songs from Texas artists. "She's About a Mover," done when he was in the Sir Douglas Quintet, is simply the most recognizable in an impressive body of work. The single best show I've ever attended was Sahm performing at Antone's in Austin on New Year's Eve in 1987. "She's About a Mover" was the encore. - Darryl Smyers

01. Archie Bell & the Drells, "Tighten Up" We could spend hours arguing whether this song has the best bassline in history, but let's look at the bigger picture. The Houston group did something truly remarkable in less than four blissful minutes: They constructed a song in real-time, pivoting on that shrugging guitar riff, that atomic bassline, and Bell's multi-tasking sing-song. It's one that has the power to make even the most conservative turn a hip. - Audra Schroeder

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