Do you know what the official state song of California is? That would be the one which the Legislature adopted. The official song joins a menagerie of official state animals which includes the grizzly bear, garibaldi (marine fish), golden trout (freshwater fish), valley quail, gray whale (marine mammal), desert tortoise, and dogface butterfly. The official state song stands alongside the California state rock, gem stone, and mineral. We even have an official state fossil.
I did not have slightest idea and truly did not care what the state song is. By the way, I also did not know what the state rock, gem stone, fossil, marine fish, and insect are. How come this was not covered in elementary school California history? Moreover, where would you hear the state song?
The California official state song is not something to be performed instead of the “Star Spangled Banner.” That would be some kind of treasonous act. Then again, that just might confirm the belief held by a bunch of people in a box bounded by eastern Pennsylvania, the Gulf of Mexico, Indianapolis, and Reno that California is a land of un-American folks led by Hollywood Zionists who faked the Holocaust. Many of the people in that geographic box also believe that Ronald Reagan walked on water and, to this day, reject his association with California.
After learning that the Washington legislature had entertained -- but not accepted -- “Louie Louie” as the state rock song, I decided to check on California’s state song. Actually, the real question I had was whether we already have a state rock song. But a little research revealed that only a few states have official contemporary or rock songs. California is not one of them.
Colorado adopted “Rocky Mountain High” in 2007. Georgia went for “Georgia on My Mind” in 1979. And to show that it had a sense of humor, Ohio voted in “Hang on Sloopy” in 1985.
Some states have a whole slew of songs. Oklahoma has an official song, an official waltz, and an official folk song; it is reported to have the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize” as its rock song. Even though it does not have a state -- or commonwealth -- rock song, Massachusetts tops Oklahoma by adding an anthem, patriotic song, glee club song, march, and polka. Glee club and polka - somebody had too much time on their hands!
California is way behind in comparison. It simply has a state song which was adopted in 1951 when Earl Warren was Governor. That song is “I Love You, California.” “I Love You, California”? Huh? Can you hum that tune? Probably not. Do you know the words? Probably not.
How did we Californians let this happen? We are or were home to the Beach Boys, Ritchie Valens, Eddie Cochran, X, Henry Rollins, the Minutemen, Frank Zappa, Jan & Dean, the Doors, Phil Spector, Sonny Bono, Kim Fowley, the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, the Eagles, Van Halen, Metallica, the Dead Kennedys, Green Day, Berlin, Katy Perry, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Jackson Browne, and other performers, songwriters, and producers too numerous to mention. And don’t forget Richard Berry, who somehow became Washington’s favorite son with “Louie Louie.”
We had a Governor who dated Linda Ronstadt. We had Phil Spector’s “wall of sound.” We had Leo Fender. We had the “Wrecking Crew.” Monterey Pop. Altamont. The Us Festival. Coachella.
Near and dear to the hearts of the Lava Pups, we have our surf music -- California’s own folk music.
“I Love You, California”! We should be ashamed of ourselves. And we do not even have an official (or unofficial) state rock song. Do you think that this needs fixing?