It's no secret that the Hawkey state has hosted a gaggle of artistic creativity throughout its history. Many popular films have found their filming locals in Iowa. There have also been several different musicals written with Iowa as a central setting, and the gorgeous regional landscape of the great Midwestern state seems to inspire a subdued but powerful beauty.
Music styles ranging from the peppy signature beat of the Everly Brothers to the hard rock riffs of famed 90’s band Slipknot, all boast lyrics in reference to the state. The landscape, the people, and the wildlife ooze inspiration and life. Love Iowa? Take a few minutes to take a listen/look at a few particular jams that have Iowa on the brain.
The Music Man – ‘Til There Was You
One of the most popular compositions from The Music Man is the song, ‘Til There Was You. It was written by playwright Meredith Wilson in 1957. The play was also converted into a movie in 1962. The film gave the song the majority of its popularity due to the unforgettable onscreen performance by characters Shirley Jones and Professor Hill. In 1963, The Beatles covered the song thrusting the song into the spotlight once again.
The Music Man is set in the fictional town of River City. It follows the journey of a smooth-talking, sneaky, salesman who has chosen the town as a financial conquest. Professor Harold Hill plans to scam the townspeople with the promise of creating a marching band and then skipping town with all of the money raised. (Things do not quite go as expected.) There is a whole area in the town of Mason City (known as River City in the play) devoted solely to the musical.
Slipknot – Iowa
Slipknot, the hardcore metal band that originated in the 1990’s, takes a darker swing at recreating the aura of Iowa. The song is one of twelve on the band’s Iowa album. The song itself does not actually mention the state lyrically. Still, the lead lyricist and singer of the metal band was born in Des Moines. Corey Taylor has had extensive musical success throughout his career, and may well be better known to some for his role in the band Stone Sour.
Joni Mitchell – The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines
The famed Joni Mitchell performed a song in the late 1970’s called “The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines”. The song basically tells the story of a person who just can’t catch a break gambling and begins following a man from Des Moines. The song's lead character risks and risks and somehow just keeps winning. The point seems to be that luck is hit or miss, as are most things in life.
Everly Brothers – Bye Bye Love
One of the most famous songs mentioning Iowa is this one by the Everly Brothers. Interestingly, the whole Everly family was involved in the music business in one way or another, but the well-known brothers got their start performing on their own radio show in Shenandoah in the 1940’s.