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'Do You Realize??' we have no rock song?


Gazette staff April 12th, 2013

It's rock ’n’ roll chaos in Oklahoma. The state no longer has an official rock song.

flaming+lipsFlaming Lips - Credit: Shannon Cornman

Do you comprehend what we're saying? There's nothing to designate the official fist-pumping anthem of Oklahoma, and there hasn't been for two years now. That void opens the door for any ol' tune to claim that prize. Hell, the song wouldn't even have to be from this state.

Think about it: This very instant, a Justin Bieber ditty could be trolling a nearby shopping mall, telling any cute young thing in a pleated skirt how he has the distinction of being the state’s official rock song.

But you may ask: “What about The Flaming Lips’ ‘Do You Realize??’ Didn't that gorgeous track earn ‘official rock song’ status after a statewide online vote in 2009 resulted in an executive order signed by then-Gov. Brad Henry?”

Yes, that had been the case. But as first reported by eCapitol.net, Gov. Mary Fallin opted not to renew the order when she took office in 2011.

Longtime Lips manager Scott Booker said he was disappointed by the revelation.

“Our attitude is we're always going to have a state rock song. It was voted for by the public and we overwhelmingly won that honor,” he said. “Even if it goes away due to technical reasons, so be it. That's what it is. It will always be ours in our minds.”

The selection of “Do You Realize??,” from the Lips' 2002 album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, sparked controversy when music fans chose it from among 10 nominees in an online poll sponsored by the Oklahoma Historical Society. Legislation that would have rubber-stamped the selection easily passed the state Senate, but died in the House after Lips bassist Michael Ivins showed up at the Capitol wearing a hammer-and-sickle T-shirt. Of all the nerve!

In the wake of enough hand-wringing and feigned shock to have made Pat Boone nauseous, things were left to Henry to make things official through an April 2009 executive order.

Fallin's communications director, Alex Weintz, said the governor's decision not to renew the order had nothing to do with past controversies or her musical preferences.

“The governor renewed those [executive orders] that she thought there was a pressing need to renew. Those that she did not, she allowed to lapse,” Weintz said. “What it reflects is that naming a state rock song is not a priority to the governor of this administration. In terms of things that were left by the previous governor that we needed to deal with, at the very top of the list were hundreds of pardons and paroles that they left in our lap. The state rock song was toward the bottom.”

As for Fallin's predecessor, Henry noted that his executive directive merely cemented the results of a contest that drew more than 21,000 votes.

“The people of Oklahoma voted on that song,” he said. “The Flaming Lips is an iconic band and the most successful alternative-rock band in Oklahoma history. The executive order merely set forth an official policy of the opinion of those who voted.”


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