Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Mar 14th 2008 5:30PM by James Sullivan
But what about states? Can any American state, as vast and diverse as most of them are, claim a distinct, easily identified contribution to pop music? If Louisiana gave us jazz and Hawaii sounds like the ukulele, what about, say, Ohio?
In 'Hang On Sloopy: The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ohio,' rock writer Nick Talevski makes a case that the Buckeye state, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Toledo Mud Hens, is an underrated source of great pop and rock. The Pretenders, Devo, the O'Jays, Dean Martin, Macy Gray, Marilyn Manson: Like the notion of Middle America, which Ohio epitomizes every election cycle, the writer points out that the state's musical output has something for everybody.
But it would be a frightening world indeed if you could call the intersection of Dean Martin and Marilyn Manson a real pop watershed. New Jersey, on the other hand – now there's a place with a song in its heart.
That song is most likely by Frank Sinatra or Bruce Springsteen. Either way, according to several Joisey-ites interviewed by the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis (where the Broadway hit 'Jersey Boys' is set to open), it does in fact represent a distinctive sound.
The Garden State's ubiquitous smokestacks instill a sense of blue-collar pride, as one native notes, and its ethnic mix of Italian, black and Jewish – all significant pieces of the rock 'n' roll puzzle – makes for "a very potent combination in popular music," as Springsteen chronicler Robert Santelli observes. As Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers told the Star-Tribune, the "armpit of America" (as Jersey is so fondly known) is actually "the muscle of America." And we wouldn't want to arm-wrestle him.