One of the programs in my bedtime playlist featured Bing singing Kokomo Indiana. Got me thinking about songs and cities and states.
There were two other popular Indiana songs, Gary and Back Home. Gary and Kokomo are novelty songs, mainly having fun with the syllables, not intended as a tribute. Back Home was a proper tribute, and it was used as a theme song for a program with an Indiana host.
The best and most popular state song is unquestionably Oklahoma.
Constants and variables: You expect songwriters to write about their own location, and unsurprisingly NYC is well represented. Big cities in general are well represented, which makes sense. Most listeners are in the populated places by definition.
Oklahoma and Indiana are alien to songwriters, yet they are overrepresented.
Key: The songiest locations have four syllables, preferably -.-. like C in Morse.
Indiana, Oklahoma, California, San Francisco, Chattanooga, Kansas City. The most famous New York song is actually about New York New York.
Later: I was puzzling over the odd exception of Los Angeles. Four syllables AND the center of the music industry after 1940, but absolutely no LA songs. A few Hollywoods, but no LA. Then I realized: During the era when city and state songs were being written, LOW ZANGLISS was a three-syllable city! The four-syllable version didn’t take over completely until 1955.