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Part of the Southwestern United States, Arizona has actually adopted two state songs. The first state song of Arizona, adopted in 1919, is called “The Arizona March Song.” This song was written in 1915 by the Arizona pioneer Margaret Rowe Clifford, with the accompanying music composed by Maurice Blumenthal. The second state song of Arizona, adopted in 1982, is a ballad called “Arizona” or “I Love You Arizona.” Lyrics and music for this song were created by Rex Allen Jr., a country singer, actor, songwriter and movie narrator.
Arizona is a geographically diverse state. It holds within its borders deserts, mountains, forests and even the Grand Canyon. The beauty of the state is reflected in both of Arizona’s state songs.
The first state song of Arizona, “The Arizona March Song,” is composed of four verses and a chorus. This song expounds on the beauty of Arizona; the brilliant sunshine filling the vast and beautiful desert, the cool, river-filled valleys and the striking mountain ranges that appear to rise from nothing. The chorus reminds the people of Arizona to be thankful for all the assets inside their grand state.
The second state song of Arizona is “Arizona." This song has become know as “I Love You Arizona,” because these words are repeatedly echoed throughout the song. “Arizona,” similar to “The Arizona March Song,” also talks about the beauty of the state. Composer Rex Allen Jr. mentions two Arizona mountain ranges, the Dos Cabezas and the Superstition Mountains, as well as the heartwarming sunrises and sunsets. He even acknowledges the outlaws famous for roaming the state during its early history and finishes with lasting images of Arizona’s famous blooming cacti.
“The Arizona March Song” is a typical march song and a traditional choice as the state song of Arizona, appropriate for such public events as the openings of rodeos and fairs. “Arizona” is a slow, soft ballad more sentimental than motivating. The differences in these two songs, as well as the beauty of the song “Arizona,” explains the decision of the Arizona lawmakers to adopt a second state song. Actually, many states in the United States have more than one state song.
State songs are traditionally played at important state events such as inaugurations, state fairs or sporting events. Most state songs boast of the natural physical beauty within the state or the strength and courage of the state founders. Regardless of the content, a state song is meant to boost pride in the state residents and even bond the residents to the state.