Bowling For Soup's Ohio (Come Back To Texas).
There are a ton of songs about or inspired by Dallas, and they say a lot about who we are. So each week in this space, we'll take a closer week at one of these songs — and we'll try to determine what, exactly, they say about this great city of ours. Check out this feature's archives here.
2003's Drunk Enough to Dance and its single “Girl All the Bad Guys Want” helped earned the Denton pop-punk outfit Bowling For Soup their first brush with national attention — and a Grammy nomination to boot.
The next year, the band followed things up with A Hangover You Don't Deserve, and, thanks to strong radio play for singles like “Ohio (Come Back to Texas),” the disc became Bowling For Soup's only Top 40 album to date.
Aside from the photographs from the album's sleeve, which were all shot in Dallas area locations like the store window at Lula B's and a bathroom at Hotel Zaza, the album really does contain a wide array of references to the city.
That much makes sense. How better to convince a recently lost love to move back to town than by thrusting a huge bag of Texas nostalgia their way? Although “Ohio (Come Back To Texas)” is meant to be representative of the state as a whole, it not surprisingly focuses heavily on Dallas.
After a first verse and pre-chorus giving the back story of how his love wound up running away to Ohio, Bowling For Soup frontman Jaret Reddick sings in the chorus that “there's a seat for you at the rodeo, and I've got every slow dance saved. Besides the Mexican food sucks north of here, anyway.”
Given his Denton ties, it makes sense to assume that Reddick's referencing the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo here. That affair has taken place annually in Denton for the past 84 years now, drawing an average of 100,000 visitors during its annual, nine-day run.
But North Texas has a rich history of other rodeos as well.
For instance, there's that Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo that started up in 1896. It's since become the world's oldest continual running rodeo. That event's Cowtown Coliseum (called The Northside Coliseum when it was built in 1908) was also the world's first indoor rodeo.
Closer to home, there's the Mesquite Pro Rodeo, which draws over 200,000 spectators each season and has hosted presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush as well as Prince Rainier III of Monaco in the past.
Then there's the Mexican food matter. Although few people would argue there are many places in the country that serve up better Mexican cuisine than we do here in Texas, perhaps it's mostly the inferior beverages that make Ohio's Mexican food so noticeably substandard?
Whether you prefer your margaritas frozen or on the rocks, it is hard to find a better version of that drink than you'll find right here in Dallas. Our city's long history with the drink can be thanked for that, of course. Although the drink's origins are somewhat questionable, one of the most widely-held beliefs is that Dallas socialite Margaret “Margarita” Sames first came up with the concoction in 1948 when looking for a drink to serve at her holiday party. And, lest we forget, it was Mariano Martinez of Dallas-based restaurant Mariano's Hacienda that invented frozen margarita machine in 1971.
While still awaiting his former beaux to change her mind and come home, Reddick further surmises: “I bet she misses the sunrise. And Mrs. Baird's fruit pies. But I could be wrong.”
Though not native Texans, William and Ninnie Baird moved to Fort Worth in 1901 to introduce the area to its first steam-powered popcorn machine. Due to his declining health following a diagnosis of diabetes (then a deadly and incurable disease) and the popularity of Ninnie's bread with her neighbors, she soon decided to begin selling her baked goods in order to take up the slack and support the family.
By 1908, she'd bought a wood-fired oven so she could make four loaves of bread at a time. Her four sons would then deliver the loaves to customers on foot or by bicycle. By 1915, she'd acquired a commercial oven from the Metropolitan Hotel in Fort Worth for $25 (plus $50 worth of bread and rolls) and could now bake 40 loaves at a time. By the '20s, her bakery at Terrell and 6th Street in Fort Worth was one of the largest in Texas. Her new oven could bake 400 loaves at a time. Finally, in 1928, Dallas got its first Mrs. Baird's plant.
In 1998, Mrs. Baird's was acquired by Grupo Bimbo, whose 10 billion-plus annual sales make it the largest bakery company in the US. These days, the Mrs. Baird's factories have no problem baking over 100 loaves of bread per minute.
The next verse in the song simply goes down a list of names of folks who supposedly want Reddick's love to come back to Texas. In order, the following are all entities name-checked by Reddick: Troy Aikman, Willie Nelson, the Bush twins, Pantera and Blue Bell Creameries. All of these have some sort of Dallas ties.
Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, of course, lead the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowls in the '90s.
Willie Nelson, though not from Dallas, has written several songs about our city.
And though President George W. Bush and his wife Laura were living in Midland, Texas, when their twins Jenna and Barbara were born in 1981, a bout of toxemia motivated Laura to have her babies in Dallas. According to a press release from Baylor University Medical Center, their neonatal facilities and specialists made BUMC the “logical” place for the twins to be born. After their birth, the Bush family relocated to Dallas until their move to Austin in 1994 following the gubernatorial election that year. In the interim, the sisters attended both Preston Hollow Elementary School and The Hockaday School here in town.
Pantera, meanwhile, helped bring nationwide attention to a new breed of heavy metal in the '90s. Aside from filming multiple music videos at former Greenville Avenue club The Basement, the self-proclaimed “cowboys from hell” helped the Dallas Stars bring home the Stanley Cup in 1999 by writing a fight song for the team that year. They're also at the center of one of the most notorious stories in Stanley Cup lore: After his team won the cup that year, Stars center Guy Carbonneau attempted to throw the Cup from the roof of Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul's house and into his pool. The Cup subsequently landed short, smashing onto Paul's concrete deck and causing the Cup to be repaired by NHL-sanctioned silversmiths.
Lastly, Blue Bell Creameries was founded in 1907 in town of Brenham, Texas, about four hours south of Dallas. Up until the '50s, that was the only place in the world one could purchase their ice cream. In the '60s, however, that changed when Houston and Dallas became the second and third cities in the country, respectively, where the ice cream was made available for purchase. Nowadays, Blue Bell ice cream is available in 20 states throughout the south. The sweet treat was even shipped to the International Space Station in both 2006 and 2012 to “help out the crew's happiness quotient.”
Still, even though Blue Bell ice cream is periodically available in outer space, you still can't find it in Ohio.