April 7, 2014

This Week in Ray Stevens History: 2011

As I as looking through some of the music videos from Ray Stevens I came across a favorite from 2010 that is almost nearing the 1,000,000 plateau in unique views. The music video comes from August 2010 and it tackles the controversial subject matter of illegal immigration. "God Save Arizona" can be taken as a highly topical song considering that much of the national headlines throughout much of 2010 centered around border security. It can also be taken as a rallying cry for those fed up with the illegal immigration problems in the border states. Arizona stands out from the other states that border Mexico and some say it's because the state has the worst illegal immigration problem and some say it's because Arizona has the loudest public officials on the subject and therefore the state receives more national attention because of it.

The music video, released on You Tube, created a frenzy of sorts...if I recall correctly it had 2 debuts. The first upload mysteriously vanished from the site several hours after making it's national debut. I believe I even mentioned that fact in one of my blog entries of that time period (feel free to look through the August 2010 archives). Later on the music video re-emerged on You Tube. It's dramatic visuals and serious tone was in sharp contrast to the political music videos Ray had been uploading onto You Tube since late 2009. Although the illegal immigration issue has continued to dominate much of Arizona's local and state headlines, nationally it's not reported on with such fervor as it happened to be in 2009, 2010, and into 2011.

This week in April 2011, Ray Stevens issued the Spirit of '76 as a digital release exclusive. The Mp3 became available for sale on April 1, 2011 and then later on that year (August 9th to be exact) the physical CD became available for sale. I purchased the Mp3 (of course!) but I didn't get around to purchasing a physical copy of the CD until a year or so later (??). I have several blog entries scattered throughout 2011 about the project, it's Mp3 release, and it's eventual CD release...and my eventual purchase of the CD copy.

The CD features 11 songs.

By the time the CD copy arrived in August 2011 several of the songs had already been turned into music video hits on You Tube. "God Save Arizona" is track 3 and it hit You Tube in August 2010. The opening 2 numbers are "The Skies Just Ain't Friendly Anymore" (The TSA Song) and "Mr. President - Mr. President". A music video for track 1 debuted in February 2011 while track 2 had a music video debut in September 2011.

Ray made the rounds of various talk radio programs that had conservative/Tea Party friendly hosts and in some appearances he promoted "The Skies Just Ain't Friendly Anymore". Track 9, "Obama Budget Plan", had it's music video debut on You Tube in late April 2011. It's the song that, as you can see, became the focal point during the Mp3 April debut of Spirit of '76.

Although both "God Save Arizona" and "The Skies Just Ain't Friendly Anymore" preceded "Obama Budget Plan" in video release chronology, "Obama Budget Plan" became the main song that started getting performed and spoken about heavily by Ray on talk shows and in interviews. By the time late April 2011 rolled around the national topic had changed from the embarrassing airport security practices of The TSA to the budget battles in Congress and the huge spending demands of Obama.

Politics can become very predictable and obviously cyclical (if one studies it to some degree in their lives you'll find out it's true, too) and most of these songs had been written and recorded well in advance and call it good luck on Ray's part that national events lent themselves perfectly to the songs that found their way into music video form on You Tube. A fifth music video hit come from Spirit of '76 later in 2011...the voter fraud tale of how "Grandpa Voted Democrat".

That particular music video received a huge amount of plays...but for just a couple of days. It was uploaded on November 3, 2012...the nation, at the time, was in election mode...and the video had a good run leading up to the 2012 elections as the topic hit home with a lot of voters, too...but then after the 2012 elections the video's play dwindled. The midterm elections are coming up this year and let's see if the music video makes a comeback. I'll embed the video at that point in time.

The message of the song is timely and timeless. It's gotten a little more than 400,000 unique views so far. I'd take a guess and say that more than half of those views came during November 2012!

In the meantime, "God Save Arizona", as I started off this blog discussing, can be seen here...

I highly encourage you all to purchase Spirit of '76, too, if you hadn't done so already...

Spirit of '76 CD


  1. You may have already seen it or written about it, but there is a new book called Ray Stevens' Nashville. It is Ray's autobiography and a bit of the history of music row. I pulled it down on Kindle and app it was released in March of this year.

    1. OH MY!!! This is news to me!!

      There hasn't been much talk about this from Ray (strangely enough) and a lot of us have been wondering when it was going to be released because he DID hint about publishing his life story but he never gave a release date...not even his website has this book up for sale at his store.

      So, yes, if people read between the lines this is the first time I've heard about it's existence!!!

      I never thought to search the book section of Amazon for any Ray Stevens product because I was certain that none existed but you beat me to it.

      It's available on Amazon as a Kindle e-book, as you mentioned, and as a paperback. I ordered the paperback via standard shipping only minutes ago (3 to 5 business days en route) and hopefully it arrives by the end of this week or at least at the start of next week.

      I'd rather have a physical copy of the book just in case anything happens to my computer.

      They may start publicizing the book later this month. For example, as I mentioned in my blog post above, Spirit of '76 seen a digital download release on April 1, 2011 and a CD version became available for mail order on August 9, 2011 and so this may be the same scenario of a product becoming available with limited availability while a later, larger release date is planned.


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