I read with interest the top 100 songs about Texas in Friday’s edition of dfw.com. I was surprised that the state song, Texas, Our Texas, wasn’t included.
The song was written in 1924 by a Fort Worth man, William J. Marsh, and was chosen as the state song in a statewide competition.
Mr. Marsh taught music at St. Ignatius Grade School once a week and also at Our Lady of Victory Academy.
In class, we would sing Texas, Our Texas regularly. It’s a great song about our state.
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There was once a drive in the Legislature to replace the song with The Eyes of Texas. At that time, Mr. Marsh was very ill in St. Joseph Hospital.
A TV crew went to the hospital and asked Mr. Marsh his thoughts on changing the state song to The Eyes of Texas. Of course, he didn’t want it changed.
I remember that the reporter asked him to sing Texas, Our Texas. As he started to sing, he broke down in tears. After that, there was no more talk about changing the state song.
— John J. Byrne, Arlington
Thanks for including my favorite Texas singer and songwriter, Brian Burns, in the list of the top 100 Texas songs, although I would have ranked him much higher. (See No. 72, I’ve Been Everywhere ... in Texas.)
His haunting recording of Travis’ Letter, about the fall of the Alamo, is featured when he appears in Texas history programs in middle schools all over the state. At the schools, he also sings his hit record, I’ve Been Everywhere ... in Texas, and the kids sing along with him, mouthing the words.
The American version of I’ve Been Everywhere was first made popular by Hank Snow (No. 1 on Billboard in 1962), and Johnny Cash, as you mentioned, had a hit version in 1996.
Brian, an Arlington resident, has written many great Texas songs. One of my favorites is Thunderstorms and Tyler Roses (Always Make Me Think of You).
Thanks again for honoring our Texas songs and singers.
— Carol Savage, Fort Worth