Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” Named Oklahoma State Rock Song

The Flaming Lips, Oklahoma City-based purveyors of such oddities as “She Don’t Use Jelly,” “Placebo Headwound,” “Talkin’ ‘Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues,” and many, many more odd songs — not to mention the Boombox Experiment, Christmas on Mars, and gobs upon gobs of fake blood — have been credited with writing the State of Oklahoma’s official rock and roll song: “Do You Realize??” from the band’s 2002 release Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. According to a press release sent out this morning, the Oklahoma State Legislature voted on Senate Joint Resolution 24, sponsored by Senator Mike Schulz and Representative Joe Dorman, to name the track “The Official Oklahoma State Rock and Roll Song.” After a two-year planning and judging process, “Do You Realize??” was selected from among 458 submissions receiving a total of 2,498 nominations for the honor. To read more about how it worked, why this song by a band of self-proclaimed “fearless freaks” was chosen, and who the runners-up were (hint: “Home Sweet Oklahoma,” “Endless Oklahoma Sky,” and good ol’ “Oklahoma” didn’t win), see the complete release below.




Burbank, CA- Last week, The Oklahoma State Legislature voted on Senate Joint Resolution 24, which names “Do You Realize??” by THE FLAMING LIPS as “The Official Oklahoma State Rock and Roll Song.” The selection of an official rock and roll song recognizes the outstanding achievements of Oklahomans in a genre that has dominated the last half of the 20th century. The bill was sponsored by Senator Mike Schulz and Representative Joe Dorman.

A planning meeting between the Oklahoma History Center and the Oklahoma Film & Music Office generated the idea for an official Oklahoma rock song. Jeff Moore, Director of Exhibits for the Oklahoma History Center, recalled: “We were discussing Oklahoma’s impact in Rock and Roll and it became clear that there are so many artists, landmark venues, and business connections that Oklahoma needs to formally recognize this remarkable heritage.”

Jill Simpson, Director of the Oklahoma Film & Music Office, expressed: “The legislature’s official naming of ‘Do You Realize??’ as Oklahoma’s Official Rock Song is the culmination of a nearly two-year process. I don’t think any of us involved anticipated just how tough this choice was going to be for both our panel of judges and the voting public. Each of our ten finalists has had a huge impact on rock and roll. It’s a testament to the depth of musical talent coming out of Oklahoma.”

Nominations for the rock song were collected from February to July 2008. More than 2,498 nominations were submitted for 458 songs. After verifying that each recommendation had an Oklahoma connection, the Oklahoma Historical Society then set forth a final list of nominations to the Official Oklahoma Rock Song Advisory Panel whose members were appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the House, the Senate Pro Tempore, the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Oklahoma Film & Music Office. They included Phil Bacharach, Oklahoma City; Ronnie Kaye, Oklahoma City; Lacey Lett, Oklahoma City; Steve Ripley, Tulsa/Pawnee; Ryan LaCroix, Norman; Dr. Hugh Foley, Stillwater; and Angie Devore-Green, Tulsa.

The Advisory Panel met at the Oklahoma History Center in August of 2008 and narrowed the expansive list of nominated songs down to the ten finalists. They chose songs that represented the different decades of rock and roll in Oklahoma and the wide range of influence Oklahomans have had on the genre.

Spanning six decades, the chosen songs represent the pervasive influence of Oklahoma and Oklahomans on the continuous development of the rock and roll genre. The finalists were “Let’s Have a Party” by Wanda Jackson (1958); “Do You Realize??” by THE FLAMING LIPS (2002); “Walk Don’t Run” by The Ventures (1960); “Endless Oklahoma Sky” by John Moreland and the Black Gold Band (2008); “Home Sweet Oklahoma” by Leon Russell (1971); “Move Along” by the All-American Rejects (2005); “Never Been to Spain” written by Hoyt Axton (1971); “Oklahoma” by The Call (1986); “Heartbreak Hotel” written by Mae Boren Axton (1956); and “After Midnight” by J.J. Cale (1965).

After being announced in a press conference on September 2, 2008, the ten songs were put to a public vote on the website oklahomarocksong.org. Before the polls closed November 15, 2008, 21,061 votes were cast, the majority of which went to THE FLAMING LIPS’ “Do You Realize??” from their Grammy winning, gold-certified album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. As the final step in the rock-song selection process, “Do You Realize??” will now be presented to the Oklahoma Senate and House of Representatives.

Voters submitted many reasons for their selection of THE FLAMING LIPS’ “Do You Realize??” for the Official Oklahoma Rock Song. With visible pride in their Oklahoma roots, innovative and modern artistry, and a long-standing commitment to rock and roll, THE FLAMING LIPS enjoy a deep connection with the citizens of their native state. “Not only are THE FLAMING LIPS from Oklahoma, but the song ‘Do You Realize??’ also makes for an excellent state song. The song is universal and very unifying, with a great message,” remarked one fan. Another stated that “the beauty in the message of ‘Do You Realize??’ perfectly suits the beautiful state of Oklahoma.” Yet another wrote that “‘Do You Realize??’ is one of the greatest songs ever written and THE FLAMING LIPS are a fine example of the brilliance that the state of Oklahoma has produced. The song and the band are timeless. The sentiments expressed in ‘Do You Realize??’ are universal and would project Oklahoma in a positive and endearing light.”

The selection of the Official Oklahoma State Rock Song is part of a greater effort of the Oklahoma Historical Society to celebrate the state’s rock and roll heritage with an exhibit entitled “Another Hot Oklahoma Night,” slated to open May 2, 2009 at the Oklahoma History Center. The exhibit will explore the Rock and Roll artists, radio stations, personalities, venues, and fans that have called Oklahoma home. Beyond the facts of each story, the exhibit will show how growing up in Oklahoma affected the music. These stories will be displayed in an innovative style to encourage visitor participation and ensure visitors will take away a new perspective on the history of Rock and Roll in Oklahoma. The History Center is actively collecting stories and artifacts related to rock and roll in Oklahoma. For more information, please contact the museum staff at (405) 522-0798 or visit the exhibit website at anotherhotoklahomanight.org.

In other FLAMING LIPS news, the band, along with their Oklahoma City brethren, road crew, and now WBR label-mates, STARDEATH AND WHITE DWARFS , have collaborated on a version of the Madonna classic, “Borderline.” The track is available on the WBR 50th Anniversary compilation COVERED: A REVOLUTION IN SOUND, released exclusively through Amazon.com on March 10th. On the same date, a Wayne Coyne-directed performance video of the song will become available exclusively through Amazon.com.

The track will also be available for sale on National Record Store Day, Saturday, April 18, as a limited edition 7″ vinyl single backed by The Black Keys’ take on Captain Beefheart’s “Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles.” The Black Keys track also appears on COVERED: A REVOLUTION IN SOUND.

Lastly, THE FLAMING LIPS will begin work on their follow-up to AT WAR WITH THE MYSTICS this month, recording once again with long-time sonic collaborator David Fridmann. The new album is expected this summer.

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