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New Songs for Our California Soundtrack

U.S.New Songs for Our California Soundtrack

Here, lightly edited, are some thoughts readers have shared about their choices:

“San Francisco Knights” by People Under the Stairs (1998)

“The infinitely catchy refrain of this song says it all: ‘On a warm San Francisco night ….’ L.A.-based People Under the Stairs hit the nail on the head — what could be better than cruising San Francisco on a warm late-summer evening with your friends? A warm breeze and orange sunset on the Ocean Beach boardwalk; bonfires and laughter dotting the landscape; strolling the streets of the Mission, taking in the sights and smells and vibrancy of the city and all its people; heading up to Twin Peaks or any of the many lookout spots to see the twinkling lights as night falls. This is paradise on earth, and People Under the Stairs capture the magical essence of the City by the Bay.” — Henry DeRuff, San Francisco

“California” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (1978)

“I left my little life in Ohio and moved to California for all its beauty, opportunities and freedom in 1978. I think the music is beautiful, and the lyrics are a very good reflection of how others feel about someone leaving them for California.” — Gundy Rettke, Seaside

“Santa Cruz” by the Thrills (2003)

“This is the single off their album ‘So Much for the City,’ which is itself like a homage to a road trip through California. Whenever I have doubts about California, I cue up this upbeat album with its silly lyrics and imagine experiencing the state for the first time. The inane refrain is sticky: ‘Santa Cruz, you’re not that far.’” — Irwin Speizer, Carmel

“Surfer Joe” by the Surfaris (1963)

“Joe comes from ‘down in Doheny,’ wins a surf meet in Huntington Beach, becomes a Marine at Pendleton and gets busted surfing the Trestles. Can’t get much more California than that!” — Daniel Nowak, Bernalillo, N.M.

“City of Angels” by Bill Withers (1976)

“From one of our greatest songwriters — Bill Withers is able to capture the hope and dreams those of us who move here hold. As a fellow transplant from West Virginia this holds a little extra meaning.” — Blair Lord, Monrovia


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