Fort Worth has a rich music history and artists like Leon Bridges and Luke Wade continue to make a name for the Fort Worth music scene. Local music fan and writer, Mark Nobles shares his list of the Top 10 Best Fort Worth songs.

1) “Hey Paula” spent three weeks at number one on Billboards Hot 100 in February 1963. Written by Ray Hildebrand and performed by Hildebrand and Jill Jackson, both students at Howard Payne University in Brownwood.   

2) Hey Baby” hit the Billboard Top 100 in March 1962 and held the number one spot for three weeks. Bruce Channel recorded the song for Major Bill Smith’s LeCam Records in Fort Worth in 1961. The harmonica part, played by Fort Worth’s Delbert McClinton is a credited influence on John Lennon and the Beatles’ “Love Me Do” and “Please, Please Me.”

3) Ray Sharpe recorded “Linda Lu” in May, 1959. It reached number 46 on Billboards Hot 100 in the same year. With “Linda Lu” hot on the charts Sharpe appeared on American Bandstand and toured with Dick Clark’s rock and roll package.  

4) Big Balls in Cowtown,” written by Hoyle Nix, a West Texas fiddler and bandleader and recorded by his West Texas Cowboys in 1949. For many in West Texas Fort Worth represented a siren song for all the decadent fun that was not readily available in most small, West Texas hamlets.  Bob Wills also recorded the song and in 1993 the song was revived and popularized by Asleep at the Wheel and George Strait.  

5) Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” written by Texans Sanger D. Shafer and Darlene Shafer cemented George Strait’s career as the premier country singer of his generation.

6) The ToadiesPossum Kingdom” was the second, and most popular single from their 1994 album Rubberneck. Peaking at number 40 on Billboards Hot 100 in 1995, “Possum Kingdom” has achieved cult status as perhaps the most dark, disturbing ‘love’ song ever written.

7) Flyin’ Shoes” is one of the best songs written by Fort Worth’s premier songwriter, Townes Van Zandt. It is a beautiful song about aching loneliness. 

8) Fort Worth’s Euday Bowman was a pianist and composer best known for “12th Street Rag,” a classic ragtime jazz standard. “12th Street Rag” was first recorded and popularized by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven in 1927. 

9) The Eyes of Texas” by Milton Brown is THE definitive version of the best known song about Texas. Milton Brown died in a late night car crash on Jacksboro highway, driving home from a gig.

10) R & B and jazz guitarist Cornell Dupree spread the sound and soul of Fort Worth all over the world. Credited with over 2500 recording sessions, no one Dupree song can be singled out but his influence cannot be denied. Dupree supplied the opening guitar riff on Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” as well as guitar work on Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night in Georgia,” and Paul Simon’s album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon.” Dupree also recorded with Joe Cocker, King Curtis, Barbra Streisand, Bonnie Raitt, Maria Carey, Ringo Starr and many, many others.  


PC: Brian Hutson