The Houston 100 continues. Follow the links for numbers 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90 and 91-100.
40. “Smile,” Scarface, feat. 2Pac, 1997.
This 1997 duet off of The Untouchable
with 2Pac, the late James Dean of rap, was ‘Face’s biggest chart hit, his only gold single.
39. “Ain’t That a Bitch,” Johnny “Guitar” Watson, 1976. Just one of dozens of mid-‘70s funk classics from the pimp-a-riffic former bluesman Watson, one of the most widely-respected and underappreciated American musicians of the last 40 years.
38. “Lookin’ For Love,” Johnny Lee, 1980. Johnny Lee is relegated to the background in Urban Cowboy; the fiddle and steel players in his band get close-ups in the 1980 film, but not him. Luckily, the Texas City native's "Lookin' for Love" wasn't just the double-album soundtrack's breakout hit – three weeks at No. 1 on the country chart and peaking at No. 5 on the Hot 100 – it was basically the entire movie in a three-minute ballad. In the Pasadena fairy-tale romance of Bud (John Travolta) and Sissy (Debra Winger), it's not their get-acquainted dance – that's quicker two-step "Cherokee Fiddle." "Lookin' for Love" happens later, when Gilley's is practically empty. They're dancing much closer, Sissy's arms encircle Bud's neck, and he strips off her hat and his shirt before sealing their budding union with a deep soul kiss. It's that True Love moment when the audience knows that even though she will soon stray to an bullriding parolee and he to an uptown socialite, "Lookin' for Love" will allow them to find each other in the end. And sure enough, guess which song plays as Bud places the "Sissy" license plate back in the rear window of his pickup and the credits start to roll? – Chris Gray
37. “Coward of the County,” Kenny Rogers, 1980.
With this one and number 36 below, Big Kenny was pretty much ubiquitous around the end of the redneck renaissance that accompanied the Carter Regime, that era of Smokey and the Bandit
and Walking Tall
, trucker lingo, Urban Cowboy
, Farrah Fawcett, and not least, these two songs, both of which were world-sweeping affairs. Who can forget the chorus from “The Gambler?” As for “Coward of the County,” it spawned a stateside TV movie and went to #1 in the U.K., wangling to the top of the charts between records by The Special A.K.A. and Blondie.