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Deep in the Heart of Texas

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Deep in the Heart of Texas

"Deep in the Heart of Texas" is an American popular song elaborating on the merits of the state of Texas. The song has become one of many de facto Texas state songs.

 

The 1941 song features lyrics by June Hershey and music by Don Swander. The song was first recorded by Perry Como with Ted Weems and His Orchestra on December 9 of that year for Decca Records in Los Angeles, California. It was a single release on the flip side of the song "Ollie Ollie Out's In Free." "Deep in the Heart of Texas" spent five weeks at the top of Your Hit Parade in 1942.

 

The song was also famously recorded by Bing Crosby, Woody Herman & His Woodchoppers in 1949. Their version reached #3 on the Billboard charts that year. Other famous artists to record the song include Ray Charles, Hank Thompson, Bob Grant, George Strait, and Nickel Creek, among others. The University of Texas Longhorn Band performs the song during each football pregame at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, and the Texas Christian University Horned Frog Marching Band performs an arrangement during each pregame at Amon Carter Stadium. Fans sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", followed by "Deep In the Heart of Texas" during the seventh-inning stretch of Houston Astros baseball games.

 

The song's title was borrowed for the name of a 1942 Western film starring Johnny Mack Brown as a man instrumental in restoring Texas to the United States following the Civil War. It featured Tex Ritter and the Jimmy Wakely Trio singing the title song. Gene Autry sang the song in Heart of the Rio Grande (1942) and his version may be the most well known.

 

Lyrics

The song alternates an appealing attribute of Texas (followed by four claps in quick succession), with the line "deep in the heart of Texas". For example:

The stars at night, are big and bright, (clap, clap, clap, clap)

deep in the heart of Texas.

 

Other attributes of Texas discussed are the prairie sky, sage, coyotes, and cowboys. Traditionally, only the first verse of the song is sung, consisting of four of these pairs. The song has no chorus, though arguably the line "deep in the heart of Texas" could be considered the refrain.

 

The stars at night are big and bright
(clap, clap, clap, clap),
Deep in the heart of Texas.

The prairie sky is wide and high
(clap, clap, clap, clap),
Deep in the heart of Texas.

The sage in bloom is like perfume
(clap, clap, clap, clap),
Deep in the heart of Texas.

Reminds me of the one I love
(clap, clap, clap, clap),
Deep in the heart of Texas.

The coyotes wail along the trail
(clap, clap, clap, clap),
Deep in the heart of Texas.

The rabbits rush around the brush
(clap, clap, clap, clap),
Deep in the heart of Texas.

The cowboys cry, "Ki-yip-pee-yi"
(clap, clap, clap, clap),
Deep in the heart of Texas.

The doggies bawl and bawl and bawl
(clap, clap, clap, clap),
Deep in the heart of Texas.

 

Claps

Often, when Texans hear the song, whether a vocal or instrumental version, and regardless of where they are, they will clap at the appropriate times.

 

References in popular culture

1944—Deep in the Heart of Texas is sung several times throughout the 1944 film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.

 

1956—In the film The Teahouse of the August Moon, Captain Fisby (played by Glenn Ford) leads the towns' (Japanese-speaking) citizens in a rendition of the song.

 

1985—In the film Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Pee-Wee is on a payphone and has to prove to the incredulous individual on the other end of the line that he is in Texas. He leans out of the phone booth, sings the first part of the refrain: "The stars at night, are big and bright..." and then holds up the phone to catch the sound of all the passers by, in unison finishing the phrase "...deep in the heart of Texas", complete with claps (see above).

 

2002—Rock band Alkaline Trio borrowed some of the song's lyrics for their song "Queen of Pain", the chorus of which is sung "Stars at night are big and bright/deep in your eyes, Miss Vincent."

 

2006—After winning Texas in the 2006 presidential election on the television show The West Wing, the Santos campaign team jubilantly sings the song.

 

2006—The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has a tradition at their concert in Austin, Texas, which features this song.

 

Trivia

In the late 1970s, Uncle Floyd took the lyrics to Deep In The Heart Of Texas and changed them to reflect his home state. He came up with what would become his signature tune, Deep In The Heart Of Jersey.

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