Houston's Very Best Songs Ever

...otherwise known as the H-Town 20

Note: There's some controversy about Bell's intro, to wit, does he say, "We can dance just as good as we walk" or "We can dance just as good as we want"? I'm siding with "want," for two reasons. One, it makes more sense, and two, it is clearly what he actually does say. — J.N.L.

Criteria

Songs were selected on several criteria. First, there's "Houston-ness," by which we mean an indelible tie to the Bayou City. Songs composed by Houstonians are all eligible, though natives and long-term residents of the city scored higher than transients in this regard. For example, two-thirds of the principal members of the Geto Boys were born and raised here and remain in the city, while Willie Nelson spent three short, though creatively productive, years living in Pasadena. Thus the Geto Boys are more "Houston" than Willie.

Other ways to qualify include being signed to a Houston label (the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, for example), if the song is about Houston no matter where the author came from or if the song was recorded here. If a song combines several factors, it obviously scores higher in ­Houston-ness than those with fewer.

As for the aesthetics, this was not strictly a popularity contest, of course; it isn't merely based on what Houston songs sold the best. It also had to be both a great tune and at least somewhat historically important. And finally, to make the top 20, a song has to be at least five years old. True classics need at least a little time to prove themselves as such. — John Nova Lomax

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