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Never Been to Spain ~ Hanson

hanson-150Hanson is an American pop rock band formed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by brothers Isaac (guitar, piano, vocals), Taylor (keyboards, piano, guitar, drums, vocals), and Zac Hanson (drums, piano, guitar, vocals). They are best known for the 1997 hit song “MMMBop” from their major label debut album Middle of Nowhere, which earned three Grammy nominations. Despite the enormous commercial success of Middle of Nowhere, the band suffered from the merger that eliminated their label, Mercury Records. The group was moved to Island Def Jam Music Group, which they eventually left after conflict with the label about creative input.

In the early to mid 1990s, Isaac, Taylor and Zac sang a cappella and recorded songs like “Rockin’ Robin”, “Splish Splash” and “Johnny B. Goode”, as well as their own material. Their first performance as a professional group took place in 1992 at the Mayfest Arts Festival in Tulsa.

Hanson also appeared on Carman’s Yo! Kidz: The Vidz, which cast Taylor as a young Biblical David facing Goliath, Isaac as an event announcer, and Zac and other members of the family in the stands cheering on this “sporting event”.

All three boys started their musical careers as pianists. Isaac later picked up a second-hand guitar, Zac borrowed an old set of drums, and Taylor became the keyboard player of what turned into a garage band. The band recorded two independent albums in their hometown of Tulsa, Boomerang (recorded in autumn 1994, released in 1995) and MMMBop (released in 1996). The latter featured the original version of the song “MMMBop,” which would later become the runaway single on their debut commercial record Middle of Nowhere. The boys then found themselves at the South By Southwest (aka SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas. There, they were promptly signed by manager Christopher Sabec. He shopped them to several record companies, most of which dismissed the band as either a novelty or fraud before Steve Greenberg, an A&R representative for Mercury Records, heard them play a set at the Kansas State Fair. After this performance, they were signed almost immediately by Mercury. They soon became a worldwide sensation with the release of their first major-label album, Middle of Nowhere, which was produced by the Dust Brothers.

Never Been To Spain

Originally written by Hoyt Axton, and performed by numerous artists (including Elvis and most recently, the Hansons), Three Dog Night was the group that made it famous.

The lyrics consist of the narrator ruminating on places that he has never visited, but feels that he has some proxy experience of via the music or other features of those places, or from having gone to similar locations. In the final verse, he observes that while he has “never been to heaven”, he has “been to Oklahoma”, where he has been told he was born, thus implying a kinship between the two places. However, the singularity of this kinship is called into question when he then implies that he could just as easily have been born in Arizona.

Never Been To Spain – Axton

Well I never been to Spain
But I kinda like the music
Say the ladies are insane there
And they sure know how to use it
The don’t abuse it
Never gonna lose it
I can’t refuse it

Well I never been to England
But I kinda like the Beatles
Well, I headed for Las Vegas
Only made it out to Needles
Can you feel it
It must be real it
Feels so good
Oh, feels so good

Well I never been to heaven
But I been to Oklahoma
Well they tell me I was born there
But I really don’t remember
In Oklahoma, not Arizona
What does it matter
What does it matter

Well I never been to Spain
But I kinda like the music
Say the ladies are insane there
And they sure know how to use it
They don’t abuse it
Never gonna lose it
I can’t refuse it

Well I never been to heaven
But I been to Oklahoma
Well they tell me I was born there
But I really don’t remember
In Oklahoma, not Arizona
What does it matter
What does it matter

There is no album version of this song.

  • Audio from the 2008 SXSW Concert in Austin Texas:
No official recording exists
No official recording exists
Play Never Been to Spain - by Hanson

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