Road Music

Is it just me, or is the dinosaur rock of my youth fundamentally superior road music? ZZ Top or Boston just seems to lift the car a little bit. I wonder if the loss of roadliness in modern pop music is a reflection of changing values in our country, the fading of the American Road Myth.

I figured if the road was anywhere in American music anymore it would be country, but you know what? If the sampling I found on various radio stations today is any indicator, it’s not. A couple of tunes displayed a sense of humor missing in other pop genres, but the road wasn’t to be found there, either.

Has America lost its musical road mojo, or am I just imprinted from my golden days of youth?

9 thoughts on “Road Music

  1. A couple of years ago, back when we had satellite television at Five O’Clock Somewhere, Country Music Television produced a show called “The 40 Best Road Songs Ever.” Nearly all of them were from long, long ago — with the exception of a couple of numbers by Montgomery Gentry and one by Brooks & Dunn.

    Maybe the road isn’t as much a part of popular mythology as it used to be.


    Discovered this weekend that your other nephew prefers Jimmy Buffett as road music. I think I can live with that.

  3. I’m just taking my time, just moving on… you’ll forget about me after I’ve been gone.

    Sorry, as soon as you started talking road songs that started running through my mind–and I didn’t even know it was Boston. Now that I’ve typed it out, it can infect someone else.

  4. On the road again, can’t wait to get out on the road again …

    Carefree highways, let ’em slip away again; carefree highways, I’ve seen better days …

    Get the motor runnin’ … Head out on the highway …

    Wolf Creek Pass, way up on the Great Divide, truckin’ on down the other side …

    It’s a rag-top day, yeah, it’s a rag-top day …

  5. I’d also been thinking of the Willie Nelson tune.

    Then the really obscure: Freeze a Yankee (“….Drive 75 and freeze ’em alive….”)

    Could we compare a Highway to Hell with a Stairway to Heaven?

  6. The 1970s was the Golden Age of Road Tunes. There was that whole love affair with CB radio, movies like ‘Convoy’ and ‘Smokey and the Bandit,’and TV shows ‘The Dukes of Hazzard” and “BJ and the Bear.” 8-track tape players let you blast your favorite songs as you traveled the open road.

    I’ll argue that the three best songs representing this era are: the aforementioned “Foreplay/Long Time” by Boston, “Keep On Rocking Me, Baby” by The Steve Miller Band, and “Take It Easy” by the Eagles.

  7. All three of those songs have been mentioned in one context or another lately…

    It’s not just songs expressly about the road, but the whole subgenre seems roadier. Maybe the rebellion has moved to the city.

  8. Ah, it does bring back memories of when the Hotelsmobile hit 88,888. I was cruising along I-40, towards New Mexico with BTO blasting the 8-Track. Yes, those were the days!


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