Music For The Highway, by Rich Paschall

When I first became friends with my favorite French guy, who was here on a business internship, we took some road trips to see America.  We would gathered up our favorite CDs for the highway and head off in musical style.  In subsequent years he has returned for even more adventure.  You probably plug your phone into a USB port and listen to a playlist.  I guess we are just old-fashioned.


Among my friend’s favorite American songs was a tune by America (the band), A Horse With No Name.  He knew it well before he arrived here and I happened to own America’s Greatest Hits.  I thought it interesting a young French guy knew this 1970s song.  We had an odd collection between the two of us each time we headed out, but America was always included.  Certain songs now go with those great highway memories.

You may have your favorites.  Perhaps you and your friends have all taken parts for Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.  Maybe you have other sing-along tunes.  There are so many individual tastes for what might make good road music, that you would think I could not come up with a top ten.

Indeed it was difficult to settle on a list but I finally had to narrow down this favorite grouping to songs that mention roads, streets, highways or cars.  We’ll save the other up tempo tunes for another time.

It’s the Summertime and The Heat Is On.  Hop in your Little Red Corvette, 409 or Little Deuce Coup and Shut Up and Drive.  Whether you are cruising down Electric Avenue or travelling the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, just stay On The Sunny Side Of The Street and you will soon be able to say I’ve Been Everywhere and I Get Around.  No need to sing the Basin Street Blues, we have your road tunes.

10.  Route 66.  There was a popular song, recorded by many, named (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66, but the television series did not want to pay for it and commissioned another.  I picked the Nelson Riddle instrumental.

09.  Penny Lane.  Yes, the Beatles hit is in my ears and in my eyes.

08.  Takin’ It To The Streets.  The Doobies Brothers, 1976

07.  Drive My Car.  Yes, it is another one by the Beatles.  They’ve got the Beat, you’ve got the car.

06.  Rockin’ Down The Highway.  The Doobie Brothers hit the list again with another high energy tune.

05.  Lake Shore Drive.  “There ain’t no road just like it, anywhere I’ve found.”  “Just slippin’ on by on LSD, Friday night trouble bound.”

04.  On The Road Again.  You can’t hit the road without Willie.

03.  Radar Love.  OK, it does not have a road or car in the title, but it is unmistakably a road tune.

02  Ventura Highway.  This America tune is among the ones I always heard on the road with my best friend.

01.  Take Me Home, Country Roads.  This John Denver composition is one of the great sing along songs.  I think I sang it once or twice or…

Listen to all of them on my playlist here: Road Music.

Last year’s list of summer tunes might work well for you:  The Summer Wind.

Categories: Music, Travel

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18 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Sunday Night Blog and commented:

    If you are hitting the road on the way to your favorite destination, you will probably need some highway music. Here are my favorites once again.


  2. My friend and I were taking a course (many years ago) and we played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons all the time. We would try to guess the season each piece was.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I dare you to play “On the road again” and not turn the radio up. WAY up. Good list of songs. I hope you had fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, I thought Lake Shore Drive as just a regional Midwest hit that we had to ourselves! That is an excellent tune to listen to while doing anything, and should have gotten a much more national audience back in the day…

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was a very popular song in Chicago. If you are familiar with “The Drive” you know how it exactly describes the ride from north to south and what everything refers to. There are some nice pictures of LSD in the video I posted.


  5. It is great how I know, really “know” all of your road songs, Rich! My artist brother, Randy tends to choose America since he and I saw them at our county fair in the 90’s, but he loves and sings Doobie Brothers. . . he’s probably seen them in concert like Pink Floyd, three times, I believe. 🙂
    We had Three Dog Night here in Delaware, Ohio another year and in September, 2001, Herman’s Hermits came and dramatically took their British flag off their drum set. Then draped an American flag over the set, saying they were “with us” and “feeling our pain;” just ~ “here to brighten our spirits.” . . Women threw roses and they did make us cry and laugh together.
    For $3 you could get floor seats but we always sat in the grandstand, except when America came and played. *1. “Ventura Highway” would make my top ten, but really love to add *2. “Take It Easy” by Eagles, to my list. “Driving down the road. . . Oh my Lord, ” (lyrics include “flatbed truck” and “women stopping to take a look at me.”)
    I always had cassette tapes, now CD’s of Neil Diamond (*3. “Sweet Caroline”), Huey Lewis and the News (*4. “This Is it” and *5. “The Heart of Rock and Roll”), Simon and Garfunkel (*6. “Bridge over Troubled Waters”), Elton John (*7. “Your Song” and *8. “Crocodile Rock” demonstrate how I can go from romantic to silly), John Denver takes me both directions, (*9. “Sunshine on my Shoulders” and “Grandma’s Feather Bed.”)
    Last off the top of my head, anytime I pack luggage: “My bags are packed, I’m ready to go,” along with, “I’m standing here, outside your door, hate to wake you up to say goodbye, but *10. I’m leaving on a jet plane, won’t be back . . .” Thanks for listening!
    If the list kept going, Beatles, Rolling Stones and so many others “get me going!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know all the ones you mention and we probably played many of them down the road. That is why I had to pick some sort of theme or I would list 100. I saw America here with Chicago in concert on the Lakefront one summer. That was great. My French friend mentioned above and I saw Elton John and Billy Joel together at Wrigley Field the year he worked here. I was lucky enough to catch Simon and Garfunkel when they finally reunited for the Old Friends Tour. I saw Neil Diamond and was thoroughly impressed. I saw McCartney twice so I did hear many of the old Beatles tunes. I wish I could have seen all the artists you mention.


  6. When I travel, Willie, yeah, and John Denver, but won’t go far without Bob Seger. Good driving music, and in my key (which is apparently the key of M).
    Good list, Im amazed you could keep it to ten.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, I had 38 when I got done writing them down. Then I had to drop it to ten. A few of the others are referred to in the paragraph above the list.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I saw that, you slid ’em in nicely. My top ten is somewhere around 40 or so too, It seems every week or so I add a few to the top but never manage to slice any off the bottom. Just added RL Burnside and White Buffalo. I may have to give in and call it my top twenty =)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I just love that song Take me home….. 💞

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We have CDs. We like owning our media. We still buy DVDs too. AND we have similar taste in music. I applaud your selections.

    Liked by 1 person


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