My friend Jamie is back from Europe & I haven’t seen her for nearly two years so it’s gonna be great to hang with her again. So I figured I’d do a Mixtape on road trips, leaving, coming back & everything in between. So that is theme of my second Mixtape. Twelve songs about the wide open road. Tell me your favorite road songs in the comment section.
My favorite song of all-time. This simple song talks about a theme we can all relate to & that’s just escaping a town with someone that makes you happy. The feeling of the wind blowing through your hair in a convertible going to God knows where just to get the hell outta here, wherever here is to you. With that familiar intro of the piano & just Bruce. He describes the scene so vividly of growing older. He speaks of the reality in talking about “Show a little faith there’s magic in the night, you ain’t a beauty but you’re alright & that’s alright with me” He doesn’t consider himself some savior in fact he offers little consolation if the girl is looking a “hero”. The only thing he has is a car that can get them out of the town they both seem to hate, but she’s afraid to leave. While Bruce paints this vivd picture it starts off the journey.
The ultimate road song parallelling the ultimate road movie, “The Wizard of Oz” & if you don’t think the “Wizard of Oz” is a road movie then you’re nuts. A movie where they’re constantly on the road, the yellow brick road for that matter, trying to get home is in fact a road movie. Perhaps, the first & greatest road movie of all time. The song talks about it as if it were happening to the singer himself. Escaping the travails of being wealthy & escaping to the simply & familiar life of plows & farm life.
The feeling one gets after travelling your whole life. The knowledge that it’s gonna be a long time before you see that love of yours. Taken from the perspective of a truck driver. Regardless of the distance, that person is still with you. While you feel that love for that girl you know that the job is the most important thing right now. This song has a simple little guitar solo in the middle & a killer harmonica solo at the end.
Bono’s song about escaping from the perils of the world we seem to live in. Whther that place be Heaven, Valhalla, Nirvana or just some place to “take shelter from the poison rain”. More a reality of the dangerous world we live in, similar to the Wizard of Oz analogy made earlier. It’s about going to “a better place”. Where petty conflicts do not exist, where live in simpler & we just bask in the warmth of the sun & feel the wind in our face.
This is not the typical road song like the others. It’s more of a song about taking a trip to the past. A song based in reality when, according to the Sun UK, Kelly Jones (Lead singer of the Stereophonics):
discovered band photographer Julian Castaldi was dating his ex-fiancee Emma Dunn, four weeks after they ended their 12-year relationship. Jones drove to his home, KICKED the door down, threw a BRICK through a window and SMASHED his two cars with a scaffolding pole.
So, in a sense, it is a road song.. He took a trip to destroy his ex-friend’s stuff because his ex-friend is a huge douche for dating his ex-girlfriend.
At first, you listen to this song & you think it’s about a band bidding farewell to the cities it leaves on the road, but then it takes a U-turn and becomes the story of bandits on the run. As it does the tempo changes as well, much like The Beatles, “A Day in the Life” it almost turns into a completely different song then reverts back to it’s slow banjo picked ballad as the narrator yearns for his home in Carolina. Then a slow, mournful piano leads the song out of the last minute & a half. it is quite beautiful.
On it’s face “Two of Us” is the consummate road song about trying to get home. Though, if you dig deeper, it more than adequately describes the relationship Paul McCartney & John Lennon have shared as their Beatles relationship collapses. The song is rife with metaphors about life on the road as members of the Beatles , both good times and bad times. Chasing paper, spending someone else’s hard earned pay are both symbols of money. However, the tell-tale sign is the transition line, “You & I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.” I’ve read someplace where people think it’s about Paul’s girlfriend, future wife Linda, but I just don’t buy it.This is a song about the mournful longing for happier times between old friends.
The Beastie Boys describing what it’s like to be a supergroup in the 80s. How many other Jewish Rappers do you know that could be as epic as the Beasties? This song has 2 amazing guitar solos by Kerry King from Slayer, while being a spoof of Motorhead’s album No Sleep Till Hammersmith. It’s also been said to be related to the film The Warriors, in which a gang must fight their way through New York City in order to get back to the safety of Coney Island.
Originally written by Chuck Berry while serving a five year prison term for violating the Mann Act and borrowed an atlas from the prison library to plot the itinerary. In the lyrics, the singer (who refers to himself as “the poor boy”) tells of his journey from Norfolk, Virginia to the “Promised Land”, California, mentioning various cities along the way. These are 3 different distinct versions of the same song. I love them all, but James Burton makes Elvis’ version ridiculous good. The two solos one in the middle are just good ole time rock n’ roll. Johnnie Allan’s is a swamp country style that really works well & Chuck Berry’s version is his own distinct style heavy on the snare & piano with the guitar playing merely the rhythm until :37 seconds in and he just let’s loose for a good 10 seconds. John Lennon said it best, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”
The final song is the return home after the “Road Trip”. Returning back to the place where you started. the place where your friends are. The verse that speaks to the heart of the trip that runs full circle is:
And I know what a scene you were learning in
Was there something that made you come back again
And what could ever lead ya
Back here where we need ya
Yeah we tease him a lot cause we got him on the spot
Then a solid guitar harmonica solo by the former leader of the Lovin’ Spoonful. Recorded for the T.V. Show “Welcome Back Kotter” starring now poker star Gabe Kaplan & a young John Travolta. It speaks of dreams being fulfilled by coming back home where you belong. To the place where you can leave but never leaves you.