Saturday, 25 April 2015

Road Songs

I don't drive. But where would modern music be without bands taking to the road in their early careers to play gigs, before they can swap the cramped sweaty confines of a van for a jet or a mammoth tour-bus? Here's 10 songs honouring the humble asphalt.

1) Nat King Cole - "Route 66"
The quintessential 'road' song, probably also one of the most covered tracks in music history. But do you know who originally penned it? I didn't, had to look it up - Bobby Troup. No, me neither...

2) Bob Dylan - "Highway 61 Revisited"
Dylan being Dylan right?

3) Tom Robinson Band - "2,4,6,8 Motorway"
From the band who sang of feminism and gay rights came this great road anthem. And we don't really have a trucking culture in the UK!

4) Kraftwerk - "Autobahn"
Perfectly captures the featureless, concrete tedium of motorway driving. Always one step ahead were Kraftwerk.

5) Eddy Grant - "Electric Avenue"
A street in brixton South London. it was the first street mraket to be lit by electricity. And that's about all I can say about it, other than I seem to remember this song was a massive hit.

6) Laurie Anderson - "New Jersey Turnpike"
Many people would struggle to name another Laurie Anderson song other than "Oh Superman". To judge by the views on YouTube, this gives further evidence to that. See if you can tip it over tyhe 100 views!

7) Cat Stevens - "Portobello Road"
Yeah, it ain't like that now, even though the market is still there... I worked there for 15 years or so. A very um lively part of London.

8) Gun Club - "Ghost on The Highway"
Roads through swamplands, yep the sound of Gun Club. With a driving rhythm too.

9) Meat Puppets - "Lost on the Freeway"
A thrash punk band that turned into a folksy band conjuring up the rhythms and landscapes of the US South-West, of deserts and pueblos. Luscious stuff.

10) Sonic Youth - "Expressway To yr Skull"
Not strictly about a real road, or maybe it is? the road of the mind... ooooh, spooky

Bonus Track:
Billy Bragg - "A13"
The British retort to "Route 66". Most unglamorous! Funnily enough, a lot of swing seats in the upcoming general election are name checked here.

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