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American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!
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Best American Road Songs - Poll

BEST ROAD SONGS  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. BEST TRAVELING ANTHEM

    • In My Car (The Beach Boys)
      3
    • King of the Road (Roger Miller)
      7
    • On the Road Again (Willie Nelson)
      24
  2. 2. BEST SONG ABOUT A US HIGHWAY

    • (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 (Nat King Cole)
      27
    • Highway 40 Blues (Ricky Skaggs)
      2
    • Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan)
      5
    • Old 30 (CW McCall)
      0
  3. 3. BEST SONG ABOUT A CAR

    • Ol' 55 (Tom Waits)
      6
    • One Piece at a Time (Johnny Cash)
      20
    • Rocket 88 (Jackie Brenston)
      8
  4. 4. BEST SONG ABOUT RIDING A BUS

    • America (Simon and Garfunkel)
      21
    • Promised Land (Chuck Berry)
      4
    • The Load-Out (Jackson Browne)
      9
  5. 5. BEST SONG ABOUT A CITY STREET

    • Celluloid Heroes (The Kinks)
      6
    • Lake Shore Drive (Alliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah)
      7
    • Mainstreet (Bob Seger)
      19
    • South Street (Orlons)
      2
  6. 6. BEST CRUISING SONG

    • Cruisin' (Smokey Robinson)
      12
    • Low Rider (War)
      10
    • Pink Cadillac (Bruce Spingsteen)
      12
  7. 7. BEST SONG ABOUT TRUCKING

    • Convoy (C.W. McCall)
      12
    • Six Days on the Road (Dave Dudley)
      10
    • Truckin' (The Grateful Dead)
      7
    • East Bound and Down (Jerry Reed)
      5
  8. 8. BEST SONG ABOUT PARKING

    • Chevy Van (Sammy Johns)
      10
    • Little Red Corvette (Prince)
      10
    • Paradise by the Dashboard Light (Meat Loaf)
      14
  9. 9. BEST SONG ABOUT ROAD RACING

    • Deadman's Curve (Jan and Dean)
      11
    • Hot Rod Lincoln (Charlie Ryan)
      15
    • Maybellene (Chuck Berry)
      8
  10. 10. BEST SONG ABOUT MOTORCYCLING

    • Born to Be Wild (Steppenwolf)
      25
    • Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen)
      7
    • The Motorcycle Song (Arlo Guthrie)
      2
  11. 11. BEST SONG ABOUT HITCHHIKING

    • Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin)
      24
    • Phantom 309 (Red Sovine)
      1
    • Sweet Hitch-Hiker (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
      8
    • 10 Degrees and Getting Colder (Gordon Lightfoot)
      1
  12. 12. BEST SONG ABOUT A TAXI

    • Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)
      17
    • Cab (Train)
      1
    • Taxi (Harry Chapin)
      16


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American Road's Summer issue theme is "Rhythm and Cruise." As part of that issue, American Road released its choices for "Best American Road Songs" of the last century.

 

Compiling such a list is no easy chore. People take their music seriously, and that means American Road magazine had a duty to make its selections with the utmost consideration and thought. Unlike other magazines that often simply name a "top ten" or "top twenty" when engaging in a similar exercise, our "best"songs were chosen by categories that represent individual aspects of road travel- everything from Best Traveling Anthem to Best Song About Riding a Bus.

In compiling the nominees, we've conducted a lot of behind-the-scenes research, plumbing the wisdom of professional music critics and highway fans, too.

 

Now, that American Road staff voted, we ask you, American Road Forum members, to vote.

 

THE RULES OF THIS MUSICAL ROAD

 

Below, you will find a list of the nominations for each category.

Please let us know your thoughts regarding these songs-which song you believe is the best in its category, if you are unfamiliar with any particular song, etc.

In addition, if you know of a song that you feel should be a contender, but is not listed, please post your nomination.

 

The parameters we've set are as follows:

 

1) To be considered, a song MUST have been written about an American road, street, destination, etc. That is, songs like "Electric Avenue," inspired by a London thoroughfare, do not qualify. Neither do songs that have been "retrofitted" like "I've Been Everywhere." (That song was originally written about places in Australia. Only later was an American version recorded that replaced the Australian cities and towns with those from the

US.)

 

2) Writer(s) and/or performer(s) themselves need not be American as long as the subject of the song is American. Songs like the Kinks' "Celluloid Heroes"-about a walk down Hollywood Boulevard, California-and Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi"-inspired by a parking lot in Hawaii-can be considered.

 

3) Thought should be given to a song's popularity and musical innovation, but also to its overall influence on history and/or popular culture. For example, in the category called "Best Song About Road Racing," the contenders are "Maybellene," "Hot Rod Lincoln," and "Deadman's Curve." All three songs are fun and famous road race tunes. Yet "Maybellene" is roundly considered a watershed song credited with helping to bridge the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll.

 

If you have a song you would like to have added to the poll, please reply to this post. American Road staff will review your submission and if it fits the guidelines, we'll add it!

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Good list!

 

How about 10 Degrees and Getting Colder by Gordon Lightfoot under the Hitchhiking heading?

 

He was standing by the highway

With a sign that just said “Mother”

When he heard a driver coming

About a half a mile away

 

And he held the sign up higher

So no decent soul could miss it

It was ten degrees or colder

Down by Bolder Dam that day

 

.....

 

Now he’s traded off his Martin

But his troubles are not over

For his feet are almost frozen

And the sun is sinking low

 

Won’t you listen to me brother

If you ever loved your Mother

Please pull of on the shoulder

if you’re going Milwaukee way

 

Its 10 degrees and getting colder

Down by Bolder Dam today

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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American Road's Summer issue theme is "Rhythm and Cruise." As part of that issue, American Road released its choices for "Best American Road Songs" of the last century.

 

Compiling such a list is no easy chore. People take their music seriously, and that means American Road magazine had a duty to make its selections with the utmost consideration and thought. Unlike other magazines that often simply name a "top ten" or "top twenty" when engaging in a similar exercise, our "best"songs were chosen by categories that represent individual aspects of road travel- everything from Best Traveling Anthem to Best Song About Riding a Bus.

In compiling the nominees, we've conducted a lot of behind-the-scenes research, plumbing the wisdom of professional music critics and highway fans, too.

 

Now, that American Road staff voted, we ask you, American Road Forum members, to vote.

 

THE RULES OF THIS MUSICAL ROAD

 

Below, you will find a list of the nominations for each category.

Please let us know your thoughts regarding these songs-which song you believe is the best in its category, if you are unfamiliar with any particular song, etc.

In addition, if you know of a song that you feel should be a contender, but is not listed, please post your nomination.

 

The parameters we've set are as follows:

 

1) To be considered, a song MUST have been written about an American road, street, destination, etc. That is, songs like "Electric Avenue," inspired by a London thoroughfare, do not qualify. Neither do songs that have been "retrofitted" like "I've Been Everywhere." (That song was originally written about places in Australia. Only later was an American version recorded that replaced the Australian cities and towns with those from the

US.)

 

2) Writer(s) and/or performer(s) themselves need not be American as long as the subject of the song is American. Songs like the Kinks' "Celluloid Heroes"-about a walk down Hollywood Boulevard, California-and Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi"-inspired by a parking lot in Hawaii-can be considered.

 

3) Thought should be given to a song's popularity and musical innovation, but also to its overall influence on history and/or popular culture. For example, in the category called "Best Song About Road Racing," the contenders are "Maybellene," "Hot Rod Lincoln," and "Deadman's Curve." All three songs are fun and famous road race tunes. Yet "Maybellene" is roundly considered a watershed song credited with helping to bridge the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll.

 

If you have a song you would like to have added to the poll, please reply to this post. American Road staff will review your submission and if it fits the guidelines, we'll add it!

 

 

Another one that comes to my mind is "Old 30", another of C. W. McCall's recordings.

 

She was mud and sand and concrete

Mixed with water made a tears

From the rivers runnin down the great divide

She was three thousand miles

Of rockin, rollin highway

A million memries long and two lanes wide

 

Now the interstate goes screamin through the backyard of her life

But it just dont send those shivers down my spine

So before I take that exit

To the highway in the sky

Im gonna take old 30 one more time

 

( lyrics @ http://www.lyricsfreak.com/c/c.w.+mccall/o...0_20026630.html )

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

 

I was scrolling down thru the posts on this one and I stopped to look at my post - and it struck me. Isn't "A million memories long and two lanes wide" what being a roadie - and American Road - all about.

 

ab

Edited by hester_nec

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That was a fun quiz! Here's a couple of my favorites that didn't make it on...

 

Highway Star by Deep Purple guaranteed to make you go at least 20 mph faster

 

On the Road Again by Canned Heat, great for cruising along on a sunny afternoon

 

East Bound and Down by Jerry Reed from Smokey and the Bandit for when you'r truckin'

:) Gherkintrude

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That was a fun quiz! Here's a couple of my favorites that didn't make it on...

 

Highway Star by Deep Purple guaranteed to make you go at least 20 mph faster

 

On the Road Again by Canned Heat, great for cruising along on a sunny afternoon

 

East Bound and Down by Jerry Reed from Smokey and the Bandit for when you'r truckin'

:) Gherkintrude

 

 

East Bound and Down is a good one!

 

Thanks for voting.

 

Best, :)

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Maybe it is my age, or maybe just spending a lot of time in Philly, but I was sorry not to see the song "South Street" by the Orlons in there. Danced to that one many times in the old days, and have enjoyed many a day on South Street doing people watching and shopping and dining.

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I used to work in radio years ago, on a rock station, and I loved it when Radar Love came up because it was long enough for a quick dash to the restroom.

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I think of Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell often as I see the throws of changes

 

as we drive across our country, open roads in cities now big boxes, classic motels gone,

 

great eateries taken over by fast food joints.

 

 

 

That song is one that has as much meaning the day it was written as it does today.

 

It sums up in one song, what is great and not so great in America today.

 

 

 

Great quiz for sure. There are a few songs that I have heard of.

 

East Down and Bound is a classic. Those 70's songs were classics.

 

 

 

My recent favorite is Long and Winding Road by Sheryl Crow. It keeps me in the American Road

 

mood for sure.

 

 

 

Thanks again, Becky, Pat and Jen for creating.

 

 

 

66 Willy

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I think of Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell often as I see the throws of changes

 

as we drive across our country, open roads in cities now big boxes, classic motels gone,

 

great eateries taken over by fast food joints.

 

That song is one that has as much meaning the day it was written as it does today.

 

It sums up in one song, what is great and not so great in America today.

 

 

Great quiz for sure. There are a few songs that I have heard of.

 

East Down and Bound is a classic. Those 70's songs were classics.

 

 

My recent favorite is Long and Winding Road by Sheryl Crow. It keeps me in the American Road

 

mood for sure.

 

 

 

Thanks again, Becky, Pat and Jen for creating.

 

 

 

66 Willy

 

66 Willy, thanks for the shared insights! Much appreciated!

 

Your recommendation caused me to listen to Big Yellow Taxi again. I’m glad I did!

 

And yes, it’s easy to regret what’s gone. Imagine growing up in the Santa Clara Valley as I did!

 

But I had Route 66 to myself this winter. And the east side of the Sierra Nevada along 395. And even Death Valley.

 

And I feel that it is dawning on us that we can’t pave it all over and be better off as a consequence.

 

And in my very selfish moments, I’m glad that the freeway carries 95% of the traffic. Otherwise they would all be on my two lane road. Did you ever think we have the secret?

 

Back at ya. :D Keep em coming!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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I think of Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell often as I see the throws of changes

 

as we drive across our country, open roads in cities now big boxes, classic motels gone,

 

great eateries taken over by fast food joints.

 

 

 

That song is one that has as much meaning the day it was written as it does today.

 

It sums up in one song, what is great and not so great in America today.

 

 

 

Great quiz for sure. There are a few songs that I have heard of.

 

East Down and Bound is a classic. Those 70's songs were classics.

 

 

 

My recent favorite is Long and Winding Road by Sheryl Crow. It keeps me in the American Road

 

mood for sure.

 

 

 

Thanks again, Becky, Pat and Jen for creating.

 

 

 

66 Willy

 

 

Hi Dave,

 

Glad you enjoyed the poll. Have you seen the article in the magazine regarding the Top Road Songs? If not, I believe you would enjoy it.

 

Best,

Becky

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