It keeps the mood light, and adventurous, driving and singing at the top of my lungs like some 80s long-haired metal god. Here’s a list of favorite road tripping songs that contributes to the weekly Day Trippin’ column of this contributing writer.
Every time a Day Trippin’ article is due, much anticipation is put into where to go and what to cover.
A lot of thinking goes into what different types of people would enjoy for a midweek, or weekend getaway from their already lovely homes, on our fair vacation land of lake life. Consideration also goes into to keeping the distance under a few hours drive. Other than making sure the vehicle is serviced and gassed up going to places unknown, my second thought is to getting road tunes ready. It keeps the mood light, and adventurous, driving and singing at the top of my lungs like some 80s long-haired metal god. Getting there and back is half of the job.
Here’s a list of favorite road tripping songs that contributes to the weekly Day Trippin’ column of this contributing writer.
1. Radar Love, 1973 Golden Earring
Also covered by Kansas City’s White Lion in 1989. Radar Love’s version is preferrable, although White Lion’s version is a bit higher pitched for us female car singers, and they are local Missouri boys, so there is that. I like blaring this one on the way to any destination west bound out of the lake area.
I've been drivin' all night, my hand's wet on the wheel
There's a voice in my head that drives my heel
It's my baby callin', says I need you here
And it's a half past four and I'm shiftin' gear
When she is lonely and the longing gets too much
She sends a cable comin' in from above
Don't need no phone at all
We've got a thing that's called radar love
We've got a wave in the air, radar love
The radio is playing some forgotten song
Brenda Lee's comin' on strong
The road has got me hypnotized
And I'm speedin' into a new sunrise
2. Roadhouse Blues, The Doors 1970
Not finding a roadhouse as of yet to write about for Day Trippin’, suggestions are welcome!
Blue Oyster Cult and Creed did covers of the famous anthem later on, but there is no comparison to the poetic stylings of Jim Morrisson. My kids were given a “Doors” playlist early in life, as an essential classic rock lesson.
The song only made it to No. 50 on the Billboard charts.
The Jeff Healey band performs it appropriately in the movie “Road House” based on a story taking place in Missouri.
The true story of the location of the roadhouse that Morrison wrote about In the 60s and 70s was the Topanga Corral in Malibu, Calif., a rock 'n' roll bar whose stage was graced by everyone from Canned Heat to Etta James. It burned down in the 70s and was resurrected as a punk club in the 80s only to burn down again.
An abandoned lot is all that's left. It's said that Jim Morrison wrote "Roadhouse Blues" about the drive up to the Corral:
Yeah, keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel
Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel
Yeah, we're goin' to the Roadhouse
We're gonna have a real good time
3. Talledega, Eric Church 2014
Church took inspiration from watching a NASCAR race on television, but both he and co-writer Luke Laird said that the song is not really about racing. Rather, Church said that the race and the song represents "that experience, whatever that is: the experience with the person next to you, and knowing that that’s probably a finite time in your life. It’s not gonna last forever." *Nashville Times
It was the summer before the real world started and,
The deal was we would get to go, if we
Cleaned it up, and got it running,
Daddy's old Winnebago and
Wing and a prayer down 65,
Five best friends on four bald tires,
I can still see Billy smiling, when we finally made it.
“Talladega" is a song about a man who is sharing memories from a trip made to Talladega Superspeedway with friends after his senior year in high school. Church paid special tribute to Dale Earnheart by performing the song dedicated to him at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Before he sang it, he brought out a black-and-red flag with Earnhardt's trademark No. 3 and his signature screened onto it, and proudly held it up in tribute to the racing legend, who was a native North Carolinian. North Carolina is also Church's home state. *North Carolina Music News
4. Mustang Sally, Wilson Pickett May 1965
Released shortly after production of the iconic Ford Mustang started, Pickett’s excitement with the debut couldn’t be contained, as he quickly wrote about the car. Co-writer Mack Rice says that he was visiting singer Della Reese, who was considering buying a new Lincoln Continental for her drummer and band leader Calvin Shields for his birthday. Rice and other band members were teasing Shields about the pending gift, and Shields replied that he did not want a Lincoln, he wanted a Ford Mustang. Rice had never heard of the Mustang, which had just come out, but he teased Shields even more about wanting a smaller car.
He decided there might be a song in the situation, changing it to be about a woman who doesn't want to do anything but ride around in her new car, though he considered what he wrote a "joke" and a "fluke." Rice called the early version "Mustang Mama" but changed the title after Aretha Franklin suggested "Mustang Sally" because he used the name Sally in the chorus. *Billboard Music archives
Mustang Sally, think you better slow your mustang down
Mustang Sally, think you better slow your mustang down
You been running all over the town now
Oh! I guess I'll have to put your flat feet on the ground
All you want to do is ride around Sally, ride, Sally, ride
I bought you a brand new mustang 'bout nineteen sixty five
Now you come around signifying a woman, you don't want to let me ride
My dream is traveling down Highway 65 south on the new four lanes in my 1965 Mustang Coupe. Yes, I have one. It currently resides in my garage awaiting paint.
The restoration is almost complete on “Sally,” a 1965 Ford Mustang coupe I purchased seven years ago in Versailles. She was just a body shell. Formerly suffering an engine fire, her body was picked up for $500 from Garber Motors.
Rusty and charred, with original red paint peaking through, and some sinister yellow lingering around the headlights, “Sally” was sitting up on a flatbed trailer near Wal-Mart with very little denting, an intact body cavity in pretty good shape, but that was all. After remodeling the floor, interior, mechanics, and dropping in a used 351 Maverick engine, she’s ready to cruise.
Did you know that the historic Mustang has been mentioned in over 50 songs in the five decades it has been in production?
5. Take It Easy, The Eagles 1977
Suspecting that a trip to Winslow, Ariz. won’t be in my travel plans anytime soon, this song somehow relates to wherever the road leads in pursuit of a story.
Well I'm runnin' down the road tryin' to loosen my load
I've got seven women on my mind
Four that wanna own me two that wanna
stone me one says she's a friend of mine
Take it easy
Take it easy
Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy