Thursday, October 06, 2016

THROWBACK THURSDAY: A Great Song About a Great American Road

Venerable old Route 66 undoubtedly inspired more music than any other ribbon of asphalt built in the last century.

Although there have been several songs written about that highway, most of these have been overshadowed by the mother song of the Mother Road, Bobby Troups' ``Get Your Kicks On Route 66.''

Troup, a jazz musician married to the late singer Julie London, wrote the song in 1946, traveling down the road on a trip west. Much of the lyrics are a simple recital of towns along the highway.

`It winds from Chicago to L.A., 
More than 2,000 miles all the way, 
Get your kicks on Route 66. 

Now you go through St. Louie, Joplin, Missouri 
And Oklahoma City is mighty pretty. 
You'll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico, 
Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona, 
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.'' 

Here's a version by the songwriter

Nat ``King'' Cole had a hit with it in 1946 ...


But he was hardly the last to record it.

Route 66 historian David Kammer, who lives in Albuquerque said in 2001 that he was aware of more than 120 different versions of the song.

There are jazz, country, punk-rock, goth-rock, zydeco and raw schmaltz versions.

Here are some of those, starting with The Stones

Wayne Hancock takes it to the country

The late Buckwheat Zydeco did it

British synth-rock group Depeche Mode recorded a version.

The Cramps kindly kept it sleazy.

Here's a take by a Japanese blues band

And then there's this by Tom Trusnovic & Monkeyshines

For more deep dives into songs, check out The Stephen W. Terrell Web Log Songbook

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