Wednesday, August 25, 2010

70 Songs For Driving On I-70

I became apoplectic as I scanned NPR's "95 Songs For Driving On Interstate I-95" list on Tuesday morning. Rather than mocking individual selections and the list's general aesthetic, I spent a couple hours compiling an alternate list late last night.

I made two ground rules. I decided not to repeat a single artist or song on NPR's list. That meant no Chuck Berry, Junior Brown (good one), NRBQ (nice call) or Bruce Springsteen. Secondly, I ruled out jazz.

Because I live in the Kansas City area and spend a lot of time driving east toward St. Louis and west toward Denver, I used I-70 as a benchmark. Most of the songs I listed are related to cars. Midwestern artists make up over a third of my picks.

Every one of these songs sounds good with your hands on the wheel. So while NPR's list features Arcade Fire, Richard Thompson, Cheryl Wheeler and Yo La Tengo, mine makes room for Kiss, Rich the Factor, Tech N9ne and Van Halen.

Head East's anthem may not be cool, but trust me, it sounds incredible while flying through Russell, Kansas, at 80 miles an hour. And I don't know much about I-95, but out here many of my friends drive to Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Van Halen. NPR provides a soundtrack appropriate for a visit to a college professor. My road trip leads to a tavern in Columbia, Missouri, to catch The Bottle Rockets.

Pick a car. Are you riding with me or NPR?

Gary Allan- Songs About Rain
The Bel Airs- Need Me a Car
Big Star- In the Street
Birdman and Lil Wayne- Stuntin' Like My Daddy
Jeff Black- Birmingham Road
Bloodrock- D.O.A.
The Bottle Rockets- Radar Gun
Brooks & Dunn- Red Dirt Road
Glen Campbell- Wichita Lineman
Cash Image- In My Chevy
Chamillionaire- Ridin' Dirty
Alice Cooper- Under My Wheels
E-40- Tell Me When To Go
Eddie & the Hot Rods- Quit This Town
Dave Edmunds- Crawling From the Wreckage
Fat Tone- We Ride
The Game- Let's Ride
Gorilla Zoe- Lost
Head East- Never Been Any Reason
The Hold Steady- Multitude of Casualties
Jim & Jesse- Lonesome Feeling
Mike Jones- Still Tippin'
Judas Priest- Heading Out To the Highway
Kansas- Carry On Wayward Son
Robert Earl Keen- Amarillo Highway
Bill Kirchen- Truck Stop at the End of the World
Kiss- Detroit Rock City
Mac Lethal- Walking On Nails
Little Feat- Willin'
Nick Lowe- Heart of the City
Ludacris- "Move B*tch"
Marshall Tucker Band- Take the Highway
James McMurtry- Choctaw Bingo
John Mellencamp- Rumbleseat
Minutemen- D's Car Jam/Anxious Mo-Fo
Missouri- Movin' On
Mister Fab- Ghost Ride the Whip
Modest Mouse- Dashboard
Molly Hatchet- Flirtin' With Disaster
Nelly- Ride Wit Me
Ozark Mountain Daredevils- If You Wanna Get To Heaven
Parliament- Flashlight
Gram Parsons- Return of the Grievous Angel
Pendergast- Gone For Good
The Rainmakers- Downstream
Del Reeves- Girl On the Billboard
Replacements- Takin' a Ride
Rich Boy- Throw Some D's
Rich the Factor- Flip Flop
Smokey Robinson- Cruisin'
Tom Robinson- 2-4-6-8 Motorway
Rick Ross- Maybach Music 2
Shooting Star- Hang On For Your Life
Sniff & the Tears- Driver's Seat
Snoop Dogg- Gin and Juice
Son Volt- Tear Stained Eye
George Strait- Amarillo By Morning
Kristie Stremel & the 159ers- Love Survive and Drive
Styx- Renegade
Sweet- Fox On the Run
Tech N9ne- Midwest Choppers
Three 6 Mafia- Swervin'
Randy Travis- The Storms of Life
T-Rex- Jeepster
Van Halen- Panama
Joe Walsh- Rocky Mountain Way
Westside Connection- Bow Down
X- Johnny Hit and Run Pauline
XTA-C- So Heavy
ZZ Top- Jesus Just Left Chicago

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)


punkyjunk said...

Tear Stained Eye. Yes.

Happy In Bag said...

"Can you deny there's nothing greater...?"

Rick in PV said...

2-4-6-8 Motorway, yes! Some of mine: CCR, Traveling Band, Up Around the Bend; REO, Riding the Storm Out; XTC, Statue of Liberty; Wilco, Monday; Commander Cody, Truck Driving Man, etc. I suppose after a while you'd need a slow song ...

Happy In Bag said...

It's funny, Rick. I rarely play classic rock deliberately. But when I'm trying to keep it together hour after hour on the road, that stuff is gold.

bgo said...

I think I'll go easy on myself and do a list for I-5, a favorite. That means only 5 songs with a west coast hipness about them. I'll get back with you as the suspense build.

bgo said...

Highway by Finnigan & Wood always sounds great barrelling across I70 through Kansas.

Happy In Bag said...

I can't wait, BGO! Did you see who's at Knuckleheads tonight? Les Dudek! (No, I won't be there.)

bgo said...

As I told Mike Finnigan years ago at The Music Exchange, the les Dudek the better and he laughed out loud.