NPR posed an important query – really, a question for the ages: What’s your go-to driving song, the tune that’s perfect for rolled-down windows and wind-blown hair?
I poured over the comments because, really? I’m always on the lookout for new tunes – or tunes I’d forgotten. Some of bands I’d never heard of just made me feel hopelessly square and unhip (The Japandroids? Who?). Other bands, I thought the commenters must be insane (Pink Floyd? Really? Is it legal to play that music outside of your parents’ basement?).
Perhaps my window for new things is rather narrow.
When I got my first car with a cassette player in the summer of ’96, I made a mix tape within about 2 hours of getting my ride home. That tape has since been lost to time – or my basement. I remember that it had “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley on it. And the live version of “So Lonely” by The Police. Other than that? Hmm.
If required to make a windows-down mix tape now, here’s what I would concoct:
- Twenty Five Miles – Edwin Starr – because any song with a mileage count is so appropriate, and Edwin kicks ass
- Baker Street (Edit) – Gerry Rafferty – because it makes me think of riding to the pool in my mom’s ’73 Buick Regal
- Up Against The Wall, Red Neck (Live In Luckenbach, TX/1973) – Jerry Jeff Walker – because “his wife’s name is Betty Lou Thelma Lynn”
- Somebody Told Me – The Killers – because if ever there was a song to cause a speeding ticket, this is it
- Mendocino County Line – Willie Nelson – because Willie probably doesn’t even own a car with air conditioning
- Friends in Low Places – Garth Brooks – because there’s no better sing-along, ever
- Long Road To Ruin – Foo Fighters – because it’s the Foo, dammit
- Roll With The Changes – REO Speedwagon – because they play this song at the Indy 500, so surely it’s good enough for my Honda Accord
- Woodstock – Alice Smith – because being happy and singing while driving is good for everyone
- Fantasy – Earth, Wind and Fire – because funk
- Jungleland (Live at Hammersmith Odeon) – Springsteen – because it’s the best saxophone solo ever in the history of ever and it references Exxon and drinking warm beer on the hood of a Dodge
- Seven Bridges Road – The Eagles – because you sound even better in the car than you do in the shower
It’s a shame that K-tel no longer makes compilations, because I would obviously be their top programmer.
What songs would be on your windows-down mix tape? What am I missing?