The Theme of American Road®'s Summer Issue, Now on Newsstands, is "Rhythm and Cruise" - As Part of that Issue, American Road® Has Released its Choices for "Best American Road Songs" of the Last Century

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The theme of American Road®'s Summer issue, now on newsstands, is "Rhythm and Cruise." As part of that issue, American Road® has 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.

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

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

Thomas Repp, Executive Editor, states, "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 conducted a lot of behind-the-scenes research, plumbing the wisdom of professional music critics and highway fans, too."

The Rules of this Musical Road

The criteria for consideration in American Road®'s Best American Road Songs included the following:

1) The song must have been written about an American road, street, or destination. 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 in the United States.)

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 was 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 were "Maybellene," "Hot Rod Lincoln," and "Deadman's Curve." All three songs are fun and famous road race tunes. But "Maybellene," the award winner, is roundly considered a watershed song credited with helping to bridge the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll.

Below is a list of the nominees for each category, with the winners marked by an asterisk.

Best Traveling Anthem

  • In My Car (The Beach Boys)
  • King of the Road (Roger Miller)
  • On the Road Again (Willie Nelson)*

Best Song About a US Highway

  • (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 (Nat King Cole)*
  • Highway 40 Blues (Ricky Skaggs)
  • Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan)

Best Song About a Car

  • Ol' 55 (Tom Waits)
  • One Piece at a Time (Johnny Cash)
  • Rocket 88 (Ike Turner)*

Best Song About Riding a Bus

  • America (Simon and Garfunkel)*
  • Promised Land (Chuck Berry)
  • The Load-Out (Jackson Browne)

Best Song About a City Street

  • Celluloid Heroes (The Kinks)
  • Lake Shore Drive (Alliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah)
  • Mainstreet (Bob Seger)*
  • South Street (Orlons)

Best Cruising Song

  • Cruisin' (Smokey Robinson)
  • Low Rider (War)
  • Pink Cadillac (Bruce Springsteen)*

Best Song About Trucking

  • Convoy (C.W. McCall)
  • Six Days on the Road (Dave Dudley)*
  • Truckin' (The Grateful Dead)

Best Song About Parking

  • Chevy Van (Sammy Johns)
  • Little Red Corvette (Prince)
  • Paradise by the Dashboard Light (Meat Loaf)*

Best Song About Road Racing

  • Deadman's Curve (Jan and Dean)
  • Hot Rod Lincoln (Charlie Ryan)
  • Maybellene (Chuck Berry)*

Best Song About Motorcycling

  • Born to Be Wild (Steppenwolf)*
  • Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen)
  • The Motorcycle Song (Arlo Guthrie)

Best Song About Hitchhiking

  • Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin)*
  • Phantom 309 (Red Sovine)
  • Sweet Hitch-Hiker (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Best Song About a Taxi

  • Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)*
  • Cab (Train)
  • Taxi (Harry Chapin)

If you are a member of the media and would like to see the full American Road Songs article contact becky @ americanroadmagazine.com or call toll-free: 1-877-285-5434 x1.

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