Monday, September 05, 2011

14 songs of my "Traveling Music" on today's drive

I’ve been reading a fun book, “Traveling Music” by Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist for Rush. He was inspired to write about songs he listened to while driving cross country.

So, imagine my surprise that as I set out at 4 a.m. for a drive from Columbus to Chicago, the first song on the radio was “Tom Sawyer” by Rush.
I thought I’d follow Peart’s lead and capture a few songs with a few observations of my own.

“Afternoon Delight” comes on as I’m passing Blanchard, Ohio. Such a sweet uplifting style for such a naughty story. Listening to the lyrics closely, I’m really shocked this made it on the radio in the mid 70s.

Just before the cut-off from Hwy 23 to the Yarn Farm near Findlay, the unmistakable voice of Grace Slick pierces the early morning fog. “Somebody to Love” by the Jefferson Airplane.

Now, I’ve set the cruise control on I-75 north. Near the Cygnet exit, I pass a Love’s Truck Stop gasoline delivery truck – and Steve Winwood sings “Higher Love.”

My favorite band from the summer of 1977 was E.L.O., and their song “Hold on Tight to Your Dreams” is another retro tune. Good message, too. It reminds how Jeff Lynne produced Roy Orbison and The Traveling Wilburys, because it’s got that sound.

We’ve heard “Pinball Wizard” so often that it can blend in to the background. I tried to listen closer to the layers of instruments and vocals. I also remember listening to the Tommy album for the first time with a friend, and being afraid my parents would come in the room and think we were doing LSD or something.

On the classic rock station 94.5 XKR Toledo, they played “Shine” by Collective Soul. I like the song, but can it be called classic rock. Anyhow, the bass riff is hyponotizing.

Cruising along the Ohio Turnpike I-80/90 West, passing Hwy 109, and look over to see a new house being framed up – with an interstate running through his front yard. And what song should come on, but “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp.

Let’s slow it down a bit with The Temptations’ “Imagination.” I focus my ear on the xylophone and harp that add to its unique sound.

When the Wilson sisters band Heart sing “Barracuda,” it strikes you as so angry. But if you listen to the lyrics, it’s quite a love song.

Cool. Another station and another song by The Who. The whole first part of “Won’t Be Fooled Again”, I’m preparing for the CSI moment in which I’ll say a double entendre and put on my sunglasses…followed by yyyeeeeeeeeeeeooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww.

Speaking of wow, I’m always wowed by the haunting guitar on “Long Cool Woman” by The Hollies.

And on the next song, what instrument and effect makes that wooow-wooow sound on “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac? It’s the one that says “thunder only happens when it’s raining.”

Next up, The Rolling Stones. I’m pretty sure that “Shattered” is their attempt at a rap song. Listen to it again sometime.

Well, I’m paying my last toll as I cross the Chicago Skyway, and on 97.1 The Drive, they’re playing “Love Has Taken Its Toll.”

In the 7 or so hours of driving, I scanned the dial a lot, but always skipped to find classic rock. No lite, new country, old country, today’s mix, kid-safe Christian, hip hop, smooth jazz, FM news/talk, or NPR. It was great fun.

Thanks for sharing the drive with me.

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