Road trip tunes – how a song and a place get indelibly linked together

16 Jul

This morning, I just read this article from NPR about road trip tunes, and that got me thinking two things:  1) Hey blog post topic! and 2) How I have so many of these … and so does Robin.

Here’s the article from NPR:  Road Trip Shuffle

This has always been a favorite topic between Robin and me over our 25 years of marriage – “what/where does this song remind you of”?

Here’s a few of ours:

Radar Love, Golden Earring:  This takes Robin back to sitting in an RV motoring across New Mexico on her way to see the Grand Canyon with a bunch of friends in 8th grade.

Turning Japanese, The Vapors:  While a goofy song, it is indelibly linked with driving through Peoria, IL at 11:00 at night on the way home from Purdue Univ. in Lafayette, IN, going back to Iowa City on freshman year pledge skip.  I was driving an RV that night.  RVs seem to be a theme.

Everything I do, I do for you, Bryan Adams (and any other summer of ’87 power ballad):  September 1987, driving in a rented minivan through West Virginia on the way out to Boston to visit Robin’s grandparents and bring back a china cabinet – that was the summer of the hairband power ballads – things from Poison, White Snake, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more.  That minivan did not have a cassette or CD player in it so we were relegated to the scan function on the radio, and when a station would fade out, we’d search for another that played rock – inevitably, a power ballad would be on when the radio would land on a station.

Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ by Journey:  A road trip with our family and three other families to Hamburg, IA to see the Hamburg rodeo – summer of 1978.  That song doesn’t go much with rodeo, but … it is linked to that moment.

All Right Now, Free:  This is an oldie/moldie/goodie:  I distinctively remember listening to this song (one of my all time favorites), as we drove home from Park Rapids MN and our summer fishing cabin vacation – the visual memory that goes with this one is that I’m sitting in the front seat, between my parents, in our 1971 Ford Galaxy 500 (an odd sort of metallic grass green with a black vinyl roof) and we were tuning the AM radio and came upon a station playing this.  Couldn’t tell you the year – most likely 1975 though.

She Loves You – the Beatles:  This is the first rock song I can remember that we had an actual record of – we had a 45 of this and I remember playing this on it – the visual I get through is the family room of that first house.  I guess the record player moved around.  Not a road trip – but a distinct visual memory.

I Want a New Drug – Huey Lewis and the News:  spring of 1986, driving in my new Mazda RX-7, from my parents house to work in Des Moines.

And finally:

Would I Lie To You by The Eurythmics:  Also, 1986 – it was my pump-up tune that I’d crank in the car while waiting in the staging line to take my Mazda RX-7 out on the track on track days.

There are dozens more of course, but …

They always say smells link you to places – but for me, songs put me in cars (and RVs).  What are some of yours?

As you were,



2 Responses to “Road trip tunes – how a song and a place get indelibly linked together”

  1. Linda Covert Campbell July 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    She Loves You came out in 63…you were born in 62. You drove me crazy with that song, it was a 45 and lasted maybe 2 1/2 minutes and you wanted it again, and again. so I taught you to move the needle arm to the set position, move the record back up on the spindle, and push “play”….over and over again!!! You were maybe 2 1/2?

  2. Joel Campbell July 18, 2011 at 2:30 am #

    Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf: In my eyes the ultimate road trip song, the image I have linked to it is from Alex, Brian and I driving up to the Osthoff last year in the BMW. We pulled over to a gas station, dropped the top since the weather finally got nice and we were off the interstate, and then cranked this song.

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