By Walter Price
I was really going to skip over this completely obvious, yet grand, road-song. But during my listening of a lengthy portion of Louis Prima’s catalog this morning I rediscovered his version and I changed my mind instantly.
This most legendary of all road songs was composed by actor/songwriter Bobby Troup in 1946 and shortly after recorded by the ultra-smooth hepcat, Nate King Cole. Yeah, it is a gem!
This was the post war era in the US and the love affair with the automobile had never been more prominent. And there was nothing better than dreaming of a new life out west. Good thing that there was the now infamous US/Route 66, the 2500 mile stretch of highway that ran from Chicago to Santa Monica, CA.
It was this highway that Troup was on during a trip to LA that he penned his salute to the freedom of the road and what happiness could be waiting at one’s destination. Pure magic and full of possibilities set to a swingin’ composition. Fantastic Really.
Over the years “Route 66”, as it’s simply known, has been covered by almost everyone from The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Depeche Mode, The Dead Boys, Jerry Lee Lewis, Asleep At The Wheel and, yeah, almost everyone. Even you covered it while you had that great little garage band back in the day…I know you did!
Not to mention “Route 66” has been the subject of movies, TV shows and fan clubs from around the world. I was being a bit silly for not originally wanting to include this charming little ditty.
Have a look/listen to a handful of the variations we dug up on ole trusty YouTube…