Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Street Names: Route 66

In my house, the movie Cars is a great favorite with six year old son, and therefore the rest of the family knows the movie well. Fortunately, it’s a good one. There are two versions of the song Route 66 on the soundtrack. The one by Chuck Berry is not his best work; he even gets two of the town names wrong. And John Mayer is an artist I enjoy, but his version doesn’t do it for me either. But the connection between the movie and Route 66 does not end there. The town of Radiator Springs is an amalgam of landmarks on the real Route 66. Notably, the Cozy Cone Motel (shown above) is based on the Wigwam Motel, (below). The Wigwam was a chain, and there was even one still in operation in New Jersey when I was growing up. But many Wigwams could be seen along the length of Route 66. The song has been around a while, so there many great versions to choose from.

The Rolling Stones: Route 66


You never forget your first one. This is how I first heard Route 66, and I thought for a while that the Rolling Stones wrote it. It still sounds great after all these years.

Asleep at the Wheel: Get Your Kicks on Route 66


Much of the soundtrack of Cars had a country feel to it, so I think they should have used this great western swing version by Asleep at the Wheel. The musical style hails from Oklahoma and Texas, so its right on the way.

Nat King Cole: Route 66


But where did the song come from? Bobbie Troup wrote it in 1946, and Nat King Cole was the first to record it. My introduction to the music of Nat King Cole was an 8-track tape of his crooning hits that my school bus driver played to death. I hate that stuff. But Cole started out as a jazz player, and his Route 66 reflects this. The crooning would come later.

Buckwheat Zydeco: Route 66


A quick check of the map will confirm that Route 66 does not wind through Louisiana. But I came across this version while gathering the other tracks for this post, and I couldn’t resist. Enjoy! Or should I say, “Bon temps roullez!”

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