Paving the Way Behind The Wheel Full Speed Ahead The Kicks of Route66 Mappin It  

Route 66 Music

Of all the songs accociated with Route 66, Bobby Troup's "Get Your Kicks On Route 66" most vividly comes to our minds. Reinvigorated by Nat Kick Cole in the 1940's, this song's catchy lyrics and quick beat reflected the spirit of the Baby Booming era after World War II. The fascination with going west, living your dreams, and inventing yourself resound in the music of this era. Troup wrote this particular song while on Route 66 with his wife. Not knowing the history or the national appeal of America's Main Street, Troup simply wrote what came to mind as his car meandered over the bumby road. His lyrics would help make this road legendary after the Interstate Highway Act of 1956--an act virtually destructing the 1926 highway.

"Get Your Kicks (On Route 66)"

Bobby Troup, 1946, Londontown Music

If you ever plan to motor west:

Travel my way, the highway that's the best.

Get your kicks on Route 66!

It winds from Chicago to L.A.,

More than 2,000 miles all the way,

Get your kicks on Route 66 !

Now you go thru St. Looey...Joplin, Missouri!

And Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty.

You'll see Amarillo...Gallup, New Mexico.

Flagstaff, Arizona: don't forget Winona,

Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.

Won't you..get hip to this timely tip:

when you..make that California trip.

Get your kicks on Route 66!

Although this song emmbodies the optimistic spirit many of Route 66 travelers had in the 1920's and 1940's, Woody Gutherie's Dust Bowl ballads most poignantly paint the picture of America's battered migrant farmers. Born in Okemah, Oklahoma (a city along Route 66), Gutherie grew up during the Depression and more significantly during the Dust Bowl of 1935. His music touched the hearts of these farmers as America's most famous "folk singer" traveled from Texas to California. His ballads later influenced pop artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Billy Bragg. Singing about love, war, natural disasters, fascism, unions, and families, Gutherie wrote over 1000 original songs. His career lasted less than 20 years but his impact on music and Route 66 culture has lived on.

Listen to the timeless lyrics in these two clips . . .

"Going down the Road"

"Do Re Mi"

Kicks of Route 66 Page Route66 Home Page Bibliography Page