A Road Trip Playlist from Boston's Music Aficianados

By | Boston Daily |

amanda palmer

Is Amanda Palmer planning a new road trip playlist? (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

The only thing missing from our recent travel package on breathtaking New England road trips? The tunes.

We asked several local music aficionados to share the songs that keep their hands tapping on the wheel. Here, your soundtrack for fall driving (and links to all the videos if you want to jam along at your desk):

1. “Drive,” The Cars

OK, OK, so it’s a little obvious. But still. This is one of the best songs of all time. When I was driving between Cambridge and Boston all fall last year doing “Cabaret” with the American Repertory Theater, I listened to the greatest hits of The Cars nonstop. Ask poor Casey, the girl selling the merchandise. I gave her a ride home every night and she had to endure the repetition. This song is a total deviation from everything else the Cars ever did, and it stands as a genius moment in time. And the dark, dark lyrics against that blanket of major-key cotton-sweet synthesizers is just hypnotic. “Who’s gonna plug their ears, when you scream?” sung like a lullaby? Winner. Hands down. Amanda Palmer, Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra

2. “Highway Star,” Deep Purple

The live version off of “Made in Japan” is a little more urgent and recorded better than the studio original on “Machine Head.” A 1972 anthem of acceleration. Carter Alan, weekday DJ on 100.7 WZLX

(He adds: “EZY Rider” by Jimi Hendrix — from his last sessions, released after his death on the “Cry of Love” album. Done in his Band of Gypsys phase, it’s a a thousand guitars challenging the speed limit.)

3. “Enter Sandman,” Metallica

This song is big and scary and totally rocks. Gets me fired up. And gets the blood flowing! If it doesn’t, then I can’t help you. Matt Seigel, KISS 108 host

4. “Nightcall,” Kavinsky (featuring Lovefoxxx)

This one is pretty self-explanatory… I don’t know if the image of driving around a city a night has ever been recreated as strongly as in “Nightcall.” I can think of nothing else, every time I hear it. Ian Hiltquist, Passion Pit

5. “Maiden Voyage,” Herbie Hancock

It sounds like smooth motion to me. It’s a great tune for moving down the road. Eric Jackson, host of “Eric in the Evening” on 89.7 WGBH

6. “Road of the Righteous,” Dropkick Murphys

An early one from the band’s now extensive catalog, this is just one of those songs that makes you want to open the windows as you’re motoring down the highway at 70 mph. Shred, booking agent at the Middle East

7. “Songs of Wayfarer,” Gustav Mahler

It remains one of the most beautiful evocations of wanderlust, rootlessness, and the lure of the open road ever penned. Keith Lockhart, conductor of the Boston Pops

(He adds: Two songs that were in heavy rotation on my longest solo road trip — Pittsburgh to L.A. in the summer of 1989 — were the Eagles’s “Take it Easy” and John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane”… so they are both sentimental favorites.)

8. “Jeffrey I Hear You,” The Girls

This legendary Boston band released “Jeffrey” on Pere Ubu’s Hearthan label. I played it over and over (on cassette, of course) touring between 1983 and 1989. Its road virtue is the relentless, motoric drum groove. The rest of the musicians provide sonic variation over that. Kind of like the sound of tires on the road and the scenery keeps changing. Roger Miller, Alloy Orchestra

9. “Roadrunner,” The Modern Lovers

Jonathan Richman is able to capture that magic moment when your favorite song comes on in the car, as well as the beauty and freedom that comes with the open road. “Roadrunner” has a super-catchy, chanting chorus and even mentions everyone’s favorite New England grocery store chain, Stop & Shop. In my opinion, this is one of the ultimate driving songs. — Mariel Wade, program director at 89.7 WERS

—Research by Alyssa DeGeorge

  • JP Morgenstern

    You omitted “2-4-6-8 Motorway” by the Tom Robinson band (a direct response to the Modern Lovers’ “Roadrunner”). A must!