Streets of fire, highway to hell

Upon moving to Santa Monica in 2011, I didn’t have to wait long to find myself driving down streets and highways whose names I recognized from popular songs:

“I flew past LaBrea out to Crescent Heights…I passed her at Doheny and I started to swerve…”  — three major streets in West Hollywood off Sunset Boulevard, made famous in Jan & Dean’s “Dead Man’s Curve.”

“Drive west on Sunset to the sea…” As Sunset reaches the Pacific Coast Highway in the Palisades, from Steely Dan’s “Babylon Sisters.”

Santa Monica Blvd Street Sign in Beverly Hills“And the sun comes up on Santa Monica Boulevard” from Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do.”

And so on.

The same is true, no doubt, for those who move to New York City, or London, or any number of other areas of the country or the world where streets and highways inspire artists to write about them.

I’m sure you’ll agree that driving in your car and hearing a song about driving in your car is always a special treat.  There are hundreds and hundreds of great old tunes about hitting the road, by artists from Eric Clapton to Bruce Springsteen, from Steppenwolf to Jackson Browne, from Joni Mitchell to The Doobie Brothers, among countless others.

Most of these songs feature lyrics that could be on any road anywhere, but but others focus on specific highways, avenues and streets.

Today, let’s shine a light on 15 songs that refer to these roads.  Perhaps you’ve driven down them yourselves, or will someday…

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