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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Waiting there for you like hidden treasure

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It’s time once again to delve deep into some of the classic albums of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and find those superb “deep tracks” that the radio stations never play.  So many of the albums that topped the charts back then have three, maybe four songs that get all the airplay even though there are some jewels just sitting there, waiting to be rediscovered and savored.

This blog is dedicated to shining a bright light on a number of neglected tracks from famous albums.  Later, I promise to draw attention to great songs from albums that were NOT major-selling albums.  But for now, bear with me as we expose the wonderful “diamonds in the rough” among the top-selling albums of the glorious decades of 30, 40, 50 years ago.

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