This painstakingly curated USA Road Trip tunes playlist captures the sound of America as the writer experiences and hears it.
In this list, you’ll find classic rock, blues, country, rockabilly, surf, rhythm and blues and Americana. I’ve also squeezed in a few Italian composers from movie soundtracks for good measure.
And to further enhance the driving experience, I’ve split the tunes into three segments: Daytime Road Trip Bangers, Cowboy Road Trip Essentials, and Night Time Driving Tunes. The songs I’ve included in the playlist are genuine favourites of mine and in some way or another have shaped my own music.
You can hear all the songs on a Spotify playlist here, or on a YouTube playlist here.
So, without much further ado, I’m happy to present Loic J Tuckey’s 30 Classic USA Road Trip Songs.
18 Daytime Road Trip Bangers
As the title suggests, the first seventeen songs are all suited to your daylight experience. Fire up the engines, wind the windows down and let the hot American air hit your face with 17 daytime road trip bangers.
- ‘Beyond the Sun Road’ by Loic J Tuckey, 2023
You may or may not recognise the artist’s name, but it seems fitting to start this list with a song that is in itself an ode to Road trips.
Taking inspiration from Italian film scores, Tarantino soundtracks, and traditional blues, the eccentric French-English’s sound is epitomised in ‘Beyond the Sun Road’ – a surreal and dusty journey along America’s open roads.
Give this track a spin to get your road trip listening off to a flying start
- ‘The Last Race’ by Jack Nitzsche, 1965 | Movie Soundtrack
‘The Last Race’ by Jack Nitzsche is the perfect follow up. Probably best known for its appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, it features a blend of surf rock and atmospheric sounds, creating a sense of unhinged anticipation and adrenaline.
The opening engine revs give you the feeling you’re about to enter into a high-octane chase scene and is perfect for those adrenaline-pumping moments when you’re cruising down the highway with the wind in your hair.
In reality, you probably haven’t even left the gas station yet.
Now, to be honest, I could have picked just about any tune from the Death Proof soundtrack. It’s a pretty awesome driving record itself, and I recommend having a listen to it anyway. But as it goes, I can’t let QT do all the work, so I’ve gone with Jack Nitzsche’s ‘The Last Race.’
- ‘Slow Ride’ by Foghat, 1975 | Chart Information: US: 20
I first heard ‘Slow Ride’ on the soundtrack of Dazed and Confused. If you’ve seen it, you might remember the scene where Randall Floyd is told to sign a pledge to his football team committing not to partake in drink or drugs during the summer.
He refuses, insisting that his top priority of the summer is getting Aerosmith tickets. Then, the car heads down the freeway and the camera pans out to the tune of Foghat’s ‘Slow Ride.’ It’s fucking ace.
To me, it’s the perfect tune for a defiant, laid-back cruising experience, embracing the “I don’t give a good goddamn thing about nothing” spirit of the open road.
And in the same spirit, I’ll go with this quote from Wooderson, Matthew McConaughey’s character in the same movie:
“If it ain’t that piece of paper, there’s some other choice they’re gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do, man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get, the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’, man, L-I-V-I-N.”
- ‘Low Rider’ by War, 1975 | Chart Information: US: 7 | UK: 12
Picture this: you’re cruising along a scenic route, the sun’s high and you can smell the freedom of the road. ‘Low Rider’ by War comes on and everyone in the car bangs an imaginary cowbell.
The song’s infectious bass groove and funky beat have you slapping your thigh until it’s red raw and you join in with the words “All my friends know the Low Rider.”
You keep cruising, and the vibrant spirit of the American freeway flies by the window as everyone sings along more confidently with each passing verse. It becomes your new anthem of laid-back driving, making every moment feel effortlessly cool and carefree.
You start to think that you are the Low Rider. You realise you’re actually happy.
- ‘Keep On Chooglin’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival | Album: Bayou Country, 1969
Next up is ‘Keep on Chooglin’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival. When it comes to CCR, I could have gone with absolutely anything.
You’ve got your ‘Green River’ and there’s your ‘Run Through the Jungle.’ We could have picked up ‘Proud Mary’ on the way. But along with the usually ‘Fortunate Son,’ we left her back with ‘Willy And The Poor Boys.’
Don’t get me wrong, they’re all great songs and have every right to feel hard done by, not being included on the playlist. But let’s not forget, this is a road trip. We’ve got a lot of distance left to cover and sing-alongs will only get you so far.
‘Keep on Chooglin’’ clocks in at somewhere close to the 8-minute mark. So, if you’re driving on, let’s say, Interstate 40 at a constant speed of 80 mph for the whole length of ‘Keep On Chooglin’, you’d cover approximately 10 miles of American soil. And for that reason, we’re choogling.
- ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ by Bob Dylan | Album: Highway 61 Revisited, 1965
It’s time to slip in a Bob Dylan standard now, and I’ve gone for ‘Highway 61 Revisited.’ Bob is one of those musicians whose art seems bound to the highway. And again, there’s a large back catalogue to choose from, but on this occasion, the pennywhistle of ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ seals this deal for me.
Also, Highway 61 holds immense significance in the realm of American Blues music. Known as the Blues Highway, Highway 61 stretches from New Orleans, Louisiana, to the northern city of Duluth, Minnesota. This served as an important route for African American musicians as it let them travel and share their music with different audiences.
So, rather than a just place for Abraham to knock off one of his sons, Highway 61 symbolises a pathway for the roots and evolution of blues music.
And, I like to imagine what a wonderful place for an impromptu roadside jamboree setting it would have been. The perfect place to pass the time while you wait for an overheated engine to cool it.
- ‘Spoonful’ by Howlin’ Wolf | Album: Howlin’ Wolf, 1962
For a beefy slice of bluesy goodness on the journey, I’m going with ‘Spoonful’ by Howlin’ Wolf. This blues classic finds Mr Wolf and his gritty vocals at their authentic and raw best.
The cool-as-hell beat and slick guitar hooks sit right in the pocket of where you want your American blues to be. And in spite of the song’s content appearing to hint at some kind of addiction, be it love or opiates, ‘Spoonful’ has a timeless quality that brings to mind a sense of freedom, adventure and exploration.
It’s ideal for cruising along the open roads of the USA, and if opiates are involved, it could be another one for your highway chill spot at the roadside jamboree.
- ‘Jump Into the Fire’ by Harry Nilsson | Album: Nilsson Schmilsson, 1972
Here’s another one to help get some miles under your belt. ‘Jump Into the Fire’ by legendary songwriter Harry Nilsson is an absolute peach of a groove that should take you anywhere between seven to nine and a half miles or so, depending on traffic.
‘Jump Into The Fire’ is included in a classic scene from the movie Goodfellas. Ray Liotta nails a cheeky line at five to seven in the morning before packing some guns and silencers in the trunk of his 1979 Cadillac DeVille Custom Phaeton Coup.
While on his way to Robert De Niro’s house, Liotta becomes paranoid and suspects he’s being followed by a helicopter. Things don’t get any better when he arrives at De Niro’s, either.
It turns out the guns and silencers don’t fit one another. De Niro insists they’re useless and he’s not buying that shit. Then he tells Liotta that drugs are turning his brain to mush before slamming the door in his face.
Liotta leaves, and soon after, he gets busted by the cops. He was right about the helicopter.
If that doesn’t scream “USA!” then I don’t know what does.
- ‘Rumble’ by Link Wray, 1958 | Chart Information: US: 16 | US R&B: 11
Representing the Shawnee people, Link Wray makes the list with his controversial song ‘Rumble.’ Though it needn’t be controversial, his only crime was to invent the power chord.
But so mighty were those little chord shapes that they changed rock ‘n’ roll forever and made millions of conservatives overreact at the same time.
The raw, gritty sound, driven by the use of distorted guitar and feedback, was considered rebellious and dangerous, leading to concerns that ‘Rumble’ might incite or promote delinquent behaviour.
Anxious parents and moral guardians viewed the song as having a corrupting influence on the youth. Owing to its controversial reputation, radio stations and broadcasters refused to play ‘Rumble’ on air.
Yet, the song doesn’t even have any words. It’s an instrumental for Christ’s sake!
Although in fairness, most guitarists will tell you, “tone is everything.” And Link Wray’s ‘Rumble’ set one hell of a tone.
- ‘Peter Gunn’ by Duane Eddy, 1959 | Chart Information: UK: 6 | US: 27
Another instrumental tune here, but this time in the form of the surf number ‘Peter Gunn’ by Duane Eddy.
The song was originally composed by Henry Mancini for the TV detective series Peter Gunn, which is a peach of a name for a US detective. You know where you stand with the guy, for better or worse.
However, Eddy is considered one of the pioneers of instrumental rock music and helped define the sound of instrumental rock ‘n roll during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
As such, no USA road trip playlist of mine can be complete without including the “king of twang” himself.
And besides, the rich, full-bodied saxophone in Duane Eddy’s version of ‘Peter Gunn’ makes it a rollicking, foot-stomper that encourages you to let loose and chew gum hard on the open road.
- ‘Comanche’ by The Revels | Album: Presenting the Revels, 1959
Right, one final surf classic before we head in a different direction. ‘Comanche,’ by the Revels is one of my favourites. Again, it’s that raspy saxophone and twangy guitar that draws me in every time and seems perfect for the highway.
Earlier on I mentioned that I shouldn’t let Quentin Tarantino dictate this playlist for me. However, Comanche will forever remind me of the scene in Pulp Fiction where Marsellus Wallace finds himself in a hard-to-swallow situation down in Zed’s basement.
Quite literally, as Zed and his perverted mate shove a pool ball in his mouth while going to town at the other end of his pipeline. Soon after, Bruce Willis shows up with a sword and puts a stop to all that nonsense. It’s a mad scene and a great tune.
- ‘No Particular Place To Go’ by Chuck Berry, 1964 | Chart Information: UK: 3 | US: 10
I absolutely love this song because it encapsulates the essence of the American road trip and the role of cars in American culture.
Chuck Berry was a master storyteller and in ‘No Particular Place To Go,’ he beautifully captures the excitement and thrill of hitting the open road with no specific destination on his mind.
Berry paints a vividly romanticised notion of car ownership in the 1950s and 1960s by giving you a joyous sense of cruising down the highway with a uniquely carefree spirit of exploration. It’s a reflection of the freedom, mobility and individuality America felt at the time.
It’s a feeling you can actually still savour a little of today by driving in a vehicle with no air conditioning on what remains of Route 66 while listening to Chuck Berry on repeat through smartphone speakers.
- ‘Suzie Q’ by Dale Hawkins, Year: 1957 | Chart Information: US: 11
Dale Hawkins is another classic guitarist whose work shaped the sound of rock music in America and beyond. And in ‘Suzie Q,’ you’ve got a guitar tone that still sounds fresh and much sought after today, certainly by myself.
Even after all these years and with the ludicrous advances in recording technology since Hawkins’ time in the spotlight, James Burton’s solo in ‘Suzie Q’ still packs a remarkable punch. It combines elements of rock, blues and rockabilly and is probably one of the most recognisable solos in rock ‘n roll history.
Plus, ‘Suzie Q’ is a great sing-along tune as the lyrics are pretty simple to grasp. “Oh Suzie Q. I like the way you walk. I like the way you talk. Suzie Q.”
If you can’t join in with those words then I’m afraid there’s no hope for you.
- ‘Bo Diddley’ by Bo Diddley, 1955 | Chart Information: US R&B: 1
In Bo Diddley, we’ve got a man who invented his own beat. And so full of Afro-Cuban flavour was the “Bo Diddley Beat” that everyone wanted to dine out at his rhythm and blues table.
If you’ve heard any of the following, then you’ve heard the Bo Diddley Beat; ‘Faith’ by George Michael, ‘Not Fade Away’ by Buddy Holly & The Crickets, ‘I Want Candy’ by The Strangeloves, ‘Please Go Home’ by The Rolling Stones, ‘She Has Funny Cars’ by Jefferson Airplane…the list goes on.
The infectious ‘Bo Diddley’ by Bo Diddley reeks of road trip rhythm and is sure to get your ass shuffling in fifth gear. If you’re actually in the USA it’s likely you’re driving an automatic, so please accept my apologies for the potentially obscure reference.
- ‘I’m Coming Home’ by Johnny Horton, 1957 | Chart Information: US Country: 11
It’s 1957, and Johnny Horton has been cruising around looking at broads in truck stops across the USA. But his girl can rest easy because Johnny’s assured her that he’s coming home. And better than that, he’s apparently right on time.
Now, if all that sounds a little too good to be true, Johnny does go on to mention that there’s some potential trouble with the vehicle. The gears are grinding and ultimately there’s no guarantee he’ll make it.
Nevertheless, ‘I’m Coming Home’ by Johnny Horton remains a brilliant driving classic. And much like Chuck Berry’s No Place To Go,’ the song manages to capture the spirit of American road culture and car ownership in the 1950s and 60s.
- ‘Lucille’ by Little Richard, 1957 | Chart Information: US R&B: 21 | UK: 10
In ‘Lucille,’ Little Richard delivers an absolute banger as he bares his soul and recounts the trials and tribulations of an ill-fated romance.
He’s heartbroken to wake up in the morning and discover the woman he loves has disappeared from his bed and the locals are keeping schtum.
Our Rick begs Lucille to return to where she belongs and repeats how he’s been good to her. But it’s all in vain and heads back to her husband.
More than that, she shows no compunction in disregarding her sister’s requests either.
By all accounts, it seems Little Richard has done his level best with her but in the end, still got the boot from the woman he loves. Plus, she’s already married. He’ll have to move on.
- ‘Hey, Good Lookin’’ by Hank Williams, 1951 | Chart Information: US Country: 1
We’re going way back to 1951 now to find out what Hank Williams and his perpetually Drifting Cowboys think about things.
The lyrics “Hey Good Lookin’, what you got cookin’,” suggest that Hank is in the process of wooing a girl through the old-fashioned tradition of kitchen-based innuendos.
Some more examples from back in the day include “I knead you with my ‘such and such.’” “Bake me off, love.” And simply “fancy a quick cook?”
Now, Hank originally wrote this song for his friend and country artist Jimmy Dickens. Dickens was desperately in need of a hit and Hank knocked it out in 20 minutes while taking a plane ride.
But, a week later, Hank called Dickens to say he’d already recorded it. And it’s exactly that kind of speed we need to be working with when we’re on the road.
There are places to go and we’ve hits to write. Great work, Hank.
- ‘On the Road Again’ by Willie Nelson, 1980 | Chart Information: US Country: 1
I’m going to finish off this section with Willie Nelson’s driving classic ‘On The Road Again.’ It’s one of Nelson’s signature songs and an iconic anthem of the open road.
The tune captures the spirit of adventure and the nomadic lifestyle of travelling musicians. And it’s probably true that Willie Nelson has zig-zagged the highways of North America more than any musician.
I don’t have any stats to back up that claim, but Nelson has outlived just about all of his musical peers and is still touring at the time of typing this.
More than that, there’s a quote attributed to him from his 75th birthday that goes “I’ve outlived my pecker.” He’s into his 90s now, so lord knows what else he’s outlived.
One thing is for certain, by hook or by crook, Willie Nelson will be back on the road again this summer.
7 Cowboy Road Trip Essentials
Now we’re moving on to Cowboy Road Trip Essentials. The next seven songs reflect that ‘going out west’ feel to the USA. I can see this drive taking us from Wyoming down to the border states.
It’s around Arizona, New Mexico and Texas that many of those old gunslinger classics set their shootouts and where Hispanic culture influences the mood. So, why not reflect those tones for the next thirty minutes or so?
- ‘For a Few Dollars More’ by Ennio Morricone, 1965 | Movie Soundtrack
‘For a Few Dollars More’ is the main theme from the 1965 Italian Spaghetti Western film of the same name. And actually, the first minute or so of the track is audio from the opening scene.
The movie starts with a man on a horse in the distance. He’s surrounded by desert mountains and someone’s whistling a chirpy little tune to themself.
An unseen shooter fires towards the drifter, knocking him clean off his horse. The gunshot rings out and the horse trots off to eat some grass.
That might not sound greatly iconic to you now, but For A Few Dollars More and hundreds of other Italian productions like it have done just as much to sell the myths and legends of the Old West as any tall Yankee tale.
And certainly, to my mind, ‘For a Few Dollars More’ does a great job of moving this playlist into that world.
- ‘Gunfight at The OK Corral’ by Frankie Laine, 1957 | Movie Soundtrack
‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’ by Frankie Laine is a song that recounts the famous historical event known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
The legendary shootout took place on October 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona. It involved lawmen, Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt Earp, along with the outlaw cowboys known as the Clanton and McLaury brothers.
The whole thing lasted about thirty seconds but the legend has lasted a century and a half.
So, if like me, you’re into shootouts and tales of the Old West, this tune is perfect for delivering that imagery of cowboys, lawmen and outlaws as you cruise through the rugged frontier.
- Day of Anger by Riz Ortolani, 1970 | Movie Soundtrack
Riz Ortolani’s ‘Day of Anger’ is probably the most dramatic piece of music I’ve gone with on the road trip playlist. So, my advice is to buckle down and try to imagine you’re riding a horse with power steering.
It’s another movie soundtrack tune from the 1970 spaghetti western of the same name. Day of Anger stars everyone’s favourite western anti-hero Lee Van Cleef as an old gunslinger who dishes out sage cowboy advice to a young streetcleaner called Scott Mary.
‘Day of Anger’ includes the use of typical twangy, reverberated guitar tones and western-inspired motifs, blending them with dramatic orchestration and a brass session that screams “Get a friggin’ move on, Chief.”
I like to imagine myself riding state to state on horseback as I’m being chased by a mob for some reason or other. I never know what crime I’ve committed but I’m certainly guilty of it.
- ‘Big Iron’ by Marty Robbins, 1959 | Chart Information: US Country: 5
Imagine this: Marty Robbins thinks you’re an Arizona ranger. He sends you on a ride to a small village near Sant Fe with a big iron on your hip to look for some badass called Texas Red. You try Texas first, but he’s not in.
You loop back around to New Mexico. It takes the best part of a month but you find him eventually. You would have ridden faster had your massive gun not been such a burden on your horse.
You head into the main street of Agua Fria and call out for Texas Red. The townsfolk cower in their houses. Texas Red appears from a brothel. You call him a prick, but he’s not worried because he’s already killed twenty men. And besides, he thinks your gun is too big.
But, he’s wrong. In fact, you shoot Texas Red down before he has a chance to clear leather. The town’s people run into the street and celebrate. The speed of your draw goes down in legend.
No one is more surprised than your horse.
- Ring of Fire by Jonny Cash, 1963 | Chart Information: US Country: 5 | UK: 17
One of the reasons I find music so fascinating is that it really doesn’t take very much effort at all to put a certain mood in an audience’s mind.
For instance, nothing screams “This is Mexico” like a trumpet over an acoustic guitar. And in Jonny Cash’s classic country hit ‘Ring of Fire,’ there’s definitely a trumpet.
If you happen to be cruising around the USA and start to wonder if you should take a trip south of the border, let me save you some time. Those border states are already so rife with Mexican culture, like tacos for instance, that you needn’t bother putting in the miles.
Instead, drive to a local food stand, order a taco in Spanish and listen to ‘Ring of Fire’ while you think about Mexico. You’re as good as there.
- ‘Canto A Mia Tierra’ by Ennio Morricone, 1968 | Movie Soundtrack
If you haven’t quite finished with your taco yet, let me slip in another bonus Ennio Morricone composition. I made every effort not to repeat an artist during this playlist. But when it comes to a fantasy road trip experience in the USA, I really must insist on another Morricone.
‘Canto A Mia Tierra’ is taken from the 1968 Mexican Revolution film Il Mercinario and roughly translates as ‘I sing for my homeland’. Its gently strummed guitar patterns and expressive phrasing reek of longing and melancholy, only natural when you’re miles from home in the middle of a revolution.
It also includes traditional Mexican instruments and Spanish singers, giving us an authentic slice of culture to the road trip experience and the perfect flavour to end our meal.
- Il Grande Duello, Parte Prima by Luiz Bacalov, 1972 | Movie Soundtrack
As we approach the end of our Cowboy Road Trip Essentials, I’m going to finish on what I consider to be one of the most iconic reminders of the creativity, innovation and unique style of old Western Italian cinema. And that is Luiz Bacalov’s ‘Il Grande Duello, Parte Prima.’
The Grand Duel is another spaghetti western that once more stars Lee Van Cleef, this time as an old gunslinger with a secret. Spoiler alert; he shot and killed somebody.
For me, the soundscape created in ‘Il Grande Duelle, Parte Prima’ embodies all the distinctive elements associated with spaghetti Westerns; dramatic tension, sweeping melodies, a harmonica. It’s a whistleable piece of music you can really purse your lips to.
And for anyone who suspects that they may have already heard it in spite of having little to no interest in Westerns, our man Quentin Tarantino repurposed it in his martial arts revenge flick Kill Bill Volume 1.
I should probably just talk about Tarantino in future.
6 Night Time Driving Tunes
We’re hitting the final furlong of the journey now. The sun’s gone down, the windows have come up and these last six songs are all rife for night time driving.
I don’t know where your USA destination takes you; motel, campsite or some strange backwater place in the middle of nowhere, but these next six songs are sure to get you there in one piece.
- ‘Goin’ Out West’ by Tom Waits | Album: Bone Machine, 1992
In ‘Going’ Out West,’ Tom Waits’ singular motive seems to be burning the wick at both ends. He’s driving all night to get some speed and drops the bomb that he’s not only into karate but voodoo too. Plus, he’s proud of his hairy chest.
If all that sounds a little nonsensical, then I suppose that is what you get when deliriously writing lyrics through the night with a supply of quality amphetamines.
Although, I have to say, the line ‘I’m going out west where they appreciate me,’ rings true in my experience. I have personally received free access to a strip club in Salt Lake City and discounted booze at Taber Cornfest, both for ‘having an accent.’
If that’s not being appreciated I don’t know what is.
It’s probably also worth noting that you might recognise this banger of a tune from a scene in the movie Fight Club. You may recall Brad Pitt and Edward Norton looking tough as they stride purposefully down to the basement of some meathead’s bar for an old-fashioned dust-up.
If you’ve seen that, then you’ll already be familiar with the mood of ‘Goin’ Out West.’
- Do It Again by Steely Dan, 1972 | UK Chart: 39 US Chart: 6
Steely Dan’s Do It Again is another perfect track for nighttime driving in the USA. Picture yourself on a deserted road with nothing but the thrill of the open night sky in front of you and Steely Dan propelling you forward. The sitar solo kicks in and you think you’ve arrived in heaven.
But, you also start to worry about the many pitfalls of local culture. For instance, “You swear and kick and beg us that you’re not a gamblin’ man. Then you find you’re back in Vegas with a handle in your hand.”
And the next morning you go “gunning for the man who stole your water. And you fire ’til he is done in but they catch you at the border.”
You thought you were in heaven but you were mistaken. Turns out, you’re in America and it’s wild.
- All Night Long by Junior Kimbrough | Album: God Knows I Tried, 1998
Mississippi Hill Country Blues player Junior Kimbrough originally released ‘All Night Long’ on his 1992 record of the same name. But, for the sake of this sundown drive, we’re going with an instrumental live version released in 1998.
The song’s steady rhythm and Kimbrough’s mesmerising guitar riffs provide a driving force that complements the quiet and serene ambience of the nighttime roads. It’s quite a hypnotic little number so I do advise you to keep your wits about you.
I’ve heard tales of zoned-out drivers listening to Junior Kimbrough late at night only to later find themselves in Mississippi without any memory of how they arrived.
On each occasion, it seems they intuitively stopped for fried chicken and macaroni cheese before coming back around to reality.
- Black Widow Spider by Dr John, 1969 | Album: Babylon, 1969
Now, I’m a big fan of Dr John and initially, I was gutted when I found out what happened to him in a candlelit café in New Orleans.
To cut a long story short, he basically banged a woman who turned out to be a black widow spider and she put him in a web for a bit.
Dr John made a career out of highlighting the strange voodoo shit that goes on down by his local swamps. And so, I can’t help but feel like he should have been more aware of the dangers of the climate he grew up in.
I’m not victim-blaming here. I’m just surprised how easily he was led into that web. But what would I know about swamp life anyway? I’m from Cleethorpes.
To be fair, Dr John later goes on to warn other people of her seductive prowess. Although he only offers a vague description of the woman-cum-spider; “Creole.”
I doubt that does much to greatly slim the pickings in Louisianna, but it’s a start.
- The Pink Room by Angelo Badalamenti | Fire Walk With Me Soundtrack
If your road trip happens to take you to North Bend in Washington State, then you’re deep in Twin Peaks territory. And if you happen to be cruising around there at night, then I’d say that both the original TV series and film soundtracks are essential listening.
But, if there’s only room for one Twin Peaks tune, I’m going with this moody-as-hell piece from the Fire Walk With Me movie. There’s something about its pace and structure that makes the song beautifully hypnotic to drive to.
An over-beaten snare sits inside the pocket of a back and-forth between dark strings and tremolo guitar. You keep your eyes fixed on the road ahead expecting something awful to appear from the woods at any moment.
You think you see the silhouette of a ghost ahead and panic. But on closer inspection, it’s just a moose’s head in the moonlight.
Nevertheless, for the entire four minutes of ‘The Pink Room,’ you’re no longer in the USA; you’ve transubstantiated into David Lynch’s imagination.
- A Fast Drive Through The Universe by Ronald Langestraat | Album: Apollo, 2019
This final inclusion on the Night Time Driving Tunes is a bit of a curveball. A Fast Drive Through The Universe by Ronald Langestraat is the only tune I’ve chosen that’