(Note: Another Nat King Cole song, “The Christmas Song,” is at #92.)
Since we’ve been married, we have driven to or through most of the states. We love to drive through the varied American landscape, and two of my favorite books are Travels with Charlie and Blue Highways.
In fact, just yesterday we just finished a 5,700-mile trip that over the course of more than three weeks took us through parts of 10 states. (That trip is why the song is #55 here, rather than #66.) I don’t know how many of our miles were on what once was Route 66, but we did cross it at least twice.
“Route 66” is more about an idea than about an actual route, anyway. Otherwise it would never have been the basis for a television series and a hugely popular song that has been covered by artists as diverse as the Rolling Stones, John Mayer, Depeche Mode, the Cheetah Girls, Chuck Berry, the Manhattan Transfer, Louis Prima, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Asleep at the Wheel, the Diana Krall Trio, and who knows how many others. I doubt that we’ve ever attended the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival without hearing some version of it at least once.
Apparently Nat King Cole was the first to record “Route 66.” Because of that, because I talk about his TV show every year in my media history course, because he sings my favorite version of my favorite Christmas song, and because his daughter sang at our “wedding reception,” I’ve chosen a video of his trio’s version of “Route 66.”
Lyrics here, with video below: