10 Songs for Travelling

Inspired by Jailbreak, the best songs for the road.


As exciting as destinations are, the thing in between them is not always great. And by ‘thing’ I mean travelling. You know what would have been a lot simpler to say? ‘Travelling is not always great’. Let’s go with that. It can be boring, and sometimes young children are doing it at the same time as you. Often, you need to tune out. So, following on from Jailbreak (how, how, HOW does someone get a free flight to the Americas?), here are some songs for journeys:

1. Send Me On My Way- Rusted Root


This video is like a bizarre lucid dream. I had to Google the lyrics, and I’m still not quite sure what’s being said half the time. Also, this song is in the film of Matilda, which is the BEST. And is also occasionally like a bizarre lucid dream.

2. Rocket Man- William Shatner’s Cover


You could listen to Elton John actually sing this song about travelling into space, which he composed in 1972. OR. You could watch an actor from Star Trek perform a spoken word version of it, in which three of him appear, to illustrate each side of the personality of ‘Rocket Man’ (number 3 is my favourite). Browsing through Shatner’s spoken word covers career is a very effective way to kill time and will distract you from any crying baby. You’d like to think it’s a joke, but it’s almost certainly not. Nothing can prepare you for his ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’.

3. Space Oddity- David Bowie


Clearly, I’ve gotten kind of stuck on the theme of space travel. This came out a few years before ‘Rocket Man’, in 1969, and may have influenced it. I was made to sing it in choir at a very young age… I often wonder how telling a room full of oversensitive, angel-voiced children that this is a song about dying alone in space felt for our conductor. We did not take it well.

4. The Passenger- Iggy Pop


Back to earthly concerns. Iggy looks like a murderous leather jacket in this video. Considering all the substances the man has taken/onstage self-abuse he’s committed, he’s really looking pretty great.

5. Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright- Bob Dylan


Do you know how long it took me to find a version of this song with Dylan actually singing? Well, not long by normal standards, but a while by YouTube ones.

6. Walk On By- Aretha Franklin’s Version


Some might say that this song is not about travelling; it’s about the pain of a loved one suddenly being a stranger, and trying to seem strong around them. Well, interpretation is subjective. What is undeniable is that this loved one is walking, and if someone is walking, they are travelling. No, I don’t think that’s too abstract a relation to my theme.

7. The Letter- Box Tops


They just don’t make music videos like this anymore. Modern music videos lack this wonderful undercurrent of discomfort, and are also less representative of my dancing. The singer of this song is called Alex Chilton, and he was 17 when he sang this. How young do you have to start smoking to sound this gruff at 17? He was also in a band called Big Star, which formed a few years later. His voice on Big Star’s tracks is so gentle and high that I’m fairly sure he must have aged backwards.

8. This Is The Sea- The Waterboys


A lovely song about freedom, moving on, and large bodies of water.

9. Graceland- Paul Simon


I have previously posted a Simon and Garfunkel song, but this is Garfunkel-less, so I’m going to go ahead and say this isn’t cheating.

10. Babylon’s Burning- The Ruts


Well, it’s about Babylon, a place you could travel to. Or could have, if it wasn’t burning. Once again, I do not think this relation is too abstract.