Wednesday, 13 March 2013

My Top Ten Motorway Songs

We Brits don't call them highways... and they're the antithesis of freedom and romance. And yet... there's more songs about motorways than you'd expect. Remember these next time you're stuck in a three hour tailback on the M6...

10. The Divine Comedy - Motorway To Damascus

There are obvious nods to Kraftwerk in the backing track (and no, an Autobahn is not a motorway), but the lyrics take us in a much more bizarre direction, updating a biblical journey to a world of solar-panelled rooftops and crumbling cooling towers... ivy-clad reminders of a long-forgotten power. Metaphors aplenty to keep your mind active when the cones crowd round.

9. The Kinks - Motorway

Any song that begins thus... 
Motorway food is the worst in the world
...obviously sounds like it's going to present a more realistic, less romanticized vision of the English motorway system. And apart from the incongruous reference to 'gasoline fumes' (petrol, surely, Ray) you'd struggle to find truer words than these...
Motorway tea is warm and wet,
The rain is a pouring and it's four in the morning,
And it's all I can get.
You've never seen loos like motorway loos,
Thousands of people passing through,
It's enough to put you off of your motorway food.
8. The Pixies - Motorway To Roswell

Do they have motorways in Roswell?

Does Mulder know?

7. The Supernaturals - Life Is A Motorway

The Supernaturals at their most supremely silly. Still great fun.
La la la, lalala la la, la.
6. Black Box Recorder - The English Motorway System

It's Luke Haines's metaphor for a relationship breaking up. That said, only Sarah Nixey could make motorways sound quite so sexy...

5. Billy Bragg - A13, Trunk Road to the Sea

OK, so strictly speaking, this isn't about a motorway. It's about taking the A-road, the OK-road, that's the best. Hence, it's about NOT going on the motorway. Which is fine with me...

4. Doves - M62 Song

You may hate the M25. You may have nightmares about the M6. But the motorway that has been the bane of my existence for the last twenty-five years is the M-bloody-62. I truly believe it to be the worst motorway in the country, especially the stretch between Manchester and Leeds.

This would have been a much nicer song had they not named it after Satan's Driveway. 

3. The Long Blondes - Separated By Motorways

Every time I listen to The Long Blondes now, I get sad they aren't around anymore.
Wipe your eyes darling, it's OK 
Meet me on the dual carriageway 
Separated by motorways 
The A14 and the A1 
Separated by motorways 
Two lonely girls go on the run
2. It's Immaterial - Driving way From Home (Jim's Tune)

Another song about the bloody M62!
Without a care in the world...
I dunno, maybe it really was like that, driving on the M62 back in 1986. It certain isn't nowadays. 

1. Tom Robinson - 2-4-6-8 Motorway

Inevitable as roadworks... but far more enjoyable!

Altogether now...

I hate motorways - but I love these motorway songs. Which is your M1?


  1. I've embraced Europeanism and especially our German friends so these days I travel on the Autobahn accompanied by Kraftwerk...

    1. After a steward's enquiry, that's still disallowed. Sorry.

  2. Killing Joke - Democracy, for the lyrics "Another 5 lane motorway... you'll never even get a referendum anyway".

    1. Congrats - that's your KJ reference for this week sorted.

  3. Two of my favorites...

    Suede - Picnic by the Motorway
    St. Etienne - Like a Motorway

    1. Both excellent, and were in serious contention... possibles for #11 and 12 on my list.

  4. I hate driving on the M6 so much I wrote my own song about it, see / hear on YouTube

    1. Excellent - top work, Paul. Thanks for sharing the link.


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