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Route 66

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Written by: Bobby Troup
Appeared in: Cars
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See also: U.S. Route 66
Route66

"(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" is a popular song of rhythm and blues standard, featured in the film Cars.

History

The song was composed in 1946 by American songwriter Bobby Troup. It was first recorded in the same year by Nat King Cole, and was subsequently covered by many artists including Chuck Berry in 1961, The Rolling Stones in 1964, and Depeche Mode in 1987. The title was suggested to Troup by his first wife, Cynthia.

Troup conceived the idea for the song while driving west from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles, California, and the lyrics — which include references to the U.S. highway of the title and many of the cities it passes through — celebrate the romance and freedom of automobile travel. In an interview he once said the tune for the song, as well as the lyric "Get your kicks on Route 66," came to him easily, but the remainder of the lyrics eluded him. More in frustration than anything else he simply filled up the song with the names of towns and cities on the highway.

Characteristics

The song's lyrics follow the path of the historic U.S. Route 66 highway, which used to run a long distance across the U.S., going from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California. They read as a mini-travelogue about the major stops along the route, listing several cities and towns that Route 66 passes through, viz. St. Louis, Missouri; Joplin, Missouri; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Amarillo, Texas; Gallup, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona; Winona, Arizona; Kingman, Arizona; Barstow, California; and San Bernardino, California. Winona is the only town out of sequence: it was a very small settlement east of Flagstaff, and might indeed have been forgotten if not for the lyric "Don't forget Winona," written to rhyme with "Flagstaff, Arizona." Many artists who have covered the tune over the years have changed the initial lyrics, usually to "It goes to St. Louis, down through Missouri..." then continuing on with Oklahoma City and so on. Of the eight states that the actual route passes through, only Kansas and its cities are not mentioned by the song.

Cars soundtrack

The official soundtrack for Cars features two versions of the song. One is covered by Chuck Berry while the other is covered by John Mayer. Mayer's version is heard during the end credits of the film.

Lyrics

Chuck Berry

Well if you ever plan to motor west,
Just take my way. It's a highway that the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66.

Well, it winds from Chicago to L.A..
More than 2,000 miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route 66.

Well it goes from St. Louis, Joplin, Missouri,
Oklahoma City looks, oh so pretty,

You'll see Amarillo,
And Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino,

Would you get hip to this kindly tip,
And take that California trip.
Get your kicks on Route 66.

(Instrumental)

It goes from St. Louis, Joplin, Missouri,
Oklahoma City looks, oh so pretty,

You'll see Amarillo,
And Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino,

Would you get hip to this kindly tip,
And take that California trip?
Get your kicks on Route 66.
Get your kicks on Route 66.
And I'll meet you on Route 62.
Get your kicks on Route 66.

John Mayer

Well if you ever plan to motor west,
Take my way, it's a highway that's the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66.

Well it winds, from Chicago to L.A.
More than 2,000 miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route 66.

Well it goes from St. Louis, Joplin, Missouri,
Oklahoma City looks, oh so pretty,

You'll see Amarillo,
And Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino,

Won't you get hip to this timely tip,
And take that California trip?
Get your kicks on Route 66.

(Instrumental)

Well it goes from St. Louis, Joplin, Missouri
Oklahoma City looks, oh so pretty,

You'll see Amarillo,
And Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino,

Won't you get hip to this timely tip,
When you make that California trip?
Get your kicks on Route 66.
Get your kicks on Route 66.
Get your kicks on Route 66.
Get your kicks on Route 66.

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