Place Names in Rock Lyrics: Truckin’
For this feature we’ve previously done Sweet Little Sixteen, Dancing in the Streets, Night Train, Rock’n Me, Pop Muzik, Girls, Girls, Girls, and Fire Down Below.
Tonight’s song is Truckin’ by the Grateful Dead. It was released in 1970 and only reached 64 on the US charts, though its a well-known song. In fact, I expect a lot people thought this would be one of the first songs I did for this feature. Its lyrics describe the misfortunes that befell the band during their extensive touring in the late 1960s. And for our purposes, they reference a number of cities, including some cities we don’t otherwise have on our list.
Here are the first verse and chorus:
Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street.
Chicago, New York, Detroit and it’s all on the same street.
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings.
Dallas, got a soft machine; Houston, too close to New Orleans;
New York’s got the ways and means; but just won’t let you be, oh no.
And a later chorus goes like this:
Truckin’, up to Buffalo. Been thinkin’, you got to mellow slow
Takes time, you pick a place to go, and just keep truckin’ on.
So the cities for our list are
Dallas (finally gets a mention after eight songs)
Houston (same as Dallas)
And here’s our master list as it currently stands:
Notes: The cities that have been mentioned most often are New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia. The biggest cities we haven’t heard from yet, at least in the United States, are Cleveland, Kansas City, and Seattle.
Los Angeles x3
New Orleans x4
New York City x4
(heart of) Texas
Washington, DC x2