Is classic rock the perfect classic soundtrack?

| 22 Nov 2011

Once again I was asked what my favourite driving song was the other day. Unfortunately, I couldn’t answer – not because I don’t have favourites, or tracks that will be played more than others when driving around, but because for me it is a combination of various elements that dictates what song is the ‘chosen one’ when behind the wheel.

This was excellently illustrated just the other day when driving home from work in the Scimitar. With winter plunging the countryside into darkness I found myself ‘pressing on’ through some quiet back roads, navigating some fulfilling curves in the process.

The heater was on, the window was open and Pink Floyd’s Shine on You Crazy Diamond blared from the speakers. 1970s rock masters coming from a '70s motor being piloted around roads which probably hadn’t seen any maintenance since the same decade. If I was really pushing the association, I could also suggest that it was entirely fitting that a child of the early '70s was the driver.

The point is that everything came together and fitted just right for several minutes and, at that particular moment, the Floyd track was my ‘favourite’ driving song.

This curious melding of elements comes into play in other classics to provide perfect musical moments: Led Zep’s Communication Breakdown in a Mini on a wet evening (at least it wasn’t T-Rex – that's sick, Ed), and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) in a Morris Traveller heading to a gig in Kensington are just two other combinations that have worked for me over the years, although I will admit that there was perhaps a little bit of ‘redneck’ about the scene when, back in the summer, the relationship between man, car and tune resulted in yours truly enjoying a spot of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers while in the Land-Rover.

I’m still not entirely sure quite why driving through Bracknell at the time seemed to work as the third element though. Answers on a postcard…

Of course there will always be those that will, without fail, put Boston’s More than a Feeling on repeat for the duration of their Sunday afternoon blast, just as there are those that will argue that the sound coming from their exhaust is the only soundtrack they need while in their classic.

For me though, there is rarely a journey that can’t fail to be enhanced by selecting a suitable tune – be it something classical, some easy listening or a spot of soothing thrash metal.

Perhaps it is about time that the perennial driving song question should be expanded to include your idea of the perfect driving scenario as well?

Maybe then the song choice would make a little more sense. Anyone for Bachman-Turner Overdrive in a Morris Marina on the North Circular?