Travel Music

Welcome to the Travel Tunes Review, where we interpret a travel-themed song and explore what it reveals to us.

The importance of travel and music

No one knows when music was invented. All we know is that it predates recorded history. Anthropologists suggest that human music came from observing nature and emulating its sounds. What’s also true is that early humans were a migratory species, moving from one place to another. Music was, and still is, interlinked with the act of movement. It makes sense therefore, to soundtrack our travel adventures.

Soundtrack to our lives

The greatest moments in life are often supported by music; it can define an event and give emotional weight to it. When we listen back to that song at some point in the future it conjures nostalgia, one of our most powerful sensibilities. A travel adventure is one such greatest moment, and music is the perfect accompaniment.

A musical passion for travel

While 99% of songs are generally about love, within the 1% we can find songs about travel. Of course, there are some songs that involve both, be it a love for travel, such as Lemon Jelly’s Ramblin Man or I’ve Been Everywhere by Lucky Starr, or a love found as a result of travelling, such as in The Human Leagues’ The Things That Dreams Are Made Of. Maybe even, love will inspire the desire to travel, as in PJ Harvey’s Good Fortune. There’s also the danger that distance can inhibit love as in The Pretenders’ 2000 miles.

Whatever the angle, travel-themed songs can have a big part to play in an on-road adventure, and hopefully some of the music found in this section will be added to your travel playlist:

Natural Blue by Julie Byrne

This tender folk song conjures up all that is beautiful about blue skies but also the loveliness of life and longing on the road.

Good Fortune by PJ Harvey

When a new encounter prompts the desire for travel. It’s all here in this burst of thirsty exuberance

I’ve Been Everywhere by Lucky Starr

Oh to have travelled to so many places that you can make a song out of it. This is what the warbling wanderer has done in ‘I’ve been everywhere’.

On The Road by Tom Vek

In this edition of Travel Tunes we look at Tom Vek’s gem of a journey song, ‘On The Road’. But be warned, this is a dark adventure

2000 Miles by The Pretenders

It’s that time of year when California-esque guitar jangles feel like Christmas bell jingles in this 80s festive favourite by The Pretenders.