Rock and Roll Songs about Rock and Roll

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I always liked rock tunes that were about being a singer or being in a rock band and being on the road.  I guess the two most popular tunes were Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” and Jackson Brown’s “Stay.”  They talk about being on the road and going from place to place.  Those tunes knock a bit of the glamour off the experience.

There are other tunes that talk about being on the road and playing music for a living.  I’ll go through of few of my favorites and let’s see if you can think of any that I missed.  I would have to start with Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.”  It always seemed to be such a sad tune about a very lonely man traveling from town to town playing his music.  The lyrics mention something that is common in many of these types of songs.  It is something that I think anyone would experience if they travel a lot.  After a while all of the different cities begin to look the same.  Other than a few distinctive buildings, a traveler can easily forget what city that they are in.

I realized that I could go back a little further to Peter, Paul, and Mary’s hit “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”  That song was about a traveling singer promising that this would be the last time that he would be gone for so long.  This is clearly not a problem unique to musicians.  Our military service personnel deal with this continually and I hope that will end soon.  Also many people travel a lot for business.  It must be very difficult to maintain a relationship when one partner is on the road so much.

There were other tunes that celebrated the life on the road.  Songs like “An American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad and “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band” by The Moody Blues, and of course “I Want to Rock and Roll All Night,” by Kiss.  These songs just celebrate the party atmosphere of the life on the road.  I don’t see how you could be on the road that long without having a problem with drugs or alcohol; there the only things that would keep you going.  I guess you might call Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good” a satire of the great life on the road.

I guess Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” fits in the category but I’m not much of a country fan so I don’t know if the lyrics relate to being a traveling singer.  Another song that was in the “Homeward Bound” vein was Jimmy Buffet’s traveling song “Come Monday.”  It was a bit of a change from his other big hits.  Those were a happy an upbeat.  In “Come Monday” you could feel the loneliness of the road and the longing to be home with the one he loved.

That’s my list of songs, have I missed any.  Try to think of ones that I might have missed.


Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Entertaiment, Rock and Roll

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