Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Can you help an aspiring writer, currently working on a musical screenplay idea?

I am looking for background music that can be used in conjunction with these forms of transportation: walking, running, car, bus, taxi, ship, airplane, train, hot air balloon, bicycle, motorcycle, spacecraft, horse, and truck (big rig).

Where there are many from which to choose, just take your pick.

Do good and I'll invite you to the world premier!
—Joan Hollis, Los Angeles, Calif.

DEAR JOAN: I'll make sure my tux is back from the cleaners, and wait patiently for your invitation.

Let the journey begin:

Walking: “Walking Along” (Diamonds). I chose this because it is generic walking, without regard to any specific location (i.e., “Walking to New Orleans”), or situation (i.e., “Walking My Baby Back Home”).

Running: I like “Running” (Chubby Checker), but “Running Away” (Sly and the Family Stone) and “Running on Empty” (Jackson Browne) will be easier to find.

Car: “Drive My Car” (Beatles).

Bus: “Bus Rider” (Guess Who), the flip side of the Top 10 hit, “Share the Land.”

Taxi: “Taxi” (Harry Chapin).

Ship: “Ships” (Barry Manilow).

Airplane: For jets, “Jet Airliner” (Steve Miller Band) or “Leavin' on a Jet Plane” (Peter, Paul and Mary). For more generic flight, “Airplane Song” (Royal Guardsmen).

Train: If you don't mind a specific line, “City of New Orleans” (Arlo Guthrie) or “Wabash Cannonball” Many have recorded this but I prefer it by Hank Thompson. For a generic train song, try “Old Train” (John Denver) or “Another Town, Another Train” (Abba).

Hot Air Balloon: Only “Up, Up and Away” will do (Fifth Dimension).

Bicycle: “Rockin' Bicycle” (Fats Domino) or “Pushbike Song” (Mixtures).

Motorcycle: “Motorcycle Mama” (Sailcat), and of course “Born to Be Wild” might be appropriate (Steppenwolf).

Spacecraft: “Destination Moon” (Dinah Washington) is wonderful, if the moon is your destination. Otherwise, lift off with “Rocket Man” (Elton John).

Horse: “A Horse with No Name” (America).

Truck: There are thousands of truck songs, most of which are country, but “Six Days on the Road” (Dave Dudley) and “Truck Drivin' Man” (Glen Campbell or George Hamilton IV) are classics. “Movin' On” (Merle Haggard), the theme song of the TV series, may also fit the bill.

If the driver is a self-described “double-clutchin' weasel who can hardly ever get a girl to look at him,” then you'll want “Girl on the Billboard” (Del Reeves).

You might even consider “Trains and Boats and Planes” (Billy J. Kramer or Dionne Warwick) as a theme of sorts.

DEAR JERRY: Here is an update on the building where the Royal Guardsmen gave musical birth to Snoopy. It is here in Tampa at 2722 S. MacDill Ave, about a mile from my house.

There now is an art gallery, and before I spoke to him, the current owner knew nothing about the building's hit-making history.

Thanks for putting me in contact with Phyllis Crosby, who furnished the directions. Had it not been for your column I never would have known about this!
—Nick DiMaggio, Tampa, Fla.

DEAR NICK: I enjoy learning of connections and discoveries that we inspire.

Thank you for the follow-up report. Now I have one for you.

Barry Winslow, leader of the Royal Guardsmen, just contacted me with what will be welcome news for their fans: the group is reuniting for a 2005 tour.

Dates and venues are not yet known, but this ambitious tour will run from May through October.

IZ ZAT SO? Songs about trucks, and those who drive them, didn't really become a genre until the early 1960s. Two important hits fueled mainstream interest in the diesel rigs: “I've Been Everywhere” (Hank Snow, 1962) and “Six Days on the Road” (Dave Dudley, 1963).

However, two others are credited with getting the ball rolling.

The earliest truck driving song we know is “Wreck on the Mountain Road,” by Guy Brooks and the Red Fox Chasers, a 1928 release.

Guy Brooks' truck tragedy tale didn't become popular, but in 1939, Cliff Bruner's “Truck Driver's Blues” certainly did. It sold about 100,000 copies and is generally regarded as the first truck driving hit.

The writer of “Truck Driver's Blues” is the late and prolific Ted Daffan.

Here is just a sampling of other famous Daffan compositions, each of which is a BMI Award Winning Song: “Born to Lose; Headin' Down the Wrong Highway; I'm a Fool to Care; I'm Losing My Mind Over You; I've Got Five Dollars and It's Saturday Night; Tangled Mind;” and “The Last Ride.”

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page