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Music To Drive By

The summer is slipping by at a breakneck pace, but there's still time for you to take a road trip and reconnect with some of your favorite music. We're compiling our favorite kinds of music to drive by here. Tell us your favorite driving songs and why.

I still remember the first time I was pulled over by the police. I had bought my first car stereo, a cassette deck with auto reverse, and I was in heaven. I installed it myself, and that's when the trouble began. If I made a sharp turn, the deck would slide, and if I made an abrupt stop, there was a chance it would fall down the dashboard hole in which it sat.

The idea that we can choose the music we want to hear while we drive was born in my generation. Before that, you were a slave to the DJ. Sure, surprises were nice, but putting on your own music just made driving so much better.

So I was ending my day: 8 a.m. classes in college that ended around noon, then on to work at the record store (Waxie Maxies in Rockville, Md.) and home at 9:30. I didn't have many cassettes at the time — a few homemade ones, that sort of thing — but I remember Bayou Country by Creedence Clearwater Revival. I had made a sharp turn, probably going a bit too fast, pumped up by the rhythm.

I was trying to fix the deck that had slid out of its place, and then the 7:43 version of "Keep on Chooglin'" came on. I was duplicating the beat on my steering wheel — steering wheels were better suited for thumping before the advent of the airbag. And then it happened: In the dark of a summer night, I saw the lights. I turned off the music, pulled over, pulled out my license and waited. I told the officer that I was distracted by the music, and that I was sorry. He let me go. I drove home in silence.

All summer, we've been posting lists of great driving music: songs for speeding, songs for driving at night, songs for your Heavy Metal Road Trip, that sort of thing. As summer winds down, so is our Road Trip: Songs To Drive By series, but we'd like to close it out with some selections and stories from readers. What's your driving song? And why?