(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66

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"(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66"
Sheet music cover with the King Cole Trio
Single by the King Cole Trio
B-side"Everyone Is Sayin' Hello Again (Why Must We Say Goodbye)"
ReleasedApril 22, 1946 (1946-04-22)
StudioRadio Recorders, Los Angeles
GenreRhythm and blues
Songwriter(s)Bobby Troup

"(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" is a popular rhythm and blues song, composed in 1946 by American songwriter Bobby Troup. The lyrics follow the path of U.S. Route 66 (US 66), which traversed the western two-thirds of the U.S. from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California. The song became a standard, with several renditions appearing on the record charts.


Bobby Troup got the idea for the song on a cross-country drive from Pennsylvania to California. Troup wanted to try his hand as a Hollywood songwriter, so he and his wife, Cynthia, packed up their 1941 Buick and headed west. The trip began on US 40 and continued along US 66 to the California coast. Troup initially considered writing a tune about US 40, but Cynthia suggested the title "Get Your Kicks on Route 66". The song was composed on the ten-day journey and completed by referring to maps when the couple arrived in Los Angeles.[1]


The lyrics read as a mini-travelogue about the major stops along the route, listing several cities and towns through which Route 66 passes: St. Louis, Missouri; Joplin, Missouri; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Amarillo, Texas; Gallup, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona; Winona, Arizona; Kingman, Arizona; Barstow, California; and San Bernardino, California. Winona is the only town out of sequence: it was a very small settlement east of Flagstaff and might indeed have been forgotten if not for the lyric "Don't forget Winona", written to rhyme with "Flagstaff, Arizona".[citation needed]

Many artists who have covered the tune over the years have changed the initial lyrics, usually to "It goes to St. Louis, down through Missouri ..." then continuing with Oklahoma City and so on. Of the eight states through which the actual route passes, only Kansas and its cities are not mentioned (US 66 only passes eleven miles (18 km) inside the state's southeast corner).

Nat King Cole original version[edit]

Location of U.S. Route 66

Nat King Cole, with the King Cole Trio, first recorded the song in 1946 at Radio Recorders in Los Angeles. Capitol Records released it as a single, which reached number three on Billboard magazine's Race Records chart and number eleven on its broader singles chart.[2] Cole later re-recorded the tune for the album After Midnight (1956) and The Nat King Cole Story (1961).

Other recorded renditions[edit]

The song has become a standard and has been recorded by numerous artists:[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kelly, Susan Croce (1990). Route 66: The Highway and Its People. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 148–149. ISBN 978-0806122915.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Record Research. p. 94. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
  3. ^ a b c d Unterberger, Richie. "The Rolling Stones: 'Route 66' – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890–1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 113. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955-2012. Record Research. p. 532.
  6. ^ "Grammy Awards Results for Manhattan Transfer". Grammy.com. 1982. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  7. ^ "Original Soundtrack: Sharky's Machine – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  8. ^ de Lisle, Tim (August 25, 2006). "Drive-Time Blues". Theguardian.com. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  9. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Self-published. p. 88. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research. p. 234. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.
  11. ^ Phares, Heather. "Cars [Original Soundtrack] – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  12. ^ "Grammy Award Results for John Mayer". Grammy.com. Retrieved January 9, 2020.

External links[edit]