By car this summer? Need a playlist for the long way to go? We’ve searched thousands of tapes, CDs, and 8-track records to find Cincinnati-centric driving songs for you to sing along to wherever you go.
1. “Go to town” – The Afghan Whigs (1996): The perfect driving song of the 90s band from Cincinnati. Greg Dulli makes sense with dark lyrics. “Take your coat and go outside / I want to take you for a walk …”
2. “Shut up and dance” – Walk the Moon (2014): The Cincinnati band’s’ 80s-style rocker was the song of the day in 2014. It was played everywhere – in schools, at parties, even at the 2015 MLB All-Star Game at the Great American Ball Park.
3. “Mambo Italiano” – Rosemary Clooney (1954): Augusta, Kentucky’s own Rosemary Clooney, was the first to record this rhythmic hit with the Mellomen. The lyrics might be an insane mix of Italian and Spanish, but Rosie sings them enthusiastically.
4. “Scream” – The Isley Brothers (1959): Lincoln Heights’ O’Kelly brothers, Rudolph and Ronald Isley have recorded numerous hit records over six decades, starting with this energetic song. The call and the answer and the accumulation of calls for each of us to sing âa little louder nowâ makes us want to scream.
5. “Hey Leonardo (She loves me for me)” – Blessid Union of Souls (1999): The Cincinnati alternative group scored a Hot 100 hit with this anthem which names Leonardo DiCaprio and model Tyson Beckford among other celebrities of the 90s.
6. “South of Cincinnati” – Dwight Yoakam (1986): Yoakam was born in Pikeville, Kentucky, but grew up in Columbus and became familiar with Queen’s Town by commuting along Highways 71 and 75. He told The Enquirer in 1986 that he arrived at the corner of the street in the hill and seeing the city was his inspiration for this sincere walk.
7. “There is an End” – The Greenhornes with Holly Golightly (2002): The Greenhornes of Dearborn County, Indiana brought in singer Golightly for this 1960s-style song that was used as the theme for the 2005 movie âBroken Flowersâ ââwith Bill Murray.
8. “Daddy has a brand new bag” – James Brown (1965): The Godfather of Soul recorded this song for the famous King Records label of Cincinnati. Brown’s ânew bagâ was funk, his signature groove emphasizing the downbeat, which he introduced in this issue – a defining moment in R&B history.
9. “Hoochie Coochie Man” – The Allman Brothers group (1970): The Allman Brothers covered this Willie Dixon tune in one of their favorite venues, the legendary Ludlow Garage in Clifton. Duane Allman’s gentle guitar work is reminiscent of what was lost with his untimely death in 1971. “Live at Ludlow Garage: 1970” was finally released in 1990.
10. “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever it will be)” – Doris Day (1956): The Cincinnati-born star first performed the catchy tune in Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Man Who Knew Too Much”. It became her signature song, which she sang in several other shows.
11. “Lovesick Blues” – Hank Williams (1949): The country music legend recorded the song that made him a star during a session at Herzog Studios on Race Street in Cincinnati.
12. “The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” – Andy Williams (1971): The Cheviot crooner performed this catchy and inspiring song from the musical “Man of La Mancha” which was used in a memorable Honda commercial featuring race cars, motorcycles and boats.
13. “Baby, I Love Your Way (Live)” – Peter Frampton (1976): The British rocker and former Indian Hill resident hit the nail on the head with this love ballad from his “Frampton Comes Alive!” album.
14. “The Ghost of Cincinnati” – Big Red Machine (2021): Can you have more Cincinnati than this name? Aaron Dessner of The National and Justin Vernon just released the single, with a bunch of Queen City references, from their upcoming album. Dessner had no intention of including his ode to his hometown, but was invited to do so by his frequent collaborator Taylor Swift.
15. “Good Rockin ‘Tonight” – Wynonie Harris (1948): Harris’ cover of this jump blues number on Syd Nathan’s King Records is in the running for rock ‘n’ roll debut record.
16. “Heat it up” – 98 degrees (1998): Nick Lachey and the Cincinnati boy band turned up the heat with their groundbreaking album “98 Degrees and Rising”.
17. “Ailerons” – Jimmy Buffett (1979): Cincinnati’s “Parrot Heads” have a unique attachment to the voice of island life. This song reciprocates: “She came down from Cincinnati …”
18. “Green Tambourine” – The lemon bagpipers (1967): Oxford’s psychedelic ’60s band was a marvel with this contagious track.
19. “Hey Jude (Live)” – Paul McCartney (1990): It’s hard not to sing the classic Beatles song, with its endless chorus âna-naâ. McCartney gets the whole crowd involved in his live shows. The track from the tour album “Tripping the Live Fantastic” was recorded at the Riverfront Stadium concert on February 12, 1990.
20. âThe Power of Oneâ – Bootsy Collins (2020): The indelible funkmaster General completed his last album from his home recording studio “Boot-Cave” during his forties. He didn’t miss a thing; Jazz guitarist George Benson, who featured on the title track, didn’t either.
So, buckle up and go.