On Monday night’s Zocalo event, the topic of buses vs. rail came up. After I explained how the two modes of transit should work together to speed mobility, moderator and Train author Tom Zoellner commented (somewhat jokingly) that “no one ever wrote a song about a bus though.”
This is a subject Tom has some expertise in. In his book, he describes how the romantic nature of train technology has inspired many musicians. From Gershwin finding the beat to “Rhapsody in Blue” on a train to “Midnight Train to Georgia” (originally “Midnight Plane to Houston”!) to 2 Live Crew, trains figure repeatedly in our musical hits. There’s even a rock band called Train.
But after the event, Tom and I realized there are in fact some songs about buses, although admittedly they lack the romanticism of train-based tunes. In fact, most of them seem to be about tour buses. Examples include Turn The Page by Bob Seger, Philosopher’s Stone by Van Morrison (video above), and “Stay” by Jackson Browne. Bon Jovi famously called his tour bus the “steel horse I ride” in Wanted Dead or Alive.
Are we missing any others? I would love to hear other nominees.