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updated: 8/15/2011 12:34 PM

Best road trip song ever? You decide

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  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Runnin' Down a Dream" makes our Best Road Trip Song finals.

      Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Runnin' Down a Dream" makes our Best Road Trip Song finals.

  • Open up your car windows and let Debbie Harry blast out "One Way or Another" if the Blondie tune gets your vote for Best Road Trip Song.

      Open up your car windows and let Debbie Harry blast out "One Way or Another" if the Blondie tune gets your vote for Best Road Trip Song.

  • The Muppets' "The Rainbow Connection" makes the finals for Best Road Trip Song.

      The Muppets' "The Rainbow Connection" makes the finals for Best Road Trip Song.

 
 

Voting kicks off today for In Transit's Best Road Trip Song Contest.

About 50 songs were submitted and judges picked nine finalists. Now it's up to you to select a winner.

Send your nomination (only one per person) to mpyke@dailyherald.com with the subject line, "Road trip vote."

Here are the nine finalists with judges' comments.

• "American Pie," Don McLean. If you've got a carload of people, you can't find a much better singalong than this. Love it or hate it, everyone knows the chorus.

• "Born to Be Wild," Steppenwolf. Don't you see Wyatt and Billy on their choppers in the opening scene of "Easy Rider" every time you hear this song? The ultimate road trip.

• "I Get Around," The Beach Boys. Few songs evoke summer driving more powerfully than this hit, which features an interesting chorus-comes-first structure.

• "I Want You to Want Me," Cheap Trick. A propulsive pop gem from Rockford's favorite sons.

• "On the Road Again," Willie Nelson. A reader favorite with five nominations.

• "One Way or Another," Blondie. A rockin' slice of New Wave pop perfect for blasting out open car windows.

• "The Rainbow Connection." Many of our fond road-trip memories are formed in childhood, and this song comes from "The Muppet Movie," which was, for many of a certain age, our first "road movie." The Muppets and, by extension, this song, symbolize everything that is good about being a kid. A vital piece of Americana.

• "Runnin' Down a Dream," Tom Petty. One of the most memorable guitar riffs ever. It's so up-tempo, the drummer has to play the high hat at half time to keep up. Great imagery of a trip to apparently nowhere at a breakneck pace.

• "Take It Easy," The Eagles. A breezy, evocative song that seems tailor-made for an open American highway and a carefree attitude. I'm sure hundreds of fans have taken road trips just to stand on that corner in Winslow, Ariz.

Here's a look at the judges.

Veteran reporter Matt Arado writes about music and the arts for the Time out! section.

Jim Davis, DuPage editor and manager, is a guitar aficionado and frontman for his band, Voices.

Editor, designer and blogger Sean Stangland can sing a mean rendition of Tom Petty's "American Girl" and calls Minneapolis his favorite road-trip destination.

Voting ends Aug. 22.

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