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Help me make a CD about driving off into the West
October 6, 2012 8:35 PM   Subscribe

What are some songs about escaping or getting away (specifically to California)?

I am making a mixed CD about the aforementioned - what are some great songs? The theme needs to be about leaving off for Cali - whether it's a couple sneaking out in the middle of the night so no one knows or tales of the epic sun and surf that beckons, please help me make the perfect mixtape. The genre I'm looking for is anything from 60's-70's surfpop to 2000s indie to Joy Division or the Beatles and lots (but not *completely* all) inbetween. Ideally the theme would be primarily about two people escaping together to California and how amazing it is.
posted by jitterbug perfume to Media & Arts (59 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Going to California, Led Zeppelin?
posted by kcm at 8:36 PM on October 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


California Dreamin'-The Mamas and the Papas.
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:38 PM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Joni Mitchell - California
L.L. Cool J - Going Back to Cali
posted by mynameisluka at 8:39 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia's List of Songs About California page might help.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:42 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Ramones - "California Sun"
posted by Egg Shen at 8:49 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey Ocean! A Song about California
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 8:52 PM on October 6, 2012


All Girl Summer Fun Band – "Down South, 10 Hours, I-5"
Luna - "California (All the Way)"
posted by TheCavorter at 9:02 PM on October 6, 2012


Jill Sobule's "San Francisco" is an especially poignant one.
posted by hermitosis at 9:02 PM on October 6, 2012


The Ramones - "California Sun"

Which was, of course, a cover of the Rivieras' 1964 hit.
posted by trip and a half at 9:04 PM on October 6, 2012


Kendrick Lamar & Dre Dre - The Recipe.
posted by cashman at 9:04 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Paper Tongues - Ride to California.
posted by instead of three wishes at 9:09 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Santa Monica by Everclear is always one of my faves.
posted by bpm140 at 9:14 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


It goes from Chicago to LA: Get your kicks on Route 66.
posted by amtho at 9:15 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, now that I read your final detail, Santa Monica is probably not an awesome choice ;)
posted by bpm140 at 9:16 PM on October 6, 2012


Phantom Planet - California
posted by downing street memo at 9:17 PM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wave - California
posted by pised at 9:17 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. You know, if you're into that. :-)
posted by exceptinsects at 9:23 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wilco/Billy Bragg California Stars
posted by sweetkid at 9:24 PM on October 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


"San Francisco (Flowers in Your Hair)" - Scott McKenzie
posted by scratch at 9:26 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Webb Pierce: California Blues.
posted by PHINC at 9:27 PM on October 6, 2012


The Beach Boys - California Saga (on my way to sunny Californ-I-A)
posted by Room 641-A at 9:31 PM on October 6, 2012


California, Here I Come
posted by Ideefixe at 9:36 PM on October 6, 2012


In a kind of fucked-up way: Los Angeles I'm Yours, by The Decemberists. One of my favorites when I visit!
posted by joan_holloway at 9:40 PM on October 6, 2012


Carole King - Back to California
posted by Room 641-A at 9:57 PM on October 6, 2012


I prefer Bobby Womack's version of California Dreamin'.
posted by dobbs at 10:01 PM on October 6, 2012


Jimmie Rodgers' "California Blues" and another version of it by John Fogerty.
posted by Lynsey at 10:07 PM on October 6, 2012


"Go West" -- The Village People / Pet Shop Boys
posted by neroli at 10:22 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a decade long standing joke with some friends of mine. I think every band in California has a song about California. Also most other bands in the world. And most of them are titled California! Here's some more in addition to the excellent suggestions above.

RHCP Under the Bridge
Pink Gone to California
Lucero California.
Delta Spirit California
Peace, California Daze, kind of anyway.
Radical Something: California, ok not a great song but it's exactly about going to CA.
Metro Station, California
Matt Kearney NY to CA.
Hot Chelle Rae, Come back to CA
Woody Guthrie California Stars
Plain White Tx Meet me in CA
Hawk Nelson
Hell, even Kenny Chesney has a song about moving to California.

And then there's this one.
posted by fshgrl at 10:32 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


This song includes no references to California at all. But when I think of where the people in this song are escaping to, that's the place I picture: Fastball - The Way

I'm sure that I am biased in my extreme positive feelings towards this song, which is a one-hit wonder from the '90's. But it was in heavy radio rotation during the first summer I ever had a romance with a boy, who I had my first slow-dance with and *almost* kissed. So, I associate it with the beginnings of exploration and taking those first few steps through a doorway to a new, totally uncharted phase of life.
posted by cairdeas at 10:48 PM on October 6, 2012


A lot of excellent choices here, but nobody has yet mentioned what I think is the crucial song for such a CD (and what was the most important song on mine when I made it): When I Leave for California, by William Water & Co.
posted by willbaude at 10:50 PM on October 6, 2012


I just learned that Dr. Dog's California (lyrics) is about one of the band members' brother getting married in California!

We’re sitting on a real celebration
Thank heavens what a fine situation
Shoot the cannon blow the horn
Love is born in California.

posted by yaymukund at 11:20 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jack's Mannequin's Everything In Transit album.
posted by ichomp at 11:25 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jo Dee Mesina - Heads Carolina, Tails California
posted by themanwho at 11:25 PM on October 6, 2012


X's Los Angeles
The complete version of White Christmas.
posted by brujita at 11:31 PM on October 6, 2012


You'll need a little California Love for your trip...
posted by mannequito at 11:40 PM on October 6, 2012


Frank Black - Los Angeles
posted by prinado at 11:47 PM on October 6, 2012


matthew sweet: come to california
posted by koroshiya at 12:14 AM on October 7, 2012


Hot diggedy, I can actually add the fine Beth Hart to the mix. And she sing about Leaving LA
posted by watercarrier at 12:55 AM on October 7, 2012


The Irish hornpipe called Off to California is from a much older era - and is probably about emigrating there - but there was a big folk revival in the time period you are talking about - so it might be appropriate: here are Annie and Mac giving it a go.

Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do" and "Soak up the Sun" are a couple of other proposals.
posted by rongorongo at 1:59 AM on October 7, 2012


Probably not ideal for the desired context (it's an upbeat murder ballad), but there's Lyle Lovett's L.A. County.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:11 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Mamas and the Papas' Twelve Thirty is about a successful (for the moment) escape to California. That and I just like it better than California Dreamin'.

As usual, avoid the YouTube comments.
posted by Currer Belfry at 5:24 AM on October 7, 2012


Eagles of the Death metal - San Berdoo Sunburn
posted by misteraitch at 6:06 AM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tape From California by Phil Ochs might fit the bill. Though, honestly, I'm more partial to the cover by Squirrel Bait.
posted by Consonants Without Vowels at 6:24 AM on October 7, 2012


Also (in case you like dogs).
posted by trip and a half at 6:50 AM on October 7, 2012


Pearl Jam - Santa Cruz
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 7:03 AM on October 7, 2012


West Coast Friendship - Owl City (skip it if you hate auto-tune, are an adult who would be easily embarrassed listening to tween tunes or hate things that are Postal Service rip-offs ... LOL)
posted by kuppajava at 7:28 AM on October 7, 2012


Dirty Gold - California Sunrise
posted by micwish at 8:10 AM on October 7, 2012


Grateful Dead - Estimated Prophet
posted by gnutron at 8:18 AM on October 7, 2012


How could I forget one of my favorite tracks of recent years?

West Coast be Coconut Records (which is really just Jason Schwartzman [mind doubly blown]).

And i miss you
I’m going back home to the west coast
I wish you woulda put yourself in my suitcase
I love you
Standin all alone in a black coat
I miss you
I’m going back home to the west coast


I don't care if this isn't about two people moving to California together. It deserves to be on every mixtape, period :)
posted by bpm140 at 8:29 AM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I marked the ones I already had on my list as favorites, I will mark best answers later when I get through all of them. These are all great, please if anyone has more, keep em coming!

And to exceptinsects: I had only considered, of Katy Perry's songs, "California Gurls" which I... am not a fan of, but Teenage Dream is a perfect one for this mix (a deliberately diverse mix)! Katy Perry was actually specifically requested but I only thought of the aforementioned song - big thanks!
posted by jitterbug perfume at 8:43 AM on October 7, 2012


John Mayall California

Woody Guthrie California Stars
There must be more Woody Guthrie songs about going to California. I think Pasture of Plenty fits.

Fun fact: the Robert Johnson song/blues standard "Sweet Home Chicago" might actually be about a place in California. Although it probably wouldn't fit with the mix...
posted by Erberus at 9:32 AM on October 7, 2012


Jojo left his home in Tucson Arizona ...
posted by canoehead at 10:01 AM on October 7, 2012


Somewhat tangential, maybe: Paradise City by Guns N' Roses
posted by Anything at 10:09 AM on October 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Surprised there hasn't been any Best Coast yet! How about The Only Place? All their music has a heavy California vibe.
posted by Concordia at 11:19 AM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Beulah -- Gene Autry
Lyrics
Video
posted by extramundane at 12:53 PM on October 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


America - Everyone I Meet is from California
(the original is better, but doesn't seem to be on YT)
posted by Bron at 5:23 PM on October 7, 2012


Oh..Chuck Berry Promised Land

I left my home in Norfolk Virginia
California on my mind
Straddled that Greyhound, rode him into Raleigh
On across Caroline.

Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia,
Tidewater four ten O nine
Tell the folks back home this is the promised land callin'
And the poor boy's on the line.
posted by PaulBGoode at 9:49 PM on October 7, 2012


Aberdeen - Sunny In California. Lyrics.

Low - California. Lyrics.

Vanessa Carlton - San Francisco.

Red House Painters - Cruiser.
Lyrics.

Steely Dan - Babylon Sisters.

The Dollyrots - California.

And although Gomez do have a song called "California", I think Tijuana Lady captures the mood and spirit of California much better. Lyrics.

Sounds like your cd is gonna be a fun listen! Update us, if you have chance, and let us know your final tracklist.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 3:01 PM on October 11, 2012


Oh, I can't believe I almost forgot about this one - Another White Dash

This song was on repeat in my head on a road trip that I was taking a very long time ago with someone I was deliriously in love with on our way to start a life together... and then years later when I moved out of the home we shared, and was driving away with my dog.
posted by cairdeas at 9:31 PM on October 11, 2012


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