Route 66 — there’s probably no other road about which more books have been written, more songs sung, and more movies made. Cult works like Easy Rider have made this legendary highway the epitome of freedom and adventure.
Route 24, on the other hand, is much less known and glamorous — and that despite the fact that the Dire Straits created a musical monument to a section of this highway: Telegraph Road.
As I was writing this piece, I asked myself: Can you write in a column titled “Car-aoke” about a song in which cars only get a passing mention? I think: yes, you can. Actually, you must. Because in this case, the road plays the lead role. And let’s be honest: Without streets and roads, the breakthrough and subsequent success of the car would have been — literally — a much more bumpy ride. They blaze the trails for mobility. And that's not all: They’re the lifelines of our society.
And that’s exactly what Mark Knopfler was writing about in Telegraph Road: A mud track in the wilderness becomes the nucleus of a nameless city. Everything begins with a single hut by the side of the path. More settlers move there, and finally are followed by shops, churches and schools. The mud track symbolizes the economic rise — it’s built up into a six-lane, traffic-choked highway.