Get Your Kicks: The Famous Route 66 Song

One of the most popular road songs ever written, and a prime force behind the international popularity of Route 66, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” was penned by jazz musician Bobby Troup in 1946 while he was driving west to seek fame and fortune in Los Angeles. Troup consistently credited his former wife Cynthia, with whom he was traveling, for the half dozen words of the title and refrain.

Lyrics to “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”

If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, that’s the highway that’s the best
Get your kicks on Route 66.
It winds from Chicago to L.A.
More than 2,000 miles all the way
Get your kicks on Route 66
Now you go through St. Looey, Joplin, Missouri
And Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.
You’ll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona, don’t forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.
Won’t you get hip to this timely tip:
When you make that California trip
Get your kicks on Route 66.
Get your kicks on Route 66.
—Bobby Troup

The rest of the Route 66 song simply rattled off the rhyming place-names along the way, but despite its apparent simplicity, it caught the ear of Nat King Cole, who made it into a hit record and also established the pronunciation as “root” rather than “rout,” as repeated in later renditions by everyone from Bob Wills to the Rolling Stones.

If you haven’t heard the song for a while, there’s a jazzy version by Bobby Troup himself, along with some lively Route 66-related songs, on the compilation CD, The Songs of Route 66—Music from the All-American Highway, available at souvenir stores en route. Brush up on all the named locales, including Winona, with our guide to Route 66.

The Songs of Route 66: Music from the All-American Highway

To get your kicks immediately, have a listen to these various renditions:

Classic and Contemporary Renditions of Get Your Kicks on Route 66

Bobby Troup

Nat King Cole

Glenn Frey

Asleep At The Wheel

The Manhattan Transfer

Related Route 66 Travel Guides

Prep your playlist, pack the car, and hit the road with these related guides for Route 66. If you’re only interested in this famous trip and not all eleven cross-country drives, you can skip the big Road Trip USA guide and get the more compact Road Trip USA: Route 66!