“Chuggin on Down 66” an early example of a Route 66 song

Here’s a Route 66 song that escaped my notice for many years — until recently.

Country music artist Smiley Burnette in 1954 recorded and released “Chuggin on Down 66” on the Abbott label. Some attribute it also being on the London label, probably for the European market.

Near the end of the song, Burnette name-checks a bunch of Route 66 towns from east to west — Chicago, St. Louis, Springfield, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Tucumcari, Albuquerque, Winslow, Flagstaff, Barstow and Los Angeles.

According to this website, “Chuggin on Down 66” was a B-side to the single “Mucho Gusto.” Burnette was credited with writing the Route 66 tune.

Burnette, who was quite a musician, earned most of his fame as a comedic actor in western radio shows and films, including CBS-TV’s “Petticoat Junction.”

He died in 1967 at age 56 of leukemia.

Other than the hugely popular “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66,” which first was recorded in 1946, I’m hard-pressed to think of another Route 66 song that far back.

A bunch of new Route 66 songs didn’t get recorded until the 1960s when Dave Dudley’s major hit “Six Days on the Road” spawned years of truck-driving songs.

(Image of Smiley Burnette via Wikipedia)

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