Tom Cochrane – Life Is A Highway

I remembered Cochrane from Red Rider and their hit Lunatic Fringe. “Life Is a Highway” is a song by Canadian-native Tom Cochrane. It is his only US Top-40 hit, reaching #6 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in Canada in 1992. Cochrane is a celebrated artist within the Canadian music scene. His honors include seven Juno Awards, membership in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, being an Honorary Colonel in the Canadian Air Force, and having been inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame.

 

From Songfacts
Cochrane was also the frontman and chief songwriter for the group Red Rider for ten years and hit a few times with that group as well. Their best-known song in America is “Lunatic Fringe.”

This song was inspired by Cochrane’s trip to West Africa, where he was gaining exposure for the World Vision famine relief organization. He recalled to Jam! Music: “When I wrote that song after my first trip to Africa, which was just mind bending and soul-sapping, I was mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted and I really needed something to pull me out of this funk. I had this sketch that I had written and I ended up going into the studio and recorded it in an hour at seven in the morning.”

“The irony is that it was the most positive song I’d ever written, coming out of a pretty heavy experience. I needed a pep talk, and it became that for me and for millions of others.”

Cochrane devotes a great deal of his time to activism and causes, blending them together with his music, similar to artists such as Neil Young.

Since 1992, this song has had a near-continuous popularity thanks to heavy use in commercials. These include one for Cleveland, Ohio-based bank National City Corp and one for the NBC TV series VIPER. Before you say “car commercials,” that was different versions by other artists. It was most recently covered by Rascal Flatts who also got it to #7 on the Hot 100.

Rascal Flatts recorded a more kid-friendly version for the 2006 Disney movie Cars. The original version was used in the movies Cheaper by the Dozen and There Goes the Neighborhood.

Life Is A Highway

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There’s a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where the brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won’t hesitate break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Through all these cities and all these towns
It’s in my blood and it’s all around
I love you now like I loved you then
This is the road and these are the hands
From Mozambique to those Memphis nights
The Khyber pass to Vancouver’s lights
Knock me down get back up again
You’re in my blood I’m not a lonely man

There’s no load I can’t hold
Road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Just tell ’em we’re survivors

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

There was a distance between you and I
A misunderstanding once but now
We look it in the eye

There ain’t no load I can’t hold
Road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Just tell ’em we’re survivors

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

17 thoughts on “Tom Cochrane – Life Is A Highway”

  1. Hmm link not working. I do find I usually have to put your songs in Spotify to listen. Wonder if others have that problem or if it’s just or respective countries. Muky often can’t play my videos and we’re on the same ip address!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good song! I prefer his work in red rider, but their success even up in Canada (where I was at the time) was much more marginal than his solo career. that said, he put out a number of good records on his own and like you suggest, is well-loved in the Great white North. I’m surprised at how many Americans are surprised to find this is the original version…many only seem to have heard the Rascal Flatts record.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. yep, that’s a good song… might want to check out “White Hot” by Red Rider… I love that song, it was a hit in canada but don’t think I’ve met an American who knows it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I will check it out Dave. The reason Lunatic Fringe stuck in my mind was that guitar and of course Lennon.

        Like

  3. I was familiar with the original. I have never been a fan of Rascal Flatts (I worked in country radio during their hayday – to me, 99% of their songs sound the same). My kids loved the Cars movie, so their version was played a lot….which burned me out on it. Now, when I hear the original, all I can think of is the Rascal Flatts version ….URGH!

    Liked by 1 person

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