Bachman Turner Overdrive – Roll On Down the Highway

I’ve always liked the guitar riff in this song.

This Canadian’s band name is a combination of the members’ last names and Overdrive, the trucker magazine. It’s been said that Randy and Frank were sitting around a table at a Husky Restaurant (which is a big “Truck Stop” chain in Canada) and they were trying to think of a name for the band. Randy was reading the magazine and said as a joke, “We should name ourselves Overdrive.”

Randy Bachman and Fred Turner would often give themselves assignments as motivation to write songs, often writing something in the style of a current hit. This song evolved out of something they wrote for a Ford commercial. In our interview with Randy Bachman, he explained:

The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #4 in Canada, and #22 in the UK in 1975.

Randy Bachman“It’s like getting an assignment: write a new commercial for Ford and you’ll get paid $100,000. Well, I’d sit down and I’d write a commercial for Ford, ‘let it roll down the highway.’ Ford never picks it up and I have a song called ‘Roll On Down the Highway.'”

Roll On Down The Highway

We rented a truck and a semi to go
Travel down the long and the winding road
Look on the map, I think we’ve been there before
Close up the doors, let’s roll once more

Cop’s on the corner, look he’s starting to write
Well, I don’t need no ticket so I screamed out of sight
Drove so fast that my eyes can’t see
Look in the mirror, is he still following me?

Let it roll down the highway
Let it roll down the highway
Roll, roll

Look at the sign, we’re in the wrong place
Move out boys and let’s get ready to race
Four fifty-four’s coming over the hill
The man on patrol is gonna give us a bill

The time’s real short, you know the distance is long
I’d like to have a jet but it’s not in the song
Climb back in the cab, cross your fingers for luck
We gotta keep moving if we’re going to make a buck

Let it roll down the highway
Let it roll down the highway

Let it roll
Let it roll
Let it roll
Let it roll

Let it roll down the highway
Let it roll down the highway
Roll, roll, roll

Down the highway
Let it roll down the highway
Roll, roll, roll

Let it roll down the highway
Let it roll down the highway
Roll, roll, roll


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

27 thoughts on “Bachman Turner Overdrive – Roll On Down the Highway”

  1. Bachman has come up with some pretty cool riffs over the years.
    Randy released a solo album called Any Road back in 93. It’s quite good and features Neil Young on a tune called Prairie Town which on the album features both an electric and acoustic version
    Great song and Randy name drops Thunder Bay what’s not to love

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I checked it out… Neil Young has one of the nastiest tones on guitar ever. Sounds great and Randy sounded like…Randy. Good song man.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What astounds me is when I occasionally tune in an oldies station on the car radio and they are still overplaying the songs from my youth. It’s like, move along! Choose some new ones to overplay. I still think it’s about residuals/royalties, don’t you?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It almost has to be I think sometimes. Maybe the record company is pushing certain ones where they have a good deal on. I think over exposure can hurt the classic artists.
        Most bands have other minor hits that are better or great B sides…but nope.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes and no. I guess it could be a bit of a double-edged sword if the radio only keeps playing certain songs by a band. People could get tired of the tunes; some could also wrongly assume these two or three songs is all that band ever really did.

    On the other hand, getting more radio play means more royalties and helps pay the bills!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know…yea it’s a ying yang thing. It probably draws the people to see you if they can stomach the song. The one to me that was really overplayed was Taking Care of Business…They do have some more that you dont’ hear much like “Let It Ride” and a few more.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: