Melly LeBaron’s Indiana Song
By Melly LeBaron
We all have our favorite rock and roll songs. Some tunes become magnets, pulling us back to our past. Jammin’ songs make life downright bearable – sure, your moment of revelation from listening to a gritty rock and roll song may not last forever, but at least you’ll remember a great time before any crap can hit the ceiling fan.
My ultimate traveling song for driving down a lone highway is Golden Earring’s “Radar Love.” Barry Hay captures the magic and lure of being out on the road, one hand on the wheel, the other sailing out the window.
“No more speed, I’m almost there / Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care / last car to pass, here I go / and the line of cars drove down real slow …”
I was bored out of my mind growing up in Indiana. One day, my boss assigned me to clean a chunky white bus with a guy I didn’t know. Plugging the ignition key into the keyhole, my right hand rotated the dial through the different radio stations. It was then I heard the pulsating guitar riffs of “Radar Love” and immediately stopped.
Turning up the volume, I sporadically jerked my head around in a crazy attempt to match the beat. Though I am usually a quiet person with strange people, I had no choice but to let go of my sanity with this bluesy rock and roll tune. Surprisingly, Daniel Rader (the staff guy I barely knew), began to wildly play the air guitar along with the music.
“And the radio played that forgotten song …”
During spring break last year, I returned to northern Indiana. My friend Jeff Russ flipped his car stereo on as he drove me through South Bend, my childhood town. Almost as if on cue, Hay sang again of how the road has him hypnotized. Singing along, Russ drummed his fingers on his steering wheel and I let the song wash over me.
Third time’s a charm, right?
This past summer, Russ and I were visiting Bloomington, Indiana, for the day. The thought about how ironic it would be to hear Golden Earring again did occur to me, but I harbored my usual doubts. I didn’t bother to cross my fingers, and thought nothing more of it.
Until, of course, I heard the beginning of my treasured tune on the car stereo. Russ turned it up a few notches, and I again marveled at the timelessness of this classic.
Next time I visit the Hoosier state, I wonder if my Indiana song will hit the airwaves. Or if I’ll meet another lifelong friend by bonding on a great rock and roll song. VS