State to decide on Roadrunner by Jonathan Richman as state rock song

Massachusetts in love with the modern world

14.02.2013 - 09:21

The US State of Massachusetts is to decide on making Jonathan Richman's classic song, Roadrunner, the official rock song of the state.

The motion was tabled on Valentine's Day, appropriately as Richman's band is called The Modern Lovers.

The initiative came from local resident Joyce Linehan, former manager of the group, The Lemonheads, who made a facebook post saying, "I am putting together language to submit to petition the state legislature via Rep. Marty Walsh to make ‘Roadrunner’ the official rock song of the Commonwealth."

She approached Walsh, "I asked him and he laughed and said, ‘Sure, whatever you want.’ ”

Once the bill has been drafted, it will go to committee hearings and then be debated in the House, prior to a vote.

There are songs already recognised by the state, including Arlo Guthrie’s 'Massachusetts' which is the official folk song of the state.

Richman wrote the song in 1970 and has recorded several different versions over the years, but it was in 1976, when the second version, Roadrunner (Twice) became a hit.

Richman hails from Massachusetts and the song is a quirky and optimistic homage to the state including lyrics like, 'I'm in love with Massachusetts And the neon when it's cold outside'.

Linehan has already found statements in support of the proposal, including, "'Roadrunner' communicates its unbridled, unapologetic exuberance about youth, freedom and Massachusetts essentially and economically using just two chords," and the brilliantly simple explanation, "'Roadrunner' contains one of the most brilliant lyrics ever: “going faster miles an hour.”

A public hearing is expected in April or May.

Here's a rare film of Richman performing the song in 1998 at Joey Ramone's birthday party: