Being a geography geek by upbringing, more comfortable with National Geographic than The National Enquirer, I’m always pleased to hear rock songs mention world locations.
The Beatles, for example, referenced the Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia decades before their independence in 1968’s “Back in the U.S.S.R.” Toto’s “Africa” gives a nod to both Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti Plain of Kenya and Tanzania.
This week, one of the CDs in my car was Probot, the metal side project of the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl. I heard a wonderfully obscure geographical reference in the song on the album featuring guest vocalist Max Cavalera of Sepultura, “Red War:”
The sign of the cross I carry into war
The Khyber Pass where no one rests
To the best of my music memory, this is only the second song to mention the strategic mountain pass between what is now Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan.
The first song is a veritable bounty of world-geek references. Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway” blesses us with this atlas-hugger’s dream line:
From Mozambique to those Memphis nights
The Khyber Pass to Vancouver’s lights
Beat that, National Geographic.
Speaking of music and world locations…
(1) I’ll be leaving the country late tomorrow for a week at the edge of civilization—a place I fear going to lest I lose touch with my personal safety and sanity.
Yes, I’m going to France.
Although I’ll miss the opportunity to react to your comments here, I’m looking forward to seeing your words upon my return—when I’ll surely post something about my trip to the Old World.
(2) I’ve recently joined some gifted music critics on the Whole Lotta Album Covers site as a fellow contributor.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve posted there my musings on the covers of Skid Row’s Slave to the Grind and Rush’s Vapor Trails. Ray, Mark, Chuck, and Bob have recently shared their thoughts about album covers by artists ranging from Robert Johnson to Battleroar, from Tom Waits to Chainsaw.
Check out the site while I’m gone. You won’t regret it.