Song of the Day Apr 2

April 2, 2024

This month I’m focusing on One Hit Wonders of the 90s.

Today our song is:  Life Is a Highway

Wikipedia tells us this about the song:

"Life Is a Highway" is a song by Canadian musician Tom Cochrane from his second studio album, Mad Mad World (1991). The song became a number-one hit in Canada in late 1991. "Life Is a Highway" also peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in August 1992 and reached the top three in Australia and New Zealand the same year. The song was covered by Chris LeDoux for his 1998 album One Road Man and Rascal Flatts for the Cars soundtrack. 

Cochrane has stated that "Life Is a Highway" was originally conceived in the 1980s as "Love is a Highway" while he was still a member of Red Rider, but was shelved at that time because he felt the unfinished song was unusable. Following a trip with his family to Eastern Africa with the World Vision famine relief organization, Cochrane revisited the song on the advice of his friend John Webster, an instrumentalist on the Mad Mad World album. In a 2017 interview with The Canadian Press to mark the song's 25th anniversary, Cochrane said Webster encouraged him to revisit the demo recording, which at that point only had mumbled vocals and improvised lyrics, but not the song's well-known chorus. "(The song) became a pep talk to myself... saying you can't really control all of this stuff, you just do the best you can," he says. Cochrane says he was trying to make sense of the poverty he witnessed on his trip, which he found "shocking and traumatic".

Eventually, the original demo version was released on the 25th-anniversary reissue of Mad Mad World under the original title "Love is a Highway". He later said the uptempo spirit of the song came from looking for something positive to "hang the experience on." Most of the vocals on the track were recorded in Cochrane's small home studio. The song was Cochrane's only top-40 hit in the United States, reaching number six on the Billboard Hot 100. In Canada, the song stayed at number one for two weeks, and three other singles from the album charted within the top 10; "No Regrets" peaked at number three, "Sinking Like a Sunset" reached number two, and "Washed Away" climbed to number seven. In Australia and New Zealand, the single peaked at number two in both countries. Elsewhere, it became a top-40 hit in Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden.



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