Auto Tune: “99 Miles from LA” by Art Garfunkel

April 22nd, 2015 at 3:00pm

Driving, riding, roads and of course cars themselves have all been immortalized by writers, composers and musicians around the world. Auto Tune is our way to spotlight a unique transportation song to celebrate these “ridden” gems along with the artists or composers who crafted them. Some you may know, many we’re sure you don’t.

Art-Garfunkel-BreakawaySometimes great “Auto Tunes” have strange origins. Take the Albert Hammond story for instance. Who, you ask? Well if you don’t know the name you certainly know his work. He had a top five hit in the early ‘70s that’s still in heavy rotation on the oldies stations with “It Never Rains In Southern California” co-written with fellow Brit Mike Hazelwood. They also teamed up with “The Air That I Breathe” which was a hit for The Hollies. But perhaps this pop singer’s strangest collaboration came when he co-wrote a couple of songs with unquestionably the greatest lyricist of all time Hal David. One song, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” made Julio Iglesias a household name – and plenty of money — while the other is this week’s Auto Tune.

99 Miles From L.A.” appeared on Hammond’s 1975 album of the same name but never generated the attention he hoped. That same year, however, Art Garfunkel released “Breakaway,” a star-studded disc that contained not only with his duet with former partner Paul Simon (“My Little Town”), but also his cover of “I Only Have Eyes for You.” But in addition to those hits, tucked away toward the end of Side 2 was the Hammond/David tune, which on its face sounded like a simple drive to Los Angeles, but in fact was, and remains, a hauntingly beautiful understated song about the evanescence of love. The Albert Hammond score married with Hal David’s heartbreaking lyrics sung by Garfunkel — one of the greatest voices to ever record music — is a treasure to enjoy over and over again. Especially if someday you find yourself on the 5, 10 or 405 as you’re driving around Southern California.

- Chip Drake, Executive Producer, Autoline

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