By Laura Barton.
The Road (Route 128 in Massachusetts) tells how it came into being and became immortalised in the song by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers.
"I was built to inspire a song. A love song for a road, for a car, for music and the modern world. A song about about going faster miles an hour. With the radio on."
'Roadrunner', written by Jonathan Richman and first recorded with The Modern Lovers in 1972, was described by Greil Marcus as "The most obvious song in the world and the strangest." Laura Barton calls it "a song about what it means to feel young, and free, and charged by the world. It's a song about how glorious it feels to be alive".
But it is also a song about a road. And this story by Laura Barton gives voice to the Road - namely, Route 128 in Massachusetts, also known as the Yankee Division Highway. And the story of the Road is also a story of the building of the modern world.
Laura Barton was born in Lancashire in 1977. She is a broadcaster and freelance writer of features and music columns. Her first story for radio, The Carpenter, was broadcast in 2009 as part of Sweet Talk's 'We Are Stardust, We Are Golden' series for BBC Radio 4. Twenty-One Locks, her debut novel, was published in 2010. Her three story series about Northern Soul, Tales From The Casino, was broadcast on Radio 4 in 2011. Laura lives in London.
Reader: John Schwab
Producer: Jeremy Osborne
A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.