Track List of North American Rock Music Map
Using watercolour, inks and home-made transfers I have made a hand-painted map of North American Rock Music entitled “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World”. It has more than 100 references to bands, artists, songs and cultural icons that reflect the spirit of most genres of rock music. It’s a companion piece for my British Rock Music map, made in 2016. I’ve used many ways to represent the music: logos, portraits, album covers, elements from a band’s iconography, lyrics, and cultural references. Inevitably, I have illustrated many my favourite artists.Buy a copy of the North American Rock Music Map
What’s on the map and where?
We’re talking ‘rock music’ in a wide sense as it often has blurred boundaries with other genres, such as funk, blues, pop, folk, punk. My guiding principles in selecting who to depict have been: influential, iconic, significant, well known, and that I like! (Though the latter doesn’t apply in all cases.)
There will be things that you think I have missed, but on a sheet of A1 I couldn’t fit everything in. I couldn’t fit all my own favourites in, let alone everybody else’s!
Where possible, I have placed subjects somewhere relevant. However, there are so many artists and bands with connections to (for example) New York and Los Angeles, I’ve had to exercise significant artistic license. It has been impossible to be 100% faithful to geographical origins. Try it, and you’ll quickly see what I’ve been up against!
The following text was compiled and written by my husband, Moth Clark, without whose encyclopedic knowledge of rock music, this painting would not have been possible.
This is a long blog, so here are some quick links: Canada | West Coast | US Heartlands | East coast | the South and Mexico
Disc 1: Canada
Bryan Adams – figure from the cover of the album Waking up the Neighbours.
REO Speedwagon – Hi Infidelity lettering from the cover of the eponymous album, placed here near the top corner as it sometimes was on old album covers (like ‘Stereo’ in the right top corner of the map!)
Heart – logo from their first album, Dreamboat Annie – made in Vancouver. For reasons even she doesn’t understand Jane doesn’t enjoy very many female singers, but Ann Wilson is one she does like – especially on Crazy on You (and as long as she’s not singing a horrible ballad as Jane hates most ballads….) Moth says that vocally, Ann is THE best rock singer he’s ever seen live – and he’s seen a few. (He’s not keen on many ballads either!)
Joni Mitchell – representing the influence of American folk music on rock, Joni’s face from the cover of the Blue album and lyric from her song Woodstock. Joni’s another female singer Jane actually likes….
Steppenwolf – song title Born to be Wild, their oft-covered anthem and wolf from the cover of Steppenwolf Live.
Neil Young – figure from the album cover of Harvest Moon, and text from the cover of Harvest – plus of course, ole Neil’s also responsible for the song that gives the painting its title!
Pat Travers (Band) – pic from the cover of his Putting it Straight album, along with song title Hooked on Music (from the album Makin’ Magic) – PT is a big favourite of Moth’s.
Alanis Morrisette – face from the cover of the album Under Rug Swept.
The Band – “Take a load off, Fanny” lyric from the song The Weight (in Lake Superior) and (just above Lake Ontario) part of the cover of the album Music from Big Pink.
BTO – underrated Canadian rockers Bachman Turner Overdrive’s logo and song title You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.
Rush – ‘Starman’ figure from the cover of the breakthrough 2112 album, along with (in Lake Huron) a reference to the incredibly sad early death of their incredible drummer & wonderful lyricist Neil Peart, one of Jane & Moth’s heroes.
Disc 2: West coast
Nirvana – the baby from the album cover of ‘Nevermind’.
Jimi Hendrix – guitar ‘gods’ are often central to rock music. Whoever wrote the “Eric Clapton is God” graffiti clearly misspelt Jimi Hendrix. Though deified for his guitar pyrotechnics (sometimes literally) it’s often overlooked that Jimi was also a great songwriter.
Foo Fighters – ‘FF’ logo, first used on their second album ‘The Colour and the Shape’.
Joan Jett (& the Blackhearts) – great ‘aerial’ pic from the imaginatively titled album, Album by the pioneering female rocker. Also, lyric from the anthemic I Love Rock ‘n Roll (originally written & recorded by British band, Arrows) which she had her biggest hit with a couple of years after her band ‘The Runaways’ split.
Steely Dan (1) – if you’re a big fan, in the Pacific Ocean you may have spotted a subtle detail from the cover of Jane’s favourite album of all time Aja. ‘The Dan’ are such a favo(u)rite of Jane’s that they also make a second appearance in the east, with the title of one of their best-known songs Do it Again (see Steely Dan (2)).
Dan Reed Network – the ‘Brotherhood’ symbol from the cover of the Portland multiracial funk-rockers’ second album Slam. Another Moth favo(u)rite.
Louie, Louie – song title typography. The Kingsmen from Portland, Oregon had a big hit with Louie Louie which has become an absolute standard. It was written and originally recorded by Richard Berry in 1956 and had been recorded by a few other artists before the Kingsmen got their hands on it in 1963. It’s allegedly the most covered song in rock, performed by all and sundry from the Beach Boys to Motorhead!
Guns ‘n’ Roses – design from elements of their logo with song title Welcome to the Jungle. Moth saw them on their first ever tour of the UK.
Doobie Brothers (1) – picture from the Stampede album cover. The Doobs are another absolute Jane fave. (See also Doobie Brothers (2).)
Love – possibly the first ever logo in rock? Fronted by primary songwriter Arthur Lee, they were one of the first multi-racial American rock bands. Their third album, Forever Changes is surely undeniably one of the classics of the sixties.
Steve Miller (Band) – winged white horse from the cover of album Book of Dreams, a favourite from Jane’s second short period living in California in the late 1970s.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – pic from the cover of ‘One Hot Minute’. Moth saw them in 1990 before they were big and thought they stank: “Bunch of spoilt Yank brats – like the Beastie Boys without the humour.” Just shows what he knows – they’re now huge, unlike many of his favourites!
Monterey 1967 (International Pop Festival) – often regarded as one of the first events of ‘the Summer of Love’ and filmed as Monterey Pop, the festival featured the first widely witnessed US appearances of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding & many others, kickstarting many careers.
Eagles – neon sign from the cover of the Hotel California album.
Byrds – song title Turn Turn Turn.
Van Halen – Dave Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen with VH logo – no ‘Van Hagar’ here! A band that Jane wishes she’d seen ‘back in the day’ – it doesn’t help that Moth likes to enthuse about seeing ‘the mighty Van Halen’ exploding with energy at the Finsbury Park (London) Rainbow Theatre in 1979 and the Donington Monsters of Rock festival in 1984….
Beach Boys – (in the Pacific Ocean) song title Good Vibrations typography and a surfer.
Jellyfish – (in the Pacific Ocean) logo from the first album Bellybutton. Moth says the Jellies must be the most underrated band ever: songs dripping with melody, gorgeous harmonies, a cool retro look and a quirky sense of humour – what’s not to like? They should have been where contemporaries Oasis got to – and they would have done it with grace & style instead of the eyebrow brothers’ obnoxiousness & bile.
The Doors – pic from LA Woman album cover, one of Jane’s favourite albums by one of her favourite bands.
Crosby Stills & Nash – image from the cover of their first album (look elsewhere for Mr Young!) – harmonies to die for!
Janis Joplin – Mercedes Benz logo & lyric, representing perhaps the first female rock star’s song of the same name.
Stevie Nicks – best known for her membership of the trans-Atlantic incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, pictured with her 1970s trademark floaty dress, top hat & tambourine.
Journey – (in the Pacific Ocean) swoosh and planet image from the cover of the single Don’t Stop Believin’ (& back of the AOR kings’ ultimate album Departure).
Metallica – snake from the album cover of Metallica (aka ‘The Black Album’).
Disc 3: US Heartlands
Wurlitzer jukebox songs – lyrics from Piano Man by Billy Joel, Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, Love Shack by the B52s and Let My People Go-Go by the Rainmakers (we love the Rainmakers so much we travelled to Norway in 2019 to see their final one-off show in Europe!)
Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way song title/album cover typography and Lenny pic.
Carly Simon – pic from the cover of the album No Secrets, which featured You’re So Vain.
Steve Wonder – part of the cover of Songs in Key of Life, the first album Jane ever bought with her own money at Tower Records, Sacramento in September 1977!
Prince – His Purple Highness’s ‘Love Symbol’ and a Little Red Corvette (though allegedly the song was actually inspired by a Ford Mercury Montclair owned by his keyboard player, Wendy!)
Ghost Riders in the Sky – pictorial interpretation of the greatest ever cowboy song, also representing country music (though with the Outlaws’ rock version in mind!)
Scattered album covers – Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, the B52s’ first album, Pearl Jam’s first album, (transatlantic band) Foreigner’s 4, Motley Crüe’s Theater of Pain, Pat Benatar’s Crimes of Passion and Green Day’s American Idiot.
Simon & Garfunkel – from the cover of Bridge over Troubled Water (see also Paul Simon).
Don McLean – thumbs up image from the cover of American Pie (see also Buddy Holly).
Frank Zappa – Freak Out! And pic of Frank. In this house we can only enjoy him in small doses, but what an amazing visionary. As Jane says, “Thank goodness for Frank”!
Buddy Holly – portrait of Charles Holley, one of the first stars of rock & roll, sadly also represented by the date Feb 3 1959. In Don McLean’s American Pie ‘The Day the Music Died’, was when Buddy was killed in a plane crash along with fellow stars Ritchie Valens & ‘the Big Bopper’ JP Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson (see also Don McLean).
Patti Smith – pic taken from the Horses album cover.
Cheap Trick – logo used on most of their albums, t-shirts etc – along with Kiss & Aerosmith they were early adopters of a ‘brand’ logo. From Rockford, Illinois (they even made an album called Rockford).
Temptations –Papa was a Rollin’ Stone single label – in the early 70s ‘the Temps’ showed that soul + rock = funk!
Motown – record company logo.
Jacksons – from the Jackson 5’s TV cartoon series. The album Get it Together (or GiT) is a largely forgotten funk classic.
A Horse with No Name – pictorial interpretation of the band America’s greatest hit.
Route 66 – “Get your kicks” the highway immortalised by songwriter Bobby Troup’s much-loved tune, first recorded by Nat King Cole.
Ed Sullivan Show – TV showing the program(me) hosted 1948-1971 by NY entertainment columnist Ed, and well-known for giving breakthrough airtime to numerous music artists.
Wichita Lineman – lyric and pictorial interpretation. What a song! Written by Jimmy Webb and made famous by Glen Campbell, who’d have thought a song about a telecoms worker could be such an anthem!
Chuck Berry – Chuck doing his famous ‘duck walk’ and “Go Johnny, go” from pioneer of Rock Chuck’s classic Johnny B. Goode, often used – particularly as an encore – by numerous rockers.
Elvis Presley – ‘the King’ as he appeared in Jailhouse Rock & typography from his first album, later used as a homage by the Clash on the cover of London Calling.
Ike & Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits road sign representing one of their greatest singles.
The Monkees – title of song Last Train to Clarksville from single cover.
Wild Cherry – image from the eponymous first studio album by one of the first funk-rock bands, “Play that funky music, white boy!”
Ernie Isley – of the Isley Brothers playing Summer Breeze.
Disc 4: East coast
Aerosmith – logo, teddy bear & rocking horse from the Toys in the Attic album cover.
Steely Dan (2) – the title of one of their best-known songs Do it Again in the style of the Can’t Buy a Thrill album. They’re such a favo(u)rite of Jane’s that they also make a (very subtle!) second appearance in the west, with a detail from the cover of her favourite album of all time, Aja (see Steely Dan (1) above).
Velvet Underground – Andy Warhol’s banana from the cover of The Velvet Underground & Nico.
1969 Woodstock – remembering the US festival of all festivals, NOT held at Woodstock in Oxfordshire – which Jane’s Mum, Janet often had to explain as a guide at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire!
Boston – guitar-shaped spaceship from their first (& by far best) album, frequently on rotation in Jane’s studio.
Bob Seger (& the Silver Bullet Band) – Night Moves album typography (in Lake Erie).
Jefferson Airplane – pic of White Rabbit (from Alice in Wonderland) representing their famous psychedelic song of the same name. Jane’s also very fond of their single Jane, recorded after they changed their name to Jefferson Starship.
Todd Rundgren – flowers from the cover of the album Something/Anything? representing Todd’s huge & eclectic influence on American rock.
Bob Dylan – pic from the cover of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.
Kiss – Gene Simmons’ face makeup.
Blondie – Debbie Harry’s face.
Bruce Springsteen (& the E Street Band) – lettering from the Greetings from Asbury Park NJ album.
Talking Heads – cover of the Remain in Light album, one of Jane’s favourites from her youth.
The Sound of Philadelphia – Philadelphia International Records pd record label.
Mountain – “the mighty sperm whale” from their classic song Nantucket Sleighride (to Owen Coffin). It’s been harpooned & is pulling a whaling boat along (which was known as a ‘Nantucket Sleighride’). The song is about the bravery & loneliness of whale-hunters before (most of!) the world acknowledged just how brutal and inhumane that industry was. (Owen Coffin was a young seaman on the whaling ship Essex, who was shot and eaten by his shipmates after the ship was rammed and wrecked by a sperm whale in 1820.)
Blue Öyster Cult – ‘hook-and-cross’ logo that appears on every BOC album. Apparently, in Greek mythology the hook-and-cross symbolises Kronos (Cronus), king of the Titans and father of Zeus. It’s also the alchemical symbol for lead, one of the heaviest of metals.
Iggy Pop – the great Sir Ignatious of Pop (aka James Osterberg) in action!
Steve Earle – Copperhead Road title lettering from the cover of the album from Virginian genre-bender, Steve.
P-Funk – the ‘Mothership’ from Parliament’s Mothership Connection album. With their emphasis on funk, many rock fans miss the fact that the massively influential (& eccentric) George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic ‘collective’ frequently ‘Rock like a mutha’!!! (With bonus funky hippychick flicking a peacesign.)
Disc 5: the South and Mexico
Bon Jovi – Wanted Dead or Alive song title & single cover.
Doobie Brothers (2) – illustration of song title & lyric from Long Train Runnin’. (See also Doobie Brothers (1).)
Kansas – logo. Best known for the song Carry on Wayward Son the prog/melodic rockers (unsurprisingly, from Kansas) seem hardly known in the UK even amongst rock fans, but they’re a massive favourite with us!
Midnight Special – late night variety TV show mainly featuring live music from some of the biggest artists of the time. Started with a one-off show in 1972, it then ran from 1973 to 1981.
Little Richard – the wild showman of early rock is pictured with the song title Tutti Frutti.
King Biscuit Flower Hour – logo of the long-running syndicated & networked rock radio show, taking its name from an older, blues-based radio show ‘King Biscuit Time’, sponsored by the King Biscuit Flour Company. (And a transistor radio to listen to it on!)
Isaac Hayes – the character of ‘Chef’ from South Park, voiced by Isaac & the title of his famous film soundtrack Shaft – the Theme from Shaft ROCKS!
Paul Simon – detail from the album cover of Graceland. (See also Simon & Garfunkel.)
James Brown – title and pic from the album Sex Machine. Although a soul/funk artist, the genius of the Godfather of Soul has been hugely significant to rock artists. He probably straight-out invented funk, where soul and rock meet.
Atlantic Records – record label logo, in the Atlantic Ocean of course!
Alice Cooper – heart & dagger graffiti from the desk-lid cover of Vincent Furnier’s School’s Out album. Jane loves Alice!
Soul Train – logo of classic TV program(me) 1971-2006 which featured all the great soul & funk acts.
ZZ Top – 1933 (or 1934 according to some people!) Ford Coupe car image from the cover of the immensely successful Eliminator album.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – John Fogerty’s much-covered classic Proud Mary, represented by a paddleboat and typography.
Jeff Buckley – image from the cover of the album Grace, with song title Last Goodbye.
REM – star sculpture from the cover of the Automatic for the People album, which was originally going to be called ‘Star’ (apparently!)
Santana – one of our ultimate enduring favourites, Carlos and the red angel figure from the cover of the album Abraxas. Also song title Oye Como Va. Surely Santana invented the music genre now known as ‘Ethnic Fusion’?
Meat Loaf – from the album cover of Bat Out of Hell.
Little Feat – the cover pic from the laid-back rockers’ Sailin’ Shoes album, featuring title of the late great Lowell George penned song Willin’, all about a trucker who has “smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico”.
Sly & the Family Stone – (modern) logo on Sly’s afro and a lyric from classic song Everyday People – “Different strokes for different folks”. Pretty much the original ‘band of many colours’, led by Sly Stone (aka Sylvester Stewart) fusing soul, funk & rock.
John Lee Hooker – typography of song title Boom Boom from one of the blues greats, without whom Rock simply wouldn’t exist.
Robert Johnson – portrait remembering the man who began it all when he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads….
Lynyrd Skynyrd – the ultimate ‘Southern Rock’ band. Typography from the cover of their second album Second Helping, and (over the Atlantic Ocean) a bald eagle representing their anthem FreeBird. Skynyrd disbanded following a tragic aircrash in 1977 which killed frontman & lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, his sister (backing vocalist) Cassie Gaines, a member of their roadcrew and two of the plane crew. Ten years later they reformed with Ronnie’s brother Johnny replacing him.
Ram Jam – their hit single Black Betty (“Bam-ba-lam”!)
The Allman Brothers Band – detail from the album cover of Eat a Peach by this seminal ‘Southern Rock’ & ‘Jam Band’, another massive Jane fave!
Blackfoot – typography from the album Flyin’ High. Another ‘Southern Rock’ band, led by Ricky Medlocke. Ricky was one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s guitarists before they made their first album, but rejoined them in the 90s after they had reformed (see above).
Tom Petty (& the Heartbreakers) – design elements of his heartbreaker/flying V logo with song title Free Fallin’ and rocket from the cover of album Highway Companion.
The B52s – (in the Atlantic Ocean) a Rock Lobster!
MTV – (in the Gulf of Mexico) logo of the immensely popular & powerful Music Television cable channel.
MC5 – (in the Gulf of Mexico) logo of the hugely influential garage band “Kick out the jams…!!!!”)
Alan Freed – (in the Gulf of Mexico) “Rock & roll is bigger than all of us” – quote from the DJ credited with a crucial hand in boosting the success of Rock & Roll.
Mother’s Finest – (in the Gulf of Mexico) logo of long-lived multi-racial funk rock/metal band with a great cult following (and much loved by Moth!)Buy a copy of the North American Rock Music Map