The road goes on forever in push to make ‘Roadrunner’ Massachusetts’ official rock song (poll, video)

Boston music maven and mayoral adviser Joyce Linehan promises to continue her fight

Jonathan Richman (pictured above on Instagram with Lil BUB, the rockin’  Internet cat) says “Roadrunner,” the iconic Massachusetts anthem that may be the Modern Lovers founder’s best-known song, isn’t good enough be an official song of any kind for the Bay State.

And since the state legislature ended its session last Friday without taking action on a bill to make it the state’s official rock song, it looks like he’ll get his way — for now, at least.

But Joyce Linehan, policy adviser to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, vows that the fight’s not over.

“Roadrunner might not be the official rock song of the Commonwealth, but it’s certainly the unofficial,” Linehan posted to her Facebook page Tuesday. 

But she followed up Wednesday morning with a stronger statement in response to a tweet from comedian John Hodgman, who has supported the “Roadrunner” effort.

“John Hodgman has spoken. I will fight on,” she posted.


Walsh introduced the  bill to make “Roadrunner” the state rock song back in February 2013, before he won the mayoralty in Beantown and gave up his legislative seat.

Linehan, who’s now chief policy adviser for Walsh’s administration — but who’s best known to music fans as cofounder of Ashmont Records with Joe Pernice, the home of Pernice bands Scud Mountain Boys, Pernice Brothers, and The New Mendicants — was the primary motivator behind the idea. (Linehan, arguably the brains, and definitely the rock-steady half of the Ashmont partnership, also is known as mother of Charlie Ashmont, a rescue dog who was classified as a pit bull, but later shown through DNA tests to be a mutt with a lot of Dalmation in  him.)

Richman, a semirecluse who avoids the Internet and cellphones, came out against the idea.

“I don’t think the song is good enough to be a Massachusetts song of any kind,” the lovably oddball singer-songwriter said, Boston NPR radio station WBUR reported.

But Walsh and Linehan persevered, and Hodgman, a Brookline, Mass., native who now lives in Brooklyn but still owns a home in the Bay State, quickly joined the effort.

“It is woven as deeply into the cultural landscape of Massachusetts as the Turnpike itself,” Hodgman said in a letter to Walsh and cosponsor Rep. Robert Hedlund and posted to his Tumblr page. It is the pulsing sound of the night and the future. It connects the midnight ride of Paul Revere with the dream of every Massachusetts teenager who has just gotten their license and is discovering the Freedom Trail that is Route 128 after the last movie lets out.”


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