““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
Another playlist for your flight
Nearly two years ago in these pages, we offered a list of songs that could help set the mood on your next flight (On the Fly, April/May 2009). Since the playing time of those tunes totaled less than an hour, you're probably ready by now for some new suggestions. Here they are:
FLY ME TO THE MOON — FRANK SINATRA
Our last list found the Chairman of the Board suggesting a journey to Acapulco Bay on the sublime "Come Fly with Me." He proposes a longer trip on this 1964 recording, which we promise will sound almost as good on your jet as it would on an Apollo spaceship.
2-4-2 FOX TROT (THE LEARJET SONG) — THE BYRDS
The line "Go and ride the Learjet, baby"—the lyrics in their entirety—repeats over and over as cockpit and engine sounds provide atmospheric background. Granted, this isn't the most profound or melodic music the Byrds ever concocted, but if you own a Learjet and simply can't get enough of that in-flight ambiance, this could be just the song for you.
EXPECTING TO FLY — BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD
The incomparable Neil Young sings lead on one of the most beautiful creations by a short-lived but highly influential 1960s folk-rock group. Another of its best, "Flying on the Ground Is Wrong," would be a perfect choice for the moment you take off.
STRAIGHTEN UP AND FLY RIGHT — NAT KING COLE
Fly back to 1944 and hear cool Mr. Cole croon: "Straighten up and fly right / Cool down, Papa, don't you blow your top / Ain't no use in divin' / What's the use in jivin'? / Straighten up and fly right." They don't write 'em like that anymore.
I WANT TO BE A PRIVATE JET — PRIVATE JETS
This Swedish power-pop quartet probably aren't worth writing home about, but with a song title and band name like this—not to mention a 2008 debut album called Jet Sounds—how could we not include them here? "I wanna be a private jet and take you everywhere," sing the group, whose YouTube video of the song finds them wearing pilots' uniforms and frolicking in an airport lounge.
VOLARE — DEAN MARTIN
"Let's fly way up to the clouds / Away from the maddening crowds," suggests the Rat Pack star. "Let's leave the confusion and all disillusion behind / Like birds of a feather, a rainbow together we'll find." Something tells us he was thinking private jet, not JetBlue.
LEARNING TO FLY — TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS
According to Wikipedia, Petty and songwriting partner Jeff Lynne penned this irresistible 1991 pop/rock hit after watching a TV interview with a pilot. Be that as it may, the lyrics are actually about growing up. If you'd prefer to skip the metaphors and stick to the subject, try the Pink Floyd number of the same name, which was primarily written by group guitarist and private pilot David Gilmour.
OH, GOD, I WISH I WAS HOME TONIGHT — ROD STEWART
Rod is at his melancholy best here, singing over the phone to a far-away lover. "I could be home in time for Christmas if you want me to be," he sings. "There's a plane leaves here at midnight, arriving at three." You'll appreciate how lucky you are to be on your private jet when Rod adds, "But I'm a bit financially embarrassed, I must admit / To tell you the truth, my honey, I haven't a cent." If you see him at the airport, maybe you can give him a lift.
WHEN I GET MY PLANE — THE NAZZ
Sings Nazz leader and songwriter Todd Rundgren: "Porsches and Jaguars are a bore / I don't think trains are here to stay / I don't like taxis anymore / I don't think busses are the way / And as Wilbur and Orville have said, 'I think cycling's dead / When I get my plane..." OK, so it isn't Shakespeare, but it does sound like something a BJT reader might want to sing along with.
I'M A LITTLE AIRPLANE — JONATHAN RICHMAN & THE MODERN LOVERS
Children onboard? Try this whimsical ditty, which has been featured on Sesame Street. Don't be surprised if you wind up smiling along with the kids, because Richman's quirky music isn't aimed primarily at children; it's for adults who still have a bit of kid in them—even adults who've traveled so far from childhood that they now own business jets.
Five More Tunes for Your Flight
NIGHT FLIGHT — JUSTIN HAYWARD
The Moody Blues' finest singer/ songwriter is "floating above the world" on a night flight in this ethereal opening track from the 1980 solo album of the same name. Also custom-made for after-hours flying: Joni Mitchell's "This Flight Tonight" and the great but underappreciated Elliott Murphy's lilting "Irish Eyes," where he sings, "Stormy rain on the west coast of Spain / Seagulls taking flight / And I'm flying up there with them / And that's where I'll spend the night."
FLYING — CHRIS ISAAK
California-based Chris Isaak, who has been called a modern-day Roy Orbison, ranks with the finest pop vocalists to emerge in recent years. To understand why, check out songs like this one, from 1998's Speak of the Devil, where Isaak sings about meeting and falling in love with a woman the day before he must fly off to a far-away city.
JET — PAUL MCCARTNEY AND WINGS
OK, so the lyrics to this catchy 1973 hit don't make much sense. (It's reportedly about McCartney's dog, though we never would have guessed.) But the title couldn't be more apt, the song includes Paul's invitation to "go for a ride in the sky" and even his group's name is apropos.
THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK — SIMON AND GARFUNKEL
Simon wrote this number—arguably one of the duo's half dozen most gorgeous creations—about Garfunkel's trip to Mexico to appear in the film Catch-22. "Tom, get your plane right on time," sings Simon, referring to Garfunkel by his teenage stage name. "I know you've been eager to fly now."
BABIES — JOHN PHILLIPS
Phillips penned lots of classic material when he led the 1960s folk-rock group the Mamas and the Papas, but much of his later solo work is just as good. Case in point: This hook-laden, apparently autobiographical track from 2001's posthumously released Phillips 66, in which he awaits a visit from the children who live with his ex-wife—the "three little babies on a big silver bird, flying through heaven tonight."