Celebrating the 100th anniversary of historic Route 66, the highway the goes “from Chicago to LA” in 2026, we thought it might be fun to celebrate the nations first paved highway system in song.

For the next four years, the New Mexico Music Awards will include a category of Best Route 66 Cover Song and may be a cover of the song composed by jazz great Bobby Troupe; “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 or the television theme song “Route 66” written by composer and orchestra leader Nelson Riddle.

The song may be in any style, from punk to classical and may be an instrumental or vocal performance. Winners over the next four years will then compete to be named Route 66 song of the century and that song will be presented to the Smithsonian Institution for inclusion in their Route 66 exhibit.

Complete rules for the category and all other NMMA categories will be posted on our website in September, 2021. Thanks to Lynn Marie Rusaw for this wonderful idea.

On December 24, 2020, the bill to establish a Route 66 Centennial Commission was signed into law. Congressman Rodney Davis introduced H.R. 66, a bill to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026. Grace F. Napolitano, a senior member of the Natural Resources Committees, coauthored the legislation.

The goal is to leverage this historic anniversary to help the 5+ million people who live and work along Route 66 by raising funds to carry out projects that preserve, promote, and economically develop the road.

Route 66 was our nation’s first all-paved U.S. Highway System connecting the Midwest to California. In the 1930s, it served as a “road to opportunity” for hundreds of thousands of Americans escaping the devastation of the Dust Bowl, and provided thousands of jobs putting unemployed workers who had lost their jobs during the Great Depression to work on road crews. During the Second World War, Route 66 transported troops, equipment and supplies to military bases across the country, and was used after the War by thousands of troops returning home to their families. By the 1950s, Route 66 had seen the rise of the tourism and became a symbol of American freedom and independence.