Live version appears on "Live at the Bass Performance Hall" (2008)
I absolutely adore this song! It's my favorite of Linsey's solo stuff. Perhaps that's shallow of me, since this isn't exactly one of his more "sophisticated" efforts - but all I know is that when I play this in the car I turn up the volume and belt it out with all my might! When this movie came out, I had no idea who Lindsey Buckingham was, but I knew this song rocked! The fact that this soundtrack is unavailable on CD is a crying shame.
Now that I'm done gushing, let's analyze the admittedly limited lyrics. I think the "holiday road" for Lindsey is that life on the road touring, that lifesyle of fame and celebrity - some might see it as one big "holiday," but "it's a long way down the holiday road" - it's not all it's cracked up to be. People expect you to jump through hoops as you "take a ride on the west coast kick" - probably a reference to the L.A. scene (see That's How We Do It in L.A.). It fits the movie perfectly as well - and what a hilarious movie it is! They really feature this song in it heavily, too, and integrate it into the movie flawlessly. They knew a good thing when they heard it! Good work, Lindsey!
It's tough to analyze any song that has two sentences of content in it -
"I found out long ago, it's a long way down the holiday road" and "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, take a ride on the West Coast kick"
But - I think you can chalk it up to this "Being/becoming a star is a long hard path, and it's not all it's cracked up to be."
Holiday Road is a cool-ass song. The first time I can remember hearing it was a few years ago when I saw "National Lampoons European Vacation" on TV one night. I was already a Fleetwood Mac fan, but I had'nt heard very much of Lindsey Buckingham's solo stuff. I have since rectified that situation. I heard Buckingham's familiar voice so I knew who it was straight away. I fell in love with that song man! As with most of Lindsey's solo work, its so different to what you usally hear on the radio, and I respect that. If you like this song, check out "Time Bomb Town" from the "Back to the future" soundtrack, or any of his solo albums for that matter because they all rock! Thats about all I really want to say about it.
"Holiday Road" and "National Lampoon's Vacation" are the perfect welding of song and movie. "Vacation" clicks on several levels with me because they remind me of my family's vacations back in the 1960's. We even went out to Disney Land on much a pilgrimage as in the movie: my sister, mom, and pop, complete with Grandma and a dog. The song's music and lyrics perfectly exemplify the excitement that such a trip had for my family: the adventure, long hours on the road, odd ball motels, etc., etc. Luckily, we all survived.
I think what made "Vacation" and "Christmas Vacation" such funny memorable movies was this connection to real life. ("Christmas Vacation" reminded me of a family reunion way back about 1960, though it wasn't at Christmas time.) Great song. Great movie.
I think from the comments that are made everyone seems to be reading a little too far into what Lindsey is singing about. I am a big fan of his as well and a lot of his songs especially these days are very deep and meaningful and he seems to have a very deep and darwinistic personality, but on this one I think the simple lyrics speak for themselves. " I found out long ago......" is simply the third person " I " as in Clark played by Chevy Chase. As the next line goes "Jack be nimble Jack be quick, take a ride on the west coast kick". As you will now see he is refering to Griswald as the "Jack" off on his west coast Vacation! Quite simple really!
"Holiday Road" is such a great song-being that the lyrics aren't so complicated--but just fun and easy to sing along to! The movie "National Lampoon's Vacation" and the classic scene of Chevy Chase with the "hot mama" the song perfectly personified the free spirit you feel driving along any out-in-the-middle of nowhere roads. When I took a trip to Las Vegas, I couldn't help but hum this classic song of the ages. Thanks for making "Holiday Road" such a Holiday! By the way...COUSIN EDY ROCKS :)