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Party pros pick their favourite driving songs

Ashleigh Dempster (L), Amanda Blakley of The Society

jj thompson The Globe and Mail

Who: Ashleigh Dempster and Amanda Blakley, co-founders and co-owners of The Society, a culture club hosting soirees that are the talk of the town in Toronto, New York and Miami.

The co-founders of The Society use a music mix to set a happening mood on the highway, just as they do for every bash. Here they share upbeat and relaxing tunes when travelling to broaden their experience.


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Dempster: A 2008 black Range Rover HSE

Blakley: A 2009 gun-metal grey Mazda CX7

Dempster's most memorable drive:

I did a road trip from Toronto to Halifax with my girlfriend Kelly, my roommate at university, and both of us were going to summer school and we decided to drive out to Halifax to have her car out there for the summer. The purpose was to experience Halifax because when we were in school at Dalhousie, we'd fly back to visit our families, and we never had the opportunity to take in the east coast because we didn't have vehicles, so we took her brother's army green Jeep Cherokee. The drive is about 18 hours and usually people sleep in Montreal or New Brunswick to break it up, but Kelly and I got ambitious and decided to do the entire trip in one day. We went into this weird autopilot when we drove and stopped only to refuel or at Tim Horton's for turkey sandwiches and iced cappuccinos. We had only three CDs in the car for the entire 18 hours, and the only CD I remember was Neil Diamond. We would play it over and over, so at 3:30 in the morning we were so blurry eyed, had all the windows down singing "Sweet Caroline" at the top of our lungs, coming over that bridge coming into Halifax having the time of our lives."

"For Kelly and I, it was one of those bonding experiences in our friendship over the years. You really get to know people in the car, you share stories when you have a lot of time to spend together, and I find that in our day-to-day lives we're all so busy and maybe you catch up over a quick dinner, but you never have 18 hours where you just chat. And on top of that, I got to see the east coast. It's absolutely stunning. New Brunswick is breathtaking, every where you look is rolling green hills, beautiful little cottages and fishing towns, and on that trip even driving straight you're still taking it in as you go."

What are your favourite road songs? Tell us your top five driving tunes and let the debate begin . . .

Blakley's most memorable drive:

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My family and I've been going on road trips since the time I was in diapers. One summer we did the drive across the U.S. and started off visiting my grandma in Iowa, and then we did central and southern U.S. into California, Nevada stopping in the Four Corners: Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico. Going back, we did, Texas, and Iowa, again.

We did our trip in the back of a woody station wagon, a Chevrolet with power windows and velour interior, with three kids, listening to James Taylor and the Annie soundtrack and driving around the middle of nowhere America to see the biggest shoe, or whatever. For me, the fun was being someplace for a few days, getting a taste of it, and getting in the car and moving onto the next exciting place, like panning for fool's gold in Colorado, and the next day being in Utah. I remember [playing]the alphabet game, and my mother would pull something out of her bag of tricks for me and my younger siblings; it would be a travel version of Tic Tac Toe, travel Scrabble or trivia game that she would play with us, and depending upon the stops, getting the souvenirs to keep us entertained."

What Bonnie Brooks listens to in the car The Bay president and CEO picks her favourite summer driving songs



Free Falling

"I have a soft spot for Tom Petty songs because they're great for belting out and the lyrics aren't hard, so I'm good at singing along with this one. Play this when you've been on the open road for a while and you've got good momentum and you're still jazzed about driving and the tiredness and the monotony hasn't set in yet."

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Jack and Diane

"I always crank up [John Cougar's]Jack and Diane. The feeling of it reminds me of my very first car, a white Plymouth Colt. It was my mom's little car and when I was 17 I got the car for the summer, it was a standard, and I just remember getting onto the open road heading to the beach where Sandbanks is, being given a lot of freedom, being on my own."


You Really Got A Hold On Me

"This Smokey Robinson [and The Miracles]song reminds me of childhood road trips in the back of the car when I was squished between my three brothers because it was the song my parents liked. Now I listen to it later on into the road trip when you're more relaxed and taking it all in."

Dirty Water

"It's by the Standells and it's a '70s rock and roll song, the type of song that sounds better at full volume and keeps you awake singing along and tapping your foot to it. That one's for when the sun is shining, you're setting out and leaving the city."

Shimmy, Shimmy, Ya

"A girlfriend got me onto that one by Ol' Dirty Bastard. She's opening up my whole world to hip-hop music and we share favourite songs, and this is one of those I can't stop listening to when I'm cruising."

What Bonnie Brooks listens to in the car The Bay president and CEO picks her favourite summer driving songs

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