“Holiday Road” was the theme song of National Lampoon’s Vacation, an insanely popular movie, the kind of ’80s comedy classic that gets run on cable and local stations with a frequency matched only by Caddyshack or Arthur. This is a well-known song, and from what I can tell, an agreeable, well-liked song, which makes it kind of confusing that this song was not actually a hit.

Perhaps it’s because of the incredibly depressing music video that doesn’t offer any clips of the movie, which was the style at the time, nor does it match the song’s bouncy tone. It does, however, reflect the song’s dark lyrics—this is, after all, a Lindsey Buckingham song with nobody from Fleetwood Mac around to reign him in.

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Adding to this song’s lack of success is that it’s from 1983. This was a period of renewed interest in and popularity for Fleetwood Mac and its members, not seen since Rumoursmania swept America’s over-30 and cocaine-using populations six years prior. The band itself had just had huge hits with “Hold Me” and “Gypsy,” and Stevie Nicks ‘ solo career was blowing up. There was no place for Buckingham—there was no room in the collective consciousness for a third variation of the same thing. Plus, we’d all been burned, hard, by Tusk.

“Holiday Road,” which should probably have been titled “Holiday Road (Theme from National Lampoon’s Vacation)” reached #82 on the pop chart.


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