Gas Money Book by Troy Lewis

Gas Money Book by Troy Lewis - Gas Money is a collection of true stories told from the perspective of a six-year-old black boy growing up in 1960s Virginia and his soul-searching journey over the next five decades.  Packed with much humor, lots of inspiration and occasional sadness, Gas Money is a heartwarming, honest narrative that shows how the everyday people we come in contact with can shape our lives forever.

Gas Money's Top Ten Hit Songs

Music is so much a part of our lives. It certainly was a big part of mine.  Throughout Gas Money, I insert songs that capture the time and place of my experiences. What are your Top Ten songs? Below are my Top Ten and why they’re important to me.


1. “My Girl” by The Temptations

Written by Smokey Robinson, the opening line, “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May,” provides great juxtaposition and shows how much in love the writer is. Nothing can affect his mood. He’s got so much honey the bees are envious. I read where Bob Dylan said the opening lyrics were the greatest lines ever written, and that’s good enough for me!

2. “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Neil Diamond

This song reminds me of listening to our Panasonic AM/FM radio while my Mom straightened my sister’s hair in the morning before heading out to elementary school in 1970.

3. “Grazing In the Grass” by The Friends of Distinction

As an 8-year-old, my Dad loved for me to sing the chorus because it was a tongue-twister that was sung very quickly. “I can dig it.  He can dig it.  She can dig it.  We can dig it.  They can dig it. You can dig it!” I could never enunciate it properly, and my Dad could not stop laughing! That song came out in 1969, and I still can’t get it right. My Dad is gone, but when I hear that song it makes me smile, and I can still hear his laugh.  

4. “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by The Hollies

The lyrics remind me of my little brother who’s had his struggles, but I love him regardless. “He ain’t heavy, he’s MY brother. So on we go.”

5. “I’d Love to Change The World” by Ten Years After

It’s a song that reminds of how carefree I was a kid, riding my bike with the banana seat over at the all-white, private boarding school across the road from my house. That school became my home away from home from 1969-1973. Then, my parents broke up and everything changed, and I didn’t feel like I could change the world anymore.

6.  “The Girl Can’t Help It” by Little Richard

This song reminds me of my Mom. It’s very upbeat, and my Mom loved driving fast in the 1960s and 1970s. 80 miles per hour was pretty much her minimum speed. Speed made her feel free from any of her struggles. She couldn’t help it!

7. “She’s a Lady” by Tom Jones

My little sister loved dancing to it! She thought she was auditioning to be a go-go dancer on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In!

8. “Tune-Up” by Jr. Walker and the All-Stars

It’s a very upbeat instrumental that is great for jitterbugging. Watching my Mom and Dad dance to it was the only time that I actually thought they even liked each other. They could really swirl and twirl to that song. It was like watching a black version of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

9. “You’re the Reason Why” by The Ebonys

This was a song that I often sang along with Lanny Stanley, the first black student who attended the all-white boarding school that was across the road from my house. He came there as a 17-year-old junior and became a big brother to me when I was 9 years old. Whenever that song played on his radio, it was “our” song.

10. “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin

Written by Kris Kristofferson, I love the line, “I’d trade all my tomorrows for one single yesterday, to be holding Bobby’s body next to mine.” That to me is the definition of true love - forgoing your future for just one more day together.