Watch the Highway Key online guitar lesson by Jeff McErlain from Essentials: Chord Tone Soloing
"Key to the Highway" is mainly attributed to Charlie Segar and Big Bill Bronzy, although arguably the earliest famous version was by Little Walter. It was actually a hit for him, spending fourteen weeks on the Billboard R & B charts in 1958. Can you believe it reached number six? Quite a feat for a blues tune, the last person I can really think of having that much success with the blues was Stevie Ray Vaughan. Both Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones have covered this song as well. Please take your time and memorize the song and some of the key melodic ideas that are in the Little Walter version as they're pretty essential and really cool.
If you're doing a blues gig, this song is a lot of fun as well because it can break up an evening of straight 12 bar blues, which I highly suggest you do! It's really important to mix it up on a gig; I know as a listener, no matter how good the band is, if it's all standard 12 bar shuffles, I start to glaze over. Some other great 8 bar blues tunes are "Someday After a While", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Trouble in Mind", "Sitting on Top of the World", "Ain't Nobody's Business", and "Need Your Love So Bad".