Monday’s Music Moves Me – SONGS ABOUT CARS AND TRUCKS…and a few motorcycles too

It’s the start of a new week and that means it’s time for Monday’s Music Moves Me! This week’s theme is Songs about Cars and Trucks. I threw a bike or two in too.

There are so many songs about cars and trucks in Rock ‘n Roll. Here are just 35 of my favorites, followed by a little background on each one.

ROCK PLAYLIST

I Can’t Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar – “I Can’t Drive 55” was the lead single and first track from Sammy Hagar’s eighth studio album VOA in 1984. This was Hagar’s biggest hit as a solo artist. He joined Van Halen a year after it was released. Perpetuated by a very successful music video, it became a concert staple that continued throughout Hagar’s tours as a member of Van Halen. The song is a reference to the National Maximum Speed Law in the United States that originally set speed limits at 55 miles per hour (89 km/h).

The origin of the song, like so many, comes from actual experience: In 1994, Sammy Hagar explains: “I was in a rent-a-car that wouldn’t go much faster than 55 miles an hour. I was on my way back from Africa. I did a safari for three months throughout Africa. A really great vacation after Three Lock Box. I was traveling for 24 hours, I got to New York City, changed planes, Albany, New York. Got in a rent-a-car. Had a place in Lake Placid at the time, a little log cabin, I used to go there and write with my little boy. Aaron, at that time, went to North Country school when I was on tour. I would go there and see him. It was a really cool getaway. But it took two and a half hours to drive there from Albany. And I was driving from Albany, New York at 2:00 in the morning, burnt from all the travel. Cop stopped me for doing 62 on a four lane road when there was no one else in sight. Then the guy gave me a ticket. I was doing 62. And he said, ‘We give tickets around here for over-60.’ and I said, ‘I can’t drive 55.’ I grabbed a paper and a pen, and I swear the guy was writing the ticket and I was writing the lyrics. I got to Lake Placid, I had a guitar set-up there. And I wrote that song there on the spot. Burnt.”

Chevy Van by Sammy Johns – I LOVE this song and you rarely hear it anymore. “Chevy Van” is a 1973 song, written and sung by Sammy Johns with instrumental backing provided by Los Angeles-based session musicians from the Wrecking Crew. The song was a hit single in the United States and Canada in 1975, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and becoming a million seller. It was played primarily on AM Top 40 stations in the 1970s; later re-recordings were done in a country vein.

It details how an unnamed male driver picks up an unnamed female, who then proceeds to eventually seduce him into a one-night stand in the back of his Chevrolet Van. At the end he drops her off “in a town that was so small, you could throw a rock from end to end. A dirt road mainstreet, she walked off in bare feet”, and laments “It’s a shame I won’t be passing through again.” The song struck a chord with listeners in the sexually liberated early 1970s when Johns released it.

The song features on the soundtrack to The Van, the first movie to feature Danny DeVito.

Low Rider by War – “Low Rider” is a song written by American funk band War and producer Jerry Goldstein, which appeared on their album Why Can’t We Be Friends?, released in 1975. It reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart and peaked at number 7 on the Pop Singles chart.

According to the All Music Guide review of the song, “the lyric takes the cool image of the low rider — the Chicano culture practice of hydraulically hot-rodding classic cars — and using innuendo, extends the image to a lifestyle”. The song’s most distinguishable feature is its driving bass line, which is present for nearly all of the song. It also ends with a siren-like noise that then becomes a saxophone solo. The vocal is by the band’s brass player, Charles Miller

Drive My Car by the Beatles – “Drive My Car” is a song by the Beatles, written primarily by Paul McCartney, with lyrical contributions from John Lennon. It was first released on the British version of the band’s 1965 album Rubber Soul; it also appeared in North America on the Yesterday and Today collection. The upbeat, lighthearted “Drive My Car” was used as the opening track for both albums.

The song’s male narrator is told by a woman that she is going to be a famous movie star, and she offers him the opportunity to be her chauffeur, adding: “and maybe I’ll love you”. When he objects that his “prospects [are] good”, she retorts, “Working for peanuts is all very fine/But I can show you a better time.” When he agrees to her proposal, she admits, “I got no car and it’s breakin’ my heart/But I’ve found a driver and that’s a start.” According to McCartney, “‘Drive my car’ was an old blues euphemism for sex”. This expression was more common in the pre-automatic shift era of automobiles.

It’s pretty clear that all this driving talk is leading to sex, but there’s no proof that it isn’t just a song about a guy, a girl, and a car – making it another radio-friendly Beatles track.

The “beep beep” refrain is a take-off on The Beatles own “yeah, yeah yeah”s in “She Loves You” as well as a nod to The Playmates song “Beep Beep” (a #4 US novelty hit in 1958).

It’s hard to find actual Beatles videos on YouTube that aren’t covers pretending to be the Beatles so the song in my playlist is Paul McCartney performing the song in Quebec.

Radar Love by Golden Earring – “Radar Love” is a song by the Dutch rock band Golden Earring. The single version of “Radar Love” reached #10 on the Cash Box Top 100 and #13 in Billboard in the United States. It also hit the Top 10 in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and Spain.

Before you could send a text message or call someone in their car, there was no way to communicate to a driver – unless you had a certain telepathic love that could convey from a distance your desire to be with that person, something you might call – Radar Love. In this song, the guy has been driving all night, but keeps pushing the pedal because he just knows that his baby wants him home.

Free Ride by Edgar Winter Group – “Free Ride” is a song written by Dan Hartman and performed by The Edgar Winter Group. The single, engineered by Jim Reeves, was a top 20 US hit in 1973, hitting number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

This song appeared in a 2015 Ford commercial for a Free Ride sales event:

Highway Star by Deep Purple – “Highway Star” is a song by the English rock band Deep Purple. It is the opening track on their 1972 album Machine Head and is the fastest song in tempo on the album. It is characterized by long, classically-inspired guitar and organ solos. Organist Jon Lord claimed that the organ and guitar solos were based on Bach-like chord sequences.

This song is about a man and his love for his high-powered car, which he says can out-race every other car. This was written by Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Jon Lord, and Roger Glover. It may have been inspired by Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild,” and along with “Radar Love” is one of the most famous driving songs in rock.

This song was born on a tour bus going to Portsmouth in 1971 when a reporter asked the band how they wrote songs. To demonstrate, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore grabbed an acoustic guitar and began playing a riff consisting of a single “G” repeated over and over, while vocalist Ian Gillan improvised lyrics over the top. The song was refined and was performed that same night. The song first appears on the 1972 LP Machine Head. The track remains one of the band’s staples in live concerts, and was the set opener even before it was released on any album.

Born to Be Wild by Steppenwolf – “Born to Be Wild” is a song first performed by the band Steppenwolf, written by Mars Bonfire. The song is often invoked in both popular and counter culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude. It is sometimes described as the first heavy metal song, and the second verse lyric “heavy metal thunder” marks the first use of this term in rock music (although not as a description of a musical style).

“Born to Be Wild” was used in the 1969 movie Easy Rider, a counterculture classic starring Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda as bikers who ride from Los Angeles to New Orleans. (Another Steppenwolf song, “The Pusher,” was also used in the film).

When the movie was in production, this was simply a placeholder, since Fonda wanted Crosby, Stills and Nash to do the soundtrack. It became clear that the song belonged in the movie, and it stayed. Partly because of its use in Easy Rider, this has become the song most associated with motorcycles.

Although “Born to Be Wild” is typically associated with motorcycles, the songwriter’s intent was not necessarily an anthem for the biker lifestyle but moreso about freedom, mobility and life on the open road.

It was written by Mars Bonfire, which is the stage name of Dennis Edmonton. He wasn’t a member of Steppenwolf, but his brother Jerry was the band’s drummer. (Bonfire wrote a few other songs for Steppenwolf as well, including “Ride With Me” and “Tenderness”).

Explaining how he came up with the song, Bonfire said:

“I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard one day and saw a poster in a window saying ‘Born to Ride’ with a picture of a motorcycle erupting out of the earth like a volcano with all this fire around it. Around this time I had just purchased my first car, a little secondhand Ford Falcon. So all this came together lyrically: the idea of the motorcycle coming out along with the freedom and joy I felt in having my first car and being able to drive myself around whenever I wanted. ‘Born to Be Wild’ didn’t stand out initially. Even the publishers at Leeds Music didn’t take it as the first or second song I gave them. They got it only because I signed as a staff writer. Luckily, it stood out for Steppenwolf. It’s like a fluke rather than an achievement, though.”

In an interview for CHMR FM, John Kay told Terry Parsons that when Mars Bonfire first introduced him to the song, it was intended as a folk ballad about life on the open road. Once Steppenwolf began working with the song, the tempo was increased, and an iconic rock and roll song resulted.

“Born to Be Wild” was used in a 2017 commercial for the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster that aired during the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons. The spot, directed by The Coen Brothers, re-creates a scene from Easy Rider, but this time, Peter Fonda has given up his bike for the roadster. It’s a good spot.

Going Mobile by The Who – “Going Mobile” is a song written by Pete Townshend and originally released by The Who on their 1971 album Who’s Next. It was originally written for Townshend’s abandoned Lifehouse project, with lyrics celebrating the joy of having a mobile home and being able to travel the open road. The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey did not take part in the recording of the song, leaving the rest of the band to record it as a power trio; Townshend handles the lead vocals, guitars, and synthesizers, with John Entwistle on bass and Keith Moon on drums. The song has attracted mixed reviews from music critics.

“Going Mobile” is one of the lighter moments on Who’s Next. Townshend described the use of the song in the proposed project as follows: “As the story unfolded, because of the vagaries of the modern world, because of pollution being caused mainly by people’s need to travel, to be somewhere else. (People) had been told, ‘You can’t do that anymore. You have to stay where you are.’ But people have got this lust for life, and adventure, and a bit of color.” It celebrates the joys of having a mobile home and being able to travel the highways at will – Townshend himself had acquired a mobile home about a year before the song was recorded. An example of the theme is illustrated by such lyrics as:

I don’t care about pollution

I’m an air-conditioned gypsy

That’s my solution

Watch the police and the taxman miss me

I’m mobile

Pink Cadillac by Bruce Springsteen – “Pink Cadillac” is a song by Bruce Springsteen released as the non-album B-side of Dancing in the Dark in 1984. The song received moderate airplay on album-oriented rock radio, appearing on the Billboard Top Tracks chart for 14 weeks, peaking at number 27. The song was also a prominent concert number during Springsteen’s 1984-85 Born in the U.S.A. Tour. This song did not appear on any album until 1998 when it was included on Tracks, a collection of Springsteen outtakes.

Like Prince’s “Little Red Corvette”, “Pink Cadillac” follows the tradition of the Wilson Pickett R&B classic “Mustang Sally” in using automobile travel as a metaphor for sexual activity, particularly as sung by Springsteen as the lyric: “I love you for your pink Cadillac” was originally a veiled pudendal reference. Springsteen, in fact, vetoed the first attempt by a female singer to release a version of “Pink Cadillac”, that being Bette Midler in 1983. However, “Pink Cadillac” had its highest profile incarnation via an R&B interpretation by Natalie Cole, which became a top-ten single in 1988.

Fun Fact: In 2001, AOL would not let users quote this in a Springsteen discussion group because they felt the lyrics were too suggestive. One of the offending lines was “My love is bigger than a Honda, yeah it’s bigger than a Subaru.”

Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett – “Mustang Sally” is a rhythm and blues (R&B) song written and first recorded by Mack Rice in 1965. It was released on the Blue Rock label (4014) in May 1965 with “Sir Mack Rice” as the artist. It gained greater popularity when Wilson Pickett covered it the following year on a single, a version that was also released on the 1966 album, The Wicked Pickett.

According to Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Songs,

“Mustang Sally nearly ended up on the studio floor – literally. After Pickett finished his final take at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the tape suddenly flew off the reel and broke into pieces. But the session engineer, the legendary Tom Dowd, calmly cleared the room and told everyone to come back in half an hour. Dowd pieced the tape back together and saved what became one of the funkiest soul anthems of the ’60s.”

The chorus of the song includes the lyrics “ride, Sally, ride” — a phrase that became fodder for newspaper headlines in 1983, when astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. The Lou Reed song “Ride Sally Ride”, which quotes these lyrics throughout, is the first track on his 1974 album Sally Can’t Dance. The same lyric is found in “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone in 1968 and in the children’s song “Sally the Camel.”

I’m in Love with My Car by Queen – “I’m in Love with My Car” is a song by the British rock band Queen, released on their fourth album A Night at the Opera in 1975. It is the album’s only song written entirely by drummer Roger Taylor.

The engine noises on the recording of “I’m In Love With My Car” are authentic and come from the car Roger Taylor owned at the time. He described in a 1997 interview with Pop On The Line:

“I remember my car at the time, because I think we’ve got the exhaust on the record, and that was a little Alfa Romeo. But I think it was more about people in general, for instance boy racers. In particular we had a sound guy/roadie at the time called Jonathan Harris, who was in love with his car, and that inspired that. I think he had a TR4, Triumph TR4.”

Roger Taylor loved the song, and demanded it to be the B-side to Freddie Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” single – so much so that he apparently locked himself in a cupboard until Mercury agreed. Perhaps there was a good reason Taylor really wanted it to be the “Rhapsody” B-side – the song credit went completely to him, and when the single became a huge smash hit, he received almost equal royalties as Mercury did for “Rhapsody.”

This naturally rather annoyed the rest of the band! Songwriting credits and friction over royalties are a common reason why most bands break up. For this reason, Queen later in their career decided to give a collective co-writing credit for all songs, regardless of who contributed. This meant everyone got equal royalties for any singles/hits, which meant there was less friction with members more willing to let their songs/ideas be worked on – knowing they wouldn’t lose any credit or royalty money in the process.

The song was used in a 2004 advertisement for Jaguar:

No Particular Place to Go by Chuck Berry – “No Particular Place to Go” is a song by Chuck Berry, released as a single by Chess Records in May 1964 and released on the album St. Louis to Liverpool in November 1964.

The song is comical four verse story. In the first verse the narrator is cruising in his car with his girlfriend, and they kiss. In the second they start to cuddle, and drive slow. In the third they decide to park and take a walk, but are unable to release the seat belt. In the last verse they drive home, defeated by the recalcitrant seat belt.

“No Particular Place To Go” was written at a time when Chuck Berry had literally no place to go. He was in prison. Chuck first saw the inside of a slammer back in the 1940s due to a youthful folly, but it is fair to say that since then his encounters with the law have been more low key and if anything somewhat contrived.

Although this song didn’t enrage Mrs. Whitehouse like his later, number one hit, in which he offered to show us his ding-a-ling, it is fairly laden with innuendo, although of the tragic kind, because herein, our hero is unable to unfasten his safety belt.

Hey Little Cobra by The Rip Chords – “Hey Little Cobra” is a song released in 1963 by The Rip Chords. The song was produced by Terry Melcher and Bruce Johnston, who also sang vocals.

The song spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 4, while reaching No. 5 on Canada’s CHUM Hit Parade, and No. 3 on New Zealand’s “Lever Hit Parade.”

Melcher was the son of actress Doris Day; he went on to produce albums for The Byrds and Paul Revere and The Raiders. Johnston became a member of The Beach Boys. They persuaded Columbia Records to release this as by The Rip Chords to take advantage of the act’s name recognition.

Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys – “Fun, Fun, Fun” is a song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love for American rock band the Beach Boys. It was released in 1964 as a single backed with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”, both later appearing on the band’s album Shut Down Volume 2.

The classic American song about girls and cars is one of many by the Beach Boys that virtually defined the California myth. Its lyrics are about a teenage girl who tricks her father so she can go hot-rodding with his Ford Thunderbird. At the end, her father discovers her deception and takes the keys from her. The narrator then comes to the girl’s rescue with his own car and she retaliates by running off with him, who fell in love with her after watching her drive.

The Wilsons’ father Murray had very conservative values and felt this song was immoral. Murray served as their manager, and by many accounts was very controlling. He didn’t get his way on this one, and was removed as manager a few months later.

The Beach Boys were on tour in Australia and when they returned to the States, Beatlemania had come to town. This was the Beach Boys’ next hit, and while now regarded as a classic, at the time it was almost eclipsed by the Mop Tops.

Little Deuce Coupe by the Beach Boys – “Little Deuce Coupe” is a song written by Brian Wilson and Roger Christian. The song first appeared as the b-side to The Beach Boys’ 1963 single “Surfer Girl”. The car referred to is the 1932 Ford Model 18. “Little Deuce Coupe” became The Beach Boys’ highest charting B-side, peaking on September 28, 1963 at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Brian Wilson commented on the song in the liner notes of the 1990 CD re-release of the original Surfer Girl album: “We loved doing ‘Little Deuce Coupe’. It was a good ‘shuffle’ rhythm, which was not like most of the rhythms of the records on the radio in those days. It had a bouncy feel to it. Like most of our records, it had a competitive lyric. This record was my favorite Beach Boys car song.” According to author Jon Stebbins in his book The Lost Beach Boy, while the group was on tour in July 1963 Mike Love hit on the idea to use short instrumental segments of the song in the Beach Boys’ live set as a way to introduce the band members to the audience, starting with Dennis Wilson on drums, then adding David Marks (and later Al Jardine) on rhythm guitar, Carl Wilson on lead guitar, and finally Brian on the bass, before launching the song from the top.

This is one of the street drag-racing tales that were popular in mid 1960s in Southern California. The lyrics make more sense if you’re into cars. The mechanical parts mentioned are all actual automotive parts or technology, including the “flat head mill” (engine) and the “lake pipes” (which are long chromed exhaust pipes that run along the rocker panel). One artistic stretch is the vision of an old Ford Model A reaching 140 mph – the shape has too much air drag to reach that speed, unless you tow it behind a DC-10 jet.

A deuce is a car produced by Ford in 1932 (the “2” in 1932 is the “deuce”). Most of them had big V8 engines and were popular for drag racing. They weren’t just coupes – they also came as roadsters and sedans. The line at the end of the song, “There’s one more thing, I got the pink slip daddy,” means that the singer won a race with his Little Deuce Coupe, earning him his opponent’s car. The “pink slip” is the vehicle’s registration, so “racing for pink slips” means the winner gets the other car.

The Silver Sapphire – Little Deuce Coupe 1932 Ford

Mercury Blues by Steve Miller Band – “Mercury Blues” is a song written by K. C. Douglas and Robert Geddins, and first recorded by Douglas in 1948. The song, originally titled “Mercury Boogie,” pays homage to the American automobile, which ended production in 2010.

The song has been covered by several others including the Steve Miller Band (1967, at The Monterey International Pop Festival, and 1976, on their album, Fly Like an Eagle).

Willie the Wimp by Stevie Ray Vaughan – Willie Morris “Flukey” Stokes (December 12, 1937 – November 19, 1986) was an American reputed mobster from Chicago, Illinois. Stokes was from the South Side and well known for his silk suits, diamond rings, and flamboyant lifestyle as a drug trafficking kingpin and pool hall owner. Stokes immortalized himself in Chicago by throwing a US$200,000 (equivalent to $445,359 in 2016) party on his 30th wedding anniversary in 1985 and for the decadent funeral he arranged for his murdered 28-year-old son, Willie “the Wimp” Stokes, Jr. in February 1984. The elder Stokes had his son buried in a Cadillac-style coffin with $100 bills stuffed between his diamond ring laden fingers. Two years later in November 1986, Flukey would also be murdered, along with his chauffeur, sitting inside a 1986 Cadillac limousine while talking on his wireless telephone. Stokes was 48 years old.

Photograph of Stokes attending his 30th wedding anniversary party from Chicago-based Jet Magazine (January 28, 1985). This image is copyrighted and owned by Jet Magazine and being used for informational purposes only.

The song:  This song has its roots in my neck of the woods: Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth, of Austin, Texas were reading the Austin American-Statesman one morning and they read the syndicated column about Willie the Wimp. Carter said, “I said to Ruth, ‘This isn’t a column – it’s a song’.” They drove to the studio, and Carter said that “in the two miles it took us to get there we put the column to music.” Jimmie Vaughan was at the studio, and he called his brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, to tell him about it. Stevie liked the song, recorded it, and performed it live for his fans around the world. Much of the songs lyrics came directly out of the column including a quote from Willie the Wimp’s mother where she described her and her husband’s reason for wanting an extravagant funeral for their son. She said that her son “left like he lived – in a lively manner.” It was worked into a verse in the song that says, “In his Cadillac to heaven he was waving that banner; He left like he lived, in a lively manner.”

Bill Carter first released the song as “Willy The Wimp (And His Cadillac Coffin)” on his 1985 album, Stompin’ Grounds. Jimmie Vaughan played lead guitar on Carter’s album, and his brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, released his version, titled: “Willie the Wimp” on his Live Alive album in July 1986. The blues-rock standard begins: “Willie the Wimp was buried today, They laid him to rest in a special way” which leads into a full description of the decadence that was Willie the Wimp’s funeral. The song mentions “the casketmobile, Willie the Wimp’s red suit, the money between his fingers, [and] the headlights” – into the catchy refrain, “Talkin’ ’bout Willie the Wimp in his Cadillac coffin.” Stevie Ray Vaughan performed the song live in concert at the Midtfyns Festival in Denmark in 1988.

Hot Rod Lincoln by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen – “Hot Rod Lincoln” is a song by American singer-songwriter Charlie Ryan, first released in 1955. It was written as an answer song to Arkie Shibley’s 1951 hit “Hot Rod Race” which describes a race in San Pedro, Los Angeles between two hot rod cars, a Ford and a Mercury, which stay neck-and-neck until both are overtaken by “a kid in a hopped-up Model A”. “Hot Rod Lincoln” is sung from the perspective of this third driver, whose own hot rod is a Ford Model A body with a Lincoln-Zephyr V12 engine, overdrive, a four-barrel carburetor, 4:11 gear ratio, and safety tubes.

The cover version, by country rock band Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen on their 1971 album Lost in the Ozone, became the most successful version of “Hot Rod Lincoln,” reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 28 Adult Contemporary, No. 7 in Canada, and was ranked No. 69 on the U.S. Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972.

This was the only hit for Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, who were a County-Rock group formed at the University of Michigan. Commander Cody is lead singer and piano player George Frayne.

Hot Rod Heart by John Fogerty – “Hot Rod Heart” is written by American singer/songwriter John Fogerty and is the second track on Blue Moon Swamp, the fifth solo studio album by Fogerty, released on May 20, 1997.

Carefree Highway by Gordon Lightfoot – “Carefree Highway” is a song written by Gordon Lightfoot and was second single release from his 1974 album, Sundown. The song peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent one week at #1 on the Easy Listening chart in October 1974.

Lightfoot got the idea for this song from a road sign he saw. The song name comes from a section of Arizona State Route 74 in north Phoenix. The Carefree Highway intersects I-17, and leads to Carefree, Arizona, a small community north of Phoenix.

Said Lightfoot,

“I thought it would make a good title for a song. I wrote it down, put it in my suitcase and it stayed there for eight months.” The song employs “Carefree Highway” as a metaphor for the state of mind where the singer seeks escape from his ruminations over a long ago failed affair with a woman named Ann. Lightfoot has stated that Ann actually was the name of a woman Lightfoot romanced when he was age 22. “It was one of those situations where you meet that one woman who knocks you out and then leaves you standing there and says she’s on her way.”

Lightfoot was asked during a Reddit AMA what he meant by the song’s second line, “I wonder how the old folks are tonight?” He replied: “Well, I always thought about my folks. They’re both gone now. But I always thought about my folks, it doesn’t matter what kind of trouble I was getting into, I always thought about my folks.”

“Carefree Highway” is one of my favorite Gordon Lightfoot songs.

Little Red Corvette by Prince – “Little Red Corvette” is a song by American musician Prince. Released as a single from the album 1999 in 1983, the song was his biggest hit at the time, and his first to reach the top 10 in the US, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It was also his first single to perform better on the pop chart than the R&B chart.

The song combines a drum machine beat and slow synth buildup for the verses and a full rock chorus. Backing vocals were done by Dez Dickerson and Lisa Coleman and the guitar solo was also played by Dickerson. In the song, Prince narrates a one-night stand with a beautiful but promiscuous woman (the “Little Red Corvette” of the title); although he enjoys the experience, he urges her to “slow down” and “find a love that’s gonna last” before she destroys herself. In addition to the title, he uses several other automobile metaphors, for example comparing their lovemaking to a ride in a limousine.

The song is about sex, but it’s just ambiguous enough not to offend most listeners. Many of Prince’s earlier songs, like “Head,” “Dirty Mind,” and “Soft and Wet,” were blatantly sexual, which scared off radio stations. The line, “She had a pocket full of horses, Trojans, some of them used,” refers to Trojan condoms. The “Jockeys” represent men who have previously slept with the girl. These were veiled sexual references that not enough people got to make the song be considered offensive.

Prince got the idea for this song when he dozed off in backup singer Lisa Coleman’s 1964 Mercury Montclair Marauder after an exhausting all-night recording session. The lyrics came to him in bits and pieces during this and other catnaps. Eventually he was able to finish it without sleeping.

“Little Red Corvette” really helped put Prince on the map. 1999 was Prince’s fifth album. He had just modest success to this point, his biggest hit being the #11 “I Wanna Be Your Lover” four years earlier. The title track was issued as the first single in September 1982, about a month before the album was released. That song reached #44 US in December, and “Little Red Corvette” was released as the second single in February 1983. The song made a slow climb up the charts, reaching #6 in May. From November 1982 to April 1983, Prince toured behind the album. As “Little Red Corvette” rode up the charts, he drew far larger crowds – the early dates proved to be some of his last theater shows, as he was a clear arena headliner by the end of the tour.

The music video was one of the first videos by a black artist to get regular airplay on MTV. Michael Jackson was the first to break the color barrier on MTV with “Billie Jean,” and “Little Red Corvette” came soon after. The band shot the clip during a tour stop in Jacksonville; the song was already a radio hit when they made it.

Following Prince’s death, the song re-charted on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at number 29. It rose to number 20 one week later. It has sold 1,080,601 digital copies in the United States.

In 2001, Chevrolet put up billboards with a picture of a red 1963 Corvette Sting Ray that said, “They don’t write songs about Volvos.” In 2003, Chevrolet used this in a commercial that aired for the first time during the Grammys. The ad showed old footage of The Beach Boys performing “My 409” followed by Don McLean singing “American Pie” (“drove my Chevy to the levee”), and then Prince performing this. The camera then goes outside the club to show Chevy’s latest model. There was also a Billboard for the Chevrolet Corvette made from this song as well. It had the lyric “Little Red Corvette, baby ur much 2 fast” and Prince’s logo over the Corvette. It was displayed behind the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2003.

Fun Fact: Stevie Nicks got the idea for “Stand Back” from this song. She heard it in her car, drove to the recording studio, and put down some tracks. “It just gave me an incredible idea, so I spent many hours that night writing a song about some kind of crazy argument, and it was to become one of the most important of my songs,” she remembered in the liner notes for Timespace. Prince came in and added the keyboard bit. As Nicks tells it, he came up with the riff as soon as he started playing it.

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Mercedes Benz by Janis Joplin – “Mercedes Benz” is an a cappella song written by singer Janis Joplin with the poets Michael McClure and Bob Neuwirth, and originally recorded by Joplin. In the song, the singer asks the Lord to prove His love for her by buying her a Mercedes-Benz, a color TV, and a “night on the town.” There is also a reference to Dialing for Dollars, a franchised format local television program, which required one to be watching the show to win when the show called your phone number, hence the singer’s need for a TV.

The song is considered to be a rejection of consumerism. It is a social commentary on how many people relate happiness and self-worth with money and material possessions. Sung acapella in a blues style, Joplin was poking fun at the mindset that luxury goods will make everything better.

This song spoke to the shift in the counterculture, as some of the impoverished musicians speaking out against the system were now very rich. As Barney Hoskyns, who wrote about Joplin and the song in his book Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock told us, “Rock was now big business, and a lot of money was flooding into the pockets of people who never expected to make it. This set up a mixture of expectation and guilt – they were acquiring a taste for the finer things but knew that a good hippie shouldn’t be materialistic. By the early ’70s it had all changed, and rock stars were the new Yuppies.”

How it came to be: It is based on a song called “C’mon, God, and Buy Me a Mercedes Benz” by the Los Angeles beat poet Michael McClure. Joplin saw McClure perform it, and on August 8, 1970 she reworked it into her own song, which she performed about an hour later.

As recounted in the Patti Smith memoir Just Kids, before her show at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, she went to a nearby bar (likely Vahsen’s, later renamed Little Dick’s) with her good friend, the songwriter Bob Neuwirth, and two more recent acquaintances, the actors Rip Torn and Geraldine Page. Joplin started reciting the line, “Oh, Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” – the first line of McClure’s song. The four started banging beer mugs on the table to form a rhythm, and Neuwirth wrote down lyrics he and Joplin came up with on a napkin. They finished the song, and Janis performed it at the show, introducing it by saying, “I just wrote this at the bar on the corner. I’m going to do it Acapulco.” Lol. “Acapulco.”

That show was recorded and widely bootlegged, as it was her penultimate performance and the debut of “Mercedes Benz.” The song was recorded in one take on October 1, 1970. These were the last tracks Joplin ever recorded; she died three days later, on October 4. The song appeared on the album Pearl, released in 1971. Wow. Recorded just a few days before her death. How close the world came to never having that song.

By the way, Janis Joplin never got a Mercedes Benz, but she did have a 1965 Porsche that was painted to become a piece of hippie art.

Arrested for Driving While Blind by ZZ Top – “Arrested for Driving While Blind” is a song by American blues rock band ZZ Top. Written by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, it was released as the second single from their fifth studio album Tejas (1976).

The song ostensibly concerns the pleasures, and legal pitfalls, of driving under the influence, after dark, as an antidote to limited leisure opportunities. The song references a number of popular alcoholic beverage brands:

“When you’re driving down the highway at night

And you’re feelin’ that Wild Turkey’s bite

Don’t give Johnnie Walker a ride

Cause Jack Black is right by your side

You might get taken to the jailhouse and find

You’ve been arrested for driving while blind.”

Never ones to be preachy, this is ZZ Top’s version of an anti-drunk driving song. In a 1985 interview with Spin magazine, bass player Dusty Hill said:

“I was never DWI. I have been very close. I’ve had a couple of wrecks in the past. We wrote that song quite a while ago, and we caught a little flak about it. People think we’re suggesting that people should get drunk and go out and drive. That’s not it at all. Billy introduces it: ‘Don’t get arrested for driving while blind.’ We’re not saying, ‘Don’t drink.’ We’re just doing a tune. But personally, it scared the shit out of me having a wreck. I wasn’t completely whacked, but my response time wasn’t what it would be right now.”

Panama by Van Halen – “Panama” is a song from Van Halen’s album 1984. It was the third single released from that record and is one of their most recognized songs. The song was reportedly written about a car. In an interview with Howard Stern, lead singer David Lee Roth explained the meaning behind the trademark song. Although the song features some suggestive lyrics, it is about a car that Roth saw race in Las Vegas; its name was “Panama Express”, hence the title of the song. In the Stern interview, Roth did not explain why the song was about a car rather than the usual Van Halen material.

Panama was the name of Roth’s car. He had the hood and bumper mounted in his hallway, which can be seen in his video for “SHOOBop”. He has a stuffed deer’s behind crashing through the front windshield. A plaque underneath reads, “Your First deer, courtesy of PANAMA.”

During the bridge of the song where Roth says “I can barely see the road from the heat comin’ off it,” guitarist Eddie Van Halen can be heard revving his 1972 Lamborghini Miura S in the background. The car was backed up to the studio and microphones were attached to the exhaust pipe to record the sound for the song.

This was one of the last Van Halen songs recorded with David Lee Roth as lead singer. He was replaced by Sammy Hagar in 1986.

409 by the Beach Boys“409” is a song written by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Gary Usher for the American rock and roll band the Beach Boys. The song features Love singing lead vocals. It was originally released as the B-side of the single “Surfin’ Safari” (1962). It was later released on their 1962 album, Surfin’ Safari and appeared again on their 1963 album, Little Deuce Coupe.

The song is credited for initiating the hot rod music craze of the 1960s.

This song describes the Chevrolet 409, named because of its huge 409 cubic-inch engine. Dubbed “Turbo-Fire,” production began in January 1961. The engine had a single Carter four-barrel carburetor that supplied enough fuel-air mixture to generate up to 360 horsepower. With a bit of hot-rodding, more than 400 horsepower was easily available, making the car a big hit among street racers.

This full-size family car 409 did the quarter mile in 13.58 seconds at 105.88 miles per hour. It could go from zero to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. This song describes the Bel-Air sport coupe version of the car equipped with the “4-speed, dual-quad, Positraction” equipment. It could do a 12.22-second quarter mile at 115 miles per hour. Zero to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds flat.

My ’71 Monte Carlo wasn’t quite that fast but it did zero to 60 in about 6 seconds. I loved that car, my first, and I so miss it!

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An early Beach Boys song, Brian Wilson wrote this with his early collaborator Gary Usher. Wilson knew very little about things like surfing or cars, but Usher did, and he was able to help Wilson tap into the California culture. In 1971, Usher told Gene Sculatti:

“Dennis Wilson was the first Beach Boy to pick up on surfing. He was aware of Dick Dale, the Pendleton jackets and that whole shot. It just rubbed off. I never surfed. I was a hot rod freak. I had a 409. One day we were driving up to Los Angeles looking for a part for my car, and I said ‘Let’s write a song called ‘409’. We’ll do a thing ‘giddy up, giddy up,’ meaning horses for horsepower,’ just kidding around. We came back and put it to three simple chords in five minutes, and it developed into a million-dollar car craze.”

Last Kiss by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers – “Last Kiss” is a song released by Wayne Cochran in 1961 on the Gala label. It failed to do well on the charts. Cochran subsequently re-recorded his song for the King label in 1963. It was later revived by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers and was one of several teen tragedy songs of the period.

This song is about Jeanette Clark and J.L. Hancock, who were both 16 years old when their car hit a tractor-trailer on a road in rural Barnesville, Georgia. They were on a date a few days before Christmas in 1962. A local gas station attendant helping with the recovery of the bodies did not recognize his own daughter. Hancock and Clark’s friend Wayne Cooper, who was riding with them, was killed instantly. Their two other friends, Jewel Emerson and Ed Shockley, survived with serious injuries. The drummer of the songwriter Wayne Cochran had been dating Jeannette Clark’s sister at the time of the wreck.

Wayne Cochran lived on Route 1941 in Georgia, which was about 15 miles away from the crash. It was a busy road, and Cochran saw lots of accidents on it. He was working on a song based on all the crashes he saw, and was about halfway done with it when he heard about the wreck in Barnesville. There was an intense emotional response from the community after the tragedy, and Cochran used those feelings to finish the song, which he dedicated it to Jeanette Clark.

Cochran’s version was a local hit in Georgia, which prompted a Texas record company to record it with J. Frank Wilson and release it nationally. The band’s producer, Son Roush, subsequently split the group to place lead singer J. Frank Wilson with better musicians. Four months after the release of this song, the new band were touring in Ohio. At about 5:15 a.m., Roush apparently fell asleep at the wheel. The car drifted left of center and rammed head-on into a trailer truck. Roush was killed instantly. Wilson survived with a few broken ribs and a broken ankle, but went right on with the tour, taking only a week off. People still remember him coming out on the stage on crutches to sing “Last Kiss” and “Hey, Little One.” The second accident is what pushed this song to #2 on the national charts. Wilson later retired from music and went to work in a nursing home.

Look at That Cadillac by the Stray Cats – The Stray Cats were an American rockabilly band formed in 1979 by guitarist and vocalist Brian Setzer, double bassist Lee Rocker, and drummer Slim Jim Phantom in the Long Island town of Massapequa, New York. The group had numerous hit singles in the UK, Australia, Canada and the U.S. including “Stray Cat Strut”, “(She’s) Sexy + 17”, “Look at That Cadillac,” “I Won’t Stand in Your Way”, “Bring it Back Again”, and “Rock This Town.”

“Look at That Cadillac” is a single from their third album, Rant and Rave with the Stray Cats, released in 1983. It only reached #68 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Cars by Gary Numan – “Cars” is a 1979 song by British artist Gary Numan, released as a single from the album The Pleasure Principle. It reached the top of the charts in several countries, and today is considered a new wave staple. In the UK charts, it reached number 1 in 1979, and in 1980 hit number 1 in Canada two weeks running on the RPM national singles chart and rose to number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Though Numan had a string of hits in the UK, “Cars” was his only song in the US Hot 100. It debuted on the American Top 40 on 29 March 1980 and spent a total of 17 weeks there, peaking at #9.

This song is about how people use technology and material goods to isolate themselves from human contact. Numan has stated that he has Asperger syndrome, which is a mild form of autism, but until he was diagnosed, he had a lot of trouble relating to other people.

Numan told Mojo magazine March 2008 about the original inspiration for this song: “A couple of blokes started peering in the window and for whatever reason took a dislike to me, so I had to take evasive action. I swerved up the pavement, scattering pedestrians everywhere. After that, I began to see the car as the tank of modern society.”

Even though the message of this song is that cars lead to a mechanical society devoid of personal interaction, it didn’t stop automakers from using it in commercials. Both Nissan and Oldsmobile have used it in ads.

A more clever approach came from Diehard, who created a commercial where Numan played the song on 24 car horns powered by just one of their batteries. Numan has no problem with his song being used in commercials, telling us, “I’m up for that, actually. I think any use of it at all. It would be great if it happened again.”

Numan made a video for this with special effects that look ridiculous now, but were cutting edge in 1979. When MTV went on the air in 1981, it was one of about 200 videos they had, so they played it over and over. This made the song a hit in the US.

Numan explained to Rolling Stone how he came up with this song’s synthesizer hook: “I have only written two songs on bass guitar and the first one was ‘Cars.’ I had just been to London to buy a bass and when I got home the first thing I played was that intro riff. I thought, ‘Hey, that’s not bad!’ In 10 minutes, I had the whole song. The quickest one I ever wrote. And the most famous one I’d ever written. More people should learn from that.”

Drive by the Cars – “Drive” is a 1984 song by The Cars, the third single from the band’s Heartbeat City album released in March 1984 and their biggest international hit. Written by Ric Ocasek, the track was sung by bassist Benjamin Orr and produced by Robert John “Mutt” Lange with the band.

Upon its release, “Drive” became The Cars’ highest charting single in the United States, peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; on the Adult Contemporary chart, the song went to No. 1.

A very melancholy song by The Cars, this is written from the perspective of a guy who’s watching a woman (who he presumably used to date) “going down the tubes,” trying to get her to take a hard look at what’s going on in her life.

The video was directed by a 23-year-old Timothy Hutton, who had won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie Ordinary People. Hutton aspired to direct, so when Ric Ocasek of The Cars suggested he do it, Hutton jumped at the chance. Hutton cast the Czechoslovakian model Paulina Porizkova as the female lead in the clip. Auditioning for the role was the first time she met Ocasek, who she married in 1989.

Fast Car by Tracy Chapman – “Fast Car” is a song by American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman. It was released in April 1988 as the lead single from her self-titled debut album. Her appearance on the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute was the catalyst for the song’s becoming a top 10 hit in the United States, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 4 on the UK Singles Chart. Besides this “Fast Car” received two Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, as well as a Video Music Award nomination for Best Female Video in 1989.

Vehicle by the Ides of March – “Vehicle” is the one-hit wonder success for the Chicago-based band The Ides of March. It rose to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of May 23, 1970. It is purported to be the fastest selling single in Warner Bros. Records history.

The Ides of March formed in 1965 in Berwyn, Illinois – their name came from a line in the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar. Peterik was 14 at the time. The horn section was added in 1968. They were all teenagers when this song was released.

Written and sung by Jim Peterik, the song features a distinctive horn section riff that is still popular today. The song is often mistaken for the horn driven sound of Blood, Sweat and Tears which was popular in the same time range. Peterik wrote “Vehicle” as a joke.

“I got the idea from one of these anti-drug pamphlets they distributed in a school. It was very tongue-in-cheek.” At first, the opening line was, “I got a set of wheels pretty baby, won’t you hop inside my car?” Peterik changed it when his friend showed him a government issued anti-drug pamphlet. It explained the perils of drug use and was illustrated with a little drawing of an undesirable type cruising along the curb looking for easy targets. The caption read, “I’m the friendly stranger in the black sedan, won’t you hop inside my car?” The lyrics that followed, about the picture and candy, came from a warning his mother used to give him about walking home from school.

Peterik has also said that:

“In high school, I co-founded a band called The Ides of March. We did it because we loved music, not because we thought we’d be successful. At the time, I was madly in love with this girl named Karen. I had a souped-up 1964 Plymouth Valiant, and she was always asking for rides. I drove her to modeling school every week. I was hoping flames would ignite—but they didn’t. I came home one day, dejected, and thought: all I am is her vehicle. And I thought: Wow! Vehicle! I came up with this song, taught it to the band, and the next thing I knew, we were recording in a CBS studio. The song—called “Vehicle”—became a world-wide hit in 1970. “I’m your vehicle baby/I’ll take you anywhere you wanna go!”

Peterik had an on again off again relationship with Karen after the song came out. Eventually they married and have been together for years.

Roll on Down the Highway by Bachman Turner Overdrive – “Roll On down the Highway” is a song written by Fred Turner and Robbie Bachman, first recorded by Canadian rock group Bachman–Turner Overdrive (BTO) for their 1974 album Not Fragile. The lead vocal is provided by Turner. Turner and Randy Bachman had originally been contracted by Ford to write a song for the automotive company’s commercials, but Ford never picked up any of their compositions. Robbie Bachman later helped turn one of Fred’s ideas into a Top 20 hit. “Roll on Down the Highway” peaked at #14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on March 1, 1975. It reached #8 on the Cash Box Top 100 singles, and #4 on the Canadian RPM chart, and gave the band their second — and final — hit in the United Kingdom, reaching #22 in the UK Singles Chart.

Fitting for a band that is partly named for a trucking magazine (Overdrive), this song is about a trucker making a haul. Written by drummer Robbie Bachman and bass player Fred Turner (who sang lead), the song tapped into the ’70s fascination with trucking culture.

Randy Bachman and Fred Turner would often give themselves assignments as motivation to write songs, often writing something in the style of a current hit. This song evolved out of something they wrote for a Ford commercial. In our interview with Randy Bachman, he explained:

“It’s like getting an assignment: write a new commercial for Ford and you’ll get paid $100,000. Well, I’d sit down and I’d write a commercial for Ford, ‘let it roll down the highway.’ Ford never picks it up and I have a song called ‘Roll On Down the Highway.'”

Rockin’ Down the Highway by The Doobie Brothers – This song is from the second double live album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers, Rockin’ Down the Highway: The Wildlife Concert, released in 1996. The concerts were performed to benefit the Wildlife Conservation Society, hence the album’s title.

Never released as a single, this is a popular song from the second Doobie Brothers album Toulouse Street, which contained their breakout hit “Listen To The Music.” Like many of The Doobies early hits, it was written by their lead singer Tom Johnston, who told us:

“‘Rockin’ Down The Highway’ was a good times song. It’s just what it sounds like. It’s about being in a car with the top down flying down the road, which was not uncommon. I lived in San Jose, but I spent a lot of time in the Santa Cruz Mountains and driving up and down Highway 1 down by Santa Cruz. You know, we hadn’t signed with a label at that particular time, and I would imagine that the words came out of those experiences: it was footloose, fancy free, and just groovin’ up and down the coast, partying. I don’t think there was anything more in depth about it as far as the words. I don’t think there’s any major story to be told there. I mention a motorcycle in there, and it’s not a direct mention, but it kind of glances off motorcycling and riding around in cars. I was motorcycle nuts in those days, so there’s a reference to that.”

Long May You Run by Neil Young – Neil’s beloved Pontiac hearse, “Mort” (a.k.a. “Mortimer Hearseburg”), was the inspiration for this song. Neil drove “Mort” from Toronto to Los Angeles, where he met Stephen Stills and formed Buffalo Springfield.

Neil was in Canada driving to Sudbury when ‘Mort’ broke down in Blind River, June 1965. (Which is contradictory to the lyrics; “well it was back in Blind River, in 1962, when I last saw you alive”).

In 1976, Stephen Stills and Neil Young formed The Stills-Young Band and released an album called Long May You Run, which turned out to be somewhat ironic when the collaboration quickly stalled.

Stills and Young wrote separately for the album, which Stephen contributing four songs, and Young adding five, including the title track.

Stills was a longtime collaborator of Neil’s, having worked with him first in Buffalo Springfield and then in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. However, they had a falling out only nine days into the Long May You Run tour. Young decided to abandon the project, leaving Stills with a mere telegram to explain his departure. It read: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach. Neil.” Yikes!

The last ever Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien on Friday January 22, 2010 finished in style when O’Brien’s final musical guest, Neil Young, performed this song in what appeared to be a poke at NBC. O’Brien had been asked to move his slot to 12:05 a.m., and the TV host refused to move his show to such a late hour, and instead negotiated a $45 million exit deal.

Racing in the Street by Bruce Springsteen – “Racing in the Street” is a song by Bruce Springsteen from his 1978 album Darkness on the Edge of Town. In the original vinyl format, it was the last song of side one of the album. The song has been called Springsteen’s best song by several commentators, including the authors of The New Rolling Stone Album Guide.

The song plays off the American love of muscle cars during the late 1960s and into the 1970s. Springsteen wrote this about a small-time drag racer who dreams of a better life somewhere else. He has said that this song commemorates the racing in the street that occurred on a little fire road outside his home base of Asbury Park, New Jersey.

The narrator has a dead end job, but his pride and joy is his ’69 Chevy that he and his partner built, and race in the northeast section of the state (exactly which state is not mentioned) to win money gambling against similar racers. It describes that very American desire of the young man to leave his town and see what is out in the big world – to avoid that soul killing life they see around them.

This is one of many early Springsteen songs featuring cars – in this case a Chevy. Some others were “Thunder Road,” “Backstreets,” and “Pink Cadillac.”

Bruce explained to Rolling Stone in 2010:

“When you pick a song title like ‘Racing In The Street,’ that’s a hard song to write. But that was sort of the local culture of Asbury in the ’70s, which was still deeply enmeshed in car culture. If you went to the Stone Pony, it was a constant circle of souped-up muscle cars on Saturday and Sunday. Once again, I sort of stood outside of it, I was hitchhiking, I didn’t have a car! But I wanted one real bad.”

 

This next song isn’t necessarily about a car but the music video prominently features a car. It’s a favorite of mine, me having that vengeful spirit and all…

 

And that leads me into the Country playlist. Most of you know me as a classic rocker and that I am for sure. But I’ve been living in Texas for well over two decades now and I’ve been initiated into the world of country music. It all started when I owned my bar. I was known to have the most kickass jukebox in town and new people used to come in all the time just because they heard about my jukebox. Naturally it was loaded with tons of classics from the 60s and 70s and we rocked every day and every night. But then some of my regular customers were bitching because I didn’t have but a few country songs on there. So to make everybody happy, I added a nice mix of country to the collections.

Couple that with the fact that I’d occasionally turn to the country station while driving around and I actually started to dig some of these artists. So I thought I’d put together a Country Playlist for this week’s theme.

I didn’t have time to go deep with song backgrounds so here’s a down and dirty country playlist all about trucks. Because we all know what you get when you play a country song backwards: you get your lover back, you get your dog back, and you get your truck back. Or so they say. So here you go:

A TRUCK-LADEN COUNTRY PLAYLIST

Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts

We Rode in Trucks by Luke Bryan

Drive (for Daddy Gene) by Alan Jackson

Hillbilly Deluxe by Brooks and Dunn

I Love My Truck by Glen Campbell

Big Ol’ Truck by Toby Keith

Rough and Ready by Trace Adkins

Mud on My Tires by Brad Paisley

Pickup Man by Joe Diffie

Take a Little Ride by Jason Aldean

Truck Yeah by Tim McGraw

Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck by Kip Moore

I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice

Cab of My Truck by Dierks Bentley

How Country Feels by Randy Houser

Eight-Second Ride by Jake Owen

Boys ‘Round Here by Blake Shelton

That’s My Kind of Night by Luke Bryan

The Pickup Truck Song by Jerry Jeff Walker

Doin’ Things You Can’t Do in a Car by Due West

Getting Married to My Pickup Truck by Rodney Carrington

 

And I’m including this one, just because.

I Want a Cowboy by Reba McEntire

 

Hope you enjoyed my Cars and Trucks Playlists. What are your favorite songs about cars or trucks? Do you have any favorite songs about motorcycles or boats? Have any old Road Trip Mix Tapes from back in the day? If so, what’s on them?

PS: Today, October 23rd, is the anniversary of my blog going live four years ago!  Wow, has it been four years already? Crazy!

Thanks to all my blog friends for making Angels Bark a fun, rewarding and entertaining pursuit. Rock on, y’all!

 

Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy.  Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me – SONGS ABOUT CARS AND TRUCKS…and a few motorcycles too

  1. Hi, Michele!

    Wowie, you covered this topic as thoroughly as it could possibly be covered. You rounded up car, truck and motorcycle songs in genres from rock to country, even including the teen tragedy category represented by “Last Kiss.” I suppose the definitive examples of this vehicle theme are “Cars” by Gary Numan and “Drive” by The Cars. I think I told you about that Sammy Hagar song a few weeks ago. That video for “I Can’t Drive 55” played heavily on the MTV station where I worked. I appreciate how you went back and mentioned hod rod anthems of the 50s and car songs of the 60s along with more recent classics like “Little Red Corvette,” the biggie by Prince in 1983. Wilson Pickett might have scored the bigger hit with Mack Rice’s “Mustang Sally” but at the Shady Dell the Rodentia Intelligentsia preferred the version by The Young Rascals – totally tough.

    I would like to add to your list a recently discovered favorite of my own – “Shut Up And Drive” by Rihanna, a song that’s part R&B, part rock and 100% cool:

    Thank you for assembling this mega list of songs indicative of America’s love affair with the automobile. Have a wonderful week ahead, dear friend Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Tom, for being the first to stop by and check out my Cars and Trucks post. I had fun putting it all together. There are so many more songs about cars/trucks, my playlists are just a sampling. Obviously people have long been in love with their vehicles. I know: I sure did love my Monte Carlo. I miss that car so much. So wish someone wouldn’t have smashed into it in a bar parking lot, leaving me to discover it when I came out. Smashed the entire quarter panel in, which had to be pulled out from the tire so I could drive home. I was so pissed. It was the weekend before I was taking it off the road and heading to college. I was going to restore it but at the time I just didn’t have the funds for storage. I sure regret that now… She was a beauty!

      Hey, I like “Shut Up and Drive” by Rihanna!.That’s a good song. Definitely belongs here on the playlist.

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    • Hi Patrick. I love Sammy Hagar too. I saw him when he opened for ZZ Top back in the early 80s I think it was. He opened the show with a song from his Montrose days and one of my favorites: Bad Motor Scooter. Hey, I should’ve added that one to the playlist! Wonder why I didn’t think of that? hmmm…
      Well, here it is, from 1973. This is a great album overall…and I wore it out listening to it.

      Thanks for coming over Patrick.

      Like

  2. Girl, before he cheats is very appropriate it’s about a vehicle and the end shot is right there on the money! WOO HOO! LOVE IT! Rascal Flatts too with Life is a highway… very appropriate! YOU HAVE ROCKED THE HOUSE MY FRIEND! WOO HOO — ROCK ON!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Marie. I love Carrie Underwood and that song is fantastic. Add to that the video and I know there were a great many women out there who were cheering her on! 🙂
      Thanks for coming by.

      Like

  3. Michele,

    What a total comprehensive “vehicle” playlist. You outdid us all with this mewsic collection, highlighting the songs’ history. What I loved about your post, is you started off with some good oe rockin’ roll which is purrfect tie in with cars and then you wound things down with those good ole boys and their trucks. BTW, I haven’t heard “Chevy Van” in forever. What fun it was to hear it again after all this time. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the dance floor with us, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Cathy,
      Thanks for coming by and for your awesome compliment! I had fun putting this together. Just wish I would’ve had more time to dig into the country songs backgrounds. That’s what I always fine most fun about putting these posts together.
      And I’m thrilled that you enjoyed hearing Chevy Van! I so love that song. I’ts been playing in my head since Sunday! And that’s not a bad earworm to have… 🙂

      Like

      • I’m more familiar with the rock playlist, but a lot of the country songs sound pretty much like rock to me. I’m thinking that collectively I’d be more inclined to lean toward the country side these days, but it’s really tough to decide whether I like one list better than the other.

        Lee
        Tossing It Out

        Liked by 1 person

        • I find that I have really started to take a liking to today’s country because of the exact reason that you stated: it sounds a lot like rock. That old style country twang is certainly found more in the classic country/country oldies genre. Even though I do have fond memories associated with Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette, Tanya Tucker, Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride, Charlie Rich, Patsy Cline, etc. My folks used to listen to country almost exclusively back then and I spent many summers with my Aunt who also was huge into country. She had a gorgeous voice and sounded just like Connie Francis! My Mom used to be a singer in a band (with her uncles) when she was young (teens) and they played dance halls. Later, she used to be a big dancer too and used to win dance contests, especially jitterbug. In fact she danced with Hawkshaw Hawkins one night when he was performing in her hometown. Fun!

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  4. Michele, I am always (I’ve only said this a million times) so impressed by the amount of love and work you put into your posts, which is why I have to wait till the weekend to read them. I never knew the story behind Last Kiss, just for one. Drive, by the Cars is one of my favs, as is Cars by Gary Neuman. As Johnny Carson would have said, “Everything you wanted to know about transportation songs is in this post!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so sweet Alana! Thanks so much. I’m thrilled that you like to read my posts. I know they’re usually long (and too long for a lot of folks) but I really like putting them together. That was funny what you said about Johnny Carson. I loved him and so enjoyed his monologues.
      I’m blowing off tomorrow’s 4M. Just haven’t had a chance to put anything together. But I’ll stop by your place over the next few days.
      Talk soon. Thanks again!

      Like

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