What is it about guys and cars? Cars represent freedom, fun, status, power and a way to get away with your girlfriend. Here's a collection of rock and roll songs that celebrate the obsession of the American male with his car.
A #1 R&B single from 1951 and considered by many to be a precursor of rock and roll. Put together by Ike Turner, Jackie Brentson (saxophonist with Turner) did the vocal. It glorifies the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 which was newly introduced around this time.
Novelty song by the Playmates that reached #4 in 1958. About a guy cruising in his Cadillac when a Nash Rambler comes up behind him and starts beeping its horn. The Cadillac keeps speeding up – as does the song's tempo – eventually they get to 120 mph and the Rambler passes the Cadillac. The driver of the Rambler rolls down his window and asks, "Hey buddy, how can I get this car out of second gear?" At the time, American Motors was making a lot of money selling its Rambler models.
A Chuck Berry song from 1956 about a car that can fly. Keith Richards was a big fan of Berry's guitar style and the Stones covered this tune on their "Rolling Stones Now!" album. When the state patrol comes after the airmobile on the New Jersey turnpike the driver just puts out his wings and takes off.
Another Beach Boys song that reached #5 in 1964. According to the entry in Wikipedia, it was written about the daughter of a radio station owner in Salt Lake City who supposedly borrowed her father's Ford Thunderbird to go to the library but ended up at a hamburger stand instead.
This growling Memphis R&B number from Wilson Pickett reached #23 on the Billboard pop charts in 1966 (previously #15 for Mack Rice in 1965). Supposedly the original title was "Mustang Mama" until Aretha Franklin suggested a change to "Mustang Sally"
An acoustic ballad by David Wilcox (1989) about the great teenage American dream of car ownership – and narrated by the car itself! … "I'm a tail fin road locomotive from the days of cheap gasoline." Rusted out and for sale by the side of the road, this car is pleading for a young kid to buy him up and fix him up.
Another Chuck Berry classic. This one is from 1964 and reached #10 on the Billboard pop charts. The narrator is cruising with his girl in the car but things go awry when he can't get her seat belt unfastened when they decide to stop and take a stroll.
About a drag race between a Stringray and Jaguar XKE on Sunset Boulevard in LA, this song was a #8 hit in 1964 for the surf duo of Jan and Dean. Eerily, Jan Berry suffered serious injuries when he wrecked his Corvette in 1966 not far from the locale described in the song.
I was invited to join Lunch by one of the developers, who apparently read some reviews I posted on Library Thing. My interests are books, music, and movies. I enjoy both classical and contemporary fiction, … more