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Let’s lighten things up a little bit. Like most of the things I write about, this came to me this morning as I was waking. As I was thinking about car songs and I was able to come up with about fifteen or twenty songs and I thought I did very well. This morning I checked the web and found a site that had a list of one hundred songs related to cars and driving from the fifties and the sixties. Of course most of them I never heard of, but it did remind me of quite a few that I had left off my list. If you want to check out the entire list go to http://www.waybackattack.com/top100-carsongs.html.
The first car song I heard was from long before the rock era. It was a song called “In My Merry Oldsmobile.” I have no idea when it was out or who did it. I just remember it from music in school. Okay, that one really doesn’t count so let’s start in the fifties and early sixties. The first one that came to my mind from this period was Mayblellene by Chuck Berry. Chuck Berry also had a big hit with “No Particular Place to Go.” Also in this time period, there was a song that I remember listening to a lot later; it was called “Hot Rod Lincoln.” Who doesn’t know the line, “He said son you’re gonna drive me a drinkin, if you don’t stop driving that hot rod Lincoln.” The funny thing about this song is that there were two songs with the same name that were out in the 1960. It turns out “Hot Rod Lincoln” has to be one of the most covered songs of its time. I believe the original was done by Johnny Bond in 1960. The one that I remember was done by Command Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen in 1972. A related song, that was out in the early sixties was the sad song “Teen Angel.”
When we talk about car songs we really think about the racing songs of the mid-sixties. Just before the British Invasion, we were rocking to The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and The Rip Chords. There were so many good tunes in this category. I have to start with the Beach Boys with “Fun Fun Fun”, “Little Duce Coupe”, “Shut Down,” and “409”. How about Jan and Dean’s tunes? Jan and Dean, and probably all of the bands with car tunes at that time, really just copied the Beach Boys style but they did it well. They had great tunes like, “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” “Dead Man’s Curve,” and “Drag City.” Other good tunes were, “Hey Little Cobra” by the Rip Chords, and “G.T.O” by Ronny and the Daytonas.
There were a few tunes that I remember after the big car era. The first was the remake of “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen. There was also War’s “Low Rider” and one of my favorites of all time, Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.”
If you want to throw motorcycles into the mix then the list would be longer and “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf would be on the top of my list. I’m sure there are a lot more that I didn’t mention. Tell me what I missed and what your favorite is.