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Cars in rock music, where did they go?
Last Post 19 Feb 2004 08:49 AM by Binokular. 24 Replies.
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BinokularUser is Offline
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Binokular

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19 Feb 2004 08:49 AM
    Bought myself a copy of MOJO magazine the other day, mainly for the rather good cover CD than the magazine itself, anyway I discovered an interesting fact that prompted me to start a thread combining two of the things I love, cars and music. Anyway, apparently the song "Rocket 88" which is credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats is supposedly first proper Rock and Roll record. Whether its the first or not is debateable but the subject of the song is interesting. Its about a car, an Oldsmobile Rocket 88, so the tradition of rock and roll songs about cars goes right back to its early roots, it continued on right through the sixties with groups like the beach boys who even recorded an entire album inspired by drag racing (little deuce coupe). However I cannot think of many good songs written about cars in the last 20 years, with the exception of "Shake Baby Shake (500)" by Lush which is about tiny fiat 500s of all things and "the art of driving" by Black Box Recorder (ok I know it more uses driving as a cheesy metaphor for a relationship). Is it just that theres nothing more left to say on the subject? Is it seen as too materialistic a subject for a band to write songs about nowadays? (We're supposed to be writing about existential angst, the evils of the bush administration or saving the badgers or something right?) Or is it just that the cars favored by the current baseball cap wearing Max Power/fast and furious generation are nowhere near as cool or aesthetically pleasing as the glorious custom hot rods, muscles cars and sports cars of the 60s? Can anyone think of any decent songs about cars written in the last 20 years?
    KarlitoUser is Offline
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    19 Feb 2004 09:20 AM
    How about The Bluetones "Autophilia or how i leanred to love my car". Tis a good song and was receored about 3 or 4 years ago I think??
    flagmanUser is Offline
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    flagman

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    19 Feb 2004 10:17 AM
    Don't forget 'I've Got a Brand New Combine Harvester' by The Wurzels. Combine Harvesters are a cars, sort of.
    JOhnnyUser is Offline
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    19 Feb 2004 10:45 AM
    NWA 'Mutha f**ka rather see me in the pen, than me and Lorenzo rollin in a Benzo' or something like that, f**k the police
    Vent My SpleenUser is Offline
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    Vent My Spleen

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    19 Feb 2004 11:07 AM
    Madness - I like Driving in my car Heart - I drove all night Didn'tChris Rea write an album (or was it a musical film) about Ferraris? I see a theme here.. they're all piss. Oh hang on, Fas Car, Tracy Chapman...
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    19 Feb 2004 11:30 AM
    Haven't heard the that bluetones song, interesting title though. Didn't think of hip hop, they're always dropping car names like lexus, bentley, hummer, escalade etc. That said however, its just dropping brand names to show how wealthy and bling they are rather than about the cars themselves, they could just as easily be talking about versace, gucci or crystal champagne. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman isn't a bad song, its not really about cars though is it?
    The_Thin_ManUser is Offline
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    Cormac Looney

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    19 Feb 2004 11:32 AM
    what about.. 'He looked like Al Pacino, And drove a Ford Cortina'.. (Billy Bragg, who else..)
    John DoeUser is Offline
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    19 Feb 2004 12:06 PM
    I can't believe you've all forgotten the Gary Numan classic..."Cars" !! ( Here in my car / I feel safest of all / I can lock all my doors / It's the only way to live / in Cars ) If memory serves me correctly the great Tom Robinson once had a song about the joys of Ford Cortinas. Bruce Springsteen's songs are littered with references to cars and driving - try Thunder Road ( "all the redemption I can offer is beneath this dirty hood" ) Born To Run ( "Just wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims / and strap your hands across my engines" ) and a host of others, including one called "Pink Cadillac".
    The_Thin_ManUser is Offline
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    Cormac Looney

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    19 Feb 2004 12:19 PM
    Come to think of it john's on song there, the al pacino in a cortina lyric probably was Tom Robinson,..dont have the song myself, but would pay bucks for a copy of it.
    DromedUser is Offline
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    19 Feb 2004 12:21 PM
    Little Red Corvette - Prince And I believe that Roxy Music's 'Remake-Remodel' is about Brian Ferry's old car, with the refrain 'CPL593H' being his old registration number...I kid you not!
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    19 Feb 2004 12:46 PM
    Gary Numan! what a classic! Can't believe I missed that one although its actually 25 years old! can you beleve it? still sounds great though. Nice call Dromed. Little Red Corvette, great song and actually about a specific car too. Must listen to remake-remodel again sometime too, any idea how old it is though?
    The_Thin_ManUser is Offline
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    Cormac Looney

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    19 Feb 2004 12:49 PM
    Harks back more to the glory days of car songs but no list would be complete with Tom Waits' Ol 55, or his Diamonds on My Windshield.
    DromedUser is Offline
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    19 Feb 2004 01:58 PM
    Remake/Remodel - 1972, can you believe that...!
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    19 Feb 2004 02:50 PM
    Wow, remake-remodel is going back a bit, but it highlights my point about car songs, most of the songs people have listed are pushing our 20 year limit. What started out as a flood in the 50s/early Sixties dwindled to a trickle by the 80s and it seems we have a bit of a car song drought nowadays. Songs do still make references to cars such as the hip hop example above or Mike Skinner of The Streets talking about SR Novas (probably the only look-in the Max Power generation have got in a song, probably with good reason too) but nobody seems to be writing songs about the cars themselves. Somebody out there please write a good car song! I would do it myself if I had the talent (though being a petrolhead I can probably assist with lyrics, but don't ask me to rhyme anything "inlet manifold" ). After all with traffic jams and longer commutes these days, some of us probably spend more time listening to music in our cars than anywhere else.
    DromedUser is Offline
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    20 Feb 2004 07:37 AM
    I'm more of a public transport kind of girl I'm afraid Binokular, but I'll be changing all that soon enough! I wrote a song called 'Night Time Driving' in d Hi.Rise days about my cousin who used to drive us up to the Blue Light Pub in the Dublin Mountains or else to Kilakee Carpark - both have fantastic views of Dublin's city lights at night - to smoke our brains out to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. There's a little community of smokers/music lovers/bikers/weirdos that share a love of these spots and keep sketch for the Polis. I have a big ambition to drive across America some time inmy life. I might get to the Burning Man Festival in Nevada next year. Does Kowalski - Primal Scream count as a driving-related-type song?? And what about 'Mini' by Corduroy?!
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    20 Feb 2004 08:15 AM
    Kowalski kinda counts I guess, as does the whole vanishing point album. I think its unique in being Primal Screams only concept album too. Vanishing point was intended as a soundtrack to the cult 70s road movie of the same name because Primal Scream felt the original soundtrack didn't do the movie justice. Kowalski is the main character who spends most of the movie outrunning cops in a Dodge Challenger while dosed up on amphetamines. The Dodge Challenger is a typical kick-ass 70s American muscle car and also features in Primal Screams video for Kowalski. What a video! Kate Moss in a Dodge Challenger, what more could a guy want? I'm aware of "Mini" by Corduroy and the also had another instrumental called "E-Type" (as in E-Type Jaguar) but I have to confess to being completely allergic to most of Corduroys' music. Driving accross America sounds great, but its really just been romanticised by movies like "Easy Rider". I think theres more interesting adventures in motoring to be had, after all even beatiful desert skies get boring after several hours with nothing else in sight and a 55mph speed limit. A few I've dreamed about include the Mille Miglia, a historic road race through scenic Italy (Italians love cars so the local Carabinieri (police) tend to turn a blind eye). Driving across Europe right to edge of russia until you can see Alaska. Or how about the Plymouth to Dakar rally, its a charity event. Its like the Paris Dakar rally except you can only enter with an old banger bought for £100 sterling. As well as sponsorship, at the end of the event all the competitors sell the surviving bangers for charity and fly home. Sounds a bit dangerous attempting it and I wonder if I'd have the guts, but it would definitely be an adventure! Excuse my ignorance Dromed, but despite being on this discussion board a while I've only really become aware of Hi.Rises' existence recently when I came across some hi.rise songs on a website, and found them to be rather good. Kind of like a less funky, more laid back Luscious Jackson (I know its doesn't sound it but thats meant to be a compliment) I take it Hi.Rise are no longer a band?
    DromedUser is Offline
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    20 Feb 2004 10:45 AM
    Yeah we broke up about 6 months ago. s**t happens. But you can't keep a good dog down, so they say, so the future's wide open. That Paris to Dakar sounds like a real experience. What about that Gumball Rally? I'd love to do that one, in a E-type Jag preferably!
    john@soundweb.ieUser is Offline
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    john@soundweb.ie

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    20 Feb 2004 11:53 AM
    Pull Up To The Bumper Babyyyyyyyyyyy - Grace Jones I am sure Neil Young must have a tune or two bout cars - he owns a private museum of American Classics...
    BinokularUser is Offline
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    Binokular

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    20 Feb 2004 12:39 PM
    Nice one John, Pull up to the bumper, a traffic jam anthem and an accurate description of a rather annoying high speed habbit of some Irish drivers too! Dromed, The Gumball rally would be fun, but it seems to be more the preserve of rich kids, supermodels and the cast of MTVs jackass than dedicated petrolheads. Ideal if you want combine your driving with serious partying (if a little irresponsible).
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    23 Feb 2004 09:30 PM
    Hello, I'm new here. Check out a band called Fu Manchu if you want some rockin' songs about cars...and surfing/skateboarding/bmxing. :) http://www.fu-manchu.com/
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