Saturday, November 23, 2013

Car Songs

It's Saturday, the day set aside to work on cars.  Or at least it used to be, back in the pre electronic-everything era when you could still lift the hood and work on the engine.

Get it tuned just right. Adjust the valves, set the points and well, gap the plugs, re-jet the carbs, set the timing.  Fill the tank with hi-test gasoline.  Wash and dry, then wax it with Blue Coral.

If you were a bit mechanically inclined, the mufflers were changed out with glass packs.  And maybe the stock camshaft was replaced with a hotter cam that you ordered from Iskenderian, and a new intake manifold with a bigger Holley carb sitting high atop it.

The old radio in the garage was tuned to the AM station that played your favorites, an most of them were car songs.  Songs about driving, dragging, hanging out, even about specific cars.  Rocket 88 or 409, or  T-Bird or Deuce Coupe.  Great music in the pre-British Invasion era of pop music.

It's Saturday.  Here's a compilation of great car songs.  Add your favorite in the comments section.  For full effect, you should be wearing shoes with pointy toes and Cuban heels, have a duck's ass haircut, and a pack of Lucky Strike rolled up in the sleeve of your tee shirt.   Or a poodle skirt, loafers and frilly blouse, depending.

Rocket 88.  Ike Turner singing the first recorded car song.

The Beach Boys - no one performed better car songs than the Beach Boys.

Ronnie and the Daytonas - Little GTO. You know you're going to sing along to the waa waa waa part.

Rip Chords - Hey Little Cobra

Mustang Sally - Wilson Pickett.  Your feet are tapping, aren't they? "Must a-a-a-a nnng Saaaaally..."

And then....woe! Tragedy!!  Deadman's Curve!

Car songs were cool.   Which ones were your favorites?


Dust Bunny Queen said...

Not the original but.... Hot Rod Lincoln

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And chasing after that Hot Rod Lincoln is The Highway Patrol

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Coincidentally, we ARE working on cars today. We bought a 1975 Chevy one ton truck with a metal factory bed. It is in great shape and had been parked for about 10 years at a local nursery/landscaping business. We only need to fix the flat tire and haul it to a storage area to be resold. The engine is in good shape and turns right over even after all this time. No smog required :-)

Having removed the 429 engine and C6 automatic transmission from a 1969 Ford Country Squire wagon last weekend,we are beginning to do the transplant into our recently acquired 1962 International Travel-all. We have sold the rear axle to another guy and sold the body of the car for scrap. Got more than our original money back :-) We tried to sell the wagon as a whole on Craigslist, but no takers. So .....the engine goes into the Travel-all.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

And yet again, Mad Men shows us the way.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There's a kid in the scene there with the grownups.

That's what makes it perfect.

Lem said...

A friend was telling me last night his Lexus car failed inspection. It had been idle for about a year while he was, shall we say, compelled to drive his truck. Something about the car running, he tried to explain to me, keeps the car rebooting, up to date. So he told me he had to run the car for 300 miles or so, then take it for inspection again.

Lem said...

Commenting from my phone, sorry about spelling errors and such.

ndspinelli said...

All my neighborhood friends were greasers. I didn't know shit but I loved riding in their fast cars.

edutcher said...

You forget the Beach Boys' "Shut Down", the best racing song of them all.

chickelit said...

The Ford Mustang craze happened in 1964. The following year, The Sonics released Boss Hoss to celebrate. (I think "hoss" translates to "horse"). The lyrics say it all:

Just bought myself a new set of wheels
My folks helped me swing the deal
Believe me buddy I'm no fool
I got the money working after school
It's a move in this car and I’ve never lost, 'cause
It's a real boss hoss
real boss hoss

It’s painted in turn on red
Girls see it and it knocks 'em dead
I get around just everywhere
People stop and say lookie there
I get all the honeys and I’ve never lost, cause
It’s a real boss hoss
real boss hoss

It really moves and
Everybody’s losing
It has never lost
oh yeah oh yeah
'cause it’s a real boss hoss


It really moves and
Everybody’s losing
It has never lost
'cause oh, oh oh
waooh it’s a real boss hoss

Everybody is so jealous at me
One look and you can see
With this car I just can’t lose
Don’t you ever try to choose
It’s a move in this car and I’ve never lost ’cause
It’s a real boss hoss
Real boss hoss

It's a real boss hoss real boss hoss
real boss hoss

AllenS said...

Michael, you could listen to Wings Kalahan (Hot Rod Radio) on, from 8am to 10am every Saturday.

chickelit said...

@DBQ: Is this the version you were looking for: link?

Lem said...

Iowahawk has a tweet about a 20s Ford hot rod that sold for over half a million. The car has no mud flaps.

Basta! said...

I am the proud owner of a pair of olive-green pointy-toed ankle-boots that were sold to me as "Cuban shitkickers".

chickelit said...

The Brits didn't know cars like Americans did so they were late to the party. Instead, they wrote paeans to public transportation (The Yardbirds "Train Kept A Rollin'").

Deep Purple wrote a good one called Highway Star.

edutcher said...

El Pollo Raylan said...

The Ford Mustang craze happened in 1964. The following year, The Sonics released Boss Hoss to celebrate. (I think "hoss" translates to "horse").

That or Dan Blocker.

But, yes, "hoss" was a nickname denoting a hard worker and a good friend, but the term was first used in "The Virginian", with an alternative spelling, hawss.

PS The composer may have also been from Philadelphia. Popular DJ Hy Lit had a saying, "It's boss, hoss, and very much alive".

chickelit said...

@edutcher: I learned the term from my dad; he owned '66, '73, and '79 mustangs.

sakredkow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

I brought this song to the attention of a friend who I went to high school with, and here was his response --

"Yes, I am convinced the other words were written years later so the Kingsmen could sing it holiday gatherings."

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Pollo

Yes, that's the one I wanted. Commander Cody.

Not a car song but a driving song. One that you need to play (loudly) when driving on some of those long dark and lonesome stretches of highway in the west. Ones where there is little traffic. Little grade. You can just open all the windows on a hot desert night and drive like the wind.

And here is one for those fabulous hazy golden summer days driving somewhere to a fun destination or driving nowhere at all just for fun. Maybe going to the beach or cruising slowly on a dirt road through the tall pine trees next to the river with an icy cold beer in hand. I know illegal :-) but not a problem here. It is a common and favorite way to end up a Sunday afternoon before coming home to BBQ a steak or two and sit on the deck.

chickelit said...

Ike Turner singing the first recorded car song.

I just found this old chestnut from 1950: Hot Rod Race which antedates Ike Turner's song by a year or two.

The song was actually the inspiration for "Hot Rod Lincoln." They both talk about racing on The Grapevine.

chickelit said...

One that you need to play (loudly) when driving on some of those long dark and lonesome stretches of highway in the west.

Agree. And it's amazing that a Dutch band nailed the genre.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Another driving song.

Trains and cars....what can go wrong?

Speed Kills

deborah said...

My cousin-in-law has a cherry Sixties Mustang, red. He was willing to let it go last year for ten grand.

Not my fave, but I'll throw this in :)

Fast Car

chickelit said...

deborah said...
My cousin-in-law has a cherry Sixties Mustang, red.

"It’s painted in turn on red
Girls see it and it knocks 'em dead"

Gets 'em everytime.

ndspinelli said...

Basta, We called those pointy toed shoes, PFC's[Puerto Rican Fence Climbers].

A good friend of mine had a gold 1967 GTO jacked up w/ spacers. What a chick magnet that mofo was.

deborah said...

My, problem, chick, is external locus of control. I WANT a red car, that deep kind of candy apple red, but I fear that red is the least visible color. So when my kids were learning to drive I got a white car.

Michael Haz said...

Here's the antithesis of a hot rod song.


Michael Haz said...

Remind me to blog about the worst tale of woe a person could have. And it happened to me.

Michael Haz said...

Car woe, that is.

deborah said...

My family came back to Ohio in '67 in a Rambler. Don't know the year of the car.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

that deep kind of candy apple red

Around here that is known as "arrest me red".


Simon Kenton said...

I decided to go back to my highschool prom, rented a white tux, and started to hitchhike down to New Mexico from Denver. 40 hours later, I was up near Abiquiu, with the tux much wilted, when this guy picks me up in a white 61 Chevy 2-door hardtop.

"Joo know, che's pretty fas’. Mah car."

I looked it over. The back window had a pattern of iridescent rainbow tape, modeled after the web of an orb weaver. I rolled my eyes. "Yeah. You bet, buddy. A regular rocket."

"No. Ah'm tellin' joo, man, che can take jus' about everywhan but Eladio Ramirez' 57."

I said, "Come on, buddy. A 61 chevy. Fast? Come ON!"

"Nah, Ah'm tellin' joo."

"So big deal, you did the big upgrade from a 283 to a 327."

"Whell, not really. Ah gah me a 361. Quads. An’ Ah done some whork on it, too, man. Lahda whork. Lahda whork, man."

I looked again, and said with ultimate contempt, "Buddy, you gimme this shit about dual quads ridin’ a 361 an’ you kin take anybody but Eladio Ramirez an' his 57, an' I'm supposed to believe this? COME ON. Lookit the goddam steering column. You got a TURBOGLIDE! Gimme a break."

He gave me the look. We were doing about 65. He punched it. There was an unholy noise from the rear wheels. I looked at the speedometer; it was fluttering at 110 as the rear wheels spun and screamed and smoked. There was a huge sucking noise from the front; cataracts of air are plunging into that engine. I can't believe my eyes. The hood actually caves downward under vacuum. The tux, which was between us on the seat, crumples against the seatback. I too am pinned against the seat. The flesh on my cheeks is pulled back; I am grinning involuntarily, but the situation is not very humorous. The wheels catch up to the engine at about 95. In a moment, with a surge as it regains the peak of the torque curve, the 61 Chevy drops into high at about 100. We are both still pinned against the seat. The wind roar is louder by the moment. I'm trying to talk but my cheeks are like ballistic putty. The horizontal speedometer pegs at 110 or 120 but we are still accelerating hard, past young conglomerate hills of the Santa Fe Formation, hurtling down the canyon of the Rio Chama, headed for Española.

Finally I could say, "¡Jesus! OK. ¡OK! You got the fastest 61 Chevy in Española. ¡Son of a bitch! I bet you take Ramirez next time you try.” We are probably tagging 140 or 150 by then, still accelerating, but the curve is flattening.

Pleased, he let the hood pop back up and we coasted and coasted until the speedometer could catch up at 120 and start registering our diminishing velocity. "Joo really thin' Ah can take him?”

“Cuate,” I said heartily, “I think the next time you run him, you’re gonna eat Ramirez an' spit out the teeth from his ring gear."

He smiled shyly. “Ah don' know ‘bout this fockin' Turboglide, man. Ah'm thin’in' about gettin' rid of it, joo know?"

Icepick said...

Old people.

Elastica: The Car Song

Ministry (featuring Gibby Haynes): Jesus Built My Hot Rod

Van Halen: Panama

Also speaking for that other thing cars are for

Meatloaf: Paradise by the Dashboard Light

At least every other song Sammy Hagar ever wrote.

Icepick said...

Elastica should probably get the nod for best car song ever for making a Ford Fiesta sound like a good car to own . THAT'S saleswomanship!

Have I mentioned I had a mad crush on Justine Frischmann?

Icepick said...


deborah said...

Old? Watch it, son.

in the curve