"Top Five" Songs About Cars


Since the dawning of rock n’ roll, our love affair with cars has played a major role as a topic in songwriting. The hot rod culture of the ‘50s and ‘60s needed a soundtrack, and from there, the rest was history. You don’t have to look far for singles about cars from The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and other one-hit wonders from the early days. Here are a few that might not immediately come to mind in the pantheon of songs on wheels, but are nonetheless great.

“Jaguar” – The Who
This re-release bonus track from 1967’s “The Who Sell Out,” a concept album full of pop jingles and short, catchy, angst-filled rockers intertwined with fake commercials, is stuffed with rolling drum fills. The three-minute song is as simple as it is catchy as the band professes their love for the British luxury classic and the song ends with a faux jingle for an auto dealership. Hearing lyrics like “Every lovely spot near or far,/You can reach them too in your car,/Or you might be there now if you own a Jag already./The radio blasting, the girls are glancing,/The dash is dancing with gleaming dials./Grace space race./Grace space race./Jaguar, Jaguar, Jaguar, Jaguar,” make you wish you were driving an E-Type Roadster with the top down through the rural English countryside.

“Little Red Corvette” – Prince
Chock full of sexual innuendo (like any great Prince song), this ‘80s classic that put Prince on the map is not a song about the Minneapolis native’s love for the Chevy classic. Instead, it metaphorically describes an exotic woman who has been around the block a few too many times. Rumor has it, Prince wrote the song between cat naps in a back-up singers’ car after a late night recording session. Regardless, lyrics like “I guess I must be dumb/’cause you had a pocket full of horses/Trojan and some of them used/But it was Saturday night/I guess that makes it all right/And you say ‘what have I got to lose?’/And honey I say/’Little red Corvette/Baby you’re much too fast,’” are as sexy as the car itself. Hopefully, for his sake, Prince made a trip to the free clinic after being with the woman in the song.

“Bitchin’ Camaro” – Dead Milkmen
It’s nearly impossible to try to describe this song to anyone who hasn’t heard it, but music fans familiar with Dead Milkmen from songs like “Punk Rock Girl” know they have a really unique sense of humor backed by some hastily thrown together thrash-pop. The song starts with some humorous dialogue backed by what sounds like a lounge track that, by itself, is worth the price of admission. But when the song kicks in with it’s teenage punk bombast, the mockery flies with lyrics like “When I drive past the kids, they all spit and cuss,/Because I’ve got a bitchin’ Camaro and they have to ride the bus./So you’d better get out of my way, when I run through your yard;/Because I’ve got a bitchin’ Camaro;/And an Exxon credit card.”

“Hot Rod Lincoln” – Commander Cody
If you believe what you hear from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s rock bands, everyone was busy surfing, checking out girls, going to hamburger stands and having fun, fun, fun ‘til their daddy takes the T-Bird away. But in this song you get the greaser point of view via a raunchy rockabilly rumble from the point of view of a few troublemakers out to raise hell in a supped up Model A hot rod. With a low-pitched snarl singer George Frayne belts out lyrics like: “Now the boys all thought I’d lost my sense/And telephone poles looked like a picket fence./They said, ‘Slow down! I see spots!/The lines on the road just look like dots,’” on this Charlie Ryan penned classic.

“Cadillac” – T. Rex
This song is a bonus track on a re-release of the 1972 album “The Slider,” but it fits right in with the albums grimy glam and ‘50s rock inspired grooves. The song doesn’t give any insight into whether writer/guitarist/vocalist Marc Bolan actually has any affinity for Cadillacs, rather he presents the luxury car as a gift to a lover. Always the womanizer, Bolan croons “baby I wanna walk you home/There’s a shadow in the basement/And I’m scared to sleep alone/Baby doesn’t everybody weep/I’d slide up there beside you/But my nightmare’s oh too steep/Yeah/Baby I wanna buy you a Cadillac/I bought it with my song.” So smooth, Mr. Bolan; rest in peace…

Compiled by Jason Yurgartis.