I was going to start out by saying “Happy Memorial Day,” but Memorial Day isn’t actually a happy day, because it commemorates members of the United States armed forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard) who died in combat. However, Memorial Day weekend is considered by many to be the unofficial first weekend of summer, so Happy First Weekend of Summer! The kids here are out of school until the first or second Monday in August, which used to be called “summer vacation.”
Since summer and cars go together, today we were asked to come up with songs about cars. I’m sure I’ll be repeating some of what others have chosen, because no doubt when someone says “car songs,” people tend to think about the same ones. Anyway, here are the ten I chose, in a playlist for you. Enjoy!
- Golden Earring, “Radar Love” The one big hit for Dutch rockers Golden Earring, this reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #10 on the Cash Box survey in 1973.
- The Beach Boys, “Little Deuce Coupe” The title track from their 1963 album. This was their highest-charting “B” side (the “A” side was “Little Surfer Girl”), reaching #15 on the Hot 100.
- Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, “Hot Rod Lincoln” A cover of Charlie Ryan’s 1955 hit, it was the most-successful version, reaching #9 in 1972. It was on the Commander’s 1971 album Lost In The Ozone.
- Johnny Cash, “One Piece At A Time” The story of building a Cadillac piece by piece from parts stolen from the assembly line. It was the title track from Johnny’s 54th studio album, released in 1976. It reached #1 on the Country chart and #29 on the Hot 100.
- Chuck Berry, “You Can’t Catch Me” Chuck wrote a lot of songs about cars, and this was one of the first, released in 1956. It was recorded in the same session as “Maybelline” and “Wee Wee Hours.”
- Jan & Dean, “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” The first of two songs in this list by Messrs. Berry and Torrance, who did a lot of songs about cars and surfing. This one reached #3 in 1964.
- Ronnie & The Daytonas, “Little GTO” Ronny & The Daytonas were a surf and rock & roll band out of Nashville. They released a number of singles between 1964 and 1967. This was the first and the only to reach the Top Ten, peaking at #4.
- The Rip Chords, “Hey Little Cobra” From 1963, this peaked at #4 in the US, #5 in Canada, and #3 in New Zealand.
- Jan & Dean, “Drag City” Title track from Jan & Dean’s 1963 album, it reached the Top Ten in January 1964.
- The Playmates, “Beep Beep (The Little Nash Rambler)” Heard this one on Dr. Demento many moons ago. This was a 1958 novelty record that reached #4 and spent twelve weeks on the Billboard Top 40 chart.
Hope this brightens your Memorial Day. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for May 29, 2017.