Strident opinions by Steven Bochenek
Which is the best rock 'n' roll driving anthem?
Nothing says summer like clumsy rhymes about noisy rides led by a catchy earworm and backed by simple thudding chords. What are those timeless paeans to car lust that make you turn the volume up and thrust your foot down? These are the 10 best – according to me. Feel free to disagree below. Just be aware that if you do, you are wrong.
10) Radar Love, by Golden Earring
Okay, we had to get this one out of the way. If we were to score the songs that appear here by how many beer commercials they’ve provided the soundtrack to, this would probably make the cut twice. Imagine having a baby so awesome you can sense her drivin’ yer heel all night long through waves in the air. Cool! And props to the flying Dutchman who sings it for letting out the clutch with those seven-inch platform shoes. That couldn’t have been easy. If you like the sentiment, check the Edwin Starr (no relation to Ringo) classic ‘Twenty-five Miles’. It’s the same story as Radar Love but poor Edwin doesn’t have a sweet ride. He’s walkin’ all night to see his baby and can actually hear her callin’ his name! Who needs a wave in the air when you’ve got supersensitive hearing?
9) Cadillac Ranch, (or pretty much anything else) by Bruce Springsteen
Even if we only allowed the Boss’s songs about Cadillacs, we’d still come close to filling the list. But this one’s so much fun! Read the lyrics and you’ll find a fairly blunt metaphor for death. It was inspired by – you guessed it, a place called the Cadillac Ranch. It’s a stonehenge-ish graveyard of half-buried Cadillacs in Texas. Any darkness in the lyrics is banished by the chorus’s ecstatic screams and whoops. It’s pure automotive joy: “Open uuup your engines, let ‘em roar. Tearin’ up the highway like a big ol’ dinosaur!”
Top Ten Rock ‘n’ Roll Car Anthems. Click image to enlarge
8 ) Little Red Corvette, by the artist now formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince
If you’re among the purists who think Prince isn’t rock n’ roll enough, you’ve probably forgotten how people dressed in 1982. Somewhere between Jimi Hendrix and Janet Jackson, Prince had the musical chops to deliver on all those sartorial question marks and ambiguous sexual attitudes. It’s a great song, delivered with punch, and earned a spot on many nerd lists far more famous than this. These include 108 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and 64 in Guitar World’s 100 Best Guitar Solos. (You wonder how they decide these things. Is there some weeklong TestFest for Rock Journalists where the day’s testing and arguing commence promptly at the crack of dusk?)