Monday 4 March 2013

"Your prize is to read the credits in a style of my choosing..." (aka My Top Ten Car Songs)

The first in what is likely to be a sporadic series of me blogging in the style of another whose blog posts I read and admire, in the hope that you will then go and read their blog too. First up for the "in the style of" treatment is Rol, whose My Top Ten blog will appeal to admirers of good music, insightful writing and list-making. Inevitably this tribute will only ever be a pale imitation but equally, Rol, should you ever require a guest post, here's my audition...

So let's cut to the chase. We're talking cars here - not specific makes and models (otherwise I'd have Billy Bragg's From A Vauxhall Velox in there), nor automotive components and car parts (otherwise Airbag by Radiohead would be threatening the top spot). No, we're just talking cars in general, as an abstract concept. Sorry but my gaff, my rules. Here we go.

10. Gary Numan - Cars

You might have expected this to top the chart but no. I don't think it's aged that well and, after it's advert-based ubiquity a couple of years ago, it only makes it here because it's where Gary feels safest of all. Maybe he had a lots of airbags.

9. Tracy Chapman - Fast Car

This was all over the hall of residence in my first year at uni. What a voice.

8. The Wedding Present - Convertible

I could just have easily have chosen Sports Car from Gedge's auto-themed Mini e.p... but I didn't, because this one has a bit more jingle in its jangle, and that's what we all secretly want from our Weddoes.

7. Rose Royce - Car Wash

Not least because this has such an infectious guitar motif. Oh, and a righteous bass part too.

6. Elastica - Car Song

Every shining bonnet
Makes me think of my back on it...

Justine wants to dent her bodywork with you... well not you, actually, unless your name is Damon or Brett...

5. Adam and the Ants - Car Trouble, parts I and II

You might have seen me very busy at the weekend
Licking and polishing the beep-beeps into shape,
And then it's proudly up the M1, M2, M3
And keep your feet off the upholstery Ronnie!

Pre-fame Ant, and much loved in my house when I was a nipper thanks to my big bro's good taste. Good to see he (Adam, not my brother) has conquered enough demons to be back doing what he does best. Stick with this, there's a very definite change of gear (boom-boom) as Part II kicks in, and it's excellent.

4. The Beatles - Drive My Car

And with that euphoric "beep-beep, beep-beep, yeah!" a thousand radio stations had their traffic jingle.

3. Gene - A Car That Sped

I don't recall the time we spent,
It's hidden in a car that sped
To it's death and to it's rest.
So give up the thoughts that bring you dread
And hide them in the car that sped
Me to my death and to my rest.

Rol might have predicted my inclusion of this.

2. Madness - Driving In My Car

Last week it went round the clock.
I also had a little knock.
I bent in somebody's fender,
He learnt not to park on a bender.
Ha ha ha!

No song better captures what it is to have your first car, a clapped-out jalopy that requires work all the time and eats money, yet you love it all the same because it's yours and gives you freedom. Mine was a 903cc, 4-speed, snot-green Fiat Uno with rust and a minor oil leak. Yours?

1.Radiohead - Killer Cars

The brilliant evocation of the Nutty Boys is only kept off the top spot by the brilliance in every respect of Bends-era Radiohead. Imagine being in a band so good you can let this track go as a B-side (to High And Dry) - that was the luxurious position Thom and the boys found themselves in back then. And whilst many of the songs in this run-down celebrate the joy of driving, young Master Yorke is more concerned that that every time we venture out in our cars we may be killed.

Don't die on the motorway
The moon would freeze, the plants would die
I couldn't cope if you crashed today
All the things I forgot to say
I'm going out for a little drive
And it could be the last time you see me alive
What if the car loses control?
What if there's someone overtaking?
Wrap me up in the back of the trunk
Packed with foam and blind drunk
But they won't ever take me alive
'Cause they all drive killer cars.

Increase the amount of Radiohead in your life here

Woody Guthrie deserves a special mention for his onomatopoeic Car Song, which would have placed at eleven on this chart, and, well, just for being Woody Guthrie, without whom... etc. And if you want to see a car being used as a musical instrument check out the somewhat mind-boggling Needing/Getting by Ok Go. Oh, and bonus points to anyone recognising the source of the quote in this post's title. Beyond that, these are (adopts gravelly Clarkson man-voice) the best car songs... in the world. Unless you can tell me different?

That's it Rol, how did I do?


  1. Excellent stuff! I've avoided car songs purely because there are so many I wouldn't know where to start (look what happened when I tried to do phone songs!). I have got a Top Ten Ford Car Songs that's been simmering for a while, to tie in with your makes & models comment. Amazingly, I've not heard that Radiohead song before, so thanks for the heads up. Beyond that, all solid choices.

    1. Yes, there really are so many - was very hard keeping the list down to ten. I don't know how you do it every week!

    2. I pick more obscure topics!