We are in the car more than you think:
At an nationwide average drive-time of about 24.3 minutes, Americans now spend more than 100 hours a year commuting to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. So crank up the tunes and enjoy the ride!
Inspiration for the song hit as the musician napped in a pink Edsel, Prince notched his first Top Ten entry with one of the most sensual and frankly explicit hits ever to crack the charts. “Little Red Corvette,” a slow-burning funk-pop odyssey which is most definitely not about a sports car, is an after-dark masterpiece, aural soft porn rendered with the inextricable combination of perversity and sophistication which defines virtually all of his best work. Everything about the song is suggestive, from its moaning synthesizers to its bump-and-grind rhythm to the orgasmic squeals which punctuate Prince’s vocals; even the lyrical metaphors are so persuasive — in addition to cars, there are horses (Trojans, in fact, some of ’em used) — that it’s virtually impossible to discuss “Little Red Corvette” without lapsing into double entendres of one’s own. (Really, how else to describe the incendiary coda which closes the song but as a climax?) Making a brilliant case for innuendo as an end unto itself, “Little Red Corvette”‘s triumph is that even while the song — much like the body of its lusty heroine — is “just on the verge of being obscene,” it never succumbs to blatant tastelessness; even as an evocation of pure sexuality, it appeals to the imagination as much as the libido. Not just Prince’s first major hit single, “Little Red Corvette” may be his very best — only fitting that a song about staying power would have so much of its own.- All Music Guide
Wilson Pickett’s interpretation of Sir Mack Rice’s “Mustang Sally” quickly yielded the vocalist a career-defining side that ultimately climbed to the Top Ten R&B chart and into the Top 25 on the pop singles survey in December of 1966. Earlier in the year, Pickett had started working at Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, instead of the Memphis, TN-based Stax Records facility that had turned out the smashes “In the Midnight Hour,” “Don’t Fight It,” and “634-5789.” His initial outing in Muscle Shoals scored him one of the largest titles of his career, the infectiously fun “Land of 1000 Dances.” For Pickett’s subsequent session, he returned to Alabama to cut what would become the exemplary Wicked Pickett (1966) long-player. “Mustang Sally”‘s bouncy groove instantly developed into the album’s focus track, with the vocalist supported by the Fame house band, whose membership included Chips Moman (guitar), Tommy Cogbill (bass), Roger Hawkins (drums), and Spooner Oldham (piano). Presumably, the horn section was once again supplied by the Stax crew, who had been in attendance for the earlier date as well. Although not as significant a crossover hit as “Land of 1000 Dances” or “In the Midnight Hour,” “Mustang Sally” provides another good example of how complementary the material, artist, and musicians had become. -All Music Guide
“Drive My Car” was one of the best numbers on the Beatles’ Rubber Soul album, one which saw both their musical and lyrical horizons visibly opening. Although John Lennon was in general ahead of Paul McCartney in expanding his lyrics in more ambitious and experimental directions, this story-song was principally the work of McCartney, with some assistance from his contractual songwriting partner. The verse is based around a funky two-chord groove which ascends to a higher level at the very end, a suitable bedrock for a commanding McCartney hard rock vocal. Far more surprising is the chorus, with its tortuous jazzy key changes, a quality reinforced by the bursts of jazz piano that follow the first two lines. While initially the song seems like the standard macho boasting of some guy showing off his car, it transpires that actually the girl in the song is leading the narrator on by half-hinting that she’ll let him be her chauffeur, and maybe be his lover too. That’s a subtle, one might say almost O. Henry-like, slant that was most likely totally beyond the reach of the usual Californian hot-rod act, or most other pop and rock singers for that matter. The most ironic touch, however, was applied when the Beatles merrily sang “beep beep” at the end of the chorus’ punch line: a nifty way of making nonsense words compliment the images and the sounds. An especially wiry guitar solo was a nice cap to the understated, faintly nutty satire of what was nonetheless a very good-natured tune. The best-known cover of “Drive My Car” — not one of Lennon-McCartney’s more frequently interpreted compositions — was by jazz singer Bobby McFerrin in the 1980s.-All Music Guide
A personal road-rage incident inspired the synth-pop hit. Perhaps the most iconic intro of the entire synth-pop era (in 2003, an auto manufacturer set a commercial to the instrumental opening of “Cars,” knowing that its target audience would get the reference immediately), the throbbing, repetitive synths of “Cars” are all most listeners know of Gary Numan, especially in the US, where it was the musician’s only Top 40 hit. Taken in the context of the album The Pleasure Principle, the deliberate isolation of Numan’s lyrics fits in perfectly with Numan’s overarching obsession with alienation and depersonalization. In the context of a four-minute pop single, however, “Cars” is a novelty about on a par with the five-minute edit of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” that was a minor hit in 1975; in other words, only about one step above Hot Butter’s “Popcorn.” That said, it was arguably the first true new wave hit single in the United States, and the song’s slightly odd structure (the song proper is over in about 90 seconds, with the rest of its running time devoted entirely to an extremely long fade-out) and crisply modern electronic sound set the stage for the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” a couple years later, and the early MTV cavalcade of new wave smashes that followed.-All Music Guide
The Beach Boys’ biggest hit in the hot rod rock genre found their budding blend of up-tempo pop/rock and sweet vocal harmonies flowering into something truly special. The lyrics of “Little Deuce Coupe,” which Wilson penned with DJ and car enthusiast Roger Christian, are a simple but lovingly detailed ode to “the fastest set of wheels in town” that divide their time between listing this car’s attributes and making boastful asides about its prowess (“If it had a set of wings, man, I know she could fly”). The melody behind this car-crazy narrative utilizes a doo wop-inspired sense of swing to create a song that cruises in jaunty fashion during the verses but soars into the stratosphere on its harmony-drenched chorus. The Beach Boys’ recording enhances the swing of the melody by building its foundation on a combination of boogie-woogie piano riffs and a pulsing bass line that pushes it along in a gentle but insistent fashion. However, the best part of that recording is its vocal arrangement: wordless harmonies add an extra melodic punch to the verses and Mike Love’s bass vocal and Brian Wilson’s falsetto blend in a sublime fashion to drive the chorus home. The mix of clever songwriting and stylish production made “Little Deuce Coupe” a Top 20 hit for the Beach Boys and inspired covers by every hot rod rocker from Jan & Dean to the T-Bones. It also became a seemingly eternal part of the Beach Boys’ live set, proving “Little Deuce Coupe” is more than just another hot rod tune.-All Music Guide