Thursday 23 February 2023

I'm Riding, I'm Riding As Fast As This Car Goes / Girls, Cars, Sun, Fun

 If there was a league table for "Cars Mentioned In Songs", then Chevrolet (and variants thereof) would be sitting at the top.
A quick Google (other search engines are available) reveals many, many songs with "Chevrolet" in the title, many more with "Chevy", and more with reference to Chevrolet models (Corvette, Camaro, El Camino).  And then dig again for mention of Chevy vehicles peppered throughout lyrics.
The American Dream writ large - there is a good chance that every major music artist has at some point namedropped the Chevy somewhere in their career:

Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Tom Waits, The Eagles, Neil Young, Prince, The Ramones, Tammy Wynette, Dawes, ZZ Top, John Mellencamp, Snoop Dogg, Beastie Boys, Elton John, Billy Joel, Elvis Costello - the list goes on.  Don McLean drove his to the levy, but the levy was dry.

Chevrolet formed in 1911 when ex-GM Board Member William Durant (sacked for over-stretching General Motors finances in pursuit of takeovers) joined force with Swiss Racing Driver Louis Chevrolet.
Early developments for the company were primarily the development of efficient engines (based on designs from previous employer Buick (part of General Motors).  Their first car -  the Series C Classic Six - did not appear until 1913.  Just a year later, Louis Chevrolet sold his share of the company to Durant.  The name remained, but the Chevrolet family were no longer on board.
Design and development work, and healthy sales, of engines continued so by 1916, Durant was able to buy a stake in General Motors, incoprorate Chevrolet into the company alongside Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.  GMs prime competiton was (and remains) Ford.
On a slightly less nostalgic/romantic note of the great American Motor Industry, GM also acquired UK company Vauxhall Motors in 1925.

Chevy may have a whole fleet of history in it's back catalogue - basically say the word "Chevy" add a 2 digit year, and you're bound to find an image of prime American automobilia on the interweb.
But beyond car production, Chevy also did a nice line in engines.  They were doing engines before designing cars, so they got pretty good at it.
Their first engines were evolutions of Buick engines, and then refinements and developments resulted in some big and heavy but very reliable engines.
In the world of Hot Rods and Kit Cars, it is usually the Chevy V8 small-block that is the got to power-unit.  Unless you're in the UK (and much of Europe) where the Rover V8 is the preferred lump.  Interestingly, both engines can trace lineage back to the same original source - Buick

Like many US car manufacturers, Chevrolet also have a successful Truck division. The most refined and powerful versions named Thunder.

Spector formed in 2010 in London, and by 2012 their debut album was on the shelves and was among the choice albums of the year.
I first became aware of them on Sky TVs Soccer AM (back when it was good, before sponsors and humour by-passes took over) - I was impressed by both the tune, as well as the band themselves (really, really just pleased to be on the telly and looking like they didn't believe they deserved it).
"Chevy Thunder" became a heavily played, heavily youtubed, and heavily shared and recommended track.  The album arrived a few months later - 'Enjoy It While It Lasts' - and it was good.  It enjoyed many plays, but then the novelty and enjoyment started to wear.  Nice enough, but I'm not sure it had any depth or longevity.
There was a 3 year gap to the second album - 'Moth Boys'.  Problem with such a long gap is the listener is hoping for something a bit special, a bit of a development.  Sadly, album #2 sounds like a re-hash of the tropes of album #1 (with fewer tunes).
"Chevy Thunder" remains Spector's crowning glory, and one hopes that they did follow the advice of the album title and enjoy it while it lasted.


By 1987, The Ramones were 10 years and 10 albums in.  They were also on the verge of losing their third drummer (Marky had replaced Tommy in 1978, allowing him to return full-time to the production desk, and Richie replaced Marky in 1983 due to alcohol and reliability problems.  Richies tenure was short, and after the 1987 'Halfway To Sanity' album and ongoing clashes with Johnny Ramone, Richie left the band.  After a couple of gis with Elvis Ramone (aka Clem Burke from Blondie) Marky returned to the drum stool.

'Halfway To Sanity' may not be the greatest of Ramones albums, but there is some good stuff on there - "I Wanna Live" and "Garden Of Serenity" being the pick of the bunch.
And continuing the Blondie link, Debbie Harry was drafted in (at the request of Joey Ramone) to provide backing vocals on "Go Lil' Camaro Go"
(some sources cite this song as a duet - I don't think it is)

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Coincidentally, Chevy Thunder was the first song that occurred to me.

    I heard a great Corvette song the other day. Can't for the life of me remember what it was.