Music and Cars Go Together For All Times

From Dinah Shore to the Beach Boys and Eminem, cars inspire music stars. Meat Loaf explains "Paradise By The Dashboard Light."

Cars and music have long gone together. From the earliest days of radio and automobiles, people were rigging music for their car trips. Radios made specifically for cars came along in the 1930s. Even before car companies began enhancing factory-installed audio systems from Bose, Harman Kardon and the like, stereos had long been one of the most popular items to install from after-market shops.

Music, too, has long been key to selling cars from "See the USA in Your Chevrolet" crooned by Dinah Shore in the 1950s, to Bob Seger's "Like A Rock" for Chevy trucks in the 80s and 90s, to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" in the current Chrysler "Imported From Detroit" campaign.

There's, of course, "Oh Lord Won't You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz," by Janis Joplin. And"Pink Cadillac" by Bruce Springsteen. More than a dozen rap songs mention hip-hop automotive icon Cadillac Escalade, such as Ludacris's "Cadillac Grills."

An iconic song of the 1970s from Meat Loaf was "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" on his Bat Out of Hell album, released in 1977. It was a mainstay of both AM and FM radio, climbed to #39 on the Billboard 100 and became a hugely popular music video. It also has the distinction of featuring a cameo by Hall of Fame baseball player and broadcaster Phil Rizutto.

For reasons hard to know, the song climbed to # 1 in The Netherlands in 1978.

Meat Loaf these days has been appearing on NBC Network's "Celebrity Apprentice." AOL Autos caught up with Mr. Loaf at a recent event to promote the show, and we asked him about the song that had so many baby boomers, as teenagers, singing along to the rock classic.

The car that inspired a classic? "I had a '63 Ford convertible with the most incredible dashboard you've ever seen in your life," Meat Loaf told us. "It lit up like a spaceship."

AOL Autos Editors talked it over and came up with a list of ten "car songs" we really like. But we'd like to hear from you about your favorites.

1. "Drive My Car"

The Beatles 1965 track from their album Rubber Soul offers the the chirpy "beeps" that celebrate the joys of driving.

2. "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car"

This 1998 Billy Ocean R&B classic from the album Tear Down These Walls is featured in the soundtrack of License to Drive. This song, as is the case with Meat Loaf's ballad, has a certain predilection for the back seat fantasy: "Get outta my dreams/Get in the back seat baby/Get into my car/Beep beep, yeah."

3. "Mustang Sally"

Written by Mack Rice in 1965, the R&B number gained popularity when Wilson Picket covered it the next year. The title apparently originates from Della Reese's desire for a new Mustang, and Aretha Franklin eventually suggested the final version.

4. "Little Deuce Coupe"

The Beach Boys ode to the '32 Ford with a big V8 is a staple in any driving man's repertoire.

5. "Fast Car"

Tracy Chapman's 1988 single from her eponymous album weaves a poignant tale about the poverty cycle as the woman in the story urges her partner to take "your fast car and keep on driving." It epitomizes the rush and freedom of automobile travel, the pleasant and conflicted escapism found therein.

6. "Riding Along in My Automobile"

This Chuck Berry mainstay expresses the pleasantness of a long meandering drive "with no particular place to go."

7. "Hot Rod"

This Larry Collins tune is a chirpy, boyish celebration of the automobile.

8. "Pink Cadillac"

Bruce Springsteen made this a mainstay of his 1984-85 "Born in The U.S.A" concert tour. "The Boss" wouldn't let Bette Midler record the song, but he gave in to Natalie Cole and her R&B version in 1988.

9. "409"

The "409" of the song is the Chevrolet 409, a 409 cubic inch V8 engine popular with hot rodders. Gary Usher, who wrote the majority of the lyric for the song, said he dreamed at that time of one day owning a Chevrolet 409.

10. "Paradise By The Dashboard Light."

The setting is the inside of a car with a boy and girl. And a Yankee game comes on with broadcaster Phil Rizzuto calling more than the action on the field.

Share This Photo X