I was thinking, “I miss 1960’s car songs,” and realized I should get back into posting through that thought. It’s been awhile but I’ve never forgotten about this place. I suppose I just haven’t felt the creativity with everything else going on. Any-who. I should note that the whole car song thing didn’t start in the 1960s, but rather in the 1950s. I think the 1960s songs are far more well-known.
We’ll start with “409,” which was released in June of 1962 and featured on the Beach Boys’ album Surfin’ Safari. “409” isn’t actually about a car but rather a Chevy big block motor that was used in both the Bel Air and Impala SS. A 1962 Impala isn’t quite as nice as a 1964 Impala (paging Skee-Lo and Eazy-E here) but at least it had power.
How about “G.T.O.” by Ronny & the Daytonas? It was released in September 1964 on their self-titled debut album. Unlike “409,” this is just a walking advertisement for the Pontiac A-body model (which only had a 389 vs a 409). Catchy though. The lyrics are so great that GM should have paid the band for them:
Let’s get away from General Motors for a minute. “Hey Little Cobra” is a 1963 song by the Rip Chords. For the non-car nerds, Shelby Cobras were created by Carroll Shelby and featured a Ford motor.
What I love about this song is that they’re implying that they are better than the rest of the crowd because they have a Cobra, not the played out Chevy Corvette Stingray and Jaguar XKE. 1960s hot rodders sure liked to throw shade.
Paul Revere and the Raiders also got in on this craze. Of all the car songs, the one they chose is my favorite. “SS 396” was released in 1965 and written about the best of the Chevelle models; sorry 1970 fans, you. are. basic. If you’ve learned anything from this post, let it be that GM’s numbers always refer to the cubic inches of the engine block, which in this case is 396, and thus larger than the GTO but smaller than the Bel Air/Impala.
Last but not least, I’ll change it up a little and go into “No Particular Place to Go” by Chuck Berry despite that it’s not about a car specifically. It was released in May of 1964, which is very appropriate given that it is the very best cruising-on-a-summer-night song. It’s funny, it’s catchy, and it’s a real mood.