Monday, 4 August 2014

My Top Ten Car Parts Songs

This week, I'm going to build a car, from scratch, out of songs...

No wheels or tyres though, they'll get a separate Top Ten... some other time. There were far too many to choose from.

Special mention to The Brakes. And, of course, Bruce Springsteen, the man you need to see if you require any Spare Parts.

10. The Bluetones - One Speed Gearbox

Ah, the old "describing myself as a knackered old car" metaphor put to excellent use by Mark Morriss and chums.
I need a station
I need a break
I need an oil change
I need something to help me along on my way
Just need something to keep me awake
Yep, I know that feeling.

Elvis Costello has an equally ineffective gearbox... 5ive Gears in Reverse.

9. Primal Scream - Accelerator

Very disappointed I couldn't find a song called Clutch.

This is from one of my favourite Primal Scream albums, XTRMNTR, although I have to be in the right kind of mood to listen to it. It's LOUD.

8. Joy Division - Transmission

As bleak as you feel after you get a huge repair bill when you only took your car in for a simple MOT.

7. Kurtis Blow - The Breaks (sic)

Strictly speaking, this shouldn't be allowed because of the homophone. However, I'm going to bend the rules and allow it because...

i) The opening lyric, wherein Kurtis raps about "brakes on a bus, brakes on a car".

ii) It's freakin' amazing.

Fans of 6Music will hear this song quite a lot. Even though it's 34 years old and was never a hit, breakfast show presenter Shaun Keaveny plays it about once a week.

6. Sniff 'n' The Tears - Driver's Seat

Proper musos and indie kids will be horrified that this fares better than Joy Division and Primal Scream. I am an odd music fan, aren't I?

Anyway, I was amused to read that while this record was a big hit across the world, it failed to chart in the band's home country (the UK) because of a distribution problem caused by the record company. D'oh. Incredibly, despite being one hit wonders, Sniff 'n' The Tears appear to still be semi-active. Their last album was released in 2011.

5. Grace Jones - Pull Up To The Bumper

Shows what an innocent child I was... I had no idea, until a few weeks ago, just how filthy this song is. I actually thought it was about a long black limousine pulling up to Grace's bumper and then... erm... driving inbetween.

Yeah, I never really got that last bit.

4. Eminem featuring Nate Reuss - Headlights

On which Marshall "apologises" to his mum for all the nasty things he's rapped about her over the years. And who knew the bloke from Fun was Marshall's brother?

Oh, and something about headlights.

3. Radiohead - Airbag

In a fast German car, an airbag saves Thom Yorke's life.

Typical Audi driver.

From The Bends, Radiohead at their best.

2. Meat Loaf - Objects In The Rearview Mirror (May Appear Closer Than They Are) / Paradise By The Dashboard Light 

How about that - a two-fer at #2! Two genuine Jim Steinman epics, one from the original Bat Out Of Hell album, the other from its underrated sequel.

I've written about Paradise... before (I even gave it a much-deserved Number One) so here's a few words about Objects... or OITRM(MACTTA) if you're into that whole brevity thing:





And when the sun descended and the night arose
I heard my father cursing everyone he knows
He was dangerous and drunk and defeated
And corroded by failure and envy and hate 
If this song doesn't tear your heart out like a Thuggee priest, then you just don't get the Steinman / Meat Loaf combo at their mad and melodramatic best.
She used her body just like a bandage,
She used my body just like a wound
I'll probably never know where she disappeared
But I can see her rising up out of the back seat now
Just like an angel rising up from a tomb
Make no mistake about it: that is superior songwriting in action.

1. Johnny Cash - One Piece At A Time

And yet, much as I love those last two records, much as I'd sell my soul to the devil for a Jim & Meat double-decker, I had to give this week's Number One to Johnny as he steals an entire Cadillac from the General Motors factory in his lunchbox... one piece at a time. Over a number of years.

What could possibly go wrong with that plan?
Now up to now my plan went alright
'Til we tried to put it all together one night
And that's when we noticed that something was definitely wrong
The transmission was a '53 and
The motor turned out to be a '73 and
When we tried to put in the bolts all the holes were gone
Someone actually built a working model of the car Johnny describes in this song - it's pictured below.

Leave a comment if you think you can do better than a Kwik Fit Fitter...


  1. 'Taillights Fade' by Buffalo Tom is a great song. Or how about something by Clutch ('Earth Rocker' is the only song of theirs I know, but that's great, too)?

    1. I didn't know there was a band called Clutch. Respect. I wish there was a band called Bonnet and / or Boot too (rather than Hood or Trunk).

      I will dig out Taillights Fade and give it a spin.

  2. Surely something by Wings...erm...

  3. Special mention, surely, for Ministry's "Jesus Built My Hotrod"...?

    1. Pnarr pnarr. Oh, sorry, was the innuendo unintentional?

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