Thursday, 24 May 2018

My Top Ten Car Theft Songs

Car theft is no laughing matter, as anyone who's ever had their car stolen will tell you. Doesn't stop people writing songs about it though...

Here's ten of the best.

10. Babybird - Too Handsome To Be Homeless

We are not cool
We are not crazy
We steal cars
Because we're lazy

Well, that's one explanation.

9. Alice Cooper - Steal That Car

Vincent, on the other hand, just has no shame.

It just ain't fair I was put in that position
Somebody left their keys in the ignition
I saw the unlocked door and made my decision
I just can't help myself

8. Teenage Fanclub - Don't Look Back

Could there possibly be a sweeter lyric about car theft than this?
I'd steal a car to drive you home

7. Kirsty MacColl - Bad

I want a brief encounter in a stolen car
A hand on my buttock in a Spanish bar

We need more pop songs that feature the word "buttock". I'm tempted to compile a Top Ten.

6. Big Star - In The Street
Steal your car, and bring it down
Pick me up, we'll drive around
Wish we had
A joint so bad

They don't write 'em like that anymore.

Don't drive stoned, kids.

5. Elvis Presley - In The Ghetto

He buys a gun
Steals a car
Tries to run
But he don't get far...

...and the hearts of a million Elvis fans crack open.

Or, if you prefer, try Blue Suede Shoes...

Well, you can burn my house
Steal my car
Drink my liquor
From an old fruit jar
Well do anything that you want to do
But uh-uh, honey lay off of my shoes!

4. Beth Orton - Stolen Car

Forgotten how good this was. For a while there, Beth was the natural heir to Joni's crown.

One drink too many and a joke gone too far
I see a face drive like a stolen car
Gets harder to hide when you're hitching a ride
Harder to hide what you really saw

3. Bruce Springsteen - Stolen Car

Regular readers might have exected this to be Number One. So did I. Then I remembered the two songs below. Still, this is bloody marvellous. Question though, Bruce fans... do you prefer the album version above... or the piano-heavy re-interpretation / original from Tracks? I'm torn. I reckon that version actually sounds more like Bruce, whereas the version included on The River is Bruce doing Dylan.
And I'm driving a stolen car
Down on Eldridge Avenue
Each night I wait to get caught
But I never do...

Got to recommend the Patty Griffin version too.

2. Pulp - Joyriders

For the second time this week, Jarvis almost makes it to Number One... story of his life, I guess, considering Common People may well be the best Number Two ever. This song  is perfection: makes you wonder what could be better, doesn't it?

We can't help it, we're so thick we can't think,
Can't think of anything but shit, sleep and drink.
Oh, and we like women;
"Up the women" we say,
And if we get lucky,
We might even meet some one day.
Mister, we just want your car,
'Cause we're taking a girl to the reservoir.
Oh, all the papers say,
It's a tragedy, but don't you want to come and see?

(Oh, and I'm very sorry, but I just couldn't find room for Roxette's Joyride. I know you were expecting it!)

1. Billy Bragg & Johnny Marr - Greetings To The New Brunette

Shirley stole today's top prize - Billy and Johnny were so good together, it makes you wonder if they'd have lasted longer and been even more cherished than Johnny and that other bloke. If only they'd made more music together...

The people from your church agree
It's not much of a career
Trying the handles of parked cars
Whoops - there goes another year!
Whoops - there goes another pint of beer!
Here we are in our summer years
Living on ice cream and chocolates kisses
Would the leaves fall from the trees
If I was your old man
And you was my missus?

What's in the tape deck of your stolen car?


  1. Sonny and Sherry don't steal a car - they hightail it out of town in Sonny's pick-up truck after Sonny laid out a drunk with a pool cue for put his hand up Sherry's skirt.

    BUT - later in the song, things get really wild:

    "They soon ran out of money but Sonny knew a man
    Who knew some Cuban refugees that dealt in contraband
    Sonny met the Cubans in a house just off the route
    With a briefcase full of money and a pistol in his boot
    The cards were on the table when the law came bustin' in
    The road goes on forever and the party never ends
    The Cubans grabbed the goodies and Sonny grabbed the Jack
    He broke a bathroom window and climbed on out the back
    Sherry drove the pickup through the alley on the side
    Where a lawman tackled Sonny and was reading him his rights
    She stepped into the alley with a single shot .410
    The road goes on forever and the party never ends..."

    AND there's even more - you can hear it all in the greatest story/song ever written - "The Road Goes On Forever" by Robert Earl Keen.

    1. Great call. Think I have that on my REK compilation... Which I keep promising to listen to in more detail.

  2. Can I offer up Martin by the Tom Robinson Band?

    We used to nick motors for a joyride
    Till we rammed a Black Maria in this XJ6
    To give Martin time to get clear
    I tried to punch a few policemen before I got nicked

    1. Love a bit of TRB but don't know that one. Will try to track it down.

  3. I would like to offer up The Dead Milkmen - Punk Rock Girl
    Great song and great lyric-:

    We got into her car away, we started rollin'
    I said how much you pay for this
    Said "nothin' man it's stolen"


    1. Thanks, Jim, The Dead Milkmen are another band I keep meaning to investigate further.

  4. And this one? The House of Love 'Road'

    There are times when there could be a better way
    Sure it's cold, but such a better way
    Steal a car, the highway calls
    Stick some pins in your toes
    Suck your cheeks
    Dance, boy, down the road'

    1. Some excellent suggestions today. Another one I'll have to dig out.

  5. Blimey, I couldn't come up with a single thing, but your first four commenters have all suggested absolute crackers.

    1. Indeed. I am both impressed and grateful.


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