Since we are on a bit of a musical theme, at this point in NaBloPoMo, I thought it might be a good idea to post my top 10 driving songs about Top Gear. Now, these are *not* songs about driving (no, the good folks at Top Gear have already done a big contest to pick out those) rather these are songs about Top Gear, the show itself. If it moves too fast, catches on fire, smoke a lot, eats a lot of tires, breaks down at an inopportune time, or generally looks like an odd middle-aged man in a convertible, hey, it’s ripe for this list. You know, songs like, “Sink Like a Stone” as a tribute to their amphibious vehicles, that sort of a thing-that’s what we’re all about this time.
So, here they are, my Top 10 Songs About Top Gear:
Number 10 – “Broke-down Palace” by Robert Hunter. “Goin’ to leave this Broke-down Palace On my hands and my knees I will roll roll roll…” Oh, that’s very fitting for Top Gear. According to the notes and several web references, the lyrics to this song were written in London in 1970, composed in one afternoon, over a half-bottle of retsina. Now, somehow, I find that particularly fitting for Top Gear as well, so it earns my number 10 spot.
Number 9 – “Just Who’s Drivin'” by Troy Campbell, originally performed by Austin’s own Loose Diamonds, this tribute to The Stig begs the question “Just who’s drivin’ and just who’s ridin’?” Hey, wouldn’t we all like to know? (Ok, ok, if you’re reading this, your British, and you prefer something a bit more local, try The Who’s “Who Are You?” for the number 9 spot. Either way, it’s a tribute to the great white helmeted hope of the show, Lord Stig. Marry me, Stiggy, I’m Yours. Just please don’t take that helmet off, ok? Safety first and all.)
Number 8 – “If I Had a Rocket Launcher” by Bruce Cockburn. Have you ever seen a G-Wiz? If so, then this lyric is for you, “Situation desperate, echoes of the victims cry/If I had a rocket launcher…Some son of a bitch would die”
Number 7 – “Life on Mars” by David Bowie. Once again we go to the song for inspiration, “Look at those cavemen go/It’s the freakiest show/Is there Life on Mars?” For all those times we’ve had to hear Clarkson rant about “when I come to power…” this song, at number 7, is just for you. Beam us all up, Scotty. If it’s that or drive a Prius, I’d rather take my chances on another planet, thank you very much.
Number 6 – “I’m on Fire” by Bruce Springsteen. Another tribute to Clarkson’s sardonic wit, this is actually a reference to a battle royale he fought and lost against a Toyota Hilux. Usually Bruce makes top 10 “songs about driving” lists with ditties like “Thunderroad” or “Born to Run.” Not this time. “I’m on Fire” is way more suitable for Top Gear, especially as theme music for driving through the car wash. Rinse, lather, burst into flames, repeat, anybody?
Number 5 – “Crash into Me” by Dave Matthews. Maybe this one is a half-hearted tribute to Richard Hammond’s noggin, but “Crash into Me” is actually quite apropos for a bunch of guys who routinely roll high speed cars. Besides, I promise not to tell James May that, “Hike up your skirt a little more/And show your world to me/In a boys dream..” is not actually about a carburetor.
Number 4 – “Beautiful Wreck” by Shawn Mullins. “You put your keys in the car but it wouldn’t drive/With your hands on the wheel lookin’ barely alive /I’m still sitting here waiting on the passenger side/For you to make up your mind/At the dark end of this bar/What a beautiful wreck you are” Now, if that’s not quintessential Top Gear in a nutshell, I don’t know what is.
Number 3 – “Another One Rides the Bus” by Weird Al Yankovic. Those who actually watch the show know that, after they get done modifying cars for their challenges, you’d best have a bus ticket handy if you want to actually get home again. Weird Al’s tribute to mass transit ranks in at number 3 on my list because, well, we can’t all walk that far and look what they’ve done to the cars.
Number 2 – “Shattered (Turn the Car Around)” by O.A.R. For those who think that doughnuts are not just for breakfast anymore, O.A.R.’s “Shattered” is a fitting tribute to tire squeal. “How many times can I break till I shatter?/Over the line can’t define what I’m after/I always turn the car around” Um, left is that way, no? Yes, yes, and “spin cycles” are not just for washing machines anymore, right?
Number 1 – “These Boots Were Made for Walkin'” by Nancy Sinatra. To paraphrase the lyrics, “These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do/When the Top Gear mechanics/Have their way with you”
Hey, I’m lucky, I live in the great American southwest. I can always drive a burro to work. I don’t know what you poor British folks are going to do now…
Until next time…