The Perfect Song for People That Love Cars but Hate Their Spouse
Driving songs are an intensely personal thing and can be influenced as much by your taste in music as your preferred style of motoring. For some, nothing but the most frantic electronic dance music will suffice. Though others may find themselves requiring classic rock or hair metal to get into the groove – perhaps with a hint of vintage R&B for cruising. Whatever your particular brand of ear poison happens to be, there’s a good chance that your significant other won’t appreciate the noises coming out of the speakers as much as you do and may even resent the massive amount of attention you’ve given to your automobile generally.
Assuming you haven’t left that person already, and they have a decent sense of humor, there’s a song you absolutely must consider adding to your driving mix.
In 1955, Columbia Records released a pop album by Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy known as “I Wish I Was A Car.” Though the song itself was written by Ross Bagdasarian. However, you probably know him as David Seville – the man who invented, voiced, and pretended to be the father of the fictional rodent band Alvin and the Chipmunks before his son took over in the 1980s.
While you’re probably less familiar with Mary and Peter (unless you happen to be quite a bit older or particularly well-versed in vintage Americana) their combined star power is really what makes the song work as the lyrical content is completely insane. Despite being loaded up with hokey musical tropes from the 1950s, “I Wish I Was A Car” is effectively a desperate two-minute story about one woman’s struggle to have her husband notice her.
But he’s having none of it.
Not only does Peter fail to acknowledge his wife begging for attention by continuing to sing about how much he loves his ride, he instantly agrees with her when she gives up and says she wishes she could become a car so he might finally notice her. It’s probably the saddest moment in her life and absolutely hysterical to hear set to an upbeat melody. She’s totally devastated and he’s behind the wheel making engine noises with his mouth.
But, before anyone breaks out the pitchforks to decry the song as the next "Baby It’s Cold Outside," the insensitivity displayed in the subject matter is undoubtedly intentional. For starters, Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy were married in 1940 and stayed together until he died in 1998. They were sort of a mid-century entertainment super couple and often appeared together in films, television, and as a musical act. Though very few of those productions indicated that his interest in automobiles had become genuinely unhealthy.
In fact, cars helped pay their bills for years by serving as the sponsors of numerous television and radio shows. The duo even sang the old "See The U.S.A. In Your Chevrolet” jingle before Dinah Shore became associated with the brand and took over. But that song isn’t all that funny and won’t have the same impact when you randomly play it for your significant other the next time you’re traveling together. That role is custom-made for “I Wish I Was A Car,” which I cannot wait for you to share with your humanoid mate.
Please take a listen, allowing yourself to be magically whisked away to a time when men were men and women were occasionally forced to become cars.
[Image: Gestalt Imagery/Shutterstock]
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Arthur Dailey on Nov 18, 2022
Others that are suitable, and/or make you want to continue driving or speed up.
Oh What a Feeling by Crowbar. The first Canadian tune to reach #1 on the Canadian charts.
Fly Like an Eagle: Steve Miller
Riders on the Storm: The Doors
And a personal favourite of mine, the Theme from the Magnificent Seven (the original not the remake).
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