What’s The Most Overrated Driving Song?

Illustration for article titled What’s The Most Overrated Driving Song?
Image: Vanishing Point (Cupid Productions)


Cars and music will forever be connected in American pop culture. For many of us, having the right tunes is crucial for our motoring experience. There are songs that are great for driving, but some are a bit overhyped. Which tune is the most overrated driving song?

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The other day I was cruising home from running an errand and the classic “Radar Love” came on the radio. Now in my younger days, I would have cranked up the volume and maybe let the revs wind up a bit more before changing gears. Perhaps I’m just getting a bit saltier in my old age, but in listening to the lyrics this time I’m not sure this one has aged all that well.

If you are not familiar with this 1973 track from Golden Earring here you go.

The song starts out pretty good if you are in a motoring mood -

I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands wet on the wheel

And there’s a voice in my head that drives my heel

It’s my baby callin’, sayin’ I need you here

And it’s a half past four and I’m shiftin’ gear

But then it gets kinda weird….

When she is lonely and the longing gets too much

She sends a cable coming in from above

Don’t need no phone at all

We’ve got a thing that’s called radar love

We’ve got a wave in the air

Radar love

The radio’s playin’ some forgotten song

Brenda Lee’s “Coming On Strong”

The road has got me hypnotized

And I’m speedin’ into a nude sunrise

When I get lonely and I’m sure I’ve had enough

She sends her comfort coming in from above

We don’t need no letter at all

We’ve got a thing that’s called radar love

We’ve got a line in the sky

No more speed, I’m almost there

Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care

Last car to pass, here I go

And the line of cars go down real slow-woah

And the radio played that forgotten song

Brenda Lee’s “Coming On Strong”

And the newsman sang his same song

Oh, one more radar lover gone

When I get lonely and I’m sure I’ve had enough

She sends her comfort coming in from above

We don’t need no letter at all

We’ve got a thing that’s called radar love

We’ve got a line in the sky

We’ve got a thing that’s called radar love

We’ve got a thing that’s called

Radar love

I won’t get into the nitpicky detail on the lyrics because there are a lot of great songs that when you actually pay attention to what is being said don’t make a lot of sense. And a driving song is more about a “vibe.”

While I have a CD labeled “Driving Mix” buried somewhere in an overstuffed CaseLogic binder that almost definitely has Radar Love as the first track, I’m going to say that this song is no longer Top 10. I will maintain that the late Chris Cornell had some excellent driving songs.

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Which song do you think is the most overrated driving tune?

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs AutomatchConsulting.com. He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (Facebook.com/AutomatchConsulting)

DISCUSSION

“Born to be Wild” - it’s so cliche.

If you’re going to pick a song of that era as a great driving song, you have to go Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”. Pure poetry, and better instrumentals.