Posted on 12/02/21

Riding Along In My Automobile Classic Tunes And Their Ode To Driving

Riding Along In My Automobile Classic Tunes And Their Ode To Driving

Without music, what car is a car? Americans have loved their cars for a long time and the music that plays through them. Stereo equipment is something we invest in every year. It allows us to open the windows and let everyone listen to our music on a sunny day.

1950 - 1960

Perhaps you loved the "Tennessee Waltz", or the classic voice of Patti Page. You may recall your loved one dancing on the shoreline with your car as Sam Cooke's soft voice drifted by singing "You Send Me".

It was the 50's, and everyone was talking about Civil Rights while doing "The Twist" and rocking to Elvis "Jailhouse Rock". Then it was on to the '60s to the sound of Chubby Checker. You were a square without a car - the classic cars of 50's America were just as innovative as their era.

The 1957 Chevy Beel Air is still the ultimate 50's car. It was the car that defined the era for drag racing, sock hops, and back-seat make-outs. The car was lightweight and had a V-8 engine, making it ideal for drag racing. The bench seating allowed the driver to snuggle up to their sweetheart, as Smokey Robinson and The Miracles sang "Ooh Baby! Baby!"

1970 - 1980

Book Benton was performing "Rainy Night in Georgia", while the Jackson Five were soaring to the top with hits like "ABC", "I'll Be There" and more. The '70s saw cars as big as the Afros. Tyrone Davis. Let's "Turn Back the Hands of Time". Take a look at the cars of the 1970s.

Cadillac was in! You were also in if you owned a 1970 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. This small number was a huge seller. Total sales of 181,719 De Villes accounted for 76%. It is easy to see why it was so popular. Many believe it was due to its spacious interior and sleek design. The large trunk space may have made it an obvious choice for growing families.

1990 - 2000

The impact of the Gulf War on one of the most beloved vehicles of the 1990s was significant. The energy crisis was over, the fiscal debt was down and the days of small, efficient cars were gone. America wants bigger and more spacious cars. We wanted luxury with all the bells, whistles, and sound systems. The age of the SUV.

L.L. Cool J's "The Booming System", suggests that Generation X wanted both flashiness and security at the same time. Jeep's 95 Grand Cherokee was a success unlike any other. Ford didn't let Ford down with the Eddie Bauer Edition for the 98 Ford Explorer. Songs such as "Summer Time", by Will Smith, better known as The Fresh Prince or his partner D.J. As they passed, Jazzy Jeff blast out from the windows.


The times are changing. We can expect new innovations if the past is any guide. Perhaps hybrid and electric vehicles of today will be accompanied by music from Lady Gaga. The concept cars of today will be accompanied by a new set of songs to help embed them in our collective memories.

We cruised into the 1980s in a Cadillac downgraded as classic hits like "Cruisin'", by Smokey Robinson, closed out the era. The body was squeezed tighter and the engine, which was a V8 with 190 horsepower, was reduced to 180 horsepower. What was the reason for the downgrade? The downgrade was less due to the vehicle's popularity and more due to the oil crisis of 1970.

The days of extravagant luxury cars are gone. Energy conservation was the new focus of the 1980s. Prince's 1983 hit "Little Red Corvette", was a clear indication that 80's consumers were unwilling to trade in style, regardless of size.