December 14, 2011

"What songs other than 'Leader of the Pack' have the sound of a motor revving?"

A question I asked Google this morning a propos of List-a-Beefy's "I don't get Leader of the Pack. I just don't." Not get "Leader of the Pack"? This immense aficionado of pop songs doesn't get "Leader of the Pack"? I don't get it. Maybe it's the motor revving:
According to legend, to add the authentic sound of a motorcycle engine, one was driven through the lobby of the hotel and up to the floor of the recording studio. No one was arrested, but a ticket was issued. However, in an interview four decades later, Shangri-Las lead singer Mary Weiss said the motorcycle sound was taken from an effects record. The Zombies' drummer Hugh Grundy recalls revving up a motorcycle backstage when the Shangri-Las performed on a U.S. tour.



By the way, if you combine their hairstyles into one hairstyle, you get Amy Winehouse.

Anyway, I'm looking for more songs with motor revving. Google didn't really help. Poking around in YouTube for car songs was a better method. I tried "Dead Man's Curve" and "Little Cobra," then got successful with "409."

Help me generate the definitive list of songs with motor revving sound effects. And express whatever opinions you have about sound effects in songs. It's a tradition that presumably predates recorded music... and perhaps even musical instruments. A classic early example — the not that early — is "The Typewriter":



I'd like to see a video synthesizing "Leader of the Pack" and "The Typewriter." I'd call it "Leader of the Nerds." You have the girl singing about falling in love, the parents breaking up the relationship, and the kiss before dying routine, but the boyfriend is a nerd, not a Brandoesque rebel, and the sound effect is a typewriter.

124 comments:

Beta Rube said...

"Living in the USA" by Steve Miller has an engine revving.

Neil said...

Moby Grape, "Motorcycle Irene"

http://youtu.be/XMvIIHFr4dA

MadisonMan said...

Back in the USSR has a jet -- does that count as a motor revving?

Sternhammer said...

Stray Cats "Rebels Rule"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVIZga_WS5w

Graham Powell said...

Van Halen's "Panama" has a motorcycle revving in it. I think "Detroit Rock City" by KISS does as well. Maybe the original "Last Kiss"? The well-known cover by Pearl Jam doesn't.

Hey, isn't "Last Kiss" sort of a gender-reveresed "Leader of the Pack"?

X said...

Montrose - Bad Motor Scooter

Scott M said...

DOH, Graham beat me to it. Kiss' "Detroit Rock City" not only has the revving, but also an audibly graphic collision as well as the autobiographical singer seemingly predicting his own demise.

TMink said...

The Minutemen use a revving motor to begin and end each side of their fantastic double album "Double Nickles on the Dime."

Trey

Scott M said...

"Money"

Pink Floyd (though it sounds synthetic).

AFG said...

"Faster" by George Harrison opens with the sounds of race cars. Fantastic song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMm4bhs6GYY

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Motley Crue - Girls Girls Girls

Paul said...

"Love is the Drug" - Roxy Music

Several tracks on Minutemen's Double Nickels record, including "Political Song for Michael Jackson To Sing."

"Drivin' Sister" - Mott the Hoople

"Autobahn" - Kraftwerk

Yikes said...

"Would I Lie To You?" by the Eurhythmics.

Scott M said...

Hey, isn't "Last Kiss" sort of a gender-reveresed "Leader of the Pack"?

Whether it is or not, it's emasculated Pearl Jam and a low point in their work. Don't say that to Eddie, though, or you'll get an earful.

JZ said...

"Movin' Out" by Billie Joel

Yikes said...

Jackson Brown's "Nothin' But Time" was recorded on his tour bus, and you can clearly hear the engine as the driver shifts and accelerates.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Jackyl - The Lumberjack

The engine revving is a chainsaw.

Meade said...

Robert Gerard Goulet is the guy on the motorcycle with the Shangri's.

shiloh said...

Like a Bat Out of Hell ~ The motorcycle sound in the middle of the song is producer Todd Rundgren's guitar.

btw, a song about liberals escaping this blog! :D

Joaquin said...

Sammy Haggar. I can't drive 55?

Scott M said...

Depeche Mode's "Stripped" has an engine starting then the entire rhythm of the song is based on a large, idling engine. Always loved that one...

Paul said...

Jackyl's "The Lumberjack" is the only one I know that uses motor noise as an instrument.

Ann Althouse said...

"Hey, isn't "Last Kiss" sort of a gender-reveresed "Leader of the Pack"?"

Teen death songs... a whole genre. There's also "Tell Laura I Love Her," which involves car racing:

He drove his car to the racing ground
He was the youngest driver there
The crowd roared as they started to race
Around the track they drove at a deadly pace
No one knows what happened that day how his car overturned in flames
But as they pulled him from the twisted wreck
With his dying breath they heard him say
Tell Laura I love her
Tell Laura I need her
Tell Laura not to cry
My love for her will never die


He's trying to get the money to buy her a wedding ring. Here's the recording, which I just checked for sound effects. There are none, and in fact, the style of the song is such that adding sound effects would be so incongruous that the tear-jerker song would evoke laughter.

Curious George said...

Jan and Dean "Drag City".

It's amazing the amount of music about fast cars and illegal drag racing from the 60's. Simpler times.

Will Collier said...

"Thick-N-Thin" from the Black Crowes' debut album starts with not just a motor revving, but also an actual car crash. One of the band members intentionally crashed his beater into a dumpster out behind the recording studio. Good thing for him the record went Platinum.

The motor in Van Halen's "Panama" is not from a motorcycle; it's from Eddie Van Halen's Lamborghini (I wonder if it was the same car Eddie took into the shop a year or so later, and walked out with Sammy Hagar's phone number?).

John Hawks said...

Aside from mixing an actual engine noise, is this really a different tradition from "Chattanooga Choo Choo"? Or "Clang Clang Clang Went the Trolley"?

jeff said...

"btw, a song about liberals escaping this blog! :D"

How odd. I don't believe I have ever been trapped in a blog. I think its wonderful you are finally mastering the basics of your computer, but I don't know if I would go so far as to say all liberals are so inept.

shiloh said...

"but I don't know if I would go so far as to say all liberals are so inept."

But some conservatives find sarcasm a difficult concept ...

Salamandyr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

But some conservatives find sarcasm a difficult concept ...

Some liberals cannot help injecting ideologies into a completely apolitical thread.

Shiloh apparently needs a hug.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I figured there should be such a song on Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album, but no such luck. I did find this tidbit:

With the help of producer Todd Rundgren they started making the album work. One of the interesting things to me is in the title track of the album — both Steinman and Meat wanted a motorcycle revving its engines. Rundgren wasn’t about to drag a motorcycle into his studio so he simulated it on the guitar. I have spent decades just 'knowing' that they recorded a motorcycle.

shiloh said...

Indeed, as my buddy Scott M also has trouble w/sarcasm.

ok, ok, he just has a shiloh fetish.

Nobody Knows That I Am A Dog!!! said...

The Beach Person's "409."

The Crack Emcee said...

Public Enemy's "You're Gonna Get Yours" has revving engines, tires squealing, all that. It's about Chuck D's love for his 98 Olds.

I was going to put together a mix tape of car-themed songs across the ages for an auto dealership I worked for once, but their musical tastes were so conventional I scrapped the idea lest they singled me out. It's a trip to feel like your livelihood will be put in danger for trying to help - and over music featuring sound effects - but that's where we are today, ready to march anyone up to Human Resources who seems "different."

Thank goodness, I finally got a clue and left,...

Yikes said...

U2's "Vertigo" has a sound like an electric motor (table saw?) starting, going into the bridge... Gives the song a smaller carbon footprint.

Phil said...

"I'm In Love With My Car" by Queen.

Phil said...

"Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" by Primus.

And no kidding, the WV is "rudedyno".

grgeil said...

Joe Ely: "Road Hog"

EMD said...

Lars Von Trier and Björk's "I've Seen It All" uses a train rolling on tracks as the song's percussion.

From the movie soundtrack to "Dancer in the Dark."

Ron said...

not directly connected, but here's the Caddy Daddy song page....nothing but songs with Cadillac in the title.

http://www.car-nection.com/yann/dbas_txt/Songs.htm

There's gotta be some engine sounds in there somewhere....

Steve_Roberts said...

Drivin´Sister by Mott the Hoople.

Sounds like an 8 to me, but the lyrics refer to a Volks - never mind it's a fun song on a great album.

SGT Ted said...

Born to be Wild.

I can't believe no one got that one before me.

EMD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EMD said...

The Gaslight Anthem's "Old White Lincoln" uses a car starting, then revving, then a door slamming, and then driving off at the very begining.

Partridge said...

uisThis isn't in English but Mylene Farmer's song "California." She's a very well-known French pop singer and the song has a great sound. If you speak French, or even if you don't, it's worth looking up.

Charlie said...

Motorcycle Irene is really great.

traditionalguy said...

My 409 by the Beach boys.

MadisonMan said...

Uptown Girl, Billy Joel. I'm not certain if the record has the revving in it, but the video does.

Does Bicycle Race count? It has bells ringing instead of a motor revving :)

MadisonMan said...

Bicycle Race, by Queen, that is.

(But you all knew that)

Charlie said...

Jeff Beck "Roy's Toy", best motor-revving sound ever.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZxPy6fdNLY

ken in sc said...

The motorcycle in the video above appears to be a Honda Sport 70. I used to have one. No leader of no pack would have been caught dead on one.

Dad Bones said...

Dirt Track Date by Southern Culture on the Skids.

drozz said...

"LA Woman" by the Doors

drozz said...

"Jerry Was a Race Car Driver" by Primus

MadisonMan said...

Meade, thank you for id-ing Mr. Goulet. I was trying to figure out who it was.

Ron said...

Isn't this both Althouse (such glasses!)AND Meade in this video?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DRB6tWULz4&feature=related

which is too cute, BTW....

Ralph L said...

Thanks, Althouse. Now I have some awful songs stuck in my head.

traditionalguy said...

The opening to My 409 is a beautiful sound of a perfectly tuned Chevy engine.

We may never get to hear one in person again thanks to the idiots pushing the world into coal burning electrics vintage 1909.

john_d said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john_d said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig said...

I'm thinking Hot Rod Lincoln?

traditionalguy said...

Listening to the Beach Boys again made me think that The Professor is the 409 of Bloggers. Nothing can touch her.

Alan Adamson said...

Good call @SGT Ted - definitely Born to be Wild.

Another Toronto influence!

MadisonMan said...

Hot Rod Lincoln?

Nope. I listened to it this morning, and the only sound is the siren.

edutcher said...

There's also Billy Joel's "Movin' Out".

And "Dead Man's Curve" has the great skid at the end followed by the old scream-and-crash sound effect from the 50s.

Ironically, almost none of the Beach Boys' great car songs have any car sounds.

john_d said...

Alex Van Halen's drumming in Hot for Teacher was based on the cadence of an idling motorcycle engine.

Shane said...

Cold War Kids' "Hang Me Up to Dry" utilizes a fly fishing reel feeding out, and Guster uses a typewriter keys and return bar in "Barrel of a Gun" -both of which totally kick ass.

glenn said...

Enough with the motors revving. Check out those pleated skirts and heels. Hot clothes. The late 50's early 60's was such a wonderful time. We had the coolest clothes, the coolest cars and the best music. Sorry boomers, most of you were too late.

Paul said...

"Jesus Built My Hotrod" - Ministry

One of the greatest sustained spaz out songs ever.

Shane said...

"Magical Mystery Tour" has the bus passing under an overpass.

Psychedelic George said...

Tons of Steel

The Grateful Dead

Draggin'

Roger McGuinn

Wabash Cannonball

Mr. Roy Acuff

Scott M said...

Alex Van Halen's drumming in Hot for Teacher was based on the cadence of an idling motorcycle engine.

"Hot For Teacher" is the strongest weapon in the quiver of the David-Lee-Roth-Is-The-Best-VH-Singer arguer.

PSommers said...

Billy Squier's "Everybody Wants You' opens with synthesized motor sounds..

David said...

Weird Al Yankovic, "Trapped at the Drive Thru."

Real life set to music.

who-knew said...

Auberge by Chris Rea

David said...

Medallions, "Buick 59."

Ann Althouse said...

My office room number used to be 409... before they remodeled the building and regularized all the room numbers adding an extra digit to indicate which segment of the building you're in. I'm still in the same office, but now I'm deprived of Beach-Boy-osity. So sad! That and the inroads Scott Walker has made into my pension benefit.... where is the Wisconsin of yesteryear?

Scott M said...

"Dentist!" by Steve Martin in the movie version of Little Shop Of Horrors. One of my personal favorites (the song and the performance, not the movie).

Paul said...

Crap! Forgot an Ohio band.

"Garbageman" - The Cramps

Ann Althouse said...

Speaking of Roger McGuinn... that made me remember "1-2-3 Foxtrot (The Learjet Song)" from the album "5D." It's got learjet noise.

PSommers said...

"Chitty Chitty bang Bang"

Ann Althouse said...

I mean "2-4-2 Fox Trot"... what a stupid song title.

It's "The Learjet Song."

traditionalguy said...

If we are into jet noise, then the opening scene of Top Gun is the winner.

EMD said...

"Hot For Teacher" is the strongest weapon in the quiver of the David-Lee-Roth-Is-The-Best-VH-Singer arguer.


Behold the majesty.

PatCA said...

I love the simple staging! Some group could really make a name for themselves if they could really sing and just let the bursting lights, etc., go.

EMD said...

My office room number used to be 409... before they remodeled the building and regularized all the room numbers adding an extra digit to indicate which segment of the building you're in. I'm still in the same office, but now I'm deprived of Beach-Boy-osity. So sad! That and the inroads Scott Walker has made into my pension benefit.... where is the Wisconsin of yesteryear?

Is that where you came up with the "formula."?

PSommers said...

"Manic Mechanic" - ZZ Top...there must be others by ZZ Top, right?

PSommers said...

"Hell In A Bucket" - Grateful Dead

Crimso said...

Sound of first Space Shuttle launch on Rush's "Countdown."

Scott M said...

@EMD

Behold the majesty.

Dude. Don't harsh my reality.

Crimso said...

Also, I believe we get some sort of car sound (can't recall now if it is technically revving or not) in the song "Demand" on Phish's "Hoist" LP.

Dave in Tucson said...

Baby Driver, by Simon & Garfunkel

edutcher said...

glenn said...

Enough with the motors revving. Check out those pleated skirts and heels. Hot clothes. The late 50's early 60's was such a wonderful time. We had the coolest clothes, the coolest cars and the best music. Sorry boomers, most of you were too late.

No, most of the Boomers came in the first cohort ('46 - '53) and got to do the early to mid 60s thing.

Nobody Knows That I Am A Dog!!! said...

Bill Kirchen, the guy who did the lead guitar work on C. Cody's Hot Rod Lincoln, does a great live version of it these days and includes his musical impersonation of a diesel truck using the volume control of his “Coal Burning” Telly. Great stuff.

Meade said...

"...where is the Wisconsin of yesteryear?"

What on earth is a Wisconsin?

Ray Mescallado said...

"Harley David" by the Bollock Brothers.

Suburbanbanshee said...

"For It All", Cats Laughing. A Minnesota sideband for a bunch of sf writers and musicians. (I don't think the particular motorcycle sound is quite right for the song, but it's there.)

LordSomber said...

"Blues Theme" by Davie Allan & The Arrows, from the Roger Corman biker film "The Wild Angels."

Come to think of it, most of his songs have some sort of engine sounds.

Unknown said...

You asked about a motor revving...didn't say it had to be part of a vehicle: Art of Noise, Close (to the Edit) uses a chainsaw startup/revving throughout.

TheCrankyProfessor said...

Gap Band - "Burn Rubber on Me." They used to perform it with a motorcycle on stage to provide sound effects.

Woodsman said...

Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf

Yikes said...

Jeff Beck's "Guitar Shop" has a rhythm track built on samples of pneumatic tools and shop motors revving up, kind of like how Pink Floyd used the sound of cash registers to build the rhythm track for "Money".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J21JU6jckls&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Woodsman said...

From "Who's Vroomin' Who: Top 10 Songs With Motorcycle Sounds" http://blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks/2011/02/top_10_songs_featuring_motorcy.php

Motley Crue, "Girls Girls Girls"

The Shangri-Las, "Leader Of The Pack": Yeah, motorbiking sounds cool until you get reminded that you could die.

Billy Joel, "Movin' Out": This bike sounds like it sucks, like Billy Joel does now. How can you be allergic to writing new music. Lame sauce, Billy. Lame.

Kaiser Chiefs, "Saturday Night": Gross. Is that a moped or remote-control car?

Lars Frederiksen & the Bastards, "Bastards": This is the spiritual brother of the Crue's own motorcycle cut. After a Rancid show at Warehouse Live in 2006, CHL and our brother watched Lars Frederiksen drive a sweet Harley Fat Boy up and down the street beside the venue.

Roxy Music, "Love Is the Drug": The bike sounds as fey as Bryan Ferry's wardrobe.

Moby Grape: "Motorcycle Irene": Sounds like the bike has rusty guts, like some old hippie who traded mechanic work for speed.

Love & Rockets, "Motorcycle": It's very faint, but it sounds weak all the same.

Chris Spedding: "Motorbikin'": Couldn't find the live cut of this song on Rdio, but here's a link. Dig the flash pots and the group of bikes in between the band.

Motorhead, "Motorhead": This bike beats the Crue bike, because it's Motorhead, you dumbass. Coming on the heels of Lemmy's ouster from Hawkwind, this is also one of the more pysch-ed out Motorhead songs

Sigivald said...

The Trashmen's Sleeper might qualify.

David R. Stewart said...

James Taylor had a chainsaw (along with crosscut saw and a hammer or two) on the intro to his version of "Little David" (from the 1972 album "One Man Dog').

The coolest thing was that the chainsaw sound was in the same key as the other instruments.

http://grooveshark.com/s/Little+David/3OYR2T?src=5

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother Suite has a roaring motorcycle (in addition to a roaring tube train and other delights.) It's a long song, but the moment in question is around the 3 minute mark, I think.

maudgonne said...

"Motorcycle" by Tico and the Triumphs.

Paul said...

"Roxy Music, "Love Is the Drug": The bike sounds as fey as Bryan Ferry's wardrobe."

Prior to the rev up, there are footsteps and a car door opening, then slamming. The engine sounds like a sports car to me.

Also, the Kinks Ape Man begins with both train and car noises.

Wahrheit said...

I know it's late in the day, but back near the top "X" named "Bad Motor Scooter" by Montrose...great song but that's a guitar imitating a motorcyle going through the gears. Close reading of the post says that doesn't count.

DADvocate said...

The parody of Leader of the Pack, Leader of Laundrymat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4dEuqKAgn8

Dan said...

Freeway Jam by Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group. Lots of honking, revving and such

DADvocate said...

409 - The Beach Boys

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKKP_cZuk54

EMD said...

Will this list be available on Althou.se?

Ralph L said...

"Baby, You can Drive my Car" by the Beatles has fake car horns and traffic noise, doesn't it?

Methadras said...

Motley Crue: Kick start my heart

Van Halen: Hot for teacher

Roxy Music: Love is the drug

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I relish the opportunity to share one of my favorite bands and a song about a car.

Amartel said...

Kraftwerk "Autobahn".
Billy Joel, "Movin out"



Oh crap I'm old!

Amartel said...

Country Honk by the Rolling Stones (Let it Bleed album) starts off with a car honking and motor noises. It's the "country" version of Honky-Tonk Women. Which starts off with a cowbell.

NC-Dad said...

These are a little before Leader of the Pack: Leopold Mozart Toy Symphony with whistles and noise makers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDnrL46wY44) and Jagdsinfonie for strings hunting horns, shotgun and dogs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgnciwIHIpo).

John Lawton said...

Golden Earring -"Vanilla Queen" @ 6:13

Brn said...

Amy Grant's "I Love You": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfSfK2fTt6E

DanDotDan said...

"The Last Race" by Jack Nitzsche.

http://youtu.be/eFic6Y07ZHo

Dave H said...

A tad late, I've been visiting another planet.
"Rev-Up" by Manuel and The Renegades (1963). Engine revving at the beginning and at the end.
http://youtu.be/5dM2oviA7i0

I'm dating myself, but I admit to having the 45 of that song..

Venkata Raghavendra Nandagiri said...

I think the perfect answer to a song starting with racing car sound is "FERRARI SCHUMACHER SONG"...An awesome song and one of the most popular numbers played world over...Enjoy!!!