A wide variety of cars such as Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Corvettes and Porsches have inspired musicians over the years, but no vehicle can match the huge imprint left by Cadillac. Countless Caddy songs stretch across all musical genres, including contemporary tunes, but in order to offer a more nostalgic effect, here are my foot-tapping favorites.
“Brand New Cadillac” by Vince Taylor, covered by The Clash: Already a swingin’ rockabilly favorite, the raw sonic energy from The Clash gave this hit a bit of modern flare. Both versions have guitar riffs that electrify your nerves.
“My baby rolled up in a brand new Cadillac,
Yes, she did!
My baby drove up in a brand new Cadillac,
She said, ‘Hey, come here, Daddy!’
‘I ain't never coming back.’”
“Bring My Cadillac Back” by Baker Knight and covered by Imelda May: There are several versions of this song, but Imelda May’s beautiful voice and swingin’ energy with intense saxophone rhythms make this many folks’ favored rendition.
“I woke up this mornin' 'bout a quarter to six,
Found myself in a terrible fix.
My baby was gone and the Cadillac too.
Now won't you tell me what I'm gonna do?”
“Cadillac Boogie” by Jimmy Liggins: Released in 1948, three years before Ike Turner’s hit “Rocket 88,” this big-band swing mixed with old school rhythm is one performance that had an immense impact on the future of vehicle-inspired tunes.
“Air foam cushions on a modern design
V-8 motor, body Fleetwood line
Keep rollin’ jack, makin' time
That cat's purring got eight kitten's cryin'
It's a Cadillac boogie, yes the Cadillac boogie
It's a Cadillac boogie, boogie woogie rolling along”
“Cadillac Ranch” by Bruce Springsteen: According to music critic Dave Marsh, this song “made dinosaurs dance” with its exuberant rockabilly influences. The song’s infectious beat made it a favorite on mainstream rock radio stations. Rumor has it that “Cadillac Ranch” refers to a cemetery, and the Cadillac mentioned is actually a hearse.
“Eldorado fins, whitewalls and skirts,
Rides just like a little bit of heaven here on earth,
Well buddy when I die throw my body in the back,
And drive me to the junkyard in my Cadillac.”
“Heaven is in the Back Seat of My Cadillac” by Hot Chocolate: The title doesn’t hide what the song is about. This ‘70s tune skips the innuendos and gets straight to the point. After all, there isn’t much that can beat the romance of a Cadillac.
“Heaven's in the back seat of my Cadillac -
Let me take you there,
Heaven's in the back seat of my Cadillac -
Let me take you there,
“Look at that Cadillac” by the Stray Cats: They’re a catchy rockabilly band that will keep you rollin’ all night long, and this song is no exception. Go ahead, play it on repeat. I know you want to.
“I gotta get a Cadillac.
Look at that Cadillac, look at that.
Look at that Cadillac, look at that,
Rollin’ down the avenue, I’m gunna get my a Cadillac too,
If it’s the last thing I do.”
“Maybellene” by Chuck Berry: It was Chuck Berry’s first single release and first big hit in 1955, and it tells the story of a hot rod race and broken romance. A combination of blues and rock’n’roll, the song received numerous awards and has been covered by many artists.
“Pink in the mirror on top of the hill,
It's just like swallowin' up a medicine pill.
First thing I saw that Cadillac grille
Doin' a hundred and ten gallopin' over that hill.
Off hill curve, a downhill stretch,
Me and that Cadillac neck by neck.”
“One Piece at a Time” by Johnny Cash: It’s a humorous view from a blue-collar factory worker who has the patience of a saint, and vows that someday, he will have a Cadillac even if it means risking his job and piecing the Cadillac together with random parts.
“I'd get it one piece at a time,
And it wouldn't cost me a dime.
You'll know it's me when I come through your town,
I'm gonna ride around in style
I'm gonna drive everybody wild
'Cause I'll have the only one there is around.”
“Pink Cadillac” by Bruce Springsteen, re-recorded by Natalie Cole: Springsteen had previously vetoed another female vocalist’s version of his song, as he believed it to be gender inappropriate. But once he heard Natalie Cole’s take on the tune, even he was impressed. Cole performed the song flawlessly while adding her inner funk to the soundwaves.
“I love you for your pink Cadillac
Crushed velvet seats
Riding in the back, oozing down the street
Waving to the girls
Peeling out of sight
Spending all my money on a Saturday night”
“Slick Black Cadillac” by Quiet Riot: From the late-1970s hair band era came an ode to really fast, slick black Cadillacs. It’s a shame that the late singer, Kevin Dubrow, isn’t around to see the new Cadillac CTS-V models. There’s no doubt he would put a set of gold wheels on it and let ’er rip.
“Drivin' in a Slick Black Cadillac,
It's got solid gold hubcaps,
It makes me feel like a king,
I only need one thing,
And that's a Slick Black Cadillac.”