It’s well-trod territory: songs about cars. But with music constantly evolving, we thought we’d have another listen and check out some newer music videos that use cars or motorcycles as vehicles (pardon the pun) for storytelling. You’ll recognize some classic songs too, but we asked members of Hagerty’s media team for their favorites and, well, let’s just say that you won’t know all of the songs.
Some of the following are questionably safe for work and include expletives and barely-dressed people. If you have any concerns, you might want to wait ‘til you get home. Fair warning. And if you’re offended by some of the newer stuff, remember what George Bernard Shaw said: “It's all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date.”
Following are our favorite car-themed videos, listed alphabetically by media employee’s first name:
Ben Woodworth—Dr. Dre–“Still D.R.E.”: If you love hip-hop, you have to love this video, which is essentially a South Los Angeles car show. The video is also notable for its cameos: Eminem, Shaquille O’Neal, and Xzibit (from Pimp my Ride). Gotta represent.
Carolyn Greenman—Prince–“Little Red Corvette”: Prince’s song was ahead of its time. It pushed the limits, making the Chevy Corvette even more of a sex symbol. Also, it's the ideal song to jam to when you're getting ready for a hot date.
Davin Reckow—Mötley Crüe–“Girls, Girls, Girls”: This video has lots of sweet motorcycles; never mind the poles. Plus what rocks harder than mid-‘80s Mötley Crüe?
Jeff Peek—Lee Brice–“I Drive Your Truck”: I resisted going with a better-known automotive music video (like ZZ Top’s “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” featuring the 1933 Ford custom coupe “Eliminator,” or Sammy Hagar’s “I Can't Drive 55”) because I often find the story behind a vehicle is more interesting than the vehicle itself. That’s the case in this video too, as the brother of a fallen soldier eases his pain by driving his brother’s 1973 Ford F-100.
Joe DeMatio—Aretha Franklin–“Freeway of Love”: This video was filmed in Detroit, 1985. I was 19 years old and spent the summer dancing to this song in Detroit’s clubs. Replete with footage from the assembly lines, shots of the Southfield Freeway cloverleaf, the old General Motors building, and other Motor City scenes. To this day, I don’t think there’s a more “Detroit” music video than this.
Jonathan Stein—Julia Haltigan–“Running from the Law”: Julia combines mystery and seductiveness, which makes the portrayed woman both alluring and off-limits because she’s a bad girl. One also wonders why she would connect with a guy who is such a loser. We’ll never know.
Jordan Lewis—Daft punk–“Human After All”: This video is dark and disturbing. Look on the bright side, though—it features a sweet Ferrari 412. For about the first minute. Then the video gets metaphorical.
Justin Warnes—Queen–“I’m in love with my car”: It’s not one of Queen’s most popular songs, maybe it’s because their drummer, Roger Taylor, sang it. The racing footage, however, from beach sprints to stock cars to vintage Formula One makes you want to strap a helmet on and hit the course.
Larry Webster—Big Country–“In a Big Country”: Honestly, I could take or leave the song. Yet the reason I love this new-wave video is the early ‘80s ATV action—three wheelers!
Matt Lewis—Queens of the Stone Age–“Go with the Flow”: My favorite automotive music video has that Mad Max/Borderlands, post-apocalyptic feel. The art is nice, the graphic style is unique, the music is great, but it gets really inappropriate quick. You know, general rock star debauchery.
Nick Gravlin—David Hasselhoff–“True Survivor”: What better way to promote a movie that pays homage to the action flicks from the 1980s than to have an iconic ‘80s actor/musician sing his heart out in front of one of the most iconic ‘80s vehicles (Lamborghini Countach)?
Stefan Lombard—Beastie Boys–“Sabotage”: “Sabotage” is the perfect tribute to everything I love about 1980s cop dramas. It won't win any awards for coolest cars in a music video, but I can't think of a better way to depict an ’83 Ford Crown Vic than by power-sliding it through L.A. intersections and smashing through stacked cardboard boxes in narrow alleys.
Todd Kraemer—Marc Cohn–“Silver Thunderbird”: It’s more emotional than what some of my co-workers chose, but I own the car in the video. Well, not the actual one, but the same model and year. But that’s not why I like the song. I like it because it’s about a boy remembering his dad and his dad’s car—how many of us get into cars—the same way my dad brought cars home when he worked for AMC. The lyrics are what really get you.
Yoav Gilad—Gorillaz–“Stylo”: This song has a great beat and the video features animated characters (the group) on the run from an unhinged Bruce Willis (in a mean Chevy El Camino) and a doughnut-chomping cop. Also, the characters drive a bullet-scarred ’69 Chevy Camaro. What’s not to love?
What’s your favorite car- or bike-themed video?