Few things perk me up more than belting out songs behind the wheel of my car.
But imagine belting out tunes about the car you’re driving. If that car happens to be a Chevy, you’re in luck.
It’s no secret that Americans love cars. And musicians love to celebrate them in song. But you would be hard pressed to find a car that has featured in more songs than a Chevy.
And those featured sounds aren’t bound by genre. Since Don McLean crooned about driving his Chevy to the Levy in his 1971 “American Pie,” countless artists across the rock n’ roll, rap, and country music divide have immortalized the already iconic Chevy in songs.
The next time you’re looking to find a used Chevrolet for sale, tune your radio dial for some inspiration.
Singing About Chevys, Any Ole’ Chevy…
The Chevy brand officially came into existence in 1911, which means this year marks 104 years that Chevy has dominated the American highways and byways.
Throughout that time, Chevy remained competitive, earning it’s place as one of the “Big Three” American automakers, going head to head, or more accurately, bumper to bumper with Ford and Chrysler.
It’s no wonder then that the legacy of this car would spin off into songs across generations and genres.
Take a look at this Top 100 list of Chevy songs, compiled by Pandora. No doubt there are even more out there, perhaps from lesser-known artists, but this compilation proves just how prolific Chevy is as a brand and musical inspiration.
Many, if not most of these songs, make reference to Chevy, but not a particular model or specific model year.
Even Don McLean’s famous Chevy reference in American Pie is vague. He drove a Chevy. Okay. To the levy. Equally vague.
But he’s not alone.
Year later, Snoop Dogg is “Ridin’ in my Chevy,” while Alan Jackson fogs up the windows in his “old Chevy,” and Rick Ross and Dre are both “Chevy Ridin’ High.”
And who could forget Elton John, doing some Crocodile Rockin’ in an “old gold Chevy,” as only he can.
The late Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, rages when, “You scream and you holla about my Chevy Impala,” though he never identifies which one from Chevy’s vast model history.
But some artists have pinpointed specific Chevys to match the stories in their songs and that’s when Chevy’s iconic influence in music becomes even more illustrative.
Clapton Crushes on ’57 Chevys
And he is not afraid to sing about it.
In “I’ve Got a Rock and Roll Heart,” Eric Clapton tells the woman he’s chasing, “I get off on ’57 Chevys.”
Good to know, Mr. Clapton.
What’s so special about a ’57 Chevy?
So glad you asked.
The 1957 Chevy came equipped with two engine options, a 265 V8, producing 162 horsepower, or the even more powerful 283 V8, generating 185 horsepower from its two-barrel carburetor and single exhaust.
Of course, drivers could always swap out the two-barrel for the four-barrel, add additonal exhausts and voila! You’ve got yourself a Super Turbo-Fire 283 V8 with horsepower rated at 220 ponies.
I have a feeling Mr. Clapton is the Super Turbo-Fire type, considering his other admitted turn-on: a screaming guitar. After all, he’s got a rock and roll heart.
Here the connection between Chevy cars and the eternally cool vibe of rock and roll is unmistakably clear.
1965 Chevy – the Crue’s Choice
Leave it to heavy metal band, Motley Crue to highlight the drugs in music’s “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” triple play.
In 1989’s “Dr. Feelgood,”Vince Neil howls that Hollywood’s local drug dealer, Rat-tailed Jimmy, “Got a ’65 Chevy, primered flames.” Of course, you would want your car to stand out as much as possible if you were selling illegal drugs. Good call, Jimmy.
The 1965 Chevy in question is a Chevy lmpala, one of Chevy’s best-selling cars.
Introduced in 1958, the Impala remains a current Chevy production, and was the most popular full-size Chevy through the mid-1980s.
But the one that Rat-tailed Jimmy drove was likely a 1965 Chevy, thanks to the “primered flames” detail and the fact that the 1965 model year set a sales record with more than one million Impalas sold throughout the United States.
Part of its popularity came from the ten total engine options available for drivers of all inclinations. From the standard V6, generating 140 horsepower to the 396 cubic inch V8, producing a screaming 425 horsepower, with just about everything in between, the 1965 Impala was a people pleaser.
Just the sort of thing an entrepreneur like Rat-tailed Jimmy would need.
Country Crooners Love Their Chevy Trucks…
Despite its vintage appeal, Chevy manages to also inspire an appreciation from a more youthful, innocent crowd.
Young country star Taylor Swift recalls her first love for a “boy in a Chevy truck,” in her hit song, “Tim McGraw.”
While the exact Chevy truck is unknown, her fellow, though lesser known, country artist, Granger Smith, writes about being a blue-collar guy more comfortable on a “Silverado Bench Seat,” than on a date in a fine restaurant.
Given the song’s release in 2013, we can assume Granger is singing about a Silverado from that model year, though the Silverados were first released in 1999 and continue to be top-sellers for the bow-tie brand.
But, for the sake of the song’s release date, let’s take a look at the 2013 Chevy Silverado, an ideal used Chevy workhorse.
Equipped with three engine options, the 4.3-liter V6 at 195 horsepower, the 4.8-liter FlexFuel V8 for 302 horsepower, or the 5.3-liter FlexFuel V8, generating 315 horsepower, the 2013 Chevy Silverado 1500 comes with either rear or four-wheel drive, paired to a standard four-speed automatic or optional six-speed automatic transmission. Maximum payload is rated at 1,940 pounds with towing at 10,600 pounds.
The 2013 Silverado gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 14 city and 21 highway miles per gallon.
By 2014, the Chevy Silverado had become the most awarded pickup truck of the year.
Used Chevy Silverados are a steal and worth checking out, especially if, like Granger, you’re more at home in a truck than seated at a table laden with fine china.
If this Van’s A Rockin’…
You know the rest.
Here we have a tribute to Chevy vans, courtesy of Sammy Johns’ 1973 aptly named song, “Chevy Van.”
The vans that Chevy is cranking out today, like the Chevy Express, are more commercially-driven, perfect for small business owners, and especially for urban-dwelling business owners, who will appreciate the easier to park, narrower Chevy City Express.
But this song hails from the 1970s and I’m pretty sure Mr. Johns wasn’t looking to embark on a start-up venture with the young lady in his song, a woman about whom he sings, is “gonna love me in my Chevy, and that’s all right with me.”
Doing business? Nope. Getting busy? Most certainly.
Chevy started manufacturing vans in 1964 and, interestingly enough, 1973 was the first year that Chevy switched its signature bowtie from blue to yellow and offered custom orders on these vans, complete with shag carpeting.
Shag carpeting? I rest my case.
Patriotic Chevys – A Salute to Blue-Blooded American History
There is no denying that Chevy, with it’s historic American legacy, embodies blue-collar, down to earth patriotism.
Take, for example, David Ball’s 2001 country song “Riding with Private Malone,” a narrative about a young man who buys a used Chevy only to discover that it’s a perfectly preserved 1966 Corvette convertible. The song was released just prior to the 9/11 terror attacks, but became increasingly popular in their wake.
After purchasing the classic beauty, he discovers a note inside the glove box from its previous owner, another young man by the name of “Private Malone,” who was at that time preparing to ship off to Vietnam, and ultimately, “never made it home.”
Ball sings how he “loved to hear those horses thunder underneath her hood,” which, for a 1966 Chevy Corvette, would have been running in a pack 425 strong with 465 lb.-ft. of torque and top speeds maxing out at 150 miles per hour.
The interesting thing about the 1966 Chevy Corvettes was that their sales never dwindled, even after General Motors put a ban on racing.
Rather than discourage sales, the ’66 Corvette outpaced the competition and remains a much sought after classic car.
Whether classic or current, the award-winning line of Chevy vehicles continues to evolve, delighting drivers of all generations and inspiring the muses of artists across all musical genres.
But Chevys aren’t just celebrated in song. Watch as these five legendary Chevys steal the spotlight on the silver screen…