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What was the first song about cars?


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The poll from the other day about the hot rod songs got me thinking - What was the first "pop" song written about cars? I mentioned Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" from 1951, which was recorded by Sam Phillips before he started Sun Records and I've heard several sources claim that this song and the others from that recording session were the original Rock 'n Roll songs.

http://youtu.be/Gbfnh1oVTk0

Then there's legendary bluesman Robert Johnson's "Terraplane Blues" from 1936, obviously the Terraplane in the song is a metaphor for Johnson's old lady, so it really isn't about cars, exactly...

http://youtu.be/dloPrGI0EuY

So what is the orginal song about cars? Can anybody come up with anything older than these 2?

How do you embed YouTube videos here? I thought there was a button?

Edited by Brett Barrow
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Off the top of my head I came to the same conclusion, even though I'm far from certain there weren't others from prior years (although we're certainly getting back there...). In their old-fashioned, charming way the lyrics really are surprisingly "racy", too!

640px-In_My_Merry_Oldsmobile_a2701-1-72d

In My Merry Oldsmobile

By Gus Edwards and Vincent Bryan

First published in 1905

Young Johnny Steele has an Oldsmobile

He loves his dear little girl

She is the queen of his gas machine

She has his heart in a whirl

Now when they go for a spin, you know,

She tries to learn the auto, so

He lets her steer, while he gets her ear

And whispers soft and low...

They love to "spark" in the dark old park

As they go flying along

She says she knows why the motor goes

The "sparker" is awfully strong

Each day they "spoon" to the engine's tune

Their honeymoon will happen soon

He'll win Lucille with his Oldsmobile

And then he'll fondly croon...

Chorus
Come away with me, Lucille

In my merry Oldsmobile

Down the road of life we'll fly

Automobubbling, you and I

To the church we'll swiftly steal

Then our wedding bells will peal

You can go as far as you like with me

In my merry Oldsmobile.

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I would have to think the Olds song is surely the first "hit" popular song about cars.

Which reminds me how sad I still think it is that GM thought apparently nothing about having under its corporate umbrella the OLDEST surviving American car brand (as well as one of the oldest in the WORLD) established in 1897. Oldsmobile had the first assembly line, and established Detroit as the "Motor City". But of course, why bother to retain a link to the founding of America's automobile industry anyway? People who know and care about old stuff are useless codgers, right?

Mercedes makes a big deal out of being a car company with ancient roots (Benz's 1886 vehicle) in the automobile biz, but GM couldn't care less about its history, or so it would seem. Also interesting, as Oldsmobile used the melody from the 1905 song in its '50s commercials and promotional material, like this '51 factory tour.

Edited by Ace-Garageguy
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post-13723-0-51569500-1410030517_thumb.j

1901

So we're at 1901. Only 15 years to go, assuming that Benz was the first to offer an automobile to the buying public (circa 1886), versus prototypes like Cugnot's steam wagon (1769) or Gustave Trouvé's electric 3-wheeler shown at the Paris Exposition of 1881. Let the Internet search madness begin!

Edited by Bernard Kron
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Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, is considered by historians as the first true Rock and Roll song. I don't know if Ike Turner had much to do with the writing of the song or not. He was mainly playing keyboards as a member of Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats. I could be wrong on that. By the way. I like the song.

Interesting that one of the first big hits about automobiles, is In My Merry Oldsmobile. The first Rock and Roll song, Rocket 88. Again about an Oldsmobile. And where is Oldsmobile today? :^(

Scott

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Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, is considered by historians as the first true Rock and Roll song. I don't know if Ike Turner had much to do with the writing of the song or not. He was mainly playing keyboards as a member of Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats. I could be wrong on that. By the way. I like the song.

Interesting that one of the first big hits about automobiles, is In My Merry Oldsmobile. The first Rock and Roll song, Rocket 88. Again about an Oldsmobile. And where is Oldsmobile today? :^(

Scott

"Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats" existed in name only on the label for Rocket 88 and one other song he sang lead on. The band was in reality Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm. Brenston played saxophone in the band. He wrote the song, changing the lyrics from his earlier "Cadilliac Boogie", which I don't believe was ever recorded.

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