List of car crash songs

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The car crash song emerged as a popular pop and rock music teenage tragedy song during the 1950s and 1960s at a time when the number of people being killed in vehicle collisions was rising fast in many countries. In the UK the number of fatalities on UK roads rose to a peace-time peak of 7,985 in 1966 before then falling to a new low of 2,222 in 2009.[1] The theme also appears in country and other music styles.[2]

Title Artist Year Comment
"7-11" The Ramones 1981 From their album Pleasant Dreams. The arrangement of this song suggests a strong 1950s/early 60s teenage pop influence with a doo-wop chorus.
"A Day in the Life" The Beatles 1967 From their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Contains the line: He blew his mind out in a car.
"Airbag" Radiohead 1997 According to the lyrics, "an airbag saved my life."[3]
"Always Crashing in the Same Car" David Bowie 1977 from the album Low
"Angels in Top Hats" House of Heroes 2005 Talks about a girl lying in the hospital, and the song later reveals that she was in a car and it had been raining when the accident happened. From House of Heroes
"The Approaching Curve" Rise Against 2006 “Up ahead there was a curve approaching.

She made no indications of slowing.” From The Sufferer & the Witness

"The Artist in the Ambulance" Thrice 2003 “Late night, brakes lock, hear the tires squeel. Red light can't stop so I spin the wheel.”

From The Artist in the Ambulance

"Bat Out of Hell" Meat Loaf 1977 Jim Steinman wanted to write the "most extreme crash song of all time."[4]
"The Beginning of My End" The Unifics 1968
"The Ballad of Thunder Road" Robert Mitchum 1957 moonshine runner dies when his car speeds off the road
"Big League" Tom Cochrane & Red Rider 1988 Lyrics go "Hit a truck doing 70 in the wrong lane in the big league"
"B.J. the D.J." Stonewall Jackson 1964 Title protagonist — a hard-living, sleep-deprived disc jockey — dies when his car crashes off the road.
"Black Ice" My Friend the Chocolate Cake 2011 From their album Fiasco. Lyrics speak of a fight between a husband and wife, then the wife dies in a car accident. Contains "Black Ice took her away from me", speaks directly of a car crash.
"Buses and Trains" Bachelor Girl 1998 Lyrics compare love to traffic accidents with several vehicles, one of them is the car.
"(Northbound on) Cahuenga" Scarling. 2005 From So Long, Scarecrow, about Jennifer Symes' auto accident
"Car Crash" The Avengers 1977 [5]
"Car Crash" Dirty Americans 2004 Making the comparison that love is like a car crash. "You leave me bloody and take all my money like a car crash". This song was featured on the soundtrack of the popular racing video game Gran Turismo 4.
"Car Crash" Our Lady Peace 1997 About a friend who intentionally killed himself in a car crash.
"Car Crash" Powerman 5000 1995
"The Carroll County Accident" Porter Wagoner 1968 A deadly car crash reveals a secret extramarital affair in the form of a lost wedding ring
"Chapel Bells Ringing" Gene Summers (written by Mary Tarver) 1962 45rpm issued on Lafayette Records. Based upon a true story about a fatal car/train crash in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
"Chemistry of a Car Crash" Shiny Toy Guns 2005
"Chicken" The Cheers 1957
"Come Back Jonee" Devo 1978 The lyric "Jonee jumped in his Datsun, drove onto the expressway, went head on into a semi."
"Condition Red" The Goodees 1968 Motorcycle accident under circumstances similar to "Leader Of The Pack"
"Crash" The Primitives 1988 Allegory about living too fast: You go way too fast, if you don't slow down, you're going to crash.
"Crawling from the Wreckage" Graham Parker also a hit for Dave Edmunds (1977).
"Crazy Cat Corner" Gene Summers (written by Deanna Summers-Gene Summers) 2004 from Do Right Daddy CD (Enviken)
"Daddy's Speeding" Suede 1994 A eulogy to James Dean and about the relevance of car accidents in modern culture
"Days of Graduation" Drive-By Truckers 2001 A first person narrative about a fatal car crash the night before the victims' high school graduation.
"Dead on the Highway" Sons of the Never Wrong 1995 First person narrative from the person killed in a car accident.
"Dead Man's Curve" Jan and Dean 1964 auto street racing accident
"Dead Joe" The Birthday Party 1982 [5]
"Detroit Rock City" Kiss 1976 Written in tribute to a fan who was killed in a car accident on his way to a KISS concert.[3]
"D.O.A." Bloodrock 1970 This is about a plane crash victim [and his dead girl friend] dying on the way to the hospital in the ambulance.
"Don't Pass Me By" The Beatles 1968 The song is addressed to someone who was "in a car crash" and "lost [her] hair; i.e., became anxious or upset.
"Don't Save Us from the Flames" M83 2005 About a survivor of a car crash hearing ghosts crying for Tina (presumably killed in the crash).
"Dreaming While You Sleep" Genesis 1991 From We Can't Dance. Written in the first person about a hit and run driver who is haunted by the events that took place
"Drinking and Driving" Black Flag 1985 From In My Head. "Fill your car with your buddies. And wrap it around a tree."
"Ed" Ice-T 1991 "One night he got drunk and started driving real fast\ Ed's dead"
"En händig man" Per Gessle 2007 "Hanna" in the song always crashed in the same car
"The End Of The Tour" They Might Be Giants 1994 car accident
"Everything You Know Is Wrong" "Weird Al" Yankovic 1996 Protagonist crashes into a truck and lies bleeding on the asphalt when his hibachi dealer in the back seat cups his hands over the protagonist's eyes.
"Fireball Rolled a Seven" Dave Dudley 1975 Protagonist ("Fireball") dies in a racing accident
"For Nancy ('Cos It Already Is)" Pete Yorn 2001 Musicforthemorningafter
"Glass In The Trees" Dead Poetic 2004 About a friend who died in a car crash.
"Glitter Years" The Bangles 1988 "Denny" in the song crashes his father's car
"Headlights on Dark Roads" Snow Patrol 2006
"Hello, This is Joannie" Paul Evans 1977
"Hospital Flowers" Owl City 2011 Reflecting on a victim's life after a car crash
"I Believe" Diamond Rio 2002 A man almost lost his wife in a car crash and finds comfort in angels.
"I Want My Baby Back" Perry Botkin, Jr. and Gil Garfield, performed by Jimmy Cross 1965 A parody of the car crash tragedy genre in which the driver of the crash reunites with his dead girlfriend - in her coffin (which he digs up!)
"In morte di S.F." Francesco Guccini 1967 from the album Folk beat n. 1 - often covered; best known cover is by Italian seminal pop-rock group Nomadi
"In the Car Crash" Swayzak 2002 from the album Dirty Dancing featuring Headgear
"It's Dangerous Business Walking out Your Front Door" Underoath 2004 “Glass shatters and comes to a halt; I thought we'd be there by now. I thought it would be so much quicker than this. Pain has never been so brilliant; I made sure you were buckled in. Now you can walk hand in hand with him .”

From They're Only Chasing Safety

"J.A.R." Green Day 1995 Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt wrote this song in memory of his lifelong friend, Jason Relva, who died in 1992 as the result of injuries sustained from a car accident. "My friend drove off the other day/Now he's gone and all they say/Is you've gotta live 'cause life goes on"
"Johnny Don't Do It" 10cc 1973 A parody of the teenage "death disc" genre using the familiar trope of a bad boy who is good but misunderstood, "an angel dressed in black," riding a stolen motorcycle when he runs into a truck.
"Johnny's Gone" Catfish 1991 2 wheels on the highway / 4 wheels flashing blue / 10 wheels coming the other way / Gonna make the morning news
"Just A Car Crash Away" Marilyn Manson 2007 Manson singing about a relationship and lives that are "Just A Car Crash Away
"Jock-O-Rama (Invasion of the Beef Patrol)" Dead Kennedys 1985 Contains the line: Another Trans-Am wrapped itself around a telephone pole "I ain't drunk, officer, I just fell gettin' out of my car"
"Junkyard in the Sky" London Lee 1963
"Kärleken är" Jill Johnson 1998 Inspired by the aftermath of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in a car accident in France in 1997.[6]
"Killer Cars" Radiohead 1995 From the album The Bends.
"Kiss them for Me" Siouxsie and the Banshees 1991 From the album Superstition. Inspired by the death of Jayne Mansfield in a car accident in 1967.
"Last Kiss" Wayne Cochran (1962) and made popular by J. Frank Wilson also covered by Pearl Jam 1964 Inspired by an incident in Barnesville, Georgia, in which several teens were killed and two seriously injured when their car struck a flatbed logging truck.[3]
"Leader of the Pack" The Shangri-Las 1964 motorcycle accident.[5][7]
"Leader of the Pack" Twisted Sister 1985 From the album Come Out and Play Cover of the Shangri-Las, but from a male perspective.
"Leeds Road 3AM" New Model Army 2000 From the album "Eight", the song describes a series of scenes which culminate in a car crash.[8]
"A Lifetime" Better Than Ezra 2001, 2005 Featured on the albums Closer and Before the Robots the urn of a car crash victim is stolen at her wake for a private farewell.
"Lightning Crashes" Live 1995 Song based on a real-life drunk driving crash[9] and the impact of a subsequent organ donation.
"Limousine" Brand New 2005 Young flower girl at wedding is killed by drunk driver
"The Living End" The Jesus and Mary Chain 1985 From the album Psychocandy.
"Love Rhymes with Hideous Car Wreck" The Blood Brothers 2004 [3] A song about a boy who left his girlfriend for a "better looking brand" and when he is horribly hurt in an accident no one visits.
"Low Light" Pearl Jam 1998 A song about a troubled couple losing each other in a car crash and not being able to reconcile.
"Life In The Fast Lane" The Eagles 1973 A song about a troubled couple driving in the fast lane, and the male driver singing "call the doctor, I think I'm going to crash", they then "run a stop sign and take a turn for the worst".
"MIA" Emmy The Great 2006 About listening to singer MIA in a car when her love dies in a car accident.
"Message from James Dean" Bill Hayes 1956
"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" Crash Test Dummies 1993 A car accident turned a kid's hair "from black into bright white" because "the cars had smashed so hard."
"Mr. Ambulance Driver" The Flaming Lips 2006 from the album At War With the Mystics. Frontman Wayne Coyne has described the song as a "teenager car crash ballad".
"Motorcrash" The Sugarcubes 1988 from the album Life's Too Good
"Motorist" Jawbox 1994 [5]
"A Nightmare to Remember" Dream Theater 2009 from the album Black Clouds & Silver Linings. Guitarist John Petrucci wrote about a car crash he was in as a child.
"No Reason" Don Walker 2006 "the towies said he was airborne when he hit the tree / with a blood alcohol of 1.7 or more"
"No Return" The Third Rail 1966
"Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are" Meat Loaf 1993 Singer's friend is killed in a plane crash
"Oerend Hard" Normaal 1977 motorcycle accident
"The Other Side of the Crash/Over and Out (of Control)" Thursday 2006 The aftermath of a car accident on its survivors is chronicled. A sequel to "Understanding in a Car crash" (see below)
"Papa Loved Mama" Garth Brooks 1992 A jealous truck driver crashes his rig into a motel room where his wife is having an extramarital affair, killing her and sending himself to prison.
"Phantom 309" Red Sovine 1964 The song's protagonist, a hitchhiker, meets the ghost of a truck driver who was killed when he swerved his semi-trailer truck into a ditch to avert a potentially deadly collision with a bus full of teen-agers.
"Renaissance" Mat Kearney 2006
"Riding With Private Malone" David Ball 2001 The singer is pulled from a fiery car crash by the ghost of the car's former owner, a soldier who died in the Vietnam War.
"The Right Profile" The Clash 1979 Based on the 1956 car crash in which Hollywood star Montgomery Clift was severely injured.
"Rocky's Girl" David Geddes 1978
"Seven Times 7" Brand New 2001 Sample lyrics:

"Have another drink and drive yourself home
"I hope there's ice on all the roads
"And you can think of me when you forget your seatbelt
"Then again when your head goes through the windshield"

"Shredded Humans" Cannibal Corpse 1990 From the album Eaten Back To Life. The lyrics of the song describe a what happens to a family inside a car that crashes, and the reaction of the other driver.
"So Damn Lucky" Dave Matthews 2003 The 2nd track on Matthews's solo album Some Devil. The subject is pleased that their love is not involved in the auto accident described in the lyrics.
"So Small" Carrie Underwood 2007 A runaway teen steps in front of an oncoming car, causing the woman driving to swerve into a man coming in the opposite direction - and then time freezes, giving all three a moment to contemplate what brought them there.
"Spellbound" AC/DC 1981 From the album For Those About to Rock We Salute You. The first verse describes a car accident and the second verse describes the reckless driving that lead to the crash.
"Stan" Eminem featuring Dido 2000 The lead character in the song commits suicide by crashing his car, with his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk. Eminem samples Dido's selection "Thank You" in the selection, and she has joined him on stage to perform it.
"Star Witness" Neko Case 2006 "My true love drowned in a dirty old pan of oil that did run from the block of a Falcon sedan 1969. The paper said '75. There were no survivors, none found alive."
"Sunday Driving" Jerry Lewis 1951 Jerry crashes his car at the end of the song and says next time he'll take the bus, instead.
"Suzy & Jeffrey" Blondie 1980 The titular duo crash into a wall, serving as a metaphor for cold feet.
"Teddy Bear" Red Sovine 1976 The protagonist's father had died in an accident involving his semi-trailer truck during a snowstorm.
"Teen Angel" Mark Dinning and Alex Murray 1959 auto accident
"Tell Laura I Love Her" Ray Peterson 1960 auto racing accident[3][7]
"Terry" Twinkle 1964 Motorcycle accident
"That's How People Grow Up" Morrissey 2009 "I was driving my car / I crashed and broke my spine"
"There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" The Smiths 1986 from the album The Queen Is Dead
"Three Wooden Crosses" Randy Travis 2002 Christian story song about a bus wreck in Mexico where three people died and maybe why a fourth person, perhaps the least deserving of the group, lived.
"Through the Wire" Kanye West 2003 Rapper West's first single, inspired by a 2002 accident which he survived, and performed while his jaw was wired shut as a result of his injuries.[3]
"Thunderbird" Steve Azar 1996 from the album Heartbreak Town
"Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel" Barenaked Ladies 2000 From Maroon. Accompanied by a drum march and calliope, the song is recited by the narrator who has just died in a car accident.
"Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!" Jethro Tull 1976 Motorcycle accident
"Transfusion" Nervous Norvus 1956 A crazy driver keeps getting into accidents and receiving blood transfusions - always promising to never speed again.
"Trashed" Black Sabbath 1983 From Born Again, about surviving a drunk driving.
"Two Hour Honeymoon" Paul Hampton 1960 A newlywed couple have a car accident that kills her and leaves him lying in the wreck questioning why did it happen.
"Understanding in a Car Crash" Thursday 2002 [5]
"Untitled (How Could This Happen to Me?)" Simple Plan 2005 drunk driving accident
"Warm Leatherette" The Normal 1979 also recorded by Grace Jones (1980). First person narrative of a car crash victim burning to death in the crash.
"Wreck on the Highway" Roy Acuff 1942 also recorded by artists including The Louvin Brothers, George Jones and Gene Pitney (1965), The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (in Will the Circle Be Unbroken, 1972)[2]
"Wreck on the Highway" Bruce Springsteen 1980 hit-and-run victim on lonely highway, inspired by but different from the Acuff song
"The Year Summer Ended In June" Misery Signals 2004 “Roll down the window let in night air. I always thought we'd be together. You said we've never gone this way before. I must not let you die. Your memory survives.”

From Of Malice and the Magnum Heart

"A Young Man Is Gone" The Beach Boys 1963 A eulogy to James Dean
"In The Kingdom #19" Sonic Youth 1986 Death on the highway

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Department for Transport (2009). "Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2009 Annual Report". Road Casualties Great Britain. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  2. ^ a b Chet Flippo, "Nashville Skyline: 'I Ain't Never Seen a Hearse with a Luggage Rack': Songs of Death Return to the Country Charts", CMT.com, April 28, 2005
  3. ^ a b c d e f Clark Collis, Mike Errico, "Rock's Worst Drivers", Blender, January 2007
  4. ^ Jim Steinman (1999). Classic Albums: Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell (DVD). Image Entertainment. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Newt Briggs, "Road scholar: Crash course - The Doom-and-Gloom Alternatives to the Beach Boys' 'Little Deuce Coupe'", Las Vegas Mercury, July 15, 2004
  6. ^ Melodifestivalen genom tiderna, Premium förlag 2006 (first released 1999), page 263-265 - Melodifestival 1998, I schlagerns mikrokosmos...
  7. ^ a b Jack Sargeant "Violence and Vinyl: Car Crashes in 1960s Pop" in Mikita Brottman, ed. Car Crash Culture, Palgrave, New York, 2002 (see review)
  8. ^ http://newmodelarmy.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=118:leeds-road-3am&catid=30:lyrics&Itemid=44
  9. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r199090