Pink Cadillac (song)

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"Pink Cadillac"
Single by Bruce Springsteen
A-side "Dancing in the Dark"
Released May 3, 1984
Format 7" single
Recorded 1983
Genre Rock
Length 3:33
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bruce Springsteen
Producer(s) Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin, Steven Van Zandt
Bruce Springsteen singles chronology
"Fade Away"
(1981)
"Dancing in the Dark"
(1984)
"Cover Me"
(1984)

"Pink Cadillac" is a song by Bruce Springsteen released as the non-album B-side of "Dancing in the Dark" in 1984. The song received moderate airplay on album-oriented rock radio, appearing on the Billboard Top Tracks chart for 14 weeks, peaking at number 27.[1] The song was also a prominent concert number during Springsteen's 1984-85 Born in the U.S.A. Tour.

Like Prince's "Little Red Corvette", "Pink Cadillac" follows the tradition of the Wilson Pickett R&B classic "Mustang Sally" in using automobile travel as a metaphor for sexual activity, particularly as sung by Springsteen as the lyric: "I love you for your pink Cadillac" was originally a veiled pudendal reference. Springsteen, in fact, vetoed the first attempt by a female singer to release a version of "Pink Cadillac", that being Bette Midler in 1983. However "Pink Cadillac" had its highest profile incarnation via an R&B interpretation by Natalie Cole, which became a top-ten single in 1988.

Bruce Springsteen version[edit]

Background[edit]

Springsteen originally wrote "Pink Cadillac" as "Love Is a Dangerous Thing" in December 1981; this version was lyrically distinct from the eventual "Pink Cadillac" except for the line "Eve tempted Adam with an apple", which Springsteen decided to make the basis for a more lighthearted lyric. The first lyrics Springsteen wrote for "Pink Cadillac" were: "They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple but man I ain't going for that/ I know it was her pink Cadillac". The auto imagery was inspired by Elvis Presley's 1954 rendition of "Baby Let's Play House" in which Presley replaced the original lyric: "You may get religion" with: "You may have a pink Cadillac", a reference to the custom painted Cadillac that was then Presley's touring vehicle.[2]

Recording[edit]

First recorded by Springsteen in an acoustic version in early January 1982 in the session whose tracks would comprise the Nebraska album,[3] "Pink Cadillac" was not formally recorded by Springsteen until the sessions for his Born in the U.S.A. album,[4] in the spring of 1983. At the end of one session, when most of the crew had left the studio, Springsteen impulsively cut a basic track of him singing "Pink Cadillac" to his guitar accompaniment; this track was completed with the E Street Band the following morning. Although not included on the completed Born in the U.S.A album, being bumped from the tracklist that April in favor of "I'm Goin' Down", "Pink Cadillac" was released in 1984 as the B-side of the album's lead single, "Dancing in the Dark".

The track would appear as one of two songs (along with "Cover Me") on a CD3 released in 1988, but was not featured on any Springsteen album until Tracks in 1998 also appearing on 18 Tracks in 1999, both these titles being anthologies of Springsteen's outtakes-and-B-sides.

Springsteen's version of "Pink Cadillac" is often compared to the Peter Gunn theme by Henry Mancini, which it resembles in its main riff and saxophone break.

In 2006, Bruce Springsteen was featured on a recording of "Pink Cadillac" by Jerry Lee Lewis on his album Last Man Standing.

In concert[edit]

Performing the song live, Springsteen explained the song as being "about the conflict between worldly things and spiritual health, between desires of the flesh and spiritual ecstasy," in a long tongue-in-cheek spoken introduction.[5]

Springsteen most recently performed the song at a concert in Turku, Finland, on May 7, 2013. The song was requested by fans and chosen by Springsteen as part of a Springsteen tradition where Springsteen collects signs suggesting songs to be played from fans in the front rows and then chooses a few of those songs (not otherwise on the setlist) to be played.[6]

Female versions[edit]

"Pink Cadillac"
Single by Natalie Cole
from the album Everlasting
B-side "I Wanna Be That Woman"
Released February 1988
Format 7" single
Genre urban adult contemporary, dance pop
Length 4:14
Label EMI-Manhattan Records
Writer(s) Bruce Springsteen
Producer(s) Dennis Lambert
Natalie Cole singles chronology
"I Live For Your Love"
(1987)
"Pink Cadillac"
(1988)
"When I Fall in Love"
(1988)

Natalie Cole version[edit]

In the mid-1980s Natalie Cole recorded "Pink Cadillac" at the suggestion of producer Dennis Lambert; Cole recalls: "I thought to myself, 'I'm too old to be doing this kind of stuff'" "but then I'd never worked with anyone quite like Dennis before. He was very passionate about his work [and] his enthusiasm gave me the confidence that I could pull [the song] off." The track was intended for an album release on the Modern label; that project was canceled and Cole's "Pink Cadillac" and another Lambert production: "I Live For Your Love", were picked up by EMI-Manhattan Records to appear on Cole's 1987 album Everlasting. "Pink Cadillac" was released as that album's third single in March 1988, returning Cole to the Top Ten for the first time since 1978 in April 1988 to ascend to a #5 peak - matching Cole's previous Pop chart best with "I've Got Love on My Mind" - that May. Cole's "Pink Cadillac" also reached #9 R&B, #16 A/C and - via a remix by David Cole and Robert Clivilles - #1 on Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.[7] According to Cole, "word got back" to her that Bruce Springsteen "thought it was very cool that a woman could [sing "Pink Cadillac"] and it would come out so great".[8] (Springsteen had vetoed a 1983 release of Bette Midler's version of the song as gender-inappropriate, as detailed below.)

NATALIE COLE SINGLE/ INTERNATIONAL CHART PERFORMANCE
AUSTRALIA AUSTRIA CANADA FINLAND FRANCE GERMANY IRELAND THE NETH-
ERLANDS
NEW
ZEALAND
SWITZER-
LAND
UK
#6 #11 #4 #9 #34 #5 #4 #26 #4 #2 #5
Preceded by
"Don't Look Any Further"
by Kane Gang
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play
number-one single
"Pink Cadillac" by Natalie Cole

April 9, 1988 - April 16, 1988
Succeeded by
"Prove Your Love"
by Taylor Dayne

Also[edit]

Bette Midler added "Pink Cadillac" to the set list for her 1982-83 De Tour tour and recorded the song for inclusion on her 1983 No Frills album; however, Springsteen blocked the release of Midler's version on the grounds that "Pink Cadillac" wasn't a "girl's song".[9] According to the Midler biography Still Divine by Mark Bego, Midler was severely disappointed by Springsteen's veto, which forced her to record a new track ("Beast of Burden") for No Frills at considerable expense. Midler's August 1984 video release Art or Burst video - comprising footage from the two De Tour concerts at the University of Minnesota - features "Pink Cadillac" as the opening number.[10]

Aretha Franklin is sometimes mis-credited as a singer of "Pink Cadillac" as the image occurs in her 1985 comeback hit "Freeway of Love" with the same metaphoric sense as in the Springsteen original, the lyric being: "We're going riding on the freeway of love in my pink Cadillac". "Freeway of Love" prominently features Clarence Clemons of Springsteen's E Street Band on saxophone.

"Pink Cadillac" has long been a staple of Melissa Etheridge's live repertoire; at a 2 October 1996 Milwaukee concert by Etheridge, Bruce Springsteen joined her onstage to close the show with a duet of "Pink Cadillac".[11][12][13] Etheridge has never recorded "Pink Cadillac" although her live performance is widely available as a bootleg recording.

Other versions[edit]

The Chipettes recorded a cover of Natalie Cole's version for their 1988 album The Chipmunks and The Chipettes: Born to Rock.

Carl Perkins recorded a version of "Pink Cadillac" on his album Friends, Family & Legends of 1992.

Originally released on the album Killbilly Hill and again on their greatest hits album, 1980s country/rock band, Southern Pacific has a live recording of "Pink Cadillac".

Brian Conley recorded "Pink Cadillac" for his 1993 Brian Conley Sings album.

The 2003 album Light of Day: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen features a rendition of "Pink Cadillac" by Graham Parker.

It appeared on the 2004 album Live in Asbury Park, Vol. 2 by Clarence Clemons and Temple of Soul.

With the same title[edit]

Jazz sax player/vocalist Paul Bascomb recorded a self-penned song entitled "Pink Cadillac" in 1952.[14]

In 1955 veteran rockabilly singer/songwriter Sammy Masters wrote a song entitled "Pink Cadillac"; Masters' inspiration was a vehicle at the LA used car lot where he had a day job. Masters recorded a single of his "Pink Cadillac" in 1956 - Jimmy Bryant played lead guitar on the session - which in 1958 was re-released under the pseudonym Johnny Todd. At the time Masters' "Pink Cadillac" had its highest profile as the B-side of the Rusty Draper hit "In the Middle of the House". However, Masters' own recording of "Pink Cadillac" is now recognized as a rockabilly classic.[15]

In 1998, The Band released the song "White Cadillac (Ode to Ronnie Hawkins)" on their album Jubilation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel. Rock Tracks (2002): 132
  2. ^ Himes, Geoffrey (2005). Born in the U.S.A. New York City: Continuum International. p. 44. ISBN 0-8264-1661-6. 
  3. ^ Brucebase, On The Tracks: Nebraska
  4. ^ Brucebase, On The Tracks: Born In The USA
  5. ^ "100 Greatest Bruce Springsteen Songs of All Time – 84: 'Pink Cadillac'". Rolling Stone. January 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Bruce Springsteen Concert Setlist at XL Center, Hartford on October 25, 2012". setlist.fm. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 61. 
  8. ^ Cole, Natalie (2002). Angel on My Shoulder (Mass market paperback ed.). New York City: Warner Books. pp. 257, 258. ISBN 0-446-61207-3. 
  9. ^ "Bette on the Boards". Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  10. ^ The Press-Courier, 15 August 1984.
  11. ^ Luck, Joyce (1997). Melissa Etheridge: Our Little Secret. Toronto ON: ECW Press. p. 54. ISBN 1-55022-298-8. 
  12. ^ "Highbeam". Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "Melissa Etheridge Official Site". Retrieved 4 February 2010. 
  14. ^ "AMG". Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  15. ^ "Big V Jamboree". Retrieved 6 February 2010. 

Further reading[edit]