Car Wash (song)

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"Car Wash"
Car Wash by Rose Royce US vinyl single.jpg
A-side label of US 7-inch vinyl single
Single by Rose Royce
from the album Car Wash: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
B-side"Water"
ReleasedSeptember 1976
Recorded1976
Genre
Length5:06
LabelMCA
Songwriter(s)Norman Whitfield
Producer(s)Norman Whitfield
Rose Royce singles chronology
"Car Wash"
(1976)
"I Wanna Get Next to You"
(1977)

"Car Wash" is a song by American soul and R&B band Rose Royce. It was the group's debut single and one of the most notable successes of the 1970s disco era. "Car Wash", the theme of the 1976 film of the same name, was Rose Royce's most successful single and the lead single from their debut studio album, the Car Wash soundtrack. Reaching number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles charts, "Car Wash" also peaked at number three on the National Disco Action Top 30 chart and reached number nine on the UK Singles Chart in February 1977. The song was later covered in 2004 by Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott, who released their version as the single for the Shark Tale soundtrack.

Background[edit]

Former Motown Records producer Norman Whitfield had been commissioned to record the soundtrack album for Car Wash by director Michael Schultz. Although Whitfield did not want to assume the project, he decided to do so, both for financial incentives as well as the chance to give Rose Royce, a disco/funk backing band that Whitfield signed to his own label in 1975, the exposure they needed to become mainstream. Unable to develop a theme song for the film, inspiration finally struck Whitfield while watching a game of basketball, and he allegedly wrote his first draft of "Car Wash" on a paper bag from a fried chicken eatery.[1]

The resulting song set the mood and tone for the comedy film it was commissioned for. Rose Royce lead singer Rose Norwalt (Gwen Dickey), with brief assistance from trumpet player Kenny Copeland, describes a fun and easy-going car washing business, where everything is "always cool/and the boss don't mind sometimes if you act a fool."

The Car Wash soundtrack, a double album, was Rose Royce's debut album, and the title track was their debut single. "Car Wash" sold 2 million copies, and was a number one success on both the Billboard popular and R&B charts in the United States and a top ten success in the United Kingdom. The song held the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week, from January 23 to January 29, 1977, replacing "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder and replaced by "Torn Between Two Lovers" by Mary MacGregor. The Car Wash soundtrack album, entirely recorded by Rose Royce and Whitfield, spawned two more successful singles: "I Wanna Get Next to You" and "I'm Going Down" (later covered in 1994 by Mary J. Blige).

The Car Wash soundtrack won a 1977 Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album.[2]

In 1988, the song was re-released as a double A-side single with "Is It Love You're After?" in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 20.

Track listings[edit]

UK 7" vinyl[3]
  1. "Car Wash" – 3:18
  2. "Water" – 3:31

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Charts (1976–77) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[4] 12
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[5] 16
Belgium (Ultratop 50)[6] 9
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[7] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[8] 5
Germany (Official German Charts)[9] 15
Ireland (IRMA)[10] 20
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[11] 5
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[12] 15
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[13] 6
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14] 9[note 1]
US Billboard Hot 100[15] 1
US Hot Soul Singles (Billboard)[16] 1
US National Disco Action Top 30 (Billboard)[17] 3

Car Wash '98[edit]

"Car Wash '98"
Single by Rose Royce featuring Gwen Dickey
ReleasedOctober 30, 1998
Genre
Length6:45
LabelMCA
Songwriter(s)Norman Whitfield
Producer(s)The Monday Night Club
Rose Royce featuring Gwen Dickey singles chronology
"Perfect Lover"
(1998)
"Car Wash '98"
(1998)

In 1998, "Car Wash" was remixed and interpreted in a duet with Gwen Dickey. Officially titled "Car Wash '98", the release also carries the alternative title "Car Wash '98 (The Monday Nightclub Mixes)", as the group Monday Nightclub was involved in the mixing.

Track listing[edit]

CD single
  1. "Car Wash '98" (Mustard Edit) - 3:09
  2. "Car Wash '98" (Mustard Mix) - 6:45
  3. "Car Wash '98" (Mustard Dub) - 5:34
  4. "Car Wash '98" (Levent's & Olli's Cream City Club Mix) - 6:19
  5. "Car Wash '98" (Levent's Talking About Dub Mix) - 7:56
  6. "Car Wash" (Original Version) - 3:20
US 12" vinyl[18]
  1. "Car Wash" (Mustard Mix) – 6:45
  2. "Car Wash" (Mustard Dub) – 5:34

Charts[edit]

Chart (1998) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 18[19]

Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott version[edit]

"Car Wash"
Christina Aguilera featuring Missy Elliott - Car Wash CD cover.jpg
Single by Christina Aguilera featuring Missy Elliott
from the album Shark Tale: Motion Picture Soundtrack
B-side"Can't Wait"
ReleasedAugust 27, 2004 (2004-08-27)
Recorded2004
Genre
Length3:50
LabelDreamWorks Records
Songwriter(s)
  • Norman Whitfield
  • Missy Elliott
Producer(s)
  • Elliott
  • Aguilera
  • Ron Fair
  • T. Herzberg
  • C. Styles
  • Bang Out
  • Silence
Christina Aguilera singles chronology
"The Voice Within"
(2003)
"Car Wash"
(2004)
"Tilt Ya Head Back"
(2004)
Missy Elliott singles chronology
"I'm Really Hot"
(2004)
"Car Wash"
(2004)
"Turn da Lights Off"
(2004)

In 2004, American singer Christina Aguilera featuring rapper-singer Missy Elliott recorded a cover version of "Car Wash", giving the disco song a more modern feel and adding rapped verses from Elliott. In an interview Aguilera said, "We had to change the key to be a little bit higher for my range. So we couldn't take the exact samples, but we brought in all these live instruments to recreate kind of this old, old classic, soulful feel and sound...."

"Car Wash" was the only single from the soundtrack to DreamWorks' computer animated film Shark Tale. Aguilera and Elliott's cover of "Car Wash" missed the U.S. Billboard Top 40, peaking at No. 63, while becoming a top five hit in the United Kingdom and became the 48th best-selling single in the United Kingdom of 2004 with sales of over 100,000 copies. In this context, the "car wash" the song refers to would be the place where Oscar (the main protagonist, voiced by Will Smith) works, where large sea animals who behave like cars are washed in the same manner.

Aguilera was paid $1 million for recording the song.[20]

Music video[edit]

The music video to Aguilera's version shows her and Elliott as animated fish similar to those in the film, combined with scenes of Aguilera and Elliott recording the song in a recording studio. The video also includes scenes of Shark Tale. The scenes of Aguilera and Elliott recording the song in the studio were shot by Rich Newey, while the scenes of Aguilera as a jellyfish and Elliott as a fish were edited by Peter Lonsdale and John Venzon, who also edited Shark Tale. Their fish versions are also shown in the end of the film.

Legacy[edit]

It was ranked number five on the BMI's list of the top 10 songs played at Major League sports events for the 2009–2010 season.[21]

Track listings[edit]

CD single[22]
  1. "Car Wash" (Christina Aguilera featuring Missy Elliott) – 3:51
  2. "Can't Wait" (Avant) – 3:45
  3. "Digits" (fan 3) – 3:39
  4. "Car Wash" (music video)
Pocket maxi single[23]
  1. "Car Wash" – 3:51
  2. "Can't Wait" – 3:45
Digital download[24]
  1. "Car Wash (Shark Tale Mix)" – 3:49
  2. "Can't Wait" – 3:43
  3. "Digits" – 3:38

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United States August 29, 2004 Contemporary hit radio[25] DreamWorks
Rhythmic contemporary radio[26]
New Zealand October 6, 2004 Digital EP[27]
Germany October 18, 2004 CD single[22]
Pocket maxi single[23]
Digital download[28]
United Kingdom November 1, 2004 CD single[29]
Digital download[24] DreamWorks, Polydor
Canada November 19, 2004 CD single[30] DreamWorks, Universal Music

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In 1988, a re-released version of "Car Wash" released with the B-side "Is It Love You're After" charted at number 20 on the UK Singles Chart. In 1998, a re-released version of "Car Wash" featuring Gwen Dickey peaked at number 18 on the chart.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Obituary Norman Whitfield". Guardian.com. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  2. ^ "The Grammys : Yo-Yo Mama". Grammy.com. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  3. ^ "Car Wash / Water [7" Vinyl]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 258. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  5. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Rose Royce – Car Wash" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  6. ^ "Rose Royce – Car Wash" (in French). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  7. ^ "Top Singles" (PDF). RPM. 12 February 1977. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Rose Royce – Car Wash" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  9. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Rose Royce – Car Wash". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  10. ^ "Irish Singles Chart – Search for song". Irish Recorded Music Association. Archived from the original (Enter the keyword "Car Wash" into the "Song title" parameter) on June 2, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
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  12. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Rose Royce – Car Wash". Singles Top 100. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  13. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Rose Royce – Car Wash". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Rose Royce". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  15. ^ "Rose Royce – Chart history: Hot 100". Billboard. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 501.
  17. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 222.
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  19. ^ Chartentry in the UK
  20. ^ "What Is Music Licensing?". Bopper Music. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  21. ^ Easterling, Jeff (February 28, 2011). "TOP 10 SONGS PLAYED AT SPORTING EVENTS LAST YEAR!". KYGL. Townsquare Media. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
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  33. ^ "Ultratop.be – Christina Aguilera feat. Missy Elliott – Car Wash" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
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