|Single by Van Halen|
|from the album 1984|
|Released||June 18, 1984|
|Studio||5150, Hollywood, California|
|Van Halen singles chronology|
|Alternative cover art|
The song was reportedly written about a car. In an interview with Howard Stern, lead singer David Lee Roth explained the meaning behind the trademark song. Although the song features some suggestive lyrics, it is about a car that Roth saw race in Las Vegas; its name was "Panama Express", hence the title of the song. In the Stern interview, Roth did not explain why the song was about a car rather than the usual Van Halen material.
Panama was the name of Roth's car. He had the hood and bumper mounted in his hallway, which can be seen in his video for "SHOOBop". He has a stuffed deer's behind crashing through the front windshield. A plaque underneath reads, "Your First deer, courtesy of PANAMA."
During the bridge of the song where Roth says "I can barely see the road from the heat comin' off it," guitarist Eddie Van Halen can be heard revving his 1972 Lamborghini Miura S in the background. The car was backed up to the studio and microphones were attached to the exhaust pipe to record the sound for the song.
The music video for the song, directed by Pete Angelus, features mostly on-stage performances by the band. The video was shot at Providence Civic Center in Providence during a soundcheck and concert.
- David Lee Roth – lead vocals
- Eddie Van Halen – guitar, backing vocals
- Alex Van Halen – drums
- Michael Anthony – bass guitar, backing vocals
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||74|
|Irish Singles Chart||30|
|UK Singles Charts||64|
|US Billboard Hot 100||13|
- "Eddie Van Halen Spotted in 1972 Lamborghini Used in "Panama"". VHND. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- Bukszpan, Daniel; Dio, Ronnie James (2003). The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal. Barnes & Noble Publishing. ISBN 9780760742181.
The album also featured plenty of guitar-dominated heavy metal, such as "Hot for Teacher" and "Panama." which became hits in their own right.
- Jon Wiederhorn (January 9, 2016). "Van Halen 1984 anniversary". Loudwire. Retrieved August 11, 2018.
- classicvanhalen.com - 1984
- "The Super Book of Useless Information: The Most Powerfully Unnecessary Things You Never Need to Know". Amazon. A Pedigree Book. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- The Super Book of Useless Information: The Most Powerfully Unnecessary Things You Never Need to Know. A Pedigree Book. Oct 4, 2011. ISBN 978-0399536960.
- "Eddie Van Halen Smithsonian talk (full Interview, 2-12-2015) HD". Retrieved December 26, 2015.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "The Irish Charts". irishcharts.ie. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
- "Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved February 27, 2010.