Vehicle (song)

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Single by The Ides of March
from the album Vehicle
B-side"Lead Me Home, Gently"
ReleasedMarch 1970
Format7" single
RecordedCBS Studios in Chicago
GenreFunk, rock
LabelWarner Bros. (US)
Songwriter(s)Jim Peterik
Producer(s)Bob Destocki, Frank Rand

"Vehicle" is the one-hit wonder success, written by Jim Peterik for the Chicago-based band, The Ides of March, Peterik is also lead singer for the group. The song features a distinctive horn section riff that is still popular today. The song is often mistaken for the horn driven sound of Blood, Sweat and Tears which was popular in the same time range. Peterik wrote "Vehicle" as a joke.

"I got the idea from one of these anti-drug pamphlets they distributed in a school. It was very tongue-in-cheek."[1]

Peterik has also said that:

In high school, I co-founded a band called The Ides of March. We did it because we loved music, not because we thought we’d be successful. At the time, I was madly in love with this girl named Karen. I had a souped-up 1964 Plymouth Valiant, and she was always asking for rides. I drove her to modeling school every week. I was hoping flames would ignite—but they didn’t. I came home one day, dejected, and thought: all I am is her vehicle. And I thought: Wow! Vehicle! I came up with this song, taught it to the band, and the next thing I knew, we were recording in a CBS studio. The song—called “Vehicle”—became a world-wide hit in 1970. “I’m your vehicle baby/I’ll take you anywhere you wanna go!”[2]

Peterik had an on-again/off-again relationship with Karen after the song came out. Eventually they married and have been together for years.[3]

Fourteen seconds of the completed "Vehicle" master tape (primarily the guitar solo) was accidentally erased in the recording studio. The missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take.

"I remember that kind of feeling of experimentation. I also remember 14 seconds of the master of Vehicle being erased! We were doing background vocals and suddenly 14 seconds were gone from the master. No way to retrieve it. The second engineer had hit the wrong button. We spent two hours thinking our career is over, because at this time we knew we had something. Luckily, there was a Take One. They inserted 14 seconds of Take One and I redid the vocals. And now I hear it every time. From the second 'Great God in heaven' all the way up to the guitar solo--when you hear how abrupt that first note of the solo sounds, that's an edit."

Chart performance[edit]

It rose to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of May 23, 1970,[4] behind American Woman by The Guess Who.[5] It is purported to be the fastest-selling single in Warner Bros. Records history.[6]

Chart history[edit]


  • Richard Stoute of Barbados did a Spouge remix in 1974 on the Rainbow WIRL label.
  • Bo Bice did a cover as a B-side of his 2005 single "Inside Your Heaven".
  • Singer Tom Jones performed "Vehicle" in the 1970 season of his television series This is Tom Jones.[13]
  • Erykah Badu sampled the song for her 2000 track ". . . & on" on the Mama's Gun album.
  • C-Ride sampled the song for his 2009 "Str8 Out of Carol City"
  • Chet Baker's version is on the 1998 compilation album Talkin' Verve Groovy.[14]
  • Joe Lynn Turner covered the song in his 1997 rock album of covers, Under Cover.
  • Shirley Bassey recorded this song in 1971, but it wasn't released until 1994; it's now a bonus track on her CD Something Else.
  • Garage punk band Adam West recorded the song in 1994. It is available on their compilation album "Five the Hard Way! [All Recordings 1992-1194].[15]
  • Star Trek actor Robert Picardo did a parody cover on one of his parody albums.

An instrumental cover of "Vehicle" was featured in a 1980s UK television commercial for Schweppes soft drinks, featuring British comedian Roy Jay.[16]

The song is heavily sampled on Aloe Blacc's "King is Born".


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "The Eyes of the Tiger: Vintage Cars and Their Legacy". The Wall Street Journal. March 23, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Ides of March featuring Jim Peterik Bio". Utopia Artists. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  7. ^ UK Official Charts, 6 June 1970
  8. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  9. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, May 16, 1970
  10. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada".
  11. ^
  12. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 26, 1970
  13. ^ "Tom Jones sings "Vehicle" - Live 1970". YouTube. 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  14. ^ "Various - Talkin' Verve Groovy! (CD) at Discogs". 2016-09-29. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  15. ^ "Adam West (2) - Five The Hard Way! (All Recordings 1992-1994) (CD, Album) at Discogs". 2016-09-29. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  16. ^ Video on YouTube

External links[edit]