10 Awesome Songs about Speed

Van Halen

Nothing gets the soul pumping quite like songs for speed. It’s these types of pulsating tracks that gets us revved up to the point of no return. Throughout the decades, speed is usually represented with tracks about fast cars.

The forceful beats of these tracks represent the thrust of these vehicular beasts as they hit the highways of America. So sit back, grab a cup of hot, steaming java and take a look at our list of songs for speed. You never know, there may be one or two that you’ve never heard before.

Here are 10 Awesome Songs About Speed:

10. Makin’ Thunderbirds by Bob Seger

There’s a good chance that owners of Thunderbirds had or have this track as one of their fav driving tunes. Seger wrote this song about the Ford Thunderbirds and those who put them together.

Thunderbirds were purchased for their appearance and reputation for speed. The track comes off Seger’s 12th studio album, 1982s The Distance and provides a rousing dedication to the speed and beauty of the car. Also known as Ford T-birds, they were considered a kind of luxury car for the masses.

9. I Get Around by The Beach Boys

Beach Boy Brian Wilson wrote their iconic song about beach life in the 60s. Beach life centered around surfing, fast cars, gorgeous girls and fun. Known as their first number one hit in the U.S., “I Get Around” gave them the attention they needed to establish them on firm footing.

This track also garnered the band a fanbase in the UK. Did you know that Mick Jagger of Rolling Stones fame helped to promote the Beach Boys in the U.K. using this track? Well, it’s true. Mick peddled the track to radio stations and promoted it on the TV show Juke Box Jury. Rocker Alice Cooper was and still is a fan of this track as well.

8. East Bound and Down by Jerry Reed

Smokey and the Bandit was the second grossing film in 1977. The film involved the illegal transport of beer and contained a ton of scenes involving speed. Such a film required a main theme which echoed that plot, and that song was “East Bound and Down”. Performed by Jerry Reed, the song became a fan favorite and peaked at the number 2 slot on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles and number 3 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 charts.

7. Black Sunshine by White Zombie

New York metal band White Zombie churned out creative rock from 1985 to 1995. Among their catalog is a song about a muscle car called Black Sunshine. Black Sunshine was a Ford Mustang used for racing.

In fact, the killer bassline could be said to represent the Black’s rubber hitting the road. The spoken word sections of the track are performed by the multi-talented Iggy Popp. The track is a real fan favorite and can be found on Guitar Hero III, the Legends of Rock.

6. Highway Star by Deep Purple

The track “Highway Star” is one of the best examples of speed metal. Speed metal is a subgenre of metal that does just what the name implies: It centers on a powerful pedal to the metal sound. “Highway Star” is an aggressive, fast-paced track about the love a man has for his high-speed car.

Performed and composed by London-based heavy metal band Deep Purple, this track comes off their album Machine Head. Recorded in 1971 and released in 1972, “Highway Star” is still considered one of the best driving songs ever written.

5. Radar Love by Golden Earring

This hit from Dutch band, Golden Earring tells the tale of the telepathic connection a man has with his girl. Here, he’s on the road when he feels her need for his love. As a result he grabs the wheel and hits the pedal to get to his love as quickly as possible.

This track comes off their album Moontan and became one of their most powerful concert tunes. According to the website, Radar-Love, the song has been covered more than 250 times and included in many films and television shows, such as the X-files, Simpsons and Wayne’s world, to name a few. (https://www.radar-love.net)

4. Panama by Van Halen

Recorded in 1983 and released in 1984, Panama is about a race car lead vocalist David Lee Roth saw in Vegas. The name of the car was the “Panama Express”. Supposedly a journalist told Roth that he only seems to compose tracks based on fast living, cars and women.

While that’s somewhat accurate, he never composed a track about cars, so decided to do so! Did you know that the engine heard in the song was actually Eddie’s Lambo! Regarding chart performance, “Panama” hit number 2 in Billboards Mainstream Rock chart and number 13 in Billboards Hot 100.

3. Flirtin’ With Disaster by Molly Hatchet

Even if you’re not a fan of metal, there’s a good chance you’ve heard this monster track by Florida’s platinum selling metal band, Molly Hatchet. “Flirtin’ with Disaster” is one of the best examples of southern fried rock that you’ll ever hear.

The track opens with a cutting guitar intro by Dave Hlubek, and is quickly followed by the growling vocals of Danny Joe Brown: This power track has made many appearances in film, tv and video games, such as Guitar Hero, Straw Dogs and King of the Hill.

2. Roll on Down the Highway by Bachman Turner Overdrive

Composed by band members Robbie Bachman and Fred Turner, “Roll on Down the Highway” comes off their 1974 album, Not Fragile. This track lives up to the albums title, as it’s anything but fragile.

Coming from a collection of songs written for the Ford Motor Company, the track takes no prisoners as it savages its fans with a driving, powerful sound. Courageous, tenacious and tough, this is most assuredly a track to blast on the highway. Chart wise, the track peaked at number 14 on Billboards Hot 100.

1. I Can’t Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar

Back in the day, there existed a law against anyone driving over 55 mph. As you can guess, it wasn’t popular and was later repealed. This Hagar track refers to the frustration drivers felt during that period.

Known as one of Hagar’s fan favs, he wrote this after he got a ticket for driving 62 mph! Most fans associate this track with Van Halen. Here’s Sammy with Van Halen live in Tokyo.

However, in truth it was first performed by Hagar, coming off his 1984 album VOA and added to Halen’s track listing after Hagar joined them for a bit.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, our top ten choices for some of the best songs about speed. Did you come across any that were new to you? If so, how did you like them. Whether the tracks emerged from southern rock bands like Molly Hatchet or California beach loving group like the Beach Boys, songs for speed are designed for times when pumping up the volume is essential.

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