Thursday, June 8, 2017

"I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar

Song#:  2064
Date:  09/29/1984
Debut:  77
Peak:  26
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Hagar's eighth solo album, VOA, was not doing all that great due to the LP's first single, "Two Sides of Love," floundering at both Pop (#38) and Rock (#27). In need of some kind of hit to draw attention to Hagar and the album, it was decided that this rockin' track would be issued as the next single. It immediately caught on at Rock and became his third Top 10 hit on that chart at #9. Its success there along with an MTV video helped the song get Hagar back into the Pop Top 30. Although the album would only reach #32, it would end up being a long-lasting platinum seller thanks to this song.

ReduxReview:  This is probably the strongest song on VOA and I'm not sure why it didn't get released first. It's a real rock anthem with commercial appeal and a bit of law-breaking attitude. The title itself is even a catchphrase, for Pete's sake! It was bound to do well. However, I think perhaps the label thought the power ballad "Two Sides of Love" had more potential to hit at Pop and got that one out first. I think that was a mistake. Regardless, the song got out there and although it only got to #26 at Pop, it was and has been a much bigger hit than what its peak would indicate. It is arguably Hagar's most recognizable solo tune.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This song was inspired by something that happened to Hagar during a road trip. Prior to 1987, a national law kept highway speeds at 55. After many hours on a plane following a vacation to Africa, Hagar was headed to his cabin in upstate New York. Driving on a highway late at night and anxious to get to his cabin, Hagar drove a bit over the posted speed limit. A patrol car ended up pulling him over. The cop said Hagar was going 62 and that he planned on ticketing Hagar because they ticket anyone going over 60. Apparently, Hagar replied "I can't drive 55." That phrase got Hagar's musical mind going and not long after he arrived at his cabin, the song was written.


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