I Can’t Drive 55
When a man who has countless speeding tickets, failure to control, and other random traffic violations on his driving record gets behind the wheel of a high horsepower automobile capable of going so fast that it is on the verge of taking flight, there is only one song that can be on the radio and that song is I Can’t Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar. Needless to say, the only way to play it is loud.
I first heard this song when I was about 5 years old on the radio. It instantly turned my direction in life. I put my Tonka trucks and Lego’s aside and started playing with models of sports cars and motorcycles all while this hardcore fast tempo song was playing in the background. My mom and dad would get upset that it was cranked too loud and I would simply reply “I can’t drive 55 and I can’t hear you!” It made me rebel so much that I talked my parents into growing a serious rat tail haircut to start to resemble Sammy’s ultra 80’s mullet. The rat tail did not last too long, as I forced to cut it off and start to clean my life up at age 7. Shortly after I got myself under control I got into regular adolescent activities, but I always retained the edge of toughness that I learned from this song.
The lyrics to the song start by saying “one foot on the brake and one on the gas”. That starts the song and instantly gives you a feel for the singer’s intensity level. He is on edge the entire song, obviously being a dangerous driver in traffic. Me on the other hand, I like to go fast but when danger to other people may be a possibility, I stay cool and slow it down. Sammy stresses through the song that he doesn’t care if they give him a ticket or not, and he definitely doesn’t want to drive 55. In the song, Sammy goes to court for speeding in his car. The judge gives him a ticket but it is unclear in the song if he loses his license or gets one more chance with them because he sings about driving so slow that it’s hard to steer and the what use to take him 2 hours now takes him 16 hours to drive to L.A.
With this song being made in the 80’s and of course being a rock song, it is needless to say it is loud, lots of shouting, it is very “in your face” and has the screaming guitar throughout. Listening to it is a good way to relieve some tension and just rock out when in a lame mood. The song is pretty basic since the main lyrics are about speeding and dealing with the law enforcement. ALthough myself have done my fair share of speeding, I have never had any trouble with the law other than with the speeding tickets. Sammy on the other hand has had some major run ins with the law, well within his song anyways.
At this point in my life, I look back and realize just how tacky and distasteful this song really is to me now, especially if you watch the music video. It is interesting how my taste in music changes through the different parts of my life. However this song will always remain as a monumental ornament in my life growing up. I only wish that someday I could relive my childhood and be as hardcore as when I was 7. But for now my music taste has changed to a more alternative variety.
Hagar, Sammy. “I Can’t Drive 55.” VOA Album,
US: American Beat Records, 1984
So...what's your inspiration?