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10 Lorries in Harmony

Aug 14, 2008
To some, trucks and lorries may seem functional, but not exactly prime inspiration for songwriting. But maybe that's why you're not a multi-platinum selling artist, because all of these artists have managed to find their muse in the form of the humble HGV or the owner operator's job...

69 Eyes - Truck On

While some have used the lorry as a metaphor for life, Finnish gothic metalers 69 Eyes talk no uncertain terms about the lorry as means to deliver loads from one place to another. Things do get a bit weird at one point though - perhaps the lead singer is getting stir crazy from being in his cab all night:

"Well I'm drivin' amok
Doggone's my luck
But I don't give a ****
And I'm feelin' mean
Bleedin' gasoline
Would you lick it clean?"

Despite the theme of the song and the obvious rhyme, the censored word is definitely not "Truck"...

Pavement - Heaven is a Truck

The song title makes it look like Stephen Malkmus is going to create a stunning ode to the truck as paradise... though the lyrics give the impression that Pavement's idea of heaven is slightly more down to earth than most of us:

"Heaven is a truck
It got stuck
On a breeze
Asked the driver nicely,
I need a lift?
I need release
The sands in the boats
On the rose-covered floats"

Yello - The Lorry

Swiss electronica act Yello played up the lonely elements of long distance haulage in their ode to lorries.

"Inside my lorry
I am driving through the night
Inside my lorry
The world does look all right
Five to five I've got to drive
And if you ask me where I go
I tell you coast to coast is what I do"

As they're Swiss, we'll forgive them not knowing that "go" and "do" don't rhyme.

Bobby Bare - Truck Driver, Truck Driver

Bobby Bare's truck driving song is taken slightly differently, all sung from the perspective of "a highway bum" hitching a ride, making increasingly bold requests. Starting of with "Don't suppose you could sorta scoot over a little bit and give me a little more room cause I got long legs" via asking for cigarettes and the truckers jacket all the way up to "I see in that plastic frame a picture of a sexy blonde and you know that's my kind of dame, man I'd really like to grab onto your wife huh." Eventually the patience of the truck driver is worn out, and the hitcher says "Now if you lend me a dollar and half I'll move on down the line."

James Coffey - Hard Workin' Truck

We've seen truck songs from the perspective of the driver and the passenger, but this one sets a new trend by being sung by the vehicle itself! The song outlines all the tasks that lorries can comfortably accomplish including picking up rubbish, digging ditches, construction work and haulage. The vehicle is evidently boastful about its talents: "No load is too heavy for my rig, no hill too high, no job too big..."

Bill Monroe - Lonesome Truck Driver Blues

As the title of this truck driving song suggests... this is another song highlighting the loneliness of the open road. The song describes the entire journey all the way down to the truckstops, but the drivers' concerns about the road laws certainly ring true with our current fears about government interference: "If you load too light you can't make a dime, if you load too heavy then you get a fine." The song does have an upbeat ending however, highlighting the best part of many a long distance haulier's day:

"Oh the motor's purrin' I'm makin' time
Takin' me back to that baby of mine
She'll be purrin' like a kitten
When I walk in the door
The truck driver blues I won't sing anymore"

David Lynn Jones - Bonnie Jean (Little Sister)

A country ballad about a woman left by her husband with 3 young children to look after who takes up long distance lorry work to make ends meet. It's a sad tale, but some of the details will sound familiar to all truckers:

"She's a runnin' down the road from coast to coast,
It's the little things she misses the most
She's a mother all day and a trucker all night
Livin' on coffee and mini-whites"

Weird Al Yankovic - Truck Drivin' Song

Comedy songwriter Weird Al Yankovic's Truck Driving Song starts off in much the same style as the other truck songs:
"I'm driving a truck
Drivin' a big ol' truck
Pedal to the metal, hope I don't run out of luck"

But quickly goes a little strange:

"Rollin' down the highway until the break of dawn
Drivin' a truck with my high heels on"

The song continues this theme to reverse the macho stereotype of the industry, probably angering a few truckers in the process:

"Oh, I don't mind when my crotchless panties creep right up on me
And my nipple rings don't bother me too much
But when I hit those big speed bumps
My darling little rhinestone pumps
Keep slippin' off the mother-lovin' clutch"

Of course, lorries aren't the only bigger industrial vehicles that have inspired songwriters - here's two more which move slightly further away from the trucking remit.

The Wurzels - Combine Harvester

The number one single - a reworking of "Brand New Key" by Melanie was a change of direction for the band, after the death of songwriter Adge Cutler - at this point, the band moved away from original composition and in to altering other people's work. The West Country band moved away from farms and cider to pen another trucking themed song "I Want to be an Eddie Stobart Driver"

Nizlopi - JCB Song

Alt-folk act Nizlopi made it big by having the Christmas number one in 2005 - a song about a boy escaping into a fantasy world on his Dad's JCB away from the bullies at school. Aside from having a delightful video, the song is notable for its sudden change of fortune - the Christmas single was a re-release of a song which had made #160 in the charts on its first go 6 months earlier.

So if you spot a lorry heading past you on the motorway, or take on an owner operator job, perhaps its time to pull out the guitar and start strumming!
About the Author
Lyall Cresswell is the Managing Director for the Transport Exchange Group. Haulage Exchange, their freight exchange for the 7.5 tonne and above market, offers an independent environment for its members to exchange haulage and owner operator jobs.
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