Can You Name the Cars Featured in These Classic Songs?

AUTO

Torrance Grey

6 Min Quiz

Image: Prince

About This Quiz

Music stars: they're just like us! If you've spent more than a little time fantasizing about driving a dream car, well, musicians and songwriters do exactly the same thing. Many have written cars into their lyrics, by name. Sometimes they themselves are the owner/driver of the dream machine (at least, insofar as the lyrics say "I" and "me"). Other times, they're weaving a story about a lost lover or a fictional hero who's behind the wheel. 

Whatever the case, cars feature in some of the most popular songs of the past decades. Often, the car is classic American rolling steel, like the Mustang or the Cadillac. Other times, it's a sexy imported brand, like the Ferrari. The cars are as varied as the songs. Though we've leaned heavily toward "vintage" songs of the 1940s through '60s in this quiz, we also include some newly-minted classics from musical genres like rap and country western. Artists as diverse as Sia, Jay-Z and Kanye West have included mentions of particular cars in their lyrics. (Actually, we shouldn't be surprised about Jay-Z and Kanye. Hip-hop in general is known for its brand-name dropping. The most frequently name-checked car brand is Rolls-Royce, but Ferrari and Lamborghini rank high, too.) 

Are you ready? Start the engine, turn the radio up loud, and get going!

In 1988, Natalie Cole sang the praises of a "_______."

Natalie Cole, the daughter of Nat King Cole, had a hit in the late '80s with this song about a car with "crushed velvet seats." We can only imagine why she found those especially appealing!

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In the '80s, Prince sang about a "Little __________."

Of course, it's "Little Red Corvette." This came off the album "1999," which gave us the hits "1999" and "Delirious."

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What kind of car does the girl drive in the Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun"?

This being the 1960s, it wasn't referred to by its full name. Rather, the line goes, " ... til Daddy takes the T-bird away."

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"The One I Loved Back Then" is subtitled "The ______ Song."

George Jones recorded this song about a convenience-store cashier who seems to covet a Corvette parked outside. Plot twist! He's actually singing about the woman waiting in the car for her boyfriend.

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What kind of car is featured in Don McLean's "American Pie"?

This is pretty easy to remember, because it rhymes. "I drove the Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry." (Since a levee is a wall, not a body of water, we're not entirely surprised by this, Don.)

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What kind of car is the narrator driving in Chuck Berry's "Maybellene"?

This song, sometimes misspelled "Maybelline" because of the popular cosmetics brand, is from 1955. That's not so old that the lovesick narrator would be driving a Model T, though.

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What kind of car does the girlfriend drive in "Maybellene"?

The cheating lover drives a Coupe de Ville. Cadillac first rolled this line out in 1949.

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What kind of car did Janis Joplin want God to buy her?

"Mercedes Benz" was the title of the anti-consumerist song. Joplin recorded it three days before her death.

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In the classic Joplin song, what kind of cars do her friends drive?

It's a very clever song. The couplet goes, "Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?/My friends all drive Porsches; I must make amends."

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In 1966, Wilson Pickett famously sang about "_______ Sally."

Of course, it's Mustang. This song is the bane of every woman who drives a Mustang -- inevitably, someone will call her "Mustang Sally."

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According to John Lee Hooker, what did "Mustang Sally" buy?

This was released the same year as Wilson Pickett's song. Pickett's was a cover of the original "Mustang Sally" that had come out in 1965, one year earlier. Hooker's was an entirely new song that just borrowed the woman's name.

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What kind of car is the Beach Boys' "Little Deuce Coupe"?

The "Deuce" in the title represents the year ending in 2. This seems like kind of an old car for a rock song to be praising, but then, in 1963 it probably seemed vintage, not antique.

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What kind of car does Lorde name-check in "Royals"?

You might be more familiar with the line " ... driving Cadillacs in our dreams." But there's also a quick reference to a "Maybach," which is a Mercedes-Benz sub-brand.

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In 1979, The Clash were proud of having a "Brand New _______."

The English band wasn't the first to record this song, just the most famous. It was on their album, "London Calling."

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In 2000, Pebbles released the upbeat "_______ Boy."

Though it sounds as if "Mercedes Boy" is his nickname, that's not the case. Pebbles sings, "Do you want to ride in my Mercedes, boy?" and that's where the song gets its name.

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The 1948 song "_______ Blues" has been covered by a variety of artists, most lately Alan Jackson.

The Steve Miller Band, Dwight Yoakam and Meat Loaf have all recorded this song. Ford has since bought the rights to it (they made the Mercury until 2010).

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What kind of car is Johnny Cash assembling in "One Piece at a Time"?

What else would the Man in Black drive but a long black Cadillac? That's what the song's narrator is assembling by sneaking one piece at a time our of the General Motors plant, where he works on the assembly line. (We'd like to have seen the day he got away with a whole engine block.)

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What kind of car does the girl have in the Beatles' " (Baby, You Can) Drive My Car"?

That's right -- the twist at the song's end is that the girl hiring a chauffeur doesn't have a car yet! "But I've got a driver, and that's a start."

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In 2015, country band Thompson Square invited listeners for a ride in a "________."

We're not surprised they chose this particular car to lionize. It was the star of "Smokey and the Bandit," a classic 1970s action movie with a lot of down-home appeal.

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What kind of car kind is the Beach Boys' "409"?

The car is never named. But it was Chevrolet that made, at that time, the "big block" engine with a 409 cc displacement. So the car is some kind of Chevy.

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The mother-daughter duo The Judds sang about a woman called "_______ Red."

Though Mercedes is an actual woman's name, the Judds sang about "Cadillac Red." "See that hillbilly fly," they marveled.

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In Kanye West's "The One," what kind of car did he trade in for "Ferraris"?

A survey found that Rolls-Royce is the most name-dropped brand in hip-hop lyrics. But West moved up from a Chevy to the Italian luxury carmaker.

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The 1958 song "Beep Beep" was subtitled "Little __________."

Nash was a mid-century American carmaker. It merged, oddly enough, with an appliance maker, Kelvinator, before folding entirely.

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In Sia's "Unstoppable," she is "a ______ with no brakes."

The context suggests that she's referring to a fast car, not necessarily a luxury car. So "Porsche" makes sense here.

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What kind of car do Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff take for a spin in "Parents Just Don't Understand"?

This '80s song has the boys (or one of them) borrowing his parents' car to show it off. Will his parents understand? Of course not!

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What kind of car did Kings of Leon sing about in 2007?

In "Camaro," Kings of Leon sang about a girl who had one that was "black as coal." (We're pretty sure no one's ever written a song about a Saturn.)

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What kind of car is featured in Tom Cochrane's "Life is a Highway"?

Seems like an omission, but there's no car mentioned by name in this popular, upbeat song. If you're playing it and fantasizing about the open road, you can drive any imaginary car you like!

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What kind of car "seats about twenty" in "Love Shack"?

This is a rare name-drop for the sedate U.S. car brand. But it is indeed the car featured in the B-52's "Love Shack."

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What kind of car is featured in "Radar Love"?

Although the narrator is clearly driving -- his hands are "wet on the wheel" -- no car is specified. However, '50s singer Brenda Lee is name-dropped.

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Though it's not named, which car is Neil Young's "Long May You Run" about?

"Long May You Run" is well-known to be about Young's first car. It was a 1948 Buick Roadmaster that had previously been a hearse.

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What kind of truck does Jason Aldean drive in "Take a Little Ride"?

Trucks and country music go together like weekends and sleeping in. Aldean's is a Chevrolet, and he wants his sweetheart to put her "pretty pink toes on the dash."

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The idiosyncratically named group Arkie Shibley and his Mountain Dew Boys had a hit with "Hot Rod _______."

We should explain something here: "mountain dew" was slang for moonshine liquor, making the band's name cooler than it sounds. Later, "Hot Rod Lincoln was covered by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen -- a name we really can't think of an excuse for.

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In the late '80s, the Ramones released "Go Lil' ______ Go."

This single was on 1987's "Halfway to Sanity." Debbie Harry dueted with Joey Ramone on the song.

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What kind of car is Billy Ocean driving in "Get Outta My Dreams (Get Into My Car)"?

Okay, there's a slight possibility the car is a Plymouth, based on the lyric, "Like a road runner. coming after you." But we're pretty sure he was referring to the bird, or even the Looney Tunes character, not the Plymouth Road Runner.

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Which of these is NOT mentioned in David Bowie's "Young Americans"?

"Young Americans" is packed with Americana references, including a Ford Mustang, a "Caddy" and a Chrysler. But no Chevys!

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What kind of car do Jay-Z and Kanye West mention in "No Church in the Wild"?

In this rather deep meditation on religion versus human power, the narrator drives a Corniche. The interior has "cocaine seats," all white.

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