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Bicycle Music

Anti-Car Music

"Car Pigs" by JUDAS IGLESIAS (rewritten lyrics for Black Sabbath's "War Pigs")
After seeing this web page, a reader sent in his version of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs", rewritten to be about the end of the car culture.
Drivers gathered in their masses / Sitting on their bloated asses
Lazy minds that cause obstruction / Source of more and more destruction
In the streets the engines burning / As the car machine keeps turning
Death and hatred in their eyes / Poisoning the rain and skies
(Oh Lord yeah!)
Politicians hide themselves away / Build another overpass
Why should they go out to drive? / Leave it to the middle class
Time will tell on their power minds / Making roads just for fun
Cramming people into metal cans / Wait til the judgement day comes (Yeah!)
Now in darkness cars stop turning / Ashes where the engines burning
No more car pigs have the power / Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of judgement, no more oil / On their feet the car pigs toil
Begging mercy for their sins / Satan laughing spreads his wings
THE DEPAVERS (circa 2000)
Their website says: "As heard on National Public Radio and as seen on CNN International, from the Kyoto Climate Change Conference of the U.N. Songs include Have a Global Warming Day, The Legend of Dana Lyons, This 408, Love Remains, and 14 other tunes including: Green is the Shelter, Answer Man, Mother Earth First, Tearin' Up the Roads, It's The Beatles, and Schoolmaster. Also Freedom Says dedicated to Gypsy, forest defender. Featuring Jan and Spring on vocals with Jan on guitar, Tofu and Lee on drums, Rick, Chuck & Jeannie on basses.
"Fast Cars" by THE BUZZCOCKS (from Another Music in a Different Kitchen, 1978)
Who better to rebel against the mainstream love of cars than an early punk band -- since punks railed against mainstream everything.
They're nice and precise, each one begins and ends
They may win you admirers, but they'll never earn you friends
Fast cars, fast cars
Fast cars, I hate fast cars
They're so depressing going 'round and 'round
Ooh, they make me dizzy, oh fast cars they run me down
Fast cars, fast cars,
Fast cars, I hate fast cars
Sooner or later, you're gonna listen to Ralph Nader
I don't wanna cause a fuss, but fast cars are so dangerous
Fast cars, fast cars
Fast cars, I hate fast cars, fast cars
Fat cars, fast cars
I hate fast cars


"Henry Ford was a Fascist" by DAVID ROVICS (from We Just Want the World, 1998)
Another offering from contemporary folksinger David Rovics, also the author of "The Bicycle Song" (see above). From the liner notes: "Henry Ford was an openly anti-semitic, greed-driven capitalist who used Jewish slave labor in Germany to help the Nazis kill American soldiers and many, many other people. History is rarely as clearcut as it appears in the capitalist American ("mainstream") press, and WWII was no exception."


"Idiot Driver" by STRETFORD (from Peek-A-Boo compilation, 1995)
A short song by an Austin-area alterna-rock band. The lyrics are largely unintelligible, except for the part about driving in the bike lane, and the chorus of "Idiot Driver, Idiot Driver..." (See "Schwinn 24" above, for details on the Peek-A-Boo compilation.)
"If Cars Were Banned" by HEATHER LEV (2003)
A sweet, cheerful ode to the possibilities of life without the auto, by a cute NY-based folksinger. Her site has the full MP3 download of this song as well as others.

When you buy a car, do you realize
Your money pays for things you probably despise
Like oil spills covering Alaskan land
Cash in a crooked politician's hand
Children dead on desert sand
So wouldn't it be nice if cars were banned?

Wouldn't it be nice if cars were banned?
Trees could grow upon the land
No more smog up in the sky
Let's make it happen by and by

Wouldn't it be great if streets were quiet
No car horns and engines to make a riot
Think of all the time you spend in traffic jams
Wouldn't it be great if they were banned?
Think of all the tax money that you owe
To pay for wild land to be covered up with road
And for hospitals for people hit by cars
Wouldn't it be great if they were barred?


Cars give us jobs, you may say
And they're just the good old American way
But GM doesn't care about American jobs.
They send 'em where they're cheaper, the greedy slobs
Imagine if kids could play without fear
That drivers'll hit them while drinking beer
And if you weren't stuck inside a metal cage
Running people down with your road rage


Shell Oil doesn't seem to care
If they poisoned the water or pollute the air
But if you're in Nigeria and mention that
They're going to execute you in no time flat*
We're drilling Alaskan wilderness
So gallons can be five cents less
And the Saudi royals got rich quick
And give money to terrorist lunatics


Greenhouse gasses fill the sky
And 40 thousand people a year will run over and die...
None of these problems would be there
If people had cars that they would share
If buses trains and bikes were everywhere.
This song could go on without any end
Until you realize that your car is not your friend
We're all car addicts, let's just say no,
And then those cars will have to go.


But we can change things, watch and see
(slower) We will have to, eventually
So let's get together, we'll work all day
To make those cars all go away

Last Chorus:
Won't it be nice when cars are banned
Trees could grow upon the land
No more smog up in the sky
It's gonna have to happen, by and by.

*refers to Ken Sero-Wiwa, a Nigerian activist
who was executed for protesting Shell Oil's
destruction of native lands


"London Traffic" by THE JAM (from This is the Modern World, 1977)
All Music Guide says, "The legacy of [punk band] The Jam is apparent in nearly every British guitar pop band of the '80s and '90s, from the Smiths to Blur and Oasis. More than any other group, The Jam kept the tradition of three-minute, hook-driven British guitar pop alive through the '70s and '80s, providing a blueprint for generations of bands to come."

London traffic (state of confusion)
London traffic (blocking the streets)
London traffic (going nowhere)
London traffic (polluting the air)
Drive round London in a car
Don't really want to go far
So many cars fill the streets
Wonder why we bother at all
London traffic is a problem
London traffic too many cars
One way systems look very neat
Coloured signs direct the streets
No one knows the answer
No one seems to care
Take a look at our city
Take the traffic elsewhere
Leave the city free from traffic
Give the place a chance to survive
Dirt and filth cover London
Give it a chance to breath again
"Red Barchetta" by RUSH (from Moving Pictures, 1981)
This Canadian power-rock trio made waves with their highly technical arrangements and impressive proficiency with their instruments. Their heyday was the early 80's but they've been putting out music consistently from the 70's to the present. (I'm writing this in 2004.) "Red Barchetta", from their 1981 album Moving Pictures is a future fiction song about a time when cars have been banned, and the protagonist sneaks away on weekends to drive his uncle's secret Red Barchetta. Most reads see it as a celebration of the love of the automobile, or at least the resistance against government regulation, and these were the likely motivators behind the song, but there's another take: This poor slob has to go sneak out to the farm to get his jollies now that driving is illegal. How pathetic!

My uncle has a country place
That no one knows about
He says it used to be a farm
Before the Motor Law
And on Sundays I elude the eyes
And hop the Turbine Freight
To far outside the Wire
Where my white-haired uncle waits

Jump to the ground
As the Turbo slows to cross the borderline
Run like the wind
As excitement shivers up and down my spine
Down in his barn
My uncle preserved for me an old machine
For fifty odd years
To keep it as new has been his dearest dream

I strip away the old debris
That hides a shining car
A brilliant red Barchetta
From a better vanished time
I fire up the willing engine
Responding with a roar
Tires spitting gravel
I commit my weekly crime

Wind / In my hair / Shifting and drifting
Mechanical music / Adrenaline surge...

Well-weathered leather / Hot metal and oil
The scented country air / Sunlight on chrome
The blur of the landscape / Every nerve aware

Suddenly ahead of me
Across the mountainside
A gleaming alloy air car
Shoots towards me, two lanes wide
I spin around with shrieking tires
To run the deadly race
Go screaming through the valley
As another joins the chase

Drive like the wind
Straining the limits of machine and man
Laughing out loud with fear and hope
I've got a desperate plan
At the one-lane bridge
I leave the giants stranded at the riverside
Race back to the farm
To dream with my uncle at the fireside



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