Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sammy Hagar: I Can't Drive 55

For those in the know, the number 55 holds special significance to me and so I’ve planned to play Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55” for this Anything Goes Wednesday feature. It is not because I can’t drive 55 (although that has been an occurrence from time to time), it is for other reasons that I won’t go into today.

While the song only charted at 26, it has a legacy that has gone beyond a mid charting top 40 hit – part of that legacy is due to album oriented radio and MTV playing the song to death. It was on his album “Voice of America” which was released in 1984 prior to his involvement in the group HSAS and his selection as David Lee Roth’s replacement in Van Halen.

The song was inspired by Sammy’s trip from Albany, New York to Lake Placid where he was clocked as going 62 (not 125) in a 55 zone. The cop told him that around there they gave tickets for going over 60 and Sammy responded, “I can’t drive 55.” At that moment he knew he had a song to write and when he got to his cabin at Lake Placid he finished the song. “I Can’t Drive 55” is listed in Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Rock Songs at the final position – 100.

Me with Sammy Hagar in early 1985

I had a chance to meet Sammy twice: once in 1985 when he was on his VOA Tour and also in 1986 when he appeared with Van Halen. Both shows were in Charleston, WV.  By the way, I found him to be one of the more friendly rock and rollers I have had the privilege to meet. 

 Alex Van Halen, Kevin Cordle, Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, and me.

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