While it’s slow going, the revival of the American economy can be clearly linked to the renewed strength of our domestic automobile industry. At a rally yesterday at Cuyahoga County Community College in Ohio supporting President Obama, Bruce Springsteen gave thanks that General Motors is still making cars, remarking ”What else would I write about?”
That quote got me thinking about the wealth of automotive imagery in Bruce’s songs over the years, dating all the way back to his very first album, Greetings From Asbury Park. There’s The Angel’s mention of VW – “The interstate’s choked with nomadic hordes in Volkswagen vans with full running boards dragging great anchors,” and the pure American brother in Lost in the Flood, “dull-eyed and empty-faced, race(ing) Sundays in Jersey in a Chevy stock super eight.”
I began to ponder how many times Bruce mentioned each brand over the years. Using the site search function on brucespringsteen.net, I was able to quickly assemble a tally of mentions, brand-by-brand.
It’s clear that he has a preference for General Motors products, largely driven by his obsession with Cadillac. From the epics – Pink Cadillac and Cadillac Ranch – through the parental reference to Daddy’s Cadillac in both Seaside Bar Song and Adam Raised a Cain, he loves those tail fins and chrome. There are roughly thirteen mentions of GM vehicles overall, followed by seven mentions of Ford products, and three Chrysler mentions. (Extra points for the fan that tallies the number of time that he’s performed covers like Mustang Sally, over the years.)
Ramrod does double-duty, as the namesake ‘32 Ford is fitted with a HEMI engine out of a Road Runner. Car Wash doubles up, as well, with Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen represented. Pink Cadillac goes for a ten dollar Trifecta, “my love is bigger than a Honda, it’s bigger than a Subaru.” And Racing in the Streets delivers a double-shot of Chevrolet love, as that sixty-nine Chevy with a 396 waits in the 7-11 parking lot for the “Camaro with this dude from LA” (Not that Dude, from LA … he drove a four-door 1973 Ford Torino.)
A handful of die-hard fans know that Bruce drives a Range Rover … which seems incongruous with his preference for domestic automotive imagery in his songs. (For what it’s worth, he’s never published a song that mentions the brand.) This was on my mind when I drove the 2013 Ford Explorer Sport at a media event in New York City last week, as Ford is targeting the Explorer Sport at the Range Rover HSE.
While it might sound crazy, take a moment to consider that not only is the Explorer Sport is $20,000 less expensive than the Range Rover, it’s significantly faster in the 0-60 MPH sprint, gets much better gas mileage, and is one of the best handling seven-passenger SUVs ever built.
So there’s that.
Although Bruce has always avoided promotional involvement with specific brands, I’d be willing to wager that Ford would loan him an Explorer Sport to try out for a few days. I’ll double down that he’d be impressed enough to consider buying one.
Individual Auto Brand References:
- Chrysler: 3 (1 – Jeep, 1 – Dodge, 1 – Plymouth)
- Ford: 7 (6 – Ford, 1 Mercury)
- GM: 13 (4 – Chevrolet, 6 – Cadillac, 3 – Buick)
- Honda: 1
- Mercedes-Benz: 1
- Subaru: 1
- Volkswagen: 2
Brands Not Mentioned: Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Hummer, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Saab, Saturn, Toyota, Volvo
– by Daniel Gray