Friday Five: Motorcycles

Juli Thanki | May 25th, 2012

This weekend, thousands of bikers will ride through the streets of Washington, D.C. as part of Rolling Thunder, an annual motorcycle run whose mission is “to educate, facilitate, and never forget by means of a demonstration for service members that were abandoned after the Vietnam War. Rolling Thunder has also evolved into a display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.” In honor of Rolling Thunder and Memorial Day, here are five of my favorite motorcycle songs. What are yours?

5. Arlo Guthrie – “The Motorcycle Song”

“I don’t want a pickle / Just want to ride on my motorsickle.” Off-kilter and rambling, this song is a fun listen.

 

4. Steve Earle – “The Other Kind”

Here, Earle finds refuge in two wheels, aluminum, and steel.

 

3. David Allan Coe – “Panheads Forever”

“She’s not much to look at when we ride through town / But I know when the chips fall, she won’t let me down.” There’s nothing like the love between a boy and his bike.

 

2. Merle Haggard – “Motorcycle Cowboy”

The “stringy-haired blonde” and her motorcycle cowboy are a match made in heaven. Or a dive bar.

 

1. Del McCoury Band – “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”

Del and the boys have made this Richard Thompson song their own; it’s a fan favorite you’re likely to hear at most, if not all, of Del’s shows. After all, isn’t “red hair and black leather” everyone’s favorite color scheme?

  1. Arlene
    May 25, 2012 at 10:27 am

    All he wanted
    Was to be free
    And that’s the way
    It turned out to be
    Flow river flow
    Let your waters wash down
    Take me from this road
    To some other town

    No “Ballad of Easy Rider” by The Byrds?

  2. bob
    May 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Written by Don Henry, Kathy Mattea’s “Harley” begins, “There was a motorcycle mama and her man, with a wind burnt tan and a Harley, Roarin’ through Bakersfield when her water broke, they pulled into a hospital and for a little joke, they named him Harley”.

  3. Rick
    May 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    How about “Long Lonesome Highway” by Michael Parks who starred in the late 60′s TV series “Then Came Bronson” as a motorcyle riding rebel with a heart of gold? OK, its not about a motorcyle directly but it is closely related…

    The music video for the Brother Phelps song “Let Go” showed them cruising around on their Harley’s. I can’t believe that video isn’t on the internet anywhere! And since we’re taking about bikes (and bikers), the Brother Phelps song “Eagle Over Angel” is the best country song ever about a tattoo!

Tagged In This Article

// // // // //

Current Discussion

  • bob: Thanks Barry. Just reserved the Adam Gussow book. Sounds interesting.
  • Barry Mazor: It may be over-stated, in arriving at practically a single explanation of everything, but Adam Gussow's book on lynching and …
  • Leeann: Wow! Heavy topic and horrifying indeed! "Beer for My Horses" was all fun and games until that reference, I'll have …
  • Barry Mazor: Everything else aside, the way that reporter fills us in, with must-have, pointless generational snark included, about who this "Little …
  • luckyoldsun: "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia" seems to be about a lynching--even if there's something about a judge …
  • Arlene: Sorry. I meant to give the link for "Supper Time." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ58Kfe41kI
  • Arlene: Another song sung by Ethel Waters: Irving Berlin's "Supper Time"
  • bob: Powerful songs. I read the book "A Lynching in the Heartland" by James H. Madison about a dozen years ago. …
  • Ron: Sky Above, Mud Below by Tom Russell is another.
  • Jack Williams: Another Othis Taylor song from White African is "My Soul's in Louisiana."

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern
  • raypricebeautyis
  • rodneycrowelltarpapersky