Cars (The) – Drive

Released in 1984, The Cars fifth UK single release is amongst the most poignant pieces of pop music ever recorded. It entered the UK singles chart on 29 September 1984 and rapidly climbed to its peak position of number 5. So far so mundane. However, the song stayed in the psyche of somebody somewhere because when news of the Ethiopian Famine was brought to the UK by the BBC’s Michael Buerk in the autumn of 1984 and Bob Geldof with Midge Ure set off the train of events that lead to Live Aid, the track was used to back a video made by the Canadian broadcaster CBC which was shown throughout the day of 13 July 1985.  By 3 August the track had re-entered the UK singles chart, wherein it quickly rose to number 4.  I was moved enough to buy the single on 10 August.  For some reason, my copy doesn’t have a sleeve bearing the original artwork.  I think perhaps Elektra / Woolies must have been experiencing extreme demand.

As for the song itself, it carries a message in its own right.  To me it sounds like the breakup of a difficult relationship, where perhaps the leaver is agonising over who is going to look after the leavee due to some problem that this person has.  Whether this is due to drink, drugs or some other problem is unclear.  But this ambiguity is important – the writer / singer is asking a question of the listener, this is supposed to be art and therefore challenging.  There, does that sound whimsical enough for you?  Do you want to see the video?  Oh go on then…

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