Cars (The) – Drive

Originally released in 1984, The Cars’ fifth UK single release entered the UK singles chart on 29th September 1984 and rapidly climbed to its peak position of number 5.

However, that wasn’t the end of its stay in the UK singles chart. The ongoing famine in Ethiopia was brought to the UK’s attention by the BBC’s Michael Buerk in the autumn of 1984. Then Bob Geldof with Midge Ure set off the train of events that led to Live Aid. Finally, the track was used to back a video made by the Canadian broadcaster CBC which was shown throughout the day of 13th July 1985.

By 3rd 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 10th 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 – that’s the point, huh?  Is it about the breakup of a difficult relationship? Perhaps the leaver is agonising over who is going to look after the leavee due to some problem that they have?  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. Of course, its association with images of famine certainly make it challenging, but it is in its own right too.

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