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Published on July 8th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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Was this the first rock song to celebrate motorcycles?

When the subject of rock and motorcycles come up, the usual set of titles come up. For example:

1. Steppenwolf, “Born to the Wild” (1969)

The quintessential biker song thanks to its inclusion in the 1969 movie, Easy Rider. The lyrics don’t mention motorcycles explicitly, but that doesn’t matter.

2. Sailcat, “Motorcycle Mama” (1972)

Twenty years later, the Sugarcubes turned this into an alt-rock hit.

3. Montrose, “Bad Motor Scooter”

Let’s assume that Sammy Hagar was downplaying the hog this woman was actually riding.

4. Neil Young, “Motorcycle Man”

Not the same as the Sailcat song. Remember that you can’t copyright a song title.

5. Motley Crue, Kick Start My Heart (1989)

More of a metaphor than anything, really, but those opening guitar chords make it a good biker track.

You get the point. There are more here. Anyone planning to make the July 13th ride to Port Dover this week might want to create a playlist–if you haven’t already, of course.

But if you want to really impress everyone, include this song: “Black Demin Trousers and Motorcycle Boots” by The Cheers.

Written by the famous songwriting team of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, the single was released on Capitol in 1955, one week before James Dean died. It appears to be the first motorcycle song ever to chart. Read more here.

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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