World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

I Can't Drive 55

Article Id: WHEBN0018541778
Reproduction Date:

Title: I Can't Drive 55  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: National Maximum Speed Law, Double Nickels on the Dime, Twisted Metal (2012 video game), Minutemen (band), Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

I Can't Drive 55

"I Can't Drive 55"
Single by Sammy Hagar
from the album VOA
Released 1984 (1984)
Format 7" single
Recorded 1984
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 4:15
Label Geffen Records
Writer(s) Sammy Hagar
Producer(s) Ted Templeman

"I Can't Drive 55" was the lead single and first track from Sammy Hagar's eighth studio album VOA in 1984. Perpetuated by a very successful music video, it became a concert staple that continued throughout Sammy's tours as a member of Van Halen. The song is a reference to the National Maximum Speed Law in the United States, that originally set speed limits at 55 miles per hour (89 km/h).

It is the 100th song on VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs.[1]

Song origin

"I was in a rent-a-car that wouldn't go much faster than 55 miles an hour. I was on my way back from Africa. I did a safari for three months throughout Africa. A really great vacation after Three Lock Box. I was traveling for 24 hours, I got to New York City, changed planes, Albany, New York. Got in a rent-a-car. Had a place in Lake Placid at the time, a little log cabin, I used to go there and write with my little boy. Aaron, at that time, went to North Country school when I was on tour. I would go there and see him. It was a really cool getaway. But it took two and a half hours to drive there from Albany. And I was driving from Albany, New York at 2:00 in the morning, burnt from all the travel. Cop stopped me for doing 62 on a four lane road when there was no one else in sight. Then the guy gave me a ticket. I was doing 62. And he said, 'We give tickets around here for over-60.' and I said, 'I can't drive 55.' I grabbed a paper and a pen, and I swear the guy was writing the ticket and I was writing the lyrics. I got to Lake Placid, I had a guitar set-up there. And I wrote that song there on the spot. Burnt."
—Sammy Hagar, 1994[2]

Music video

The song's music video was directed by Gil Bettman.[3] The video was shot on location at the Saugus Speedway in Santa Clarita, California.

The song's video includes Sammy and his band being chased and jailed by the California Highway Patrol for traffic violations. The video shows Sammy driving a black Ferrari BB512i which is later tuned up by Sammy's mechanic, Claudio Zampolli. Claudio was driving the Ferrari during the video's opening shot, where the Ferrari fish-tails across the speedway. Sammy claims in the commentary for the video on the DVD, "The Long Road to Cabo" that he burned out his clutch during the video. Sammy drove a 512, but a 308 was also used. Sammy claims it cost him $5800 to fix.

A trial scene is presided over by a judge played in a cameo appearance by John Kalodner. The judge's props were borrowed from director Robert Zemeckis, who had filmed the movie, Used Cars. Sets were built and the video was shot during the summer. There was no air conditioning in the jailhouse set, so the cast and crew were hot.

The yellow jumpsuit worn by Sammy in the video, can be seen at the New Orleans Hard Rock Cafe. A stuntman was used for Sammy's stunts. An exploding ramp was used to throw Sammy across the courtroom.

Additional placements

The song has been a signature track for Hagar during and after his tenure with Van Halen, and is commonly used on TV programs and commercials related to automotive racing. Most recently, the song was featured in a NAPA Auto Parts commercial, where NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip and teammate Dale Jarrett are asking Hagar to keep the noise down during a recording session; in response, Hagar asked Waltrip if he could drive faster. Waltrip's car number at the time of the 2007 commercial was #55 and he had failed to qualify for some races.

In 2001, NBC Sports had Hagar record a "corrected" version, now known as "I Can't Drive 65," reflecting the common 65 MPH speed limit on freeways, for use during Budweiser Pole Award presentations on Winston Cup Series broadcasts on NBC and TNT. It was used from 2001 to 2003 during the broadcasts.

The accelerated version of the song was also available as a download for NHL Rivals 2004.

In 2008, Hagar recorded a newer version of the song that was used in NASCAR Dirt to Daytona 2008 called I can't drive 195, reflecting to the speeds used on NASCAR's biggest tracks Daytona and Talladega.

In 2011, the song became the opening theme for ESPN's NASCAR coverage for the 2011 season.

"I can't drive 55" was an achievement and Easter egg found in Forza Motorsport 4 for owning a Ferrari GTO, the car used in the music video.

The song also played in the 1989 science fiction movie Back to the Future Part II.

Track listing

Side A: "I Can't Drive 55" (Sammy Hagar) – 4:12
Side B: "Dick In The Dirt" (Sammy Hagar) – 4:19


  1. ^ "". Retrieved 2-4-2009. 
  2. ^ Hagar, Sammy. In The Studio. April 25, 1994
  3. ^ """Sammy Hagar - "I can't drive 55. Retrieved 2012-06-29. 

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.