Make and Model: In 1936, when Johnson first recorded this blues song that takes its title from a car made by the Hudson Motor Company, automotive double entendres were still relatively new – but, then again, so was driving itself. Here, though, Johnson is stalled: “You know, the coils ain’t even buzzin’,” he laments. “The little generator won’t get the spark.”
Fuel Economy: As the song goes along, Johnson reveals that someone’s been driving his Terraplane “since I been gone.” The lyrics resonate with raw emotion — he’s going to weep and moan. He does have insurance, though, in the form of “a woman that I’m lovin’, way down in Arkansas.”
Overdrive: Most great driving songs are about the freedom of the road, but this one, like a few of Johnson’s songs, is about the poison of jealousy. “Please,” he sings, “don’t block the road.” — R.L.
73. DAVE DUDLEY, “SIX DAYS ON THE ROAD”
Make and Model: One of the classic old-school trucker anthems, “Six Days on the Road” — made famous by country singer Dave Dudley in 1963 — commemorated the grind of load-hauling across the country, dodging cops and downing “little white pills” and doing whatever it takes to make it home ASAP.
Fuel Economy: Among the least-glamorous driving songs of all time, “Six Days” doesn’t celebrate the road so much as present it as an obstacle course, full of pratfalls to be avoided and short cuts to be taken if you know the lay of the land well enough — a wearying life, but one well-observed enough to have its own sort of worn-in, hard-earned dignity.
Overdrive: A song this deep in the drudgery doesn’t have a lot of major highs, but you gotta smile for Dudley a little when he finally reaches his destination in the final verse: “My hometown’s a-comin’ in sight/ If you think I’m happy, you’re right.” — A.U.
72. KISS, “DETROIT ROCK CITY”