x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Top five: Music on the road

Albums from artists who have combined a love of the road with some awesome tracks and some equally awesome cover art.

Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell
Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell

Bruce Springsteen's new album, "The Promise", is a continuation of his affinity with the bikes, cars and roads of America. But he is not the first musician to take driving music literally. Here are five more albums from artists who have combined a love of the road with some awesome tracks and some equally awesome cover art.

 

Eliminator, ZZ Top

The 1983 album heralded a new era for the bearded band, sending them into the mainstream with radio-friendly, synthesiser-heavy hits such as Legs and Sharp Dressed Man. Guitarist Billy Gibbons, a hot rod fan, was mesmerised by a 1933 Ford in the film The California Kid and had a cherry-red version built for himself, which he nicknamed Eliminator. The car became a trademark for the band and was featured not only on the album cover but in many of the band's music videos, along with a bevy of attractive women.

Bat out of Hell, Meat Loaf

The title track is Meat Loaf's motorcycle epic - nine minutes and 48 seconds of over-the-top rock - and the cover reflects this with a fantasy style painting of long-haired, musclebound man bursting from the ground on a bike at a cemetery. As well as the motorcycle mayhem of Bat out of Hell, the band continues its automotive theme with All Revved Up With No Place To Go and another epic, Paradise by the Dashboard Light at eight minutes and 28 seconds.

Heartbeat City, the Cars

It seemed logical that a band called The Cars would release a single called Drive. The song appeared on Heartbeat City, their fifth studio album, released in 1984. The slightly surreal cover features a green 1971 Plymouth Duster 340, taken from a 1972 painting by artist Peter Phillips called Art-O-matic Loop di Loop. In the video for Drive, lead singer Ric Ocasek doesn't actually do any singing; instead he spends the time with supermodel Paulina Porizkova - and had such a good time he married her.

King of the Road, Roger Miller

Naturally, Roger Miller's greatest hits and favourites album would be named King of the Road after his most famous song, written and recorded by Miller in 1964. This particular compilation album was released in 1998 but the retro cover art has a distinctly 70s feel about it with the moody orange hues, the lonesome truck powering along in a cloud of dust and a grinning headshot of Miller himself sporting a brilliant, multi-coloured bowtie.

Little Deuce Coupe, the Beach Boys

Little Deuce Coupe was recorded in a rush after the band felt exploited by Capitol Records with the 1963 release of Shut Down, a hot rod-themed compilation album, without the band's permission. Little Deuce Coupe soon became one of the Beach Boys' greatest successes. The album cover features a blue 1932 Ford Model B coupe with a customised lowered roof, a photo that first appeared in Hot Rod magazine. The car still tours showrooms and exhibitions today.