“Ride” by Joe Satriani
Song Year: 1989
Joe Satriani wrote “Ride” about his love for the freedom and carefree lifestyle a motorbike gives you. The song proposes a free and wild life is the best way to live.
Satriani encourages his listeners to not waste time and just head out on the road. The open road offers the freedom that nowhere else does.
“The Leader of the Pack” by The Shangri-Las
Song Year: 1964
The Shangri-Las showed that women loved motorcycles and the culture surrounding them as well.
“The Leader of the Pack” tells the story of a girl who falls in love with a motorcycle gang leader, Jimmy. Their love causes disapproval from her parents, and she has to break up with Jimmy. Unfortunately, as Jimmy speeds off he crashes and dies.
While the song seems tame compared to some themes in today’s music, “The Leader of the Pack” found plenty of critics back in the 1960s. The UK banned “The Leader of the Pack” due to its violent nature and death themes.
“American Ride” by Toby Keith
Song Year: 2003
Peaking at number one on Billboard’s US Hot Country Songs, Toby Keith holds nothing back as he spends the song’s run time complaining about many conservative talking points as he rides his motorbike.
Keith goes on a tirade about political correctness, rising gas prices, climate change, and illegal immigration during “American Ride.”
Reviews of the song are unsure if Keith is trying to be satirical or if he’s serious during the song. This made the song’s social commentary confusing for listeners and critics.
“Little Honda” by The Beach Boys
Song Year: 1964
While most rockers talk about their Harley’s, The Beach Boys wanted to pick you up for a ride on their Honda.
The surf rock song is a love letter to the small Honda motorcycles of the 1960s.
While the song was a modest hit for The Beach Boys, The Hondells' version of the track peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Wilson and The Beach Boys' version only reached number 65.
“Motorcycle Song” by Arlo Guthrie
Song Year: 1967
Arlo Guthrie delivers a strange but catchy story about riding his motorcycle in “Motorcycle Song.”
Guthrie tells a story about an accident on his motorcycle. He claims to fall off a cliff and wrote the song during the accident.
“Motorcycle Song” also helped change the perception of bikers in the 60s. Instead of greasers, motorcyclists were soon seen as long-haired hippies, thanks to Guthrie and other musicians in the late 60s.
Even after several listenings, I’m still confused why this motorcycle song has so many references concerning pickles.
“Harley Davidson Blues” by Canned Heat
Song Year: 1973
“Harley Davidson Blues” is the second track on Canned Heat’s album, The New Age. Recorded in 1972, “Harley Davidson Blues” is an ode to the motorcycle manufacturer. While the narrator loves his Harley, it’s brought them nothing but trouble.
The song tells the story of a Harley owner who’s having mechanical issues. He’s swearing up a storm since he can’t get the darn thing to run.
Finally, the narrator breaks down on the side of the road, and a police officer interrogates him.
“Motorcycle” by Colter Wall
Song Year: 2017
Colter Wall delivers a subdued country-folk track on “Motorcycle.” The song is on Wall's debut self-titled album released in 2017.
The song follows a depressed man trying to find meaning or a way out of life. While depressing, the song is full of heart, and Wall delivers an unforgettable performance on vocals and guitar.
“Motorcycle” also pays homage to Arlo Guthrie’s “Motorcycle Song.” Wall debates driving his motorcycle off a cliff just like Guthrie in his 1967 song.
“Motorcycle” by Love and Rockets
Song Year: 1989
“Motorcycle” is an early alt-rock tune by Love and Rockets. The tune uses distorted backing tracks, guitars, and drums to create its distinct sound.
Like many other motorcycle songs, “Motorcycle” touches on the freedom you have while riding a motorcycle or motorbike.
“She’s Got a Motorcycle” by Frankie Cocozza
Song Year: 2012
If you love your music full of innuendo, this track is for you. “She’s Got a Motorcycle” describes how much Frankie Cocozza loves his girlfriend’s motorcycle.
While the lyrics sound like they are describing a motorbike, Cocozza may be talking about something else. I’ll leave the interpretation up to you. Cocozza’s pop-punk delivery is an ideal way to blur the meaning of the song.
“Motor Bikin’” by Chris Spedding
Song Year: 1976
Chris Spedding is a highly prolific musician and producer. While he worked with some of the UK’s biggest bands, his only solo hit occurred in 1975.
“Motor Bikin’” found success after Spedding appeared on Top of the Pops in 1975. Spedding took the motorcycle persona to heart and appeared dressed in leather and with greased hair for the performances.