Since the birth of rock and roll, musicians have been singing about cars. Whether it’s Elvis warbling that there’s no room to rhumba in a sports car, the Beach Boys harmonizing about that little deuce coupe, or Nat King Cole getting his kicks on Route 66, cars and music go hand in hand. It’s only natural that music videos with classic cars are popular, too. Here are a few classic cars in music videos that stand the test of time.
ZZ Top: “Gimme All Your Lovin”
ZZ Top may be best known for rocking through the 80s with their long beards and sunglasses. But this bluesy three-person group from Texas is also well-known for using classic cars in music videos — particularly, a 1933 Ford coupe hot rod known as the “Eliminator.” This iconic coupe starred in several videos, including “Gimme All Your Lovin,” “Legs,” and “Sharp Dressed Man.” ZZ Top even named their 1983 album Eliminator after the coupe and 1985’s Afterburner.
Whitesnake: “Here I Go Again”
Nothing screams the 80s quite like big hair, tight pants, and music videos with classic cars. One video that stands out: is the 1987 video for Whitesnake’s chart-topping “Here I Go Again.” In this amazing video, the lovely Tawny Kitaen frolics atop the hood of Whitesnake lead singer David Coverdale’s white 1986 Jaguar XJ. The band brought the car back for their “Shut Up and Kiss Me” video; when they went on tour, Coverdale said they were inundated with fan requests to pose by (and on) the car.
The UK-based band Gorillaz has been making catchy (and a bit twisted) tunes since the 1990s. But the video for their song “Stylo” pairs a couple of classic cars with a classic actor. In this 2011 video, the band (animated through the magic of CGI) drives a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro through the deserts of the southwestern United States. Of course, they’re being chased by actor Bruce Willis in a 1968 Chevy El Camino. It’s safe to say the cars steal the show.
Tears for Fears: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
In the early, heady days of MTV, Tears for Fears’ video for “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” seemed to be on constant rotation. Along with the catchy tune, the 1985 video’s popularity was mainly due to shots of an Austin-Healey 3000 Mark III driving through the desert. Tears for Fears lead singer Curt Smith says he chose this particular classic car, painted in British racing green, as it was the closest model to his own 1959 Triumph TR3A that they could find.
Vampire Weekend: “Diane Young”
If you’ve watched the music video for Vampire Weekend’s “Diane Young,” you may have winced when a vintage Saab 900 burned. As it turns out, there’s an even more insidious backstory to this scene, which brought a tear to the eye of many a classic car enthusiast. The band destroyed not one but two classic Saabs while making the video.
Even worse, when the Saabs’ owner donated the cars to the band, he didn’t realize they planned on torching them. At least Vampire Weekend needed help to follow through with their original plan for the video: beating a $600,000 vintage Bugatti with baseball bats.
Huey Lewis and the News: “Power of Love”
Written for the blockbuster movie “Back to the Future,” Huey Lewis and the News’s “Power of Love” topped the charts in 1985. As a movie tie-in, the music video featured the DeLorean DMC-12 that Marty McFly and Doc Brown used to travel back in time (as well as a few other classic cars.) DeLorean produced only one car model before legal problems took the company down.
Sheryl Crow: “Steve McQueen”
Sheryl Crow’s 2002 song “Steve McQueen” may not have hit the top of the charts, but the music video was an award-winner. That could be due to the classic cars featured in the video, including a Porsche 356 Speedster, a Ford Mustang GT Fastback, a Ford GT40, a VW Beetle, and more. The video recreates the San Francisco car chase scene from Steve McQueen’s 1968 movie Bullit.
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