Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hot Rod Lincoln

The song "Hot Rod Lincoln" was recorded in 1955, as an answer song to "Hot Rod Race", a 1951 hit for Arkie Shibley and his Mountain Dew Boys.

Hot Rod Lincoln was written by Charlie Ryan (who had also recorded a version of Hot Rod Race) and W. S. Stevenson. It begins with a direct reference to Shibley's earlier song/story, stating "You heard the story of the hot rod race, where the Fords and Lincolns were setting the pace..."

The first, 1955, release of Hot Rod Lincoln was recorded by co-writer Ryan, recording as Charlie Ryan and The Livingston Brothers. Ryan's 1959 version, on 4 Star, as Charlie Ryan and The Timberline Riders, is probably better known.

The 1960 version by Johnny Bond was a hit for Republic Records. Bond's Lincoln has eight cylinders ("and uses them all") rather than the 12 cylinders pulling Ryan's Model A.

The 1972 release by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen may be the best known version today. It went to #9 on the Billboard charts and #7 in Canada. Cody's version is essentially true to the original--with only minor changes.

Hot Rod Lincoln and Hot Rod Race are defining anthems of the hot rod community.

Arkie Shibley, who recorded a series of Hot Rod Race songs, died in 1975. Charlie Ryan died in Spokane, Washington, on February 16, 2008, at age 92. He was a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Many different versions exist, with the words slightly altered by each new group.

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