RIP Ryan Dunn: 15 Car Crash Songs
Rocks Off has always been a Jackass fan. The exploits of Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O and the recently deceased Ryan Dunn may not be for everyone, but we've always maintained it's better to be a willing participant in mayhem and physical abuse than not (*cough* America's Funniest Home Videos *cough*).
Which is why we were saddened to hear of Dunn's death early last Monday. Saddened, and angered. Dunn's BAC was twice the legal limit when he lost control of his Porsche 911 GT3, killing himself and his passenger, Zachary Hartwell. According to police reports, Dunn was traveling at speeds of 130 to 140 mph when he lost control. Funny how downing six shots and a couple beers before getting behind the wheel doesn't do a lot for your vehicular-control skills.
Rocks Off has lost friends and family members to drunk driving, and it is always a pointless, wholly preventable death. Our condolences to the victims' families, but Dunn - busted before for speeding and DWI - should have fucking known better.
Anyway, here are some songs about car crashes.
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Kiss, "Detroit, Rock City"
This is one of those songs Rocks Off can't play when we're actually driving. Not because the subject matter ("There's a truck ahead/ Lights staring at my eyes"), but because the sound of the crash at the end always freaks us the fuck out. (See also: "Two Suns in the Sunset" by Pink Floyd.")
Robert Mitchum, "The Ballad of Thunder Road"
Bob Mitchum was one of the baddest mofos to walk the face of the earth. How bad, you ask? Besides his impressive filmography, which includes such classics as Night of the Hunter, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Cape Fear and The Sundowners, he was also a singer. Of course, we concentrate more on this song about a doomed bootlegger than Mitchum's foray into...calypso.
Meat Loaf, "Bat Out of Hell"
Okay fine, it's actually about a motorcycle crash ("And I never see the sudden curve until it's way too late"). Maybe the singer wouldn't have ended up "dying at the bottom of a pit" if he'd stayed and had breakfast with that nice young lady instead of leaving before the crack of dawn.
Jan and Dean, "Dead Man's Curve"
How is it that Jan Berry of Jan and Dean could co-write a song about an ill-fated race between a Jaguar and a Sting Ray racing on Sunset Blvd., and then himself almost die crashing in the same spot in his own Sting Ray? Life imitating art? Precognition? Shitty Corvette handling?
Cannibal Corpse, "Shredded Humans"
None of that romantic Jim Steinman imagery here, folks. Rocks Off wouldn't recommend listening to this over lunch. Those with tender sensibilities might want to avoid the band altogether.
Black Sabbath, "Trashed"
It might have served Dunn well to listen to this cautionary tale about the dangers of drinking and racing. Then again, Born Again isn't every Sabbath fan's cup of tea.
The Normal, "Warm Leatherette"
A paramedic friend of Rocks Off once counseled us, should we ever find ourselves trapped in a burning car, to "breathe deep." That way we'd be sure to die in the fire and not emerge alive and with third degree burns over 90 percent of our body. Sage advice.
Flaming Lips, "Mr. Ambulance Driver"
A teenage car crash ballad, Wayne Coyne-style.
Wayne Cochran, "Last Kiss"
Made famous by Pearl Jam, for whom it became their highest-charting song, "Last Kiss" tells the story of a young man driven to a life of piety by the death of his girlfriend, which is usually the opposite of what happens.
Black Flag, "Drinking and Driving"
Drink Drink Drink Drink Don't think Drive Kill
They should play this at Dunn's funeral.
Drive-By Truckers, "Days of Graduation"
The two deaths in this song, the protagonist's best friend and girlfriend, are merely prologue to the bigger story of music and Dixie in Southern Rock Opera. Though if we had to die in a car crash, Rocks Off would probably prefer listening to something we hadn't heard a zillion times already, like "Free Bird."
Porter Wagoner, "The Carroll County Accident"
Would you hide evidence of your dad having an affair if he died in a car crash with his mistress? No? Porter Wagoner would be disappointed.
Live, "Lighnting Crashes"
Admittedly, a young(er) Rocks Off had a hard time getting past the "placenta falls to the floor" part of this song. The tune is actually about a friend of lead singer Ed Kowalczyk's who was killed by a drunk driver and ended up donating her liver to a baby. Sometimes snark fails us.
Rise Against, "The Approaching Curve"
Pro Tip: If you must break up with your significant other, don't get in the car with them afterward. Especially if roads are icy. Go ahead and spring for the cab.
They Might Be Giants, "The End of the Tour"
The wreck in this song is more metaphor than actual event. At least we think so. TMBG can be difficult that way.
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