Classic Rock Corner

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.

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.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar