Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: My husband just bought his dream car, a 40-year-old Cadillac, and I need your help to create a unique gift for him.

He enjoys music from the 1970s, 80s, and '90s, so if you can come up with enough Cadillac-related songs from then to fill a CD, I would be very grateful, as would he.
—Dorothy Willows, Palm Springs, Calif.

DEAR DOROTHY: Custom made gifts are usually fun to give as well as receive, and I'm certain this one will be a big hit, even if very few of these Caddy tunes were.

Five of them made the Country charts (C#), three hit the Pop charts (P#), and just one reached the Soul charts (S#).

Here are three dozen suitable selections from the specified years, more than enough to fill a standard 80-minute CD-R. Digital files of all can be found online.

"Always Drive a Cadillac" (1986) Everly Brothers
"Big Bad Cadillac" (1970) King Lizard (Kim Fowley)
"Black Cadillac" (1999) Three Bad Jacks
"Brand New Cadillac" (1984) The Milkshakes
"Brand New Cadillac" (1988) The Clash
"Brand New Cadillac" (1999) Three Bad Jacks
"Cadillac" (1983) Michael Sembello
"Cadillac" (1986) The Firm
"Cadillac Assembly Line" (1976) Albert King (S#40)
"Cadillac Car" (1984) Bronski Beat
"Cadillac Cowboys" (1972) Spirit
"Cadillac Dragon" (1981) Point Blank
"Cadillac Dreams" (1989) KISS
"Cadillac Johnson" (1976) Chuck Price (C#97)
"Cadillac Ranch" (1980) Bruce Springsteen
"Cadillac Ranch" (1992) Chris LeDoux (C#18)
"Cadillac Red" (1990) The Judds
"Cadillac Style" (1992) Sammy Kershaw (C#3)
"Drive Yo Cadillac" (1986) Jesse Johnson with Sly Stone
"Freeway of Love (In My Pink Cadillac)" (1985) Aretha Franklin (P#3)
"Geronimo's Cadillac" (1972) Michael Martin Murphey
"Guitars, Cadillacs" (1986) Dwight Yoakam (C#4)
"Heaven Is in the Backseat of My Cadillac" (1976) Hot Chocolate
"Hey, Mr. Cadillac" (1971) Samantha
"Janitor Drives a Cadillac" (1972) Papa John Creach
"Junior Cadillac" (1970) Norman Greenbaum
"Long White Cadillac" (1989) Dwight Yoakam (C#25)
"Look at That Cadillac" (1983) Stray Cats (P#68)
"Mr. Cadillac" (1988) Ethel and the Shameless Hussies
"Pink Cadillac" (1984) Bruce Springsteen
"Pink Cadillac" (1988) Natalie Cole (P#5)
"Rainbow's Cadillac" (1993) Bruce Hornsby with Bonnie Raitt
"Red Cadillac and Black Mustache" (1975) Bob Luman
"Slick Black Cadillac" (1983) Quiet Riot
"Solid Gold Cadillac" (1991) Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s
"Texas Cadillac" (1994) Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King

Oh yes, unless an aftermarket unit has been added, no mid-'70s automobile will have a CD player.

DEAR JERRY: One pop music trend in the 1960s, right before the British Invasion, was gloomy songs where someone is either killed or takes their own life.

Many were smash hits, but I suspect the one I'm searching for was not. I say that because no one seems to know it.

The story is about a boy who urges his friend to hook up with an unsuspecting girl. He takes the challenge, but things go very wrong.

This record came out sometime between "Tell Laura I Love Her" and "Leader of the Pack."

Do you know anything about the song in question?
—Martin Hollingsworth, Owensboro, Ky.

DEAR MARTIN: I do, and I am pleased to report that this haunting ballad is not based on a true story.

With a title like "The Pickup," one might think it has something to do with a truck, but that is not the case.

This pickup is the unfortunate victim of the misguided challenge you mentioned.

Since, as you pointed out, not many people know this recording, the plot can be synopsized in just four verses:

I made a date on the dare of a friend
If I'd known how it would end
I'd have turned around and ran away right then
From the pickup

I was a boy just looking for fun
She looked so lost and all alone
And I didn't know my heart would be won
By the pickup

I should have told her I loved her right then
But I couldn't face all of my friends
So I told my darling I couldn't see her again
I lost the pickup

The morning paper told how she died
Jumped from a bridge, suicide
And nobody knows how the heart in me cries
For the pickup

Up to but not including the jump, the storyline is remarkably similar to the pursuit of Lili (Juliet Prowse) by Tulsa (Elvis Presley) in the "G.I. Blues" film, which opened December 23, 1960.

The timing of the two makes that connection a real possibility, since "The Pickup," by Mark Dinning (MGM 13061), was written in 1961, and released in February 1962.

Previously, Mark Dinning earned a Gold Record Award for his 1960 No. 1 hit, "Teen Angel" (MGM 12845), perhaps the ultimate teenage tragedy tune.

Considering how very seldom "The Pickup" has been used as a song title, it is quite surprising that another recording of "The Pickup" also came out in 1962, and on MGM, the same label as did Mark Dinning's.

The latter tune, a raucous rocker written and recorded by Conway Twitty, (MGM 13112) is completely different than Mr. Dinning's ballad.

IZ ZAT SO? Of the many albums, vinyl and CD, that I have written liner notes for, there is one from 2000 that ties in perfectly with the previous Q&A: "Last Kiss - Songs of Teen Tragedy" (Varese Sarabande 302 066 150 2).

It is long out of print, but used copies are still out there. It is one good way to pick up "The Pickup."

Includes the following tracks: "Last Kiss" (J. Frank Wilson & Cavaliers, 1964); "Teen Angel" (Mark Dinning, 1959); "Endless Sleep" (Jody Reynolds, 1958); "Tell Laura I Love Her" (Ray Peterson, 1960); "There is Something on Your Mind, Parts 1 and 2" (Bobby Marchan, 1960); "Patches" (Dickie Lee, 1962); "Leader of the Pack" (Shangri-Las, 1964); "Leader of the Laundromat" (Detergents, 1964); "Ebony Eyes" (Everly Brothers, 1961); "Rocky" (Austin Roberts, 1975); "The Pickup" (Mark Dinning, 1962); "I Want My Baby Back" (Jimmy Cross, 1964); "Goodbye Baby" (Little Caesar, 1952); "Last Kiss" (Wayne Cochran, 1964).

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page