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May 17, 2008


Eric Colin

Wow! I wouldn't thought that my own personal preference would spark a blog but hey, I've always kinda known how influential I am :)
I respect your musical taste and you know that but you also know you can't always dig the same things.
For instance, I know you hold no real love for the 'Get a Whiff of This" album by Juicy Lucy but I love you regardless!

I still think the song is ass but you are right it does bring me back to a certain time and place but one that it is occupied by Sultans of Swing, Rex Smith and New England (the band)

John Battles

Dan , What's funny is , "Driver's Seat" reminds me of another time , but I always had the time wrong by a couple of years...Could be because I don't remember much about '78 except standing in line for Stones tickets (At a 2000 seater!) , but , of course , coming up empty. The song also has a bit of a Dire Straits - ish psuedo Jazzy Blues lead guitar , not in a BAD way , but that fuzz chording at the beginning always sends me back. And , love it or hate it , you gotta admit it DOES'NT sound like anything from that time. My copy of the 45 does say "1978" , not to chip away at your mighty , mighty wings...But , so far as the video goes , I remember going , "WTF?! IS THAT RAY DORSETT?!!!". John.

Dan E

You're right, John — the record was released in the UK in '78, but it didn't become a hit in the US until '79. It's funny you mention Dire Straits, though - they started to get big here about the same time, and since they were from England and "different sounding", they (like Sniff N the Tears) often got lumped into the "British New Wave" bag. Pretty funny, in retrospect...


Part of that small subculture of British bands that did absolutely nothing in the UK but seemed to thrive elsewhere, albeit briefly. I don't think I've ever heard this on the radio over here: I just assumed they were American until I read your post, and for some reason have always associated them with The Knack...

Dan E

That's a great idea for a compilation, Will. Who else would be on it? The Fixx? Flock of Seagulls? Anything featuring Michael Des Barres?


Like Wang Chung, A Flock Of Seagulls were definitely a lot bigger in the US, but they did at least crack the UK charts once or twice and so perhaps don't quite qualify. In that regard (but probably no other), Bush were a lot like them. However, you're right on the money with The Fixx, who couldn't get arrested over here. Other acts that qualify: The Outfield, Modern English, Love And Rockets, the Escape Club and probably several others that time has mercifully erased from my memory...

Chris Perry

OK, I can die now. A Fixx reference and an Outfield reference plucked from the where are they now file. Yeeeaaahhh....


Man, I love "Driver's Seat" and I didn't think any music aficionado couldn't at least appreciate it. And Chris, I could've told you where The Fixx and the Outfield are now -- they're on my iPod!

Vinnie Park

I can't access the song here on my computer at work (another slight from The Man). But I'm wondering if it's the same 'Driver's Seat' song that has really whacky baritone backing vocals, especially when 'Yeah' is sung after the 'Driver's Seat' refrain? I remember really loving that song in like 6th or 7th grade, along with quite a few tracks on Loverboy's Get Lucky...

Dan E

Yup, that's the one!

david nichols

For some reason I put this great song together with Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street. Any suggestions as to why would be appreciated, if they make sense, though of course I should figure it out myself.

Dan E

Hmmm... "Baker Street" was released about a year earlier, though there may have been some overlap in different markets. I can see why you'd put them together, though — they were both oddly melancholic, adult-themed pop-rock songs that sounded nothing like anything else on the radio at the time. And, considering that Rafferty hadn't been on the radio (in the US at least) since Stealer's Wheel days, I'd reckon that hookers and blow played a significant role in "Baker Street"'s success, as well...


i seem to recall an interview with Sniff n' the Tears from the time with a pull quote of the band saying, defensively, "we're NOT Dire Straits!"

Craig Rosen

Dan, Good call. I don't think I liked it at the time, but I've been digging it for the last few years, kind of like BOC's "Don't Fear The Reaper." BTW, there's a song on the new My Morning Jacket album called "Don't Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Pt. 2," that kind of reminds me of "Driver's Seat." Check it out if you haven't heard it already.

Craig Rosen

Actually that MMJ song is called "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Pt. 2." Just checked my iPod and I have "Driver's Seat" on it courtesy of the "Boogie Nights 2" soundtrack (second soundtrack album to the only film...don't think there was a sequel to the film).

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Dan Epstein

  • About Me
    Dan Epstein is the author of Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s and Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of '76, both published by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press. He writes about baseball, music and other cultural obsessions for a variety of outlets and publications. He lives in Greensboro, NC, and is available for speaking engagements.