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Songs and Motorbikes

There are many songs that are associated with riding a motorbike. Some have lyrics in them to reflect the model of the bike while others have a certain sound that immediately associates that music with riding a bike.

The Motorbike has had a close relationship with music since the 1960s when followers of different genres of music would associate themselves with different bikes. For example people of heavy metal would often drive around on high powered motorbikes whereas the followers of Mod music were more comfortable with riding around on Scooters. The Mod Band the Lambrettas was a direct reference to the motor cycle company that specialized in producing scooters. Even Sinehead O’Connor sung “Black Boys on Mopeds” which referred to followers of Mod and Ska music riding around in the 1980s on mopeds.

Bat outta Hell and the silver black phantom bike

However Mods appeared to be more concerned about how they dressed and how they looked than what bikes they rode. This was more the concern of the heavy metal bands, with many keen to be associated with the high powered fast machines.

The release of “Sweet Hitch Hiker” by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1972 reflected the image that large motorbikes were a great way for male bikers to popular with the opposite sex. The sight of a big fast motorbike would prove irresistible to a female, who needs a ride to another destination. Meat Loaf released “Bat out of Hell” in 1977 and it referred to the rider riding like a bat out of hell on a silver-black phantom bike. There has been much conjuncture over the years to which bike the band were referring to, but it would appear that it was reference to any type of high powered dark motorbike.

The band often perform the song live with the lead singer, Meat Loaf, riding onto the stage on a Harley Davidson. The song culminated with the rider having a horrific crash as a result of driving away after the break up with his girlfriend.

The two bikes that starred in Easy Rider

This theme of a tragic ending also occurred in the 1964 release “The Leader of The Pack” by the Shangri-Las. The American all-girl group sung about how a normal girl met and fell in love with the leader of a motorbike gang. The song contains loud segments of powerful motorbike noises as the girl eventually, under pressure from her parents, ended the relationship. Heartbroken, the biker drives away at great speed and suffers a fatal crash.

However, not all music associated with motorbikes have a sad ending. The film “Top Gun” saw Tom Cruise riding around an air field on a Kawasaki to the music of Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away”. The music combined the power of the jets with the bike, and a happy romance ended the story. However, the most common link with motorbikes is heavy metal music being associated with fast powerful machines, and nowhere is this seen better than in Steppenwolfs release of “Born to Be Wild” in 1968. It has been claimed that this was the first heavy metal record to be released.

It was then used as the sound track for the 1969 film “Easy Rider” with the song being played as the two bikers rode their Harley Davidsons across the United States. It once again represented the sense of freedom and adventure that driving a motorbike gives the rider. There are many examples of motorbikes being closely associated with music. They combine well to give people a sense of freedom.