Readers share their favorite car tunes

January 29, 1997

By Teri Johnson

Staff Writer

Car tunes are catchy songs that pop up on the radio, the durable ditties that can set the tone for your whole day. They might be favorite songs from days gone by, or songs you heard last week that you can't get out of your mind.

You can't help yourself - before you know it, you're singing along, drumming your fingers on the steering wheel and pounding on the dashboard.

I do this all the time, and I wondered if anyone else on the Tri-State highways was singing along, too. In a recent column I asked readers to give their choices for the Car Tune Hall of Fame.


Kick back, put on some good music and read about the tunes that inspire other area drivers.

'Angels' and City Park equal nostalgia

Amanda Martin

Amanda Martin was a high school senior when The Black Crowes released "She Talks to Angels," and she fell in love with the song the first time she heard it.

"The intro guitar riffs were like heaven through an old, beat-up car stereo in an old, beat-up Ford Ranger," she says.

"I was with my first boyfriend, and we were driving to City Park to enjoy a beautiful summer day. He would always play it for me when we went to meet our friends at Pizza Hut. I don't think my life has ever been that simplistic again.

"My senior year is four years gone from me now, but when I hear that song, I go back to driving to the prom, and riding along on road trips. It helps recapture my innocence, if only for a few moments."

Last summer Martin, 21, of Hagerstown decided to buy the album.

"I stuck it into my new car stereo in my new Ford Ranger and I rediscovered heaven. Sitting with my fiance, looking at City Park at night, I remembered all the great times I had with my friends, and I wondered where they were.

"My fiance looked at me and told me this was a great song. He wasn't there when I first heard that song, but I was glad he was there now. I was creating memories with him now, and I'm glad that song can be part of our future nostalgia."

Jamming with Mama Class brought on the flashing lights

Sally Manning

Sally Manning of Waynesboro, Pa., knows that car tunes can carry you away.

"It reminded me of a November afternoon when I drove onto Fort Ritchie singing along with Mama Cass, and how great I felt until I noticed two MPs behind me with flashing lights," says Manning, 48. "I paid my fine and am very careful now where I am when I sing along, or beat rhythm on the steering wheel or pedals."

Her all-time favorite romantic tunes are:

  • "When I Fall in Love" by The Lettermen
  • "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis
  • "When a Man Loves a Woman" by Percy Sledge
  • "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum
  • anything by the original Temptations, other Motown artists, Four Seasons or Barry Manilow.

A commute with a positive note

Beverly Stotler

The car radio gets a workout when you travel more than 30 miles each way to work, Beverly Stotler says.

Until recently the Hancock resident worked in Hagerstown, but now she has a job closer to home.

"Sometimes I must admit I miss not hearing a favorite tune in the morning, along with the tapping of the fingers and trying not to spill that morning cup of coffee," says Stotler, 31.

During her commute she found herself singing along to the following songs:

"Dancin' in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen

"This was a favorite `cruising' and dance floor tune for my friends and I in the mid-'80s," she says.

"Groovy Kind of Love" by Phil Collins

"This remake was popular when I was dating my soon-to-be-husband Frank," Stotler says. "Frank is 19 years older than me, so he remembered the original version and I just loved the remake. Here we were in the late '80s, and we both loved that song."

"Forever and Ever Amen" by Randy Travis

"As you can guess, Frank and I had a friend sing this classic at our June 1989 wedding. When I hear that song on the radio I just have to sing along and grin," she says.

Sounds float across the decades

Helen Willis

Helen Willis of Hagerstown loves music from the '40s through the '90s, whether it's on 78, 33 1/3 or 45 rpm record, tape or compact disc.

When Willis, 32, hears the following songs she always sings along:

  • "Doo Wah Diddy"
  • "Good Love"
  • "ABC"
  • "Last Dance"
  • "Last Song"
  • "Crocodile Rock"
  • "Time"
  • "Reflections"
  • "He's the Greatest Dancer"
  • "We Are Family"
  • "Flashdance: What a Feeling"
  • "Fame"
  • "She Works Hard for the Money"
  • "On the Radio"
  • "Runaround Sue"
  • "California Girls"
  • "Car Wash"
  • "Welcome Back, Kotter"
  • "Run-Around"

Lively songs make her smile

Margaret McBurney

Margaret McBurney of Hagerstown likes lively songs.

"The songs I picked are very upbeat, and you can understand the words," she says.

McBurney, 47, says three of her favorite "tunes to drive by" are:

  • "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night
  • "California Girls" by The Beach Boys
  • "My Girl" by The Temptations

She loves to drive and jam

Deb Campbell

Deb Campbell says she always complains to her husband about his channel surfing and his need to dominate the television remote.

She admits she is just as bad - if not worse - when listening to songs on the car radio.

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