You know this song. It’s a staple at every single Sammy Hagar concert, a classic rock radio staple, and VH1 even ranked it in their 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs of all time. While some rock stars were concerned about the environment or civil rights, Hagar was upset with the lowering of highway speed limits. He had a lot of support for his cause and wrote this song as a reference to the since-repealed National Maximum Speed Law that set speed limits at 55 miles per hour. If you’re a TRUE redhead, you probably already knew that, but we’ve compiled a few songs about the iconic hit that you might not. Check them out below!
NBC Sports commissioned the Red Rocker to record a new version of the song in 2001 to reflect the increase to 65 miles per hour across the country. This version was used during the Budweiser Pole Award Presentations on the Winston Cup Series broadcasts for three years and was released on the NASCAR album, Full Throttle.
The song’s music video features Sammy and his band being chased by the California Highway Patrol using a black Ferrari BB512i. Hagar said he burned out his clutch while shooting the video. It apparently cost him $5,800 to fix.
On July 23, 2014, one-time VP candidate, Sarah Palin, was pulled over in Alaska for going 63 in a 45 mph zone. “I Can’t Drive 55” was playing on the radio at the time, which she said contributed to her fast driving. Sammy responded to the news by tweeting her, “Dear @SarahPalinUSA heard you were #GoingRogue on the gas pedal! I’ll cover your ticket if you promise to do better next time? #ICantDrive55″
The judge is John Kalodner, an A&R executive with Atlantic Records in the 1970s. He was responsible for signing Foreigner, AC/DC, Peter Gabriel, and Phil Collins and worked with Whitesnake and Aerosmith at the time. He is credited for helping Sammy go solo after he left the band Montrose.
When Marty McFly discovers he has returned to an alternate and hellish version of 1985 Hill Valley, complete with strip joints, pawn shops, biker gangs, and more, you can hear the song playing in the background.
Listen to Sammy Hagar and The Circle perform “I Can’t Drive 55” from Red ‘Til I’m Dead above! The FULL concert will air Sunday at 10/9c on AXS TV!
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