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I Can't Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar

Album: VOAReleased: 1984Charted:
26
  • This could be considered Hagar's foray into social awareness. 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.
  • In 2001, Hagar finally updated this to reflect new speed limits on American highways. He re-recorded it as "I Can't Drive 65" for the NASCAR album Full Throttle.
  • This was Hagar's biggest hit as a solo artist. He joined Van Halen a year after it was released.
  • This remains a Classic Rock radio standard, consistently garnering massive airplay.
  • The name of the album, VOA, stands for Voice of America.
  • This song is heard in the 1989 film Back To The Future II, starring Michael J. Fox. (thanks, Ricky - Los Angeles, CA)
  • One-time vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was pulled over in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska on July 23, 2014, for speeding. She was reportedly going 63 mph in a 45 mph zone in her Toyota Tundra. This song was on the radio, at the time, which may well have contributed to her fast driving.

    Hagar responded to the news by tweeting at her, saying "Dear @SarahPalinUSA heard you were #GoingRogue on the gas pedal! I'll cover your ticket if you promise to do better next time? #IcantDrive55″
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Comments: 25

@jim and Steve, Mesa, AZ
The lyric is actually "Write me up a 125" 125 refers to the cost of the ticket he is given.
Dale - Victoria, Tx
Driving 55 these days is like crawling.Jason - Aurora, Co
Ahhhhh the song that made me a Sammy Hagar fan! As Jim says just below, the 55 gallon speed limit was enacted as a conservation measure in the 70's, but there also was a very real fuel shortage that caused long lines and panic among Americans during that time. I was a pre-teen but I remember it well.Laura - El Paso, Tx
Even though 55 seems too slow, I see this song as an anthem to American haste & waste. The song fails to mention that U.S. oil production peaked around 1970 and the 55 MPH limit was enacted to conserve fuel per the laws of physics (and protect us from Arab whims). But conservation slacked for decades as foreign oil eventually filled the gap. Now, with WORLD oil production apparently peaking (flat since 2005) prices alone should make people consider some degree of "hypermiling," i.e. slowing down. Hagar ought to append this with a new song about Peak Oil. Speeding shouldn't be glorified in a world of declining EROEI.Jim - Pleasant Hill, Ca
It was mistakenly posted that this song was his biggest hit. Actually, that honor goes to "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy", which is his only solo song to reach the Top 20.Dennis - Stuart, Fl
Jim...the lyrics are:

"CHORUS:
Go on & write me up for 125
Post my face, wanted dead or alive
Take my license n' all that jive
I can't drive 55!"

Write me up for 125 means to write him up for 125 MPH.
Steve - Mesa, Az
Can someone please tell me what a 125 is? I'm thinking the answer is probably obvious but i have lived in NH my whole life. So i am a bit sheltered. This song's geolocation is on a different coast. I don't know the lingo out there. Love this tune, i feel Sammy's plight with the slow-ass highway speed limits. (and i like his tequila :-)Thanks in advance to anyone who can tell me what "gonna write me up a 125" means...


-jim
Jim - Fukville, Nh
David from Leesburg...the song states he can't get out of second gear.Steve - Mesa, Az
This is one of those songs that just makes me drive fast (hot for teacher being another). I saw Sammy's 512BB Ferrari at Cabo Wabo in Tahoe, he really drove the hell out of that thing, and good for him!Matt - Santa Cruz, Ca
Sammy should rewrite the song saying "I Can't Drive 65!"Craig - Manitowoc, Wi
this is one of the catchiest and cool classics i have ever heard, great songNathan - Marion, Ia
this is also on his red albumJames - Beloit, Wi
Claudio the mechanic at the beginning of the video is to be credited for helping Sammy and Eddie meet. He worked on both of their cars and knew that VH had just dumped DLR. Take your rightful place in the annals of rock history Claudio. Many thanks!Keith - Ankeny, Ia
i heard on the radio that sammy wrote this song because of his HIGH insurance rates because of all his speeding tickets,something like $5,000 a month he paidTim - Colton,ca, Ca
In the video, Sammy is driving a Ferrari 512BB on a race track. First gear to red line on that car is about 60mph! That is why he can't get out of first gear.David - Leesburg, Va
This song was written by Sammy when he was driving from Albany, NY to Lake Placid, NY to visit his son, who was going to private school there. Sammy owned a house there.Pat - South Riding , Va
I think my mother needs to listen to this song. She hates driving faster than 60 MPH. One of these days, I'm going to play this song for her so she'll stop driving like a granny.Ricky - Los Angeles, Ca
The first time I heard this song, I was watching Back to the Future Part II. It's one of the best rock songs ever written.Ricky - Los Angeles, Ca
Here is another rumor to add to the list. I heard Sammy Hagar wrote this song after being pulled over by a state police officer on his way to a concert. The speed limit, you guessed it kiddies, 55!Brian - Albany, Ny
I like Sammy, as well as DLR and their respective solo work and Van Halen contributions. But let's face it, this song is about rebellion and arrested adolecence (wasn't Sammy in his late 20's/early 30's when he recorded this song?). It appealed to teenaged boys, like me at the time, as I'm sure it was supposed to. Yes, the video is funny now, but considering the MTV content at the time it's no worse than the rest. He seems to continue to live the same lifestyle twenty-some years later, but don't forget his business ventures: clothing lines, bar franchises, etc. Like Maria from Atlanta said, it's a great road trip song.Todd - Denver, Co
I have to say, the video to this one is so ridiculous, looking at it now, I laughed so hard that my /eyes/ were watery. Priceless, just priceless. I don't know if Hagar intended it that way or not, but I don't see how he couldn't have.Randy - Fords, Nj
This is a song you could call complete and total genius. And at first you'd roll your eyes. And then you'd think about it. And then you wouldn't know if I was kidding or not. Disposable as this song appears to be on the surface...who has not been there?Chris - Marana, Az
I heard that the reason he first wrote this song, was because when he travelled he liked driving himself, and most of the car's that he rented wouldn't go the speed limit of 55 or faster. That's what I heard anyway. Don't know if it is true or not. Thank God for faster cars now.Andrew - Kemp, Tx
This song created a protest by the law enforcement community when the video was
first played on MTV. They demanded equal time... MTV agreed-- for a while-- allowing public service style commericals to be played
condeming the evil act of speeding. Those
were short lived as opposed to the Hagar
video which continued to be requested and played.
Tim - Covington , Ga
I have to say that this song will always be great for those hot summer days n the road.Maria - Atlanta, Ga