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Crosstown Traffic


Jimi Hendrix

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song is about a girl who is hard to get rid of. Getting through to her that she's not wanted is like getting through crosstown traffic.
The lyrics are similar to many Blues songs in that they are filled with sexual references in clever metaphors: "I'm not the only soul, who's accused of hit and run, tire tracks all across your back, I can see you've had your fun."
This song includes a famous kazoo riff, which Hendrix originally performed using a comb and a piece of cellophane. Instead of using sounds of car horns like the Lovin' Spoonful did on "Summer In The City," the kazoo simulated the traffic nicely. (thanks, Lee - Buckley, Wales, for above 2)
Dave Mason from the group Traffic sang on this. That's him singing the high part on the word "Traffic."
Chas Chandler produced the original tracks, but Hendrix remixed them when he started producing his own music in 1968. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Jimi Hendrix
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Comments (13):

Early blues musicians used the automobile as a metaphor for a woman quite often. Robert Johnson did it more than once. Led Zeppelin did a rendition "Trampled Underfoot."
- Willie, Scottsdale, AZ
who cares about what made the sound or what the song is about...when you hear this tune you need to be riding in a 69 Z-28 feeling summer sweat sticking to you from the vinyl seat...ah jimi you did indeed symbolize that era....
- jeff, panama city , FL
Im taking a jimi hendrix rock and roll history class at my university I can tell you for certain that on crosstown traffic it is a homemade kazoo made from a plastic comb to supplement the sound of his guitar
- Brit, indianapolis, IN
this is definitely a song about sex, not a concept of sex, but about what it's actually like to have sex with this woman. i don't think this song can be simply interpreted as a "get away, i have better things to do" kind of thing...the key point is that he says "so hard to get through to you" rather than "so hard to get through you". the woman is both the traffic & the thing on the other side of it that he's trying to reach. she doesn't meet him halfway in bed, she doesn't really get into it, but she says she doesn't mind, she just wants him to f--k her. But he doesn't want to slow down OR run her over, it's not as fun for him. i think there's definitely also a message here that she needs to get with it or he's gonna leave her, but the song is much more clever than that. he can't really enjoy himself when she's putting up walls (causing traffic), it makes his signals "go from green to red". he says "I don't need to run over you", but she doesn't get it, she thinks that's what sex with him is all about, getting run over. he thinks that the sex could be so much better if she matches his speed and really enjoys herself. This song has been interpreted sometimes as having a BDSM theme, but i don't think it does. (not to knock safe & consensual BDSM, which is fine.)
that's my interpretation, and i think this song can only be fully appreciated if it's complexity & double meanings are acknowledged. i like this song even more now that i figured out this part of it. jimi was definitely a misogynist, bless his heart, but i give him lots of credit for writing so perceptively about this sexual situation. and for being a rock god, of course.
- seth, seth, Samoa
Well. to be blunt, I think the girl is having her "monthly thing"..."turned from green to red".
...and the guy is thinking of anal sex...sorry.
- John, Hamlin, NY
...there are lots of guitar tracks on this but there IS a kazoo...
- kevin, los angeles, CA
Its actually heavily layered guitar, about 12 tracks worth on the real song.
- Rob, Basildon, United Kingdom
just amazing.
- john, fife, United Kingdom
I thought the intro used a talkbox not a kazoo.
- Hendrixlover, Does it matter?, CA
Yeah, I'm not quite sure I quite agree with the songfacts. Personally I think the song's about sex, and some of the netaphors are pretty clever.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
I think this is just really basic innuendo. Not even about relationship vs. sex, i think it's just the physical aspect of sex in general. Doesn't make the song any better or worse.
- kika, nyc, NY
This whole sex is a sexual innuendo.
Ninty miles an hour, girl, is the speed I drive
You tell me it's alright, you don't mind a little pain. You say you just want me to take you for a ride. - Pretty much self explanitory when you think about it. Jimi is trying to get some booty but this girl wants a relationship and shes keeping him from "getting to the otherside of town". I'm not the only soul who's accused of hit and run. Tire tracks all across your back. I can see you had your fun.- Obvisiously its about a one night stand and Jimi bragging about how good he is in the sack.
- Maurice, Philly, PA
is the "kazoo riff" played in sync with a guitar riff?
- Cody, San Antonio, TX
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