Crosstown Traffic

Album: Electric Ladyland (1968)
Charted: 37 52
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
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Comments: 14

  • Johnnytucats from ListeriaThe stuttering guitar of the intro and turnarounds reminds me of someone clearing his/her throat before speaking.
  • Willie from Scottsdale, AzEarly 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."
  • Jeff from Panama City , Flwho 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....
  • Brit from Indianapolis, InIm 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
  • Seth from Seth, Samoathis 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.
  • John from Hamlin, NyWell. 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.
  • Kevin from Los Angeles, Ca...there are lots of guitar tracks on this but there IS a kazoo...
  • Rob from Basildon, United KingdomIts actually heavily layered guitar, about 12 tracks worth on the real song.
  • John from Fife, United Kingdomjust amazing.
  • Hendrixlover from Does It Matter?, CaI thought the intro used a talkbox not a kazoo.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScYeah, 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.
  • Kika from Nyc, NyI 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.
  • Maurice from Philly, PaThis 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.
  • Cody from San Antonio, Txis the "kazoo riff" played in sync with a guitar riff?
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