Bad Motor Scooter

Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Running to around 3 minutes 41 seconds on the eponymous Montrose debut album, "Bad Motor Scooter" has the distinction of being the first song Sammy Hagar ever wrote. How do you follow an act like that? With the live version!

    On the original, lead guitar was by Ronnie Montrose; the live version was recorded for the 1978 All Night Long album on which Hagar did most - but not all - of the axe work. Towards the end of this track he relents "I been hoggin' all the lead here; I gotta let my man have some", and there follows a short but amazing duel with second guitar Gary Pihl. This version also features some terrific bass from Bill Church (The Electric Church), also ex-Montrose.
  • According to Ed Rivadavia of the AllMusic Guide writing about the original Montrose recording: "...the band and Warner Bros. staff producer Ted Templeman weren't terribly impressed with what they'd managed to record at the outset. The song was missing a certain something to make it stand out, and according to guitarist Ronnie Montrose, he finally stumbled upon that 'something' while messing around in the studio with a slide and fuzz box one day. With his axe in open D tuning, Montrose began improvising what became the song's trademark motorcycle rev-up riff, while Templeman and engineer Don Landee flailed frantically at him to keep going while they scrambled to start the tape rolling. Sure enough, the nearly out-of-control roaring engine effect served not only as the song's intro, but became its most distinctive and recognizable feature, and has often been replicated since." Including on the live version, which runs to around 7 minutes 4 seconds. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2

Comments: 4

  • Neverwhere Mangreat song
  • Terry from Richmond Mo.Rock-N-Roll Rock On
  • Eb from Fl KeysThis is one terrific song. Makes me happy in a young-love, giddy, fast engine kind of way. Sort of a rural-kid’s Born to Run, with the long running time, excellent jam and motor theme also bringing to mind Red Barchetta.
  • Willie from Scottsdale, AzGreat song. Sad to hear Ronnie passed away.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Protest Songs

Protest SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know your protest songs (including the one that went to #1)?

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the Song

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the SongSong Writing

How a goofy detective movie, a disenchanted director and an unlikely songwriter led to one of the biggest hits in pop history.

80s Music Quiz 1

80s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

MTV, a popular TV theme song and Madonna all show up in this '80s music quiz.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater RevivalFact or Fiction

Is "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" about Vietnam? Was John Fogerty really born on a Bayou? It's the CCR edition of Fact or Fiction.

Penny Ford of Snap!

Penny Ford of Snap!Songwriter Interviews

The original voice of Snap! this story is filled with angry drag queens, video impersonators and Chaka Khan.

Vince Clarke

Vince ClarkeSongwriter Interviews

An original member of Depeche Mode, Vince went on to form Erasure and Yaz.