Terraplane Blues

Album: King Of The Delta Blues (1936)

Songfacts®:

  • According to Dave Rubin in Robert Johnson - King Of The Delta Blues, this song in both 3/4 and 4/4 time was recorded November 23, 1936 at San Antonio, and was Johnson's big hit, selling around 5,000 copies, and becoming his most requested piece.

    According to Rubin, its sexual innuendo may have accounted for its popularity. Although this is not a particularly inspiring track, and Johnson's performance is basic, the influence of this one song on contemporary music is difficult to overstate, even for those who have never heard or heard of it.
  • The Terraplane was introduced by the Hudson Motor Company in 1932, and the association of the song with this car then cars per se and the aforementioned sexual innuendo has been one of the most consistent themes in contemporary music, especially rock from Chuck Berry riding along in his automobile with no particular place to go through the Beatles' "Drive My Car" through "Shut Up And Drive" by Rihanna. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
  • Led Zeppelin based the lyrics - car parts as sexual innuendo - for their 1975 track "Trampled Underfoot" on this song. A brief comparison:

    "Terraplane Blues":
    I'll get deep down in this connection
    Keep on tanglin' with your wires
    And when I mash down on your starter
    Your spark plug will give me fire


    "Trampled Underfoot":
    Trouble-free transmission
    Helps your oil flow
    Mama, let me pump your gas
    Mama, let me do it all

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