Terraplane Blues

Album: King Of The Delta Blues (1936)
Play Video

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

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce PavittSong Writing

The man who ran Nirvana's first label gets beyond the sensationalism (drugs, Courtney) to discuss their musical and cultural triumphs in the years before Nevermind.

Movie Stars In Music Videos

Movie Stars In Music VideosSong Writing

Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis and John Malkovich are just a few of the film stars who have moonlighted in music videos.

Booker T. Jones

Booker T. JonesSongwriter Interviews

The Stax legend on how he cooked up "Green Onions," the first time he and Otis Redding saw hippies, and if he'll ever play a digital organ.

Daniel Lanois

Daniel LanoisSongwriter Interviews

Daniel Lanois on his album Heavy Sun, and the inside stories of songs he produced for U2, Peter Gabriel, and Bob Dylan.

Who Did It First?

Who Did It First?Music Quiz

Do you know who recorded the original versions of these ten hit songs?

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular Music

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular MusicSong Writing

Starting in Virginia City, Nevada and rippling out to the Haight-Ashbury, LSD reshaped popular music.