Chart Week: January 15, 1983
Song: “Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy” – Sammy Hagar
Chart Position: #27, 6th week on the chart. Peaked at #13 for two weeks in February/March.
One of the disappointments of the iHeart Radio Classic American Top 40 channel is that only so many of the old countdowns have been digitized and, thus, countdowns are often repeated. Sometimes I’ll hear the same one twice in a week or so. Which bums me out, as there are so many countdowns from the nearly 20 years Casey did them and we only get to hear a handful.
I’ve never paid that close attention to the countdowns that are played on our local station each weekend. Last weekend, though, I heard a countdown I know I heard a year ago. So, apparently, there is a limited pool that has been syndicated as well. Double bummer.
I know I heard this countdown a year ago because in January 2019 I wrote down an anecdote Casey shared about Sammy Hagar but never got around to sharing it with you. Hearing it again last Sunday is an obvious sign from the Music Gods that I should share it now.
Casey began by telling his listeners of Sammy’s love for fast cars. Sammy owned a Porsche, a Trans Am, and even a Ferrari. One night after a show in San Francisco he was driving to his home north of the city in his BMW. As he drove, he got more anxious about getting home, so he drove faster and faster. Soon he was traveling way beyond the speed limit. “It was a crazy thing to do, and I knew it,” Casey quoted Sammy.
Moments later, Sammy saw red and blue lights of the California High Patrol in his rearview mirror. “I’ve never been so scared in my life,” said Sammy.
It turned out that the officer who pulled Sammy over had a young son who was a music fan. He asked his dad to keep an eye out for Sammy in his bright red Trans Am, and if he ever saw him, to get his autograph. The officer called in Sammy’s license, learned it was the Red Rocker at the wheel, and when he reached Sammy’s window said, “Hey, buddy, where’s your Trans AM?” He also told Sammy that he could take him to jail he was driving so fast.
The two men had a conversation, Sammy swore to be more careful, and signed an autograph for the officer’s son. “To Don,” it read, “your dad’s ok.”
“And Sammy has been watching the speed limit ever since,” Casey closed before playing Hagar’s latest hit.
I’m sure this story, if I heard it back when I was 11, delighted me. But now all I hear is bullshit.
Sammy was just anxious to get home, that’s why he was speeding? More like it was late, the roads were wide open, and he decided to have some fun.
I also find it hard to believe Sammy’s blood was clean of any stimulants or depressants.
Being that scared implies he had never been pulled over before. I scoff at this, as well.
And he’s been sticking to the speed limit ever since? The ultimate bullshit. We were a little over a year from Sammy hitting the charts with “I Can’t Drive 55.”
Classic record label A&R PR bullshit.
I will confirm that the CHP could be extremely friendly back in the ‘80s. My family moved to the Bay Area in late 1986. My stepdad had been out there for a few months, commuting every Sunday and Thursday night. He took possession of our new home in mid-December and my mom and I flew out on the Saturday before Christmas. Our flight was late, our bags didn’t make it, and SFO was a madhouse. By the time we left the airport my stepdad was good and pissed. We got off the San Mateo bridge, turned north on I–880, and headed to our new home. Anxious to get home, he kept driving faster and faster. Soon he saw red and blue lights in the rearview mirror and pulled over.
When the officer approached he said he had my stepdad going 70 from the moment he got off the bridge. That was apparently very fast in 1986. My stepdad handed over his Missouri driver’s license with a sheepish look on his face.
The officer took a look and exclaimed, “Raytown, Missouri?!? I grew up there. Slow it down,” and he handed the license back and sent us on our way.
Believe it or not, this was Sammy’s biggest solo hit. Here is the rather odd official video for the song. I say odd because for the first minute or so we never see Sammy’s face. Until we saw he was actually singing I thought that was a choice to hide how they were playing the album track over live video to make it sound better. But Sammy was a decent singer and turns out the audio is the live track.
For some extra fun, here is Sammy performing the song with Daryl Hall on the Live From Daryl’s House series.