Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sniff 'n' the Tears -- "Driver's Seat" (1978)

So pick up your feet
Got to move to the trick of the beat
There is no elite
Just take your place in the driver's seat
Paul Roberts, who wrote "Driver's Seat," was a hyperrealist painter before he formed Sniff 'n' the Tears in 1977.  Roberts has divided his time between music and painting since then.

Here's his 1989 painting, "Angel Redeemer":

And here's his 2004 painting, "Making Waves":

According to Roberts, the lyrics for "Driver's Seat" were inspired "by the bewilderment felt in the aftermath of a breakup and the need to be positive."

(Say what?)  

"Driver's Seat" is an irresistible pop song, and I'm crazy about it.  It's a great song to sing along to, but I don't think the lyrics mean much of anything.  So I'm not going to quote them or analyze them or do the usual 2 or 3 lines stuff.  I'd rather just listen to it.

"Driver's Seat" is one of those radio hits that comes and goes and is largely forgotten until someone decides to use it in a TV commercial or a movie soundtrack.  For me, "Driver's Seat" rose from the dead of one-hit wonders from 1978 when it was used on the soundtrack of Boogie Nights, the 1997 Paul Thomas Anderson-directed movie about the rise and fall of the Southern California adult-film industry.

Here's the trailer for the movie:

The movie's main character, Dirk Diggler (played by Mark Wahlberg), was based on notorious porn actor John Holmes.  (Holmes, who had sex with an estimated 3000 women, died from complications caused by AIDS in 1988, when he was 44.)

Hoffman, Wahlberg, and Reilly in Boogie Nights
Despite its rather sordid subject matter, Boogie Nights was a very appealing movie -- most of the critics loved it.  The movie revived the career of Burt Reynolds (who was nominated for the best supporting actor Oscar) and made stars of Wahlberg and Julianne Moore.  The cast also includes William Macy, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Heather Graham. 

I watched Boogie Nights on DVD several years after it was released, and then watched it again with the director's commentary going.  I think that's the only time I've ever listened to the entire director's commentary on a movie DVD -- Thomas never stops talking, but he's a very knowledgeable guy, and his enthusiasm about movie, the actors, and film-making in general is infectious.

Here's the scene from Boogie Nights that features "Driver's Seat":

Here's Sniff 'n' the Tears performing "Driver's Seat":

Here's a 2005 cover of "Driver's Seat" by the Belgian dance/trance music duo, DHT (which stands for "dance house trance"):

Click here to buy the original "Driver's Seat" from Amazon:

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