Sammy Johns – Chevy Van… 1970’s AM Radio Gold Week

To wrap 1970’s AM Radio Gold week up…I had to include this one….so I hope you have a happy Sunday…in your Chevy Van or whatever you drive. This song takes me back to being a kid hearing on a car radio at night. I try not to repeat songs on my blog…but with this theme…I just had to include this one. For me when I think of AM radio…this is the first one that comes to mind. I posted a small post about this song 4 years ago…hope you don’t mind.

Sammy Johns re- released Chevy Van back in 1975 and it peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100,#7 in Canada and #2 in New Zealand. It is pure AM 70’s pop and it caught my imagination as a youngster.

I remember vans in the seventies…painted with all kinds of designs until the minivan came and ruined the whole damn thing.  We went from this:

460 Vans of The 70's ideas | custom vans, vans, cool vans

to this…in a blink of an eye. No place to hide in this one.

Minivans are Punk Rock. They're so uncool, they're freakishly… | by Bryan D  | Postmodern Motoring | Medium

The musicians that back Johns are the famous Wrecking Crew from Los Angeles. The song has been covered by many Country artists and most recently by Eric Church.

John’s compositions have also been recorded or covered by other artists such as Waylon Jennings, Sammy Kershaw, Conway Twitty. Jennings sang John’s composition “America” on a nationally broadcast ceremony to mark the restoration done on the Statue of Liberty. This led to the success of the single which went gold and was even nominated country song of the year.

Much more about the song at my friends Dave site.

Also this song was the theme song to the movie The Van (which yea…I have) released in 1977. It was the first movie Danny DeVito was in. I thought I would include a movie trailer to The Van. It won’t be confused with The Godfather at anytime but it’s a fun B 70s Movie.

Thank you for reading this week!

Chevy Van

I gave a girl a ride in my wagon
She rolled in and took control
She was tired and her mind was a-draggin’
I said get some sleep and dream of rock and roll

‘Cause like a picture she was layin’ there
Moonlight dancin’ off her hair
She woke up and took me by the hand
She’s gonna love me in my Chevy van
And that’s all right with me

Her young face was like that of an angel
Her long legs were tanned and brown
Better keep your eyes on the road, son
Better slow this vehicle down

‘Cause like a picture she was layin’ there
Moonlight dancin’ off her hair
She woke up and took me by the hand
She’s gonna love me in my Chevy van
And that’s all right with me

I put her out in a town that was so small
You could throw a rock from end to end
A dirt road Main Street, she walked off in bare feet
It’s a shame I won’t be passin’ through again

‘Cause like a picture she was layin’ there
Moonlight dancin’ off her hair
She woke up and took me by the hand
We made love in my Chevy van
And that’s all right with me

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

41 thoughts on “Sammy Johns – Chevy Van… 1970’s AM Radio Gold Week”

  1. When you announced your 70s AM radio theme, this is one of the first songs that came to mind. 😀 I loved this song. We never had a van, let alone a customized one, and I was envious of my friends whose parents got one. This song was the consummate fantasy for the van crowd, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes….listening to it makes me smile no doubt. It was one the first ones I thought of also…that is why I posted it again after doing so a long time ago. It just had to be in here.

      Like

      1. I agree, it’s a requirement of the list, haha. I just heard another one that was a constant on my AM radio back then. Lobo’s ‘Me and You and a Dog Named Boo’. I’m going to think of your list when songs like that come on now. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh yes….Big Tree Records I believe…My sister had the single and I can see that label right now. Also Bread’s Baby I’m- Want You. I should have made this two weeks.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. thanks for the link! I always liked this song a lot. Liked custom vans too… one of the coolest weird things about the 70s. You sure don’t see personality like that on today’s roads. I was too young though so I had to settle for magazines of them and making a plastic model one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea I had the matchbox model of one of course…never the real thing. To be a teenager back then and have a van….would have been a cool thing. After the 70s…not so much. I love those designs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember when I was 10 or 11, not only drawing some and making wild designs for them but trying to do floorplans for where I’d put a bed, fridge, speakers etc when I got mine…assuming they’d still be totally the thing to have in the 80s when I could drive!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes…that would have been so cool to have those. I heard of people putting waterbeds in them…now that would have rocked.
        Oh yea…by the 80s they got a reputation of being creepy…not minivans but regular vans which was sad.

        Like

  3. Yeah, I always liked the vibe to this song. I remember hearing it on my transistor radio with the ear piece and the fancy leather/protector. Ha! You have to be a music lover to listen to it on those things. No bass…or mid range, for that matter. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have one of those…. It’s from the bicentennial in my music room. Yea no stereo! I listened to baseball games out of St Louis with one when I was a kid in the seventies.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dallas was full of those hot bread wagons. Great artwork on most, both sides and the rear doors. A friend owned one, but he was married with children and had no idea how to utilize his prize. Shag carpet on every surface, a great 8 track with multiple speakers and a fold out bed in the rear. A sin wagon for sure. I owned a 68 VW Pop Top camper. Surfboard racks on the front part of the top and a PEACE sticker on the rear window. I was redneck bait waiting for an attack, of which there were more than a few. My now wife, but girlfriend back then, and I cruised the Texas coast in search of the perfect wave. It was a waste of time since there are no perfect waves in Texas, but we covered a lot of miles and enjoyed ourselves. We always liked that song, since, in a way, it was our unofficial theme music.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sin Wagon…I love that phrase! If you still had that VW you would have a fortune…. Yea it’s the thrill of looking. Thanks Phil…I always look forward to your memories.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I miss it. My son lives on Padre Island and recently completed customization of a 67 VW bus turning it into a surf wagon. He and my grandson are surfers, like the rest of our family.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. When I thought of Texas I never thought of surfing for some reason until I commented with you. I don’t know why I didn’t…it makes complete sense. That has to be a cool bus.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Most folks don’t connect the two. I have been surfing the Gulf of Mexico since 1962. Our waves are good and sometimes even great. Equal to California and much better than the east coast of Florida. The surfing craze didn’t hit big until 1965. Thanks to the Beach Boys everyone wanted a surfboard and a woody. I lived in Port Aransas for many years and enjoyed that lifestyle to the maximum, as my two sons did many years later. Now my grandsons surf, but the grand daughter shows no interest. “Too dangerous and there are large fish that will eat you,” she says. When I receive a picture of the bus, it will be posted.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. It takes some talent to do it. It looks easy but it’s not at all. I go down to PCB and Destin sometimes…I see a few out there while I’m there.
        I was going to ask you if you would post it one day…I love those things. Yea my wife shares your granddaughters view.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I had never heard this song, Max. Also, back in Germany in the ’70s, there was no van culture I’m aware of. Other than for commercial purposes, vans were not a thing. I guess the closest you had was the Volkswagen microvan (VW-Bus in German). Those were quite common, though not among teenagers. Of course one reason was you couldn’t get a driver’s license until you were 18.

    Instead, we had a scooter culture. You needed to get a license for those as well. If I recall it correctly, you had to be 16 years age. I inherited my sister’s scooter. It wasn’t really a scooter like the Italian Vespas. We called it “Mofa”, which basically means bicycle with auxiliary motor.

    The better Mofas could reach top speeds of around 30 to 35 mph, especially if you you had them tuned. Technically, this wasn’t allowed, but many young people did it anyway or had it done. I think one of my sister’s boyfriends did something to make her Mofa go faster.

    The other thing that occurred to me is that I never listened to AM radio. It was always FM radio from the get-go. Yes, in Germany, you could also receive radio stations via AM, but the sound completely sucked. Come to think of it further, I don’t know of anyone who listened to AM radio – certainly, none of my friends did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Was the scooter part of a mod culture thing like England had?
      Over here the top 40 was usually in AM and album stations was FM…The AM wasn’t perfect but it created an atmosphere while you were in the car. We always liked it.

      Oh…sports was on AM also.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG. Love this song! I wasn’t into vans until I met the Marine and he remodeled an extended panel van for us to travel in. It’s FUN. He wasn’t into painting it, though. I just stayed WHITE. LOL!

    I never figured Phil for a surfer but, I guess it fits. Growing up going to Myrtle Beach, I don’t really recall many surfers there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL…. I never thought of Phil like that either…with a VW bus and a Peace sign…which is really cool. The dude has done many things.

      Like

      1. Rumble links aren’t rendering. I have to go in and out of your post for the formatting to show up, correctly. Read comments where the “like” stars aren’t working.

        Gremlins, I say!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Was just listening to this yesterday on a soft pop CD. A friend had a van that was carpeted in the back. The police often pulled him over, looking for seeds in the shag. He called his van the Mystery Wagon from Scooby Doo. I learned airbrush painting because of those vans. The artwork on some of them was museum quality. I really miss that time in history.

    Liked by 1 person

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