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Author Topic: (07) The Car Was the One 3.55  (Read 9503 times)

OfflineHoops McCann

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(07) The Car Was the One 3.55
« on: March 07, 2015, 02:13:54 am »

The Car Was the One (Mark Knopfler) (3.55)


In summer ’63 I was staying alive
hanging at the races, hoping to drive
When they were done with the weekend and loading the cars
I couldn’t get a pass so I went to the bar

I’m up in the corner nursing a beer
who should come laughing and joking in here
but Bobby Brown, the winner of the sports car race
with some friends and a girl, man, she lit up the place

Bobby was a wild boy – one summer
he knocked down a motel wall with a hammer
He’d do anything – one night for a bet
he raced through the cornfields in a Corvette

I thought it’s got to be a thrill to be like that
with the beautiful girl and be king of the track
But the truth is when all was said and done
it was his Cobra I wanted – the car was the one
It was his Cobra I wanted – the car was the one
The car was the one – the car was the one

Song lyrics © Mercury
Reprise (USA)

CHORDS:  The car was the one


This one hits close to home because I live in New Jersey and just happened to stumble across this old article from 2010 about The Car Was the One. It seems this wasn't posted before. No amazingly rare details but still a neat article about the ideas behind the song.

British recording artist creates latest song in honor of deceased N.J. racecar driver
As a boy, Mark Knopfler spent class time at Gosforth Grammar School in Newcastle, England, drawing race cars, motorcycles and guitars, and dreaming.
At about the same time, Mark Donohue was at Brown University, where his car drawings were more elaborate. He was an engineer, and his dream was to make race cars go infinitely faster, with his foot on the pedal and hands on the wheel.
Mark Donohue died 35 years ago at the height of his career, a few years before Mark Knopfler became a success. The two men never met, but share much. Artistic drive. Technical perfection. All the things that boost talent into the highest strata of accomplishment. A new song by Knopfler captures the essence of Donohue’s life in a way described as "amazingly intuitive" by one of Donohue’s sons.
"For my father, the car was the one," said David Donohue, a race car driver whose Brumos Porsche team won the "24 Hours at Daytona" last year, 40 years after his father won on the same track. "The car was the one, racing was the one, winning meant everything. And that came with a price. In the end, a tragic price. I think an artist like Mark Knopfler must understand that kind of singular focus, and probably has paid some prices of his own."
Mark Knopfler’s guitar drawings came to life with his dreams. Whatever he drew, he mastered. The iconic photographs of Knopfler, show him slinging any number of Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters, or Gibson Les Pauls. Posed or playing, the guitar is always there. When he was leading Dire Straits, when he went "Neck and Neck" with Chet Atkins, and still today as he builds his legend as a songsmith and storyteller, with new releases every bit as good as the last.
The iconic photographs of Mark Donohue show him with winner’s wreaths round his neck and sterling trophies in his hands. At Indianapolis and Daytona, and Watkins-Glen and Talladega and Riverside, and any number of places in between. Whatever he drove, he made faster. The No. 66 Indy Car. The AMC Matador stock car. The Porche 917-30, unbeatable on the Can-Am circuit. On that one, he helped engineer a booster which jumped horsepower from 1,100 to 1,580 instantly.
The song, however, is about none of those images. It is about a young racer trying to get a break, on the outside looking in, his dreams out of reach. It was inspired by a short piece in Donohue’s autobiography "Unfair Advantage."
"That passage jumped out at me, really, because of the frustration he felt," Knopfler said this week before a show in Denver, heading east to our area for a handful of dates in early May.
"He was young and trying to get noticed as a driver, and was so frustrated. And I related it to when I was young, and desperate to play music. And how do I get my hands on a good guitar? And the proper amps? And get a band together? You’re dying to get going, but you just can’t."
The loneliness of such dreams is reflected in the opening notes of "The Car was The One," played on a 1954 Stratocaster. They are powerful and isolated, like a muscle car on a desert highway; hot, stark, and uniquely American.
"The twang’s the thang," Knopfler said referring to a 1959 Duane Eddy record.
They bring an image of a crew-cut Mark Donohue leaning on a Cobra in a fireproof suit splashed with logos.
"Mark Donohue was the catalyst for all that we have achieved at Penske Racing," Roger Penske said "It was Mark who set the standard."
A standard driven by that singular focus.
"He lived above the offices at Newtown Square (the Penske Racing shop)," Penske said. "He was a guy who would work day and night to be certain the car was completely prepared for the race."
Mark Donohue died on Aug. 19, 1975, after a practice run crash for the Austrian Grand Prix. At that time, Mark Knopfler was in a band called Cafe Racers, three years away from "Sultans of Swing" becoming an international hit, and the man who riffed it became rock’s next great guitarist.
Among Knopfler fans are David Donohue and his brother, Michael, who were not aware of the genesis of "The Car was The One" until contacted for this column.
"My son Mark plays guitar, and he grew up on Mark Knopfler’s music," said David, who lives in Pennsylvania. "To know Mark Knopfler found my father’s life inspirational, well, frankly, it’s an honor."
"This is a thrill. My dad would be proud his legacy is remembered like this," said Michael, who lives in Texas.
Mark Donohue is buried in St. Teresa’s Cemetery in Summit. Fans still come. Three Matchbox race cars have been left on the headstone shelf -- one a Porsche 917 replica -- and an Indy 500 souvenir checkered flag sticks out of the flower bed.
"One guy drives up in a red Lamborghini with Pennsylvania plates," said Martin Maulbeck, who maintains the grounds. "He comes around every couple of months."

« Last Edit: November 10, 2019, 09:29:50 pm by shangri la 1 »

Offlineshangri la 1

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Re: Article About The Car was the One
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2015, 02:50:14 am »
 :clap :wave :thumbsup Thanks Dan!
Great find. One of my favorites on the record.
I love the way Mark D's son didn't know that the track was a tribute to his dad, until he was approached for this story, and that MK was such a fan.

PS writing this listening to it in a whole new light!  :thumbsup


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Re: Article About The Car was the One
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2015, 08:29:12 am »
Thanks Dan.
"You can't polish a doo-doo" - Mark Knopfler


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Re: Article About The Car was the One
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2015, 06:27:33 pm »
Just seeing this now...  What a nice find, Dan!! -- Thanks for posting!

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Re: Article About The Car was the One
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2019, 07:26:31 pm »
Great article. Thank you.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2019, 07:57:18 pm by Robson »
I know the way I can see by the moonlight
Clear as the day
Now come on woman, come follow me home

Offlineshangri la 1

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Re: (07) The Car Was the One 3.55
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2020, 01:08:15 am »
This is the book "The unfair-advantage - by Mark-Donohue (mentioned by Hoops McCann above)

Rocky Design:- AMIT  TV subscriber described it this way:- "I was standing in all those places around Road America just yesterday. The woods, the bridge, that ribbon of asphalt, it’s all still there." + "I just realized that the lyrics are basically Chapter 6 of Mark Donohue’s book The Unfair Advantage. The song and video-genius!"

« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 01:11:58 am by shangri la 1 »


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