With Your Chrome Heart Shining… Long May You Run

It’s pretty well known that musician Neil Young is a car enthusiast, albeit one who drives to the beat of a different drummer. Young has been a big booster of the electric car phenomenon, most notably funding the development of LincVolt, an micro-turbine powered series hybrid 1959 Lincoln Continental. Young was the keynote speaker at the 2010 SEMA show and he brought LincVolt along with him. Sadly, a few weeks later a poorly designed wall charger for the car caused a fire in Young’s warehouse where the car was being stored. Though most of Young’s keepsakes from his career were saved, the car was heavily damaged. One good thing about 1950s American cars, though, is that even when burned up, the shells are usually restorable, so Young and his team have started over, using the rebuild as an opportunity to reengineer the drive system with current state of the art components and batteries.

With that kind of car guy dedication to a project, I suppose it shouldn’t surprise us that Young has touched on the automotive world in his songs. While following a link on Murilee’s post at TTAC about HearseCon, I discovered that Young’s Long May You Run, which at first hearing seems to be about an old friend or lover, was really written as a tribute to Young’s first car, a 1948 Buick Roadmaster hearse. He used it to haul his guitars and other musical equipment around and ran it till it died. The song mentions that its subject may have moved on to the surfer crowd. Though used hearses may not have been as popular as woody wagons, still it was not uncommon to find them at the beach when the surf was up.

We’ve been through
Some things together
With trunks of memories
Still to come
We found things to do
In stormy weather
Long may you run. 

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes
Have come
With your chrome heart shining
In the sun
Long may you run.

Well, it was
Back in Blind River in 1962
When I last saw you alive
But we missed that shift
On the long decline
Long may you run.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes
Have come
With your chrome heart shining
In the sun
Long may you run.

Maybe The Beach Boys
Have got you now
With those waves
Singing “Caroline No”
Rollin’ down
That empty ocean road
Gettin’ to the surf on time.

Long may you run.
Long may you run.
Although these changes
Have come
With your chrome heart shining
In the sun
Long may you run.

 

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