Brand New Cadillac

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"Brand New Cadillac"
Single by Vince Taylor and his Playboys
A-side "Pledgin' My Love"
ReleasedApril 1959 (1959-04)
Genre Rockabilly [1]
Label Parlophone R4505
Songwriter(s) Vince Taylor
Vince Taylor and his Playboys singles chronology
"Right Behind You Baby"
"Brand New Cadillac"
"I'll be your Hero"

"Brand New Cadillac" (also recorded as "Cadillac") is a 1959 song by Vince Taylor, and was originally released as a B-side. Featured musicians on the released recording were: Joe Moretti (guitars), Lou Brian (piano), Brian Locking (bass) and Brian Bennett (drums). While not successful in the UK, it got a huge surge in popularity in continental Europe, especially the Nordic countries, with acts such as The Renegades and Hep Stars bringing it to number one in Finland and Sweden respectively. Another Swedish act, the Shamrocks brought the song to number one in France.


Vince Taylor's record company eventually learned of these recordings and copyright claims ensued. The case was settled on agreement to add Taylor's name to songwriting credits alongside The Renegades members—sharing the royalties equally. [2] Neither Hep Stars nor Shamrocks were aware of Taylor's original version at the time of recordings. Therefore, it is possible to find their 1960s recordings credited either to (Kim) Brown-(Denys) Gibson- (Ian) Mallet-(Stuart Graham) Johnson or Brown-Gibson-Mallet-Johnson-Taylor. (Denys Gibson should not be confused with Terry Gibson of Downliners Sect.)

Hep Stars version

Single by the Hep Stars
from the album We and Our Cadillac
B-side "Mashed Potatoes"
ReleasedMarch 1965
RecordedFebruary 1965 [3]
Studio Dieke Musik store
Fruängen, Stockholm
Genre Rhythm and blues
Label Olga
  • Denys Gibson
  • Graham Johnson
  • Ian Mallet
  • Kim Brown
Producer(s) Gerhard Dieke
The Hep Stars singles chronology
"Farmer John"
"Bald Headed Woman"

Swedish rock group Hep Stars recorded "Brand New Cadillac" as a single in February 1965. Hep Stars promptly followed the Renegades rendition of the song, and shortened the title down to simply "Cadillac", with the Renegades gaining songwriting credits for the recording. [4] It was later revealed that Hep Stars were not aware of Taylor's version of the song. [5] Lead singer Svenne Hedlund had heard the Renegades version on Swedish radio show Nordisk Skivdisk, and saw the potential of it. [6] His views were not shared with manager Åke Gerhard, who considered the song "a real piece of shit." [6] They persuaded Gerhard by telling him that "if he didn't want it, perhaps some other record label would be more willing." [6] The single version was recorded in the basement of a record store in the Stockholm suburb of Fruängen, with owner Gerhard Dieke producing the session. [7]

During the time, Hep Stars had released only one single prior, in 1964. That was "Kana Kapila", which only reached number 26 on Tio I Topp. [8] The group would then cut six other recordings in late December 1964, their first session with Benny Andersson on keyboards. [9] However, they were still virtually unknown at this point. It wasn't until they appeared on a frantic episode of Drop-In on the 23rd of March 1965 that their popularity started growing. [6] Their song "A Tribute to Buddy Holly" had been released in February of that year, and quickly rose to the charts in late March following their appearance on Drop-In. It became their first chart hit, reaching number 5 on Kvällstoppen, remaining on that chart for ten weeks. [10]

Olga Records then promptly released three singles in late March, those being "Summertime Blues", "Farmer John" and "Cadillac". While "Summertime Blues" failed to chart altogether, both "Farmer John" and "Cadillac managed to reach number one on Kvällstoppen. [11] "Cadillac" entered the charts on the 13th of April 1965 at number 9, and reached the top-5 two weeks later at number 3. [12] The following week it went to number 2 and it finally reached number one two weeks later, on the 18th of May that year. [12] It peaked for one week before reaching number 2 once again. [12] It exited the top-5 on the 15th of June and the top-10 on the 29th of June. [12] It was last seen on Kvällstoppen on the 13th of July at a position of 19. [12] In total, it spent 14 weeks on the chart, 11 of which were in the top-10. [12] 7 of those weeks it stayed in the top-5. [12] It fared similarly well on Tio I Topp, where it stayed for 12 weeks, peaking at number one. [13]

The group recorded three versions of "Cadillac" in 1965. The first version was recorded in February 1965, and was the single release. On this version, Andersson plays rhythm guitar as well as his ordinary keyboards. [4] [9] This was due to the fact that regular guitarist Janne Frisk was not present at the recording session. [5] A proper studio version was later recorded as the title and opening track of their debut album We and Our Cadillac , which was released in September 1965. This version features overdubbed tambourine as well as a more audiable organ solo, something not very evident on the single version. [14] [15] The third version was recorded live on 7 or 8 August 1965 at either Trollhättan or Västerås folkpark. This version opens with Hep Stars' tour manager Lennart Fernholm shouting out the band members names to a hysteric audience. This version was included as the opening track of Hep Stars on Stage in November 1965. [16] [17]

The single was well received. In a retrospective review, Bruce Eder of AllMusic states that ""Cadillac" was a good representative of the group's sound during this period, a piece of lusty, bluesy garage rock. dominated by an agonized lead vocal, somewhere between Gene Vincent at his most quiet and menacing and David Aguilar of the Chocolate Watchband doing his best anguished teen emoting, and some very prominent organ riffs by Andersson. The group sounded sort of like a Swedish Paul Revere & the Raiders with a little more lyricism than that comparison implies." [18] The track was the second most successful release in Sweden of that year, only surpassed by the Rolling Stones "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" [19] "Cadillac" undoubtedly became one of Hep Stars biggest singles of the 1960s, and it is today often considered their signature song along with "Sunny Girl" and "I Natt Jag Drömde". [20] [21] The song remains a staple in Hep Stars repertoire to this day.


Single version

We and Our Cadillac version

Chart positions

Chart (1965)Peak


Sweden (Kvällstoppen)1 [12]
Sweden (Tio I Topp)1 [13]
Norway (VG-lista)1 [22]

The Clash version

"Brand New Cadillac"
Song by the Clash
from the album London Calling
ReleasedDecember 14, 1979
Genre Punk rock, rockabilly
Label CBS, Epic
Songwriter(s) Vince Taylor
Producer(s) Guy Stevens

The Clash covered it on their third album, London Calling (1979). The song was the first to be recorded for the album. The band cite the song as "one of the first British rock'n'roll records" and had initially used it as a warm-up song before recording.

Charting covers

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