I Can’t Drive 55 – Sammy Hagar | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#26) & Mainstream Rock (#9); 1984

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

With two straight album successes – Standing Hampton and Three Lock Box – under his belt, Sammy Hagar took a break: playing some live shows with fellow superstars Neil Schon (guitarist – Journey), Kenny Aaronson (bassist – Foghat, Dylan, others), and drummer Michael Shrieve (Santana).

The collaboration produced Through The Fire: a live album that included the turntable hits Top Of The Rock, Missing You, and Whiter Shade Of Pale. In September, a solo Sammy returned stronger than ever with a platinum album in VOA and a Top 30 single in I Can’t Drive 55; a rant against the new federally mandated highway speed limit.

Before he could release his next album, Eddie Van Halen called with a proposition too good to refuse: replace David Lee Roth as lead singer. With Sammy out front, Van Halen soared; turning out four chart-topping albums.

Despite all that success, Sammy remained true to his convictions. When the 55 mile-per-hour limit was repealed in 1995, he helped change California’s signs to 65 mph.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Ted Templeman

Lyrics Written by:

  • Sammy Hagar