Driver's Seat

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"Driver's Seat"
Sniff 'n' the Tears Driver's Seat single cover.jpg
Single by Sniff 'n' the Tears
from the album Fickle Heart
B-side"Slide Away"
GenreNew wave[1][2]
  • 3:59 (album version)
  • 3:42 (single version)
  • 5:48 (12" version)
Songwriter(s)Paul Roberts
Producer(s)Luigi Salvoni
Sniff 'n' the Tears singles chronology
"Driver's Seat"
"New Lines on Love"

"Driver's Seat" is a 1978 song by the British band Sniff 'n' the Tears that appears on their debut album, Fickle Heart. The band is considered a one-hit wonder as "Driver's Seat" was their only hit.

The genesis of the song dates back to 1973 and a demo tape recorded for a French record label by singer/guitarist Paul Roberts for the band Ashes of Moon. However, that band broke up and, at the suggestion of drummer Luigi Salvoni, Roberts re-formed it as Sniff 'n' the Tears with guitarists Laurence "Loz" Netto and Mick Dyche and bassist Chris Birkin. They shopped the demo tape and signed with the small Chiswick label in 1977. Keith Miller played the Moog solo and also toured America with the band.

According to Paul Roberts, "Driver's Seat" isn't about driving, but rather "fragmented, conflicting thoughts and emotions that might follow the break-up of a relationship". One of the key decisions in arranging the song was to start with drums and progressively introduce other instruments.[3]

"Driver's Seat" reached number 15 on the American Billboard Pop Singles chart[4] in the fall of 1979, and reached the top 10 (four) in The Netherlands in November 1980.

A 12" version was released on A Best Of Sniff 'n' the Tears in 1991. The song appeared at number 1 on the Dutch Top 40 chart that same year as a result of its use in a Pioneer commercial.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1979) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 13
UK Singles Chart[6] 42
Canadian RPM Top Singles[7] 17
New Zealand RIANZ[8] 20
US Billboard Pop Singles[4] 15
Chart (1980) Peak
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[9] 4
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[10] 8
Chart (1991) Peak
German Media Control 32
Chart (1991) Peak
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[11] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[12] 1

Cover versions[edit]

In 1994, German thrash metal band Accu§er released a version of "Driver's Seat" on their Confusion/Romance EP.[13]

In 2003, Danish artist Funkstar De Luxe remixed the song in his song "Saturday".

In 2005, Belgian dance duo DHT covered "Driver's Seat" for their first full-length album Listen to Your Heart and released it as a single under the alias Dared, reaching number 33 in the Flanders Ultratop 50.[14]

In late 2014, new music production company, Bandog Entertainment released a modern up tempo version of "Driver's Seat" as their second official release.[15]

Use in popular culture[edit]

The song was featured in the 1997 film Boogie Nights and snippets of the song were frequently used by Art Bell as "bumper music" during Coast to Coast AM broadcasts. It was also used in the 2008 documentary Carrier. In 2009 the song was used in a commercial for automaker Lincoln Motor Company and in 2013 in a commercial for Bank of America. In 2012, the song was used in the TV series The Walking Dead in the episode "18 Miles Out". It is partially played in the 2013 film Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. The song has been the theme music for The Car Show on Los Angeles radio station KPFK-FM since 2010. It also still receives regular radio play on BBC Radio 2 and is a notable favourite of weekday DJs Ken Bruce, Jeremy Vine and Steve Wright. This song is used in the 1980 malayalam movie "Chamaram".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Don Breithaupt; Jeff Breithaupt (13 May 2014). Night Moves: Pop Music in the Late '70s. St. Martin's Press. p. 190. ISBN 978-1-4668-7138-0.
  2. ^ Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications. 1979. p. 102.
  3. ^ "Fickle Heart". Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Sniff 'n' the Tears > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Sniff 'n' the Tears – Driver's Seat". Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  7. ^ "RPM Volume 32 No. 3, October 13, 1979". RPM. Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  8. ^ "The Official NZ Music Charts". RIANZ. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  9. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 48, 1980" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  10. ^ " – Sniff 'n' the Tears – Driver's Seat" (in Dutch). Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  11. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 29, 1991" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  12. ^ " – Sniff 'n' the Tears – Driver's Seat" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  13. ^ "Driver's Seat Lyrics Accuser ※". Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  14. ^ " – Dared – Driver's Seat" (in Dutch). Retrieved August 1, 2009.
  15. ^ Wheeler-Harsh, Ben (4 December 2014). "Behind the Scenes Production Article – Driver's Seat".

External links[edit]