Drivers Seat by Sniff ‘N The Tears (Atlantic, 1979)

One of the best dance songs in 1979 was not disco. It came from an English rock band called Sniff N The Tears. Bad name, great song. They put this single out at the end of 1978 and by the Fall of 1979, it hit the Top 20 in the US. Even though the song fits in great with the UK New Wave scene that was starting to make waves in America, the song was written back in 1973, when songwriter Paul Roberts was in another band. It was resuscitated by the drummer (of course) and a new band was formed. The drummer knew it was a hit, especially the way he pounds that snare and pushes that song through the “trick of the beat”.

Even though it’s a great song to dance to, it has a very ominous tone. Just those 4 chords on the Wurly stepping down over & over and the band singing about “the news is blue” and the helpless feeling of “what can i do?”…Three Mile Island, Gas Rationing, Iran Hostage Crisis…I’d be dancing to forget too

And when I hear this song in my car, I start hitting the gas pedal and take off!

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  1. First concert I ever attended: Sniff opening for Kansas Halloween 1979. Still have the “Monolith” T-shirt somewhere.

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