Beep Beep (song)

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"Beep Beep"
Beep Beep Playmates single.jpg
Single by The Playmates
from the album At Play with the Playmates
B-side "Your Love"
Released 1958
Format 7"
Genre Pop
Length 2:20
Label Roulette
Songwriter(s) Carl Cicchetti, Donald Claps
The Playmates singles chronology
"Don't Go Home"
"Beep Beep"

"Beep Beep" is a novelty song by The Playmates.

Some versions feature an instrumental introduction with the refrain used before the first verse begins. The longer version usually omits this due to the slowness of the first verse which is sung.

The song is an example of accelerando, in which the tempo of the song gradually increases commensurate with the increasing speed of the drivers.[1] The song is noted for its unusual instrument that makes the beeping sounds.

Lyrical Content

The narrator, the driver of a Cadillac, is approached from behind by a Nash Rambler apparently wanting to pass. The narrator, believing that it would be a disgrace for a Rambler "about 1/3 my size" to pass a Cadillac, continually increases his speed to "show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn". However, the Rambler continues to follow closely behind the Cadillac, and ultimately pulls alongside him while both cars are going 120 mph (190 km/h).

It turns out the Rambler's driver simply wants to ask the narrator a question: "Hey, Buddy, how can I get this car out of second gear?"

The song was original, but the idea was not unique. In 1951, Volkswagen ran a TV ad in Germany in which a large (unnamed) vehicle was pursued and eventually overtaken by a VW going in excess of 160 KPH (100 MPH). When the VW slowed down and the other car caught up and was now along side it, the VW driver leaned toward the passenger-side window and said (translated from the German), “Excuse me, do you know how I get this out of first gear?” The announcer then explained that the Volkswagen could not go that fast, of course, but the idea was to show VW’s great performance. [2]


The song was on the Billboard Top 40 charts for twelve weeks, and peaked at #4.[3] It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[4] The Playmates appeared on the Milton Berle Show televised December 3, 1958, at the height of the song's popularity.[5][6]

Concurrently with this song, American Motors (AMC) was setting production and sales records for the Rambler models.[7] The "Beep Beep" song was also popular with the workers building the Rambler cars on AMC's assembly lines in Kenosha, Wisconsin.[8]

Because of a directive by the BBC that songs not include brand names in their lyrics, a UK re-recorded version of "Beep Beep" was recorded for the European market replacing the Cadillac and Nash Rambler with the generic terms the Limousine and Bubble car.[9]

In popular culture

Homage is made to the "Beep Beep" in the 1959 hit song "Jo Jo The Dog Faced Boy" with the line, "Where in the world was the little Nash Rambler?". "Jo Jo The Dog Faced Boy" was sung by featured Mickey Mouse Club singer, Annette Funicello and written by Bob & Dick Sherman and Bob Roberts.[10]

The song is sampled in the Marilyn Manson song "Misery Machine", which appears on the 1994 album Portrait of an American Family.[11][12]

In the Full House season 6 episode "Grand Gift Auto", Danny plays his guitar while singing the chorus of the song (at a much faster tempo than the original) to D.J., Kimmy, and Steve in order to create a diversion while Joey and Jesse are completing repairs on D.J.'s birthday gift, a 1977 Pontiac Firebird.

In the 2018 movie Malevolent (2018) this song and its increasing tempo are used both to denote the old haunting, and the increasing danger the protagonists are in.


  1. ^ Pica, Rae (2008). Physical education for young children: movement ABCs for the little ones. Human Kinetics Publishers. p. 38. ISBN 9780736071499. Retrieved 1 March 2015. "Beep Beep" is a song from the 1950s, performed by the Playmates, that is an example of accelerando, the gradual increase in tempo. It's great fun to perform follow-the-leader style, gradually increasing the pace of your movements along with ...
  2. ^ “Chrom veteranen – Deutsche Autos im Werbefilm” (Chrome veterans – German automobiles in commercials), DVD from Tacker Film,
  3. ^ Broven, John (2009). Record makers and breakers: voices of the independent rock 'n' roll pioneers. University of Illinois Press. p. 246. ISBN 9780252032905. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  4. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (Second ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins. p. 106. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  5. ^ Rolontz, Bob (1 December 1958). "Music as Written". Billboard. 70 (48): 7. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Milton Berle and the Texaco Star Theatre". Thomas Film Classics. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Rambler in High Gear". Time. 8 December 1958. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  8. ^ Kenosha News. That's Entertainment. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Lyrics: Jo-Jo The Dog-Faced Boy by Annette". top40db. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  11. ^ Kushner, Nick. "Marilyn Manson Subliminal Messages and Backwards Masking". The Nachtkabarett. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Marilyn Manson – Portrait Of An American Family". Discogs. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
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