When one 18-year-old Jim Peterik sang "I"m her vehicle, baby/ I"ll take you anywhere you desire to go" on The Ides that March"s 1970 hit "Vehicle," it to be coming indigenous a real, somewhat frustrated place.

But this story has actually a happy ending — and also not just because it set Peterik on the hit-making course he"d proceed with Survivor. We"ll let that tell the Story Behind the Song, in a conversation with Bart Herbison.

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Bart Herbison: all right. We"re draw close 300 illustration of “The Story Behind the Song” series. I know, prior to we ever do the interview, this is walk to be in the top three because this is absolutely one of my favorite stories behind any type of song ever. My pal Jim Peterik and it"s "Vehicle." Just tell this amazing story. 


Jim Peterik: You"ve heard this. Every time i tell it, i relive it. People say, "You"ve called this story so many times." Doesn"t matter. I love it. It"s mine life.

So, girlfriend know, I"m 17 years old. I"m a junior in high school. I"ve heard that my favorite tape was coming to Riverside Brookfield High School, the Turtles. Ns tried to acquire up the courage come ask this girl in mine homeroom class, however I was, think it or not, an extremely shy. Things adjust over the years and also I didn"t asking her. So, i didn"t understand I was around to accomplish someone really cool. I verified up early and also it was open seating, so i was there at 6 o"clock for an 8 o"clock concert close to the prior of the line wait to get in. All the a sudden, this gaggle of girls is dancing beside me, and one is cuter 보다 the next. I went, "Oh my God." There was one girl that just had these huge eyes and also she wasn"t looking at me. She was playing it cool. I said to myself, "Well, the girl"s method out of my league. She"ll never ever talk come me."

Just then, she turned roughly and said, "Aren"t you Peterik?" i go, "Yeah." 


She said, "I simply saw her band, The Ides the March, critical week. You opened up for The new Colony Six. You men were great." i go, "There is a God." my nerves damaged down and we started talking like we had actually known each other for a hundreds years. We"re talking around our favourite movies, and the other girls, as cute together they were, they simply kind the disappeared and there was simply this one girl. She was wearing orange culottes, knee socks and clunkies. Clunkies is an additional word because that saddle shoes. She saw an all-girls high school, so that was type of her thing. ...


The concert ended, and my car was parked best in front. It was a "65 Valiant, beautiful and also white. Ns said, "Hey, perform you desire a drive home?" and also she said, "Oh no. Mine dad would never ever let me execute that, but you can walk me residence to mine girlfriend"s house."

So, i walked her home, memorized she phone number, and i said, "I"ll contact you." i couldn"t gain up the nerve to call her for one more week and also she believed that I would certainly never get up the nerve to call her. We began dating, and also we went to a play in ~ the high school. We were walking ago to her house. Her mommy said, "You gain her house by 9 o"clock. I"m a stickler on that." Well, it was about 9:15, yet we almost made it. Behind Larry Millas" house, she provided me the kiss that a lifetime. She was method more progressed than ns was. Ns never had actually a kiss like that, and also I floated home as with on gossamer wings, as they say.

So, we simply kept dating and all of a sudden, she said, "You know, Jim, I"m 15 year old. You"re the very first boy I"ve ever dated. I really must see what else is the end there." It damaged my heart. Complete "whomp, whomp" moment, you know. I remained in the dumpster for months. ... 

Out of the blue, I acquire a call. "Hey, Jim. It"s Karen. Mental me?" "Yeah." "Well, friend know, it"s not a date or anything, but you know, you"ve gained that cool car. Would certainly you take me come modeling school?" She was really cute. Sure. I figured I"ll take she to modeling school. I thought, "Well, perhaps I"ll acquire a kiss or something." ns took she to modeling school and also waited exterior for an hour and a half. She comes dancing back out. Ns take she home. No kiss, a handshake. "That was really fun, Jim. Thanks." two weeks later, the very same thing happened.

BH: She didn"t even offer to pay because that the gas?

JP: Not even. Two weeks later, she phone call me again. Currently I"m starting to gain a little PO"ed. I claimed to myself, "You know, all ns am is her limousine. No, wait a minute. All i am is her vehicle, baby." ns was like "Wait a minute. Vehicle. What a unique word."

BH: I just have to say, I want to interrupt. As soon as I saw the record at the record store, i hadn"t heard that yet, the single. I"m no going come buy that, "Vehicle?" Then i heard it and went back and to buy the album.


JP: I love that. There room a pair of an excellent ones on the thing. So, ns heard this horn riff in mine head. We were really influenced by Blood Sweat and Tears by the time. We had actually the brass, The Ides the March. ... So, I had this tune written, and I saw The Ides of march rehearsal. V the horn section, we worked out that impressive arrangement. This were all high school buddy horn guys. This weren"t studio pros.

BH: i forget exactly how young you were though. You were 18 by this time?

JP: Yeah. Ns was 18. As quickly as us hit that riff, us knew we captured lightning in a bottle. We played it for our managers, and they take it us appropriate down to CBS recording on Fairbanks in Chicago and also we captured it in two takes, man.

BH: Wow.

JP: A many stories behind that because ...

BH: Now didn"t something gain erased in the studio?

JP: Yeah. Wow, you"re good.

BH: So, you"ve gained to remember this is prior to digital capturing. When you"ve lost a take, you"ve lost the take.

JP: It"s gone. Well, in ~ CBS there was the an initial 16-track recorder ever. They didn"t even know exactly how to occupational it yet. So, we had the magic take, take two. We"re choose celebrating. We"re in the lobby. We"re just having actually a Coke, girlfriend know. An technician comes down. His confront was white. He said, "Guys, ns don"t know what to tell you. I simply erased 13 seconds of your master tape."

BH: Which 13 seconds, by the way?

JP: It go from the end of the 2nd chorus every the method to the lead part. Thirteen seconds. Man I"ll phone call you, if we had to lose 13, that was good because I would certainly never have played that solo the same method again. So, we believed our careers were over. We went back up come the studio. Larry (Millas), that was very technical, sat with them together they tried come splice in take it one. Now, there were no click monitor at the time. The odds of the lining increase were prefer infinitesimal, but it did.

BH: If it had been any kind of other part, it more than likely wouldn"t have.

JP: It was like ordained. Larry come smiling into the lobby. That goes, "Come on up." So, we went in and also there that was, man. Every I had actually to execute was re-sing "the good God in heaven." but thank God for that lead part. The was one of those times when my hands to be guided, because I had actually to discover that component and i played it. It remained in the 2nd take, one take v the band, nobody of these overdubbed things choose we execute now.


That track came out and it was the fastest break hit in Warner brothers history, approximately that time. It was on the radio shore to coast. Suddenly, over there was demand for the band. Here I am, 19 year old through this time, and also I"m on the road with Led Zeppelin, thankful Dead, Allman brothers Band, Jimi Hendrix. What a miracle year to have a hit record, the summer of 1970.

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I acquired home for a tiny break. Ns still lived v my parents and also I obtained a call call. "Hey, Jim. Girlfriend know, I simply heard your "Vehicle" record."

I said, "Is this Karen?"

"Yeah. You know my voice," and also I said, "Yeah."

She said, "I"ve been thinking it over. Maybe we should start seeing each various other again." ns let her hang on the phone for prefer a genuine dramatic three seconds. I said, "Yeah, sounds good."

BH: And what happened?

JP: Well. Let"s placed it this way, 46 years later, Karen is quiet my love wife, and I"m still she vehicle. Every so frequently we"ll bring out those orange culottes. 

About the series

In partnership through Nashville Songwriters combination International, the "Story Behind the Song" video clip interview series features Nashville-connected songwriters discussing one of your compositions. For full video clip interviews with every one of our subjects, visit www.gimpppa.org/music.