The song's first two minutes contain everything great about rock and roll: a three-chord, mock-heroic, revved-up opening and then a head-banging rush of eigth notes; crunchy power chords; and singalong yelping about a cool car and the girl inside it. At the two minute mark, something—virtuosity, perhaps, a desire for something grand and epic—enters the song, and the calendar changes. The last 2/3 of the song is given over to intricate, carefully played organ and guitar solos, and what began as a simple but urgent rock and roll song about a highway star ends up a fussy. Organist Jon Lord acknowledges that the organ and guitar solos originated from chord sequences influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach. To my ears, the decade begins when a snotty, AM-radio garage song about a fast car and a faster girl morphs into FM-radio ornateness with elongated guitar solos from the Baroque era.
For better or for worse. What the hell, it's still a killer driving song.
Photo via Metalship.