This page contains a mish-mash of information and ideas about the truck driver's gear change which don't relate to specific songs. I've divided it into the following sections to help make some sense of the mess.
Reviews and what other websites said
Other terms to describe the gear change
Ideas for websites
Many people have suggested songs which should be included on the site, by e-mailing me
on firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course,
I am pleased to receive additional comments even if I don't always have time to
reply and bizarrely I often find myself more amused by the negative feedback than
the positive. Having said that, if you really find yourself unspeakably offended by my
attitudes and opinions, and are so hot under the collar that you can't take it as a bit
of light-hearted fun, do bear in mind that the web is quite a big place these days, and
I'm pretty sure that there are other sites out there that you could derive more enjoyment from.
To put it another way: no, I am not going to take my site offline because you think I'm
arrogant, wrong, unfunny, a tedious anorak, or the sworn enemy of your favourite band.
But just for the record, I probably am all of those things.
Anyway, here's a selection of e-mails I've been sent since launching the site.
From Charles A:
Your web site rocks. You are doing God's work.
Thanks Charles though it's annoying to think that God just sits back and lets other people do his stuff, rather than doing it himself.
From someone called possibly Linda:
do not know where i signed up but dont think it was me because i know how to spell my last name
My advice is to work on the punctuation first, and then fine-tune the specifics of your name.
Elissa e-mailed me to say:
Don't call Michael Jackson "wacko jacko". It's pretty disrespectful.
Yeah, he's weird, really weird. But come on, the man is a legend. Thanks.
I'm not going to retract "wacko jacko", but by way of a disclaimer I acknowledge
Michael Jackson's legendary status, along with the fact that he has made some
quality records in his time.
Repeat contributor Xanadudldu asked:
Are you related to Vidal Baboon?
I can officially deny any connection between myself and Vidal. However, I do share 99% of my DNA with
Rupert Everett's orangutan from Dunston
|Reviews and what other websites said
Jeroen Thijsen and Dutch TV personality Wim de Bie have (or at least, used to have)
an item called "Evergreens" in which they discuss musical clichés. In one of these items
they discussed the concept of the Truck Driver's Gear Change. The full recording is available
(in Dutch) via bieslog.vpro.nl.
Not long after the site was launched, it was selected as a Yahoo! Pick of the Day. Thanks Yahoo!
In 2003 Miles Mendoza featured gearchange.org as a
Website Of The Day
on Steve Wright's BBC Radio 2 show; at the end of the year it was given the
2003 Website Of The Day award in the Music category. Here's hoping some mention makes it into
Miles Mendoza's upcoming Website
Of The Day book!
Also in 2003 there was an article about gearchange.org in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
which you can read in full on their
In 2004 I did a short interview with Canada's
National Post. I've reproduced
a copy of the article here.
The site was mentioned in 2006 by Alan Cross during his radio series
The Ongoing History of New Music. Go to "Listen To Past Shows"
and check out "How To Talk Like a Rock Snob 6", segment 2 (original broadcast date: 10 September 2006).
|Other terms to describe the gear change
Since launching the site back in 2003, many people have contacted me to say "I've always laughed when songs
do that thing, and I'm so glad you've finally given me a phrase to describe it". Others, however,
already had their own terms for what I call the truck driver's gear change. Unfortunately, I can
only remember one at the moment:
Someone called Doug says that for many years he has referred to the phenomenon as
the Christian Key Change. He explains: "This was after doing some gigs in holy-roller churches.
Every freaking tune was full of these ridiculous ascending half-step modulations.
You'll catch it in lots of 'Contemporary Christian' music and almost every tune in any
Easter or Christmas pageant at a 'progressive' church or whatever they call themselves."
- Once upon a time, allmusic.com was
probably the best source for reliable information on artist biographies and song details.
- But since then, the excellent Wikipedia has become
such an all-encompassing resource that it is rapidly becoming even better as a place for checking
hard facts about release dates and the like.
Every now and then I think up another, equally stupid, idea for a website.
Fortunately for you, I'm too busy to do anything about it, but here are a couple
of ideas feel free to take me up on the challenge and launch such a website
yourself. Or if someone has already got round to it, which they probably have, let
- Talkie bits. Come on, surely someone out there wants to do a site with samples of
classic "talkie bits" in the middle of songs? You know, like "They say, Martin, maybe one day you'll find true love"
from ABC's "The Look of Love".
- Whistlie bits. Whistling really irritating, isn't it?
Any such website would have to include "Over My Shoulder" by Mike & The Mechanics and
"Wind of Change" by The Scorpions. (Incidentally, is "whistlie" even a word?)
- Songs with cowbells: something I have long hoped for has finally been created! And to
a worryingly thorough extent. Check out
- Songs that sound like other songs. A guy I know called Curt (real name Alex) keeps saying he's
going to do this site, but I've yet to see it appear. My candidates would include that bit leading up to the chorus of
David Bowie's "Starman" that sounds like the end of the chorus of Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman". Or the start of
Steely Dan's "Any World (That I'm Welcome To)" and the start of Frank Zappa's "The Planet Of My Dreams".
In fact, on the subject of songs that sound like other songs, Caren H has written to me to point out that
there are some resources out there, such as a forum on eBaum's World (although
speaking of eBaum's World, I don't think anything will ever surpass the Al Pacino Soundboard); an article about "The Boulevard
of Broken Songs"; and, most comprehensive of all, Similar-Sounding Songs on Thomas Irvin's website. So,
somebody out there can be bothered! Caren also drew my attention to two Nickelback songs played simultaneously and
an entertaining mash-up of Green
Day and Oasis, with a little dash of Eminem and Aerosmith...
Meanwhile, contributor Mark W has suggested a number of his own "ideas for websites", as he is
probably also too busy to actually set them up for real. Which is, arguably, a shame:
- Songs that are just one riff all the way through. Mark suggests "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (Bob Dylan and numerous covers); "Sit Down" (James);
"Smokestack Lightning" (Howlin' Wolf); "Hey Joe" (Jimi Hendrix and many others before and after);
"Sweet Home Alabama" (Lynyrd Skynyrd); "Promised Land" (Chuck Berry); "What Goes On" (Velvet Underground);
"BBC" (Ming Tea, from the Austin Powers soundtrack).
- Songs that are just one CHORD all the way through. As Mark points out, any such selection
of songs would represent the perfect antidote to an evening's worth of gear changes. Possible
candidates include "Connected" (Stereo MC's); "Welcome To the 21st Century: So Glad You Made It!!"
(Sigue Sigue Sputnik); "Wang Dang Doodle" (Howlin' Wolf); and "Ain't No Fun
(Waiting Round To Be a Milionaire)" (AC/DC).
- Totally unnecessary fades: not only do these guys have no idea how to do the middle bit,
they have no idea how to end the song either. Mark's picks include "English Dream" (Generation X),
where the repeat-till-fade is nearly 30 seconds long and, he points out, if you listen closely
enough, they actually do a proper bash-boom-bang end a millisecond before it fades out for good. Not
to mention "Calling Elvis" (Dire Straits), where the fade is about three minutes long ("half
the bloody song!")
- Finally, my favourite of Mark's suggestions, because of the snappy proposed title for the site:
Songs with clapping in them where the clapping is out of time and sounds
like shit. He singles out the Rolling Stones as repeat offenders (e.g. "Shattered"), while also
naming and shaming "Take the Money and Run" (Steve Miller Band) and, er, "The Clapping Song" by Shirley Ellis.