Rock Therapy: 118 Groovy VW Songs

 photo credit: Bethany Bee, MODEL & MURAL artist: SaGe SAGERS

photo credit: Bethany Bee, MODEL & MURAL artist: SaGe SAGERS

I think I can safely claim this is the most comprehensive collection about vintage VW songs ever.  I belong to a couple local VW groups and attend VW car shows. I made this playlist for all my VW chums. These songs cover most genres. Some are professionally done, some aren't. Some are better than others.  Some are all about the VW while others mention them in a passing lyric. Let me know which ones you like best.  

Why VW songs for Rock Therapy? Okay, that's pretty obvious: Vintage VW's are super chill. The VW Bug and Bus are cultural icons of the ideal of "peace, love and happiness, baby!" And the wonderful irony is that the Volkswagen was started by the polar opposite of that ideal, Adolf Hitler. He wanted an affordable people's car. Fortunately, he's gone and this car for the people was co-opted by the hippie movement (a group of people that he would have despised! Ha!). These songs all capture what the Bugs and Buses have come to represent to so many: "Peace, love and happiness.' They are vehicles you drive because you are in no hurry, have minimal ego, don't mind getting dirty fixing it up, and aren't afraid to figure out how to wrench on it a little... because for a long time it was poorer people (the people's car) who couldn't afford a "nicer" car. Funny thing is that these cheap little cars, weren't cheap in quality, and their design (in both form and function) was simple, elegant and brilliant. That's why they are still around, sought after, and universally enjoyed by owners and fans alike. 

Also, there's a very personal connection to VW's. If you don't know yet,  my wife and I have had our 1969 VW Westfalia Bus since we were first married over 25 years ago. My wife and her family grew up with two Bugs as well. Plus, my daughter Molly and I have been restoring her 1969 VW Bug together as a daddy-daughty project. So, we really like old VWs around here My kids have learned to drive in our Bus and all have good memories with friends cruising around town in the Bus. It became the #ChalkBus in .... and ever since the MarriageEnvy #ChalkBus has been a crowd and community fav around town and at special events. It's been featured in the news, on the radio, a rock music video, photo shoots, and now a documentary.

Following the playlist are notes on each of the songs...

Groovy Vintage VW Songs Playlist

1. Vincent Rolls, by Dave Manning

I came across this song in one of the VW documentaries, though I can't remember which one, but he's a singer/songwriter who travels from gig to gig in his Bus, Vincent. Nice tribute to his faithful companion vehicle. 

2. The Volkswagen Song, by Gord Yelich

This song is written and performed by BC singer/ songwriter Gord Yelich, and is taken from his first album "from wobbly knees." For all you Volkswagen enthusiasts out there. A love song.

3. Mabel VW Beetle, by Peter Simmons

"This is the story of Mabel, a 1959 VW Beetle." A bluesy fun tune. 

4. The Volkswagen Song, sung by Jill Adamson & Mary Elaine.

A happy little song from "Sing a song of Motor Cars," 1970.

5. VW Bug Song, by Denny Brening

A very simple acoustic punkish song. I really like it. 

6. Come and Get It / VW Beetle Song, by Cable35

A commenter clarified, "the song is called "come and get it" written and produced by cornelius hager, singer is kriz cable from the maltese punkband cable35. production: tinseltown music / germany the song is made for vw,"

7. Magic Bus, by The Who

This one isn't actually about a VW Bus, but any Bus owner considers it a theme song for sure. My Brit punk rocker VW chum Gary Pilcher's VW Bus is called "The Magic Bus." This song was also the background music in this radio spot/podcast that was done about my #ChalkBus (about half-way down page).

8. Waitin' for the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago, by ZZ Top

"Have mercy! Been waitin' for the bus all day" are the opening lyrics. Again, not about a VW Bus, but c'mon! My Bus has been broken down enough I've pleaded for mercy as I've been waiting for my Bus to work again while I've been working on it all day!

9. VW Bus, by The Newbies

I believe this song and all the pics are by the owner of the 71 bus in the pics. Nice!.

10. Down Under, by Men at Work

"Travelin' in a fried out Kombi..." is the opening line and one of my favorite opening lines of a song. For those who don't know, a Kombi is the same as a Bus. It's what they were originally/officially called as it's a combination or multi-purpose vehicle. And the opening scene of the video features a panel van bay window VW Bus. Nice. 

11. Convoy, by C.W. McCall

Somehow this became a hit song and movie in the 70s. I had this song on a 45. There was something exciting about having a big rig (there was also a hit TV show called BJ and the Bear), being a trucker, a CB radio, and knowing CB lingo. And then having a huge convoy of renegade truckers sticking it to the man was glorious anarchy. And a bit ridiculous. But what the hey... so was the 70s.

Among all these huge semi's then enters the VW Bus. See 2:42 for a Bay window VW Microbus in the video and the lyric, "Well we shot the line, we went for broke, with a thousand trucks and 11 long-haired friends of Jesus in a chartreuse Microbus."

And then on the CB you hear, "Lookie, you want to put that Microbus in behind that suicide jockey?" And the reply, "Yeah, he's hauling dynamite--he needs all the help he can get!" A VW Bus loaded with dynamite ready to blow through the state trooper barricade. In the 70s that was cool. Now that's terrorism....

12. Rapper's Delight, by The SugarHill Gang

The song isn't VW-related, but it's played by a unique record player... be sure to watch the video...

13. Camper Van, by The Adventure Babies

A happy summer afternoon tune.

14. VW Bus, by Mommy Daddy Issues

They invite a smack-talking cracker to stop giving them crap and instead join them to chill out with them in their VW Bus. 

15. The VW Campervan Summer Song, by Scouting For Girls

Man, I just love this song. I mean exactly. 

16. VW Bus Song, by F.A.M.E 1984 (Judy Winter, et al) 

With a heavy borrow from the song Wild Thing... It's in German and all I know is that Google Translate gives this translation from the description in the video, though I can't vouch for its accuracy: "a homage to the VW Bus. What we would have done without him. Have we taken time, when we were quite wide. F.A.M.E. 1984 = Judy Winter, Ian Jory, and Silvie Jung, Helmut war, Peavy Schmidt, Dieter Roehrig,"

17. VW Bus, by Litchtfeld

Another VW Bus song in German. I don't understand it, but I like it. 

18. Hippie-Bus, by Dodo

A German reggae song about a hippy bus. Yeah. They make a cool cut out VW Bus that they walk about town. Fun. The video description has lyrics if you want to copy and translate them in Google Translate... 

19. Get Away (Bulli Edition), by FRONTAL

Another VW Bus song in German. Catchy. 

20. "Ode to the Bus" AKA: Arnie's Song, by Tyler Firestone

The singer says, "lol I wrote this song because my friend Arnie from the Barrie Folk Society offered me a part for my VW Bus under one condition. I needed to write a song about THE BEST VEHICLE IN THE WORLD!!!! THE V-DUBYA MICROBUS!!! I was honored to For all you groovy people ouyt there... Here it is!"

21. Love Bug Blues, by Charles Bradley

This has nothing to do with an actual VW Bug, but we all know that they are called "love bugs" and I couldn't resist the tie in to this playlist. Besides this is some pretty dang sweet blues and I think I can safely say we've all been there...

22. Herbie the Love Bug TV Theme Song

This is horrible, cheesy and embarrassing. But I felt obligated. I mean Herbie made many of us fall in love with VW Bugs when we were kids.

23. Herbie the Love Bug Movie Theme Song

Classic island surf-style groovy 60's hip music. Instrumental.

24. Cesar Laser - Supersonic Volkswagen Beetle

This odd little number was first on Britain's Got Talent (you can watch that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT5WpGfYGuE). Give the full song a listen. In satirical Kraftwerk style, it's really quite funny. 

25. VW Beetle Song, from a film by Esso and Wolfsburg

I think I can safely say this was the very first VW Beetle song. I'd love to have this one translated from the German. A short film was made in 1949 by Esso and the Wolfsburg Volkswagen plant four years after the war. This song is sung at the end of the 58 minutes movie.

26. Beetle Love, by Volkswagen

A rather dreadful little song that I find hard to listen to... but it still has to be on this list I think mostly because of what the uploader said, "I found this on a vintage LP entitled "Volkswagen '79: Music From The '79 Intro Show" which I presume was a private issue intended solely for the VW-USA sales team." 

27. VW Song, by The Supernaturals

I quite like this one. 

28. VW Bus T3, by Kone

Another Bus song in German. For those who don't know, T3 refers to the Type 3 version of the Bus which is the Vanagon. The T1s are the first Buses with the split front windows. The T2s are the bay window buses (like mine). 

29. The Big White Van, by ???

The uploader says, "A tuneful video about a families ownership of a VW Bay type 2 camper van since 1979 until 2016 with all the good and bad times, mostly good. A catchy tune and brain worm chorus." Nice. 

30. VW Van, by Jake Owen

I was enjoying this fun country song celebrating the VW Van... then I noticed some commenters getting critical because "it's a BUS not a VAN!!!" Oh brother. Big deal. So, I shared the following comment: "For those who are getting bent that he's calling it a "van" most do call it a Bus but there are plenty in the VW Bus community who refer to owning a Bus as "VanLife." I've had my 69 pop top Westy VW Bus, aka the #ChalkBus, for 24 years now so I have a little "cred" here :-). I prefer Bus but have no prob with it being called a VW van or VW camper van as others call them. The VW Bus is also called officially the Kombi, Microbus, Transporter, Samba, Bulli, and Campmobile. Variations are Westfalias (Westy), pop tops, tin tops, high tops, Bay, Splitty, etc. It's been called a lot of things. The Bus itself doesn't care. Let it go. It's a fun, catchy song praising a great vehicle. Enjoy it."

31. Das VW Käfer, by ???

A VW Beetle song in German. No idea what his saying but the tune is catchy.

32. Mechanic, by Claire Ness

Not a song about VW's but about wrenching on them for sure, and this is from the superior web series documenting a VW Bus traveling from southern Chile to Alaska. A trip that was meant to be done in one year took four. The coolest guy and people. The show is Hasta Alaska and the channel is Kombi Life. A must watch! 

33. That Kombi Song, by Kevin Brand

A catchy tune that understands what owning a Bus is all about. 

34. The Kombi Song, by Harrison Biden

The singer says, "The song is about my first memories of surfing and our first surfing car."

35. The Kombi Song, by ???

"Try to fix it cheap she'll cost ya double..." Ha! No doubt. 

36. The Vanagon Song, by Mica Strong

Warning: Explicit Lyrics. For you T3 Vanagon lovers... The last of the VW line that understand what the Bus was about. The Eurovan was just a minivan with camp stuff inside, ya know? Or is that just me?

37. The VW Song, by Jer Grissom

Nice little acoustic song. 

38. Cute as a Bug, by Lyle Lovett

"That's when I saw her, singin' and laughin'
Tryin' to pass me in a Volkswagen
She's as cute as a bug..."

39. Sikh in a Baja Volkswagen Bug, by Grandaddy

I don't know how to explain this other than the title says it all. 

40. Amen, by Paula Cole

"I'm siphoning gass from the high school bus
Into the tank of my beat-up Bug
So I can drive away from the shouting and misery"

41. I Got Me a Lady - She Drives a Little Blue Volkswagen Car (Live), by Les McCann and His Magic Band

Cool, bluesy tune.

42. Volkswagen, by Dog Faced Hermans

A trippy, psychedelic romp...

"Volkswagen the sun
Volkswagen the moon"

43. '69 Beetle, by Bo Billy

A country boy gets an hand me down VW while all his buddies got pickup trucks... 

44. Sleeping in the Beetle Bug, by "of Montreal"

--

45. Peace and Love, by Fountains of Wayne

"Riding around in a Volkswagen van
Thinking 'bout the people upside-down in Japan"

46 & 47. Da Da Da (English and German versions), by Trio

I included this as this was made famous by the Volkswagen ad campaign.

48. A onda é a Kombi, by Henrique e Ruan

Brazilian group. The title translates from Portuguese into "The wave is the van."

49. Autobahn, by Kraftwerk

The song begins with the sound of a VW Bug door closing and engine starting up and driving off. And the album cover features a white VW Bug driving down the Autobahn in the right lane. 

50. VW Bus, Aaron Pritchett

"Impulse buy on a drive-by deal."

51. VW Bus T3 Lied

This is the Google Translation from the German lyrics. I especially like the moral of the story at the end of the song! 

"The VW Bus T3 song, played and sung by Mic, texted by Dirk, at the forumvwbus.de meeting in Clausthal, 01.-04.05.2008
Here is the text:

----------------------------------------

The bus

Once upon a time there was a little boy
he could not say a word about his tongue
he did not dream of the first kiss
but from a private bus

He grew bigger, girls came
rarely kept their names
because everything did not matter to him
Only the T3 was in sight

Finally, when the ruble rolled
and he could do what he wanted
he cleared his account
and plunged into traffic

Engine behind, boy in front
Hard music on the ears,
Finally there was time for women
there is room for bodies in T3!

And, how should it be different,
soon, child seats came in.
From the cool Love-Mobil
their cries came to a great deal

Later then, after hard years
and again, long savings
stood in front of the house hipp, hippy hurray
a dream-bear of Westfalia !!

He has sworn himself firmly
and wrote behind their own ears
never to deliver this bus
he is a part of life

Fine dust, soot and environmental zone
The boy does not itch the bean
He is happy, drives and cleans the bus
until the end .... until the end ...

.... and the moral of the story
You do not sell a good bus !!"

52. Bessie The Bus, by Stevie Bradford

"A happy little blues song." :-)

53. VW Bus Lament, by Idyltime

"Once I had a Volkswagen van
and it cost me a lot of dough..."

54. VW Bus, by Teesy & Tribe

German rap group, translated part of the lyrics on Google Translate:

"Build my 'VW bus for a motorhome
Drive through the country without a destination
Write another letter
And then I say "Bye."

55. VW Van, by Owen Steel

Guy who wished he had bought a VW Van from his high school principal but had no moolah

56. VW Bus Song, by MANNSWILD

German song. Fun vid. They say, "You are in love with your VW Bus - your heart beats for the only real Bulli. We, the band MANNSWILD from out of Germany share this passion. Here comes the BULLI."

57. Sweetheart, the VW Bus, from Kiepie & Kandas intro

Intro song from a 1980 Afrikaans movie with the song 'Die Army van Kandas' singing about Sweetheart, the VW Bus.

58. The Camper Van Song, by The John Meed Band

"Those hippies were crazy,
but they sure knew what to drive..."

59. Campervan Song, by Jimmy Lee Morris

"A waltzy homage to our first 1976 Type 2 Bay Window Campervan"

60. Camper Van Driver, by Kludo White

--

61. The Campervan Song, by Intersonic

"A song about the happiness and the despair of a good ol' road trip."

62. Campervan Song, by Dan Platt

"Song about my vw camper van."

63. Volks, Volkswagen Blues, by Gilberto Gil

A chill song from 69 or 71.

64. The Fool, by Old 97s

"He came from Phoenix in a borrowed VW bug
To be somebody or just be somebody who
Came from Phoenix in a borrowed VW bug"

65. The Boogie Man, by Kinky Friedman

"The boogie man, he's got a little piece of land,
He got a mean ol' lady keeps him gentle as a lamb.
He got a dog named Frog and a VW van"

66. I Love Planet Earth, by Eleni Mandell

"One road goes through the reservation
With one casino and one gas station
Rusted VW bug upside down
By the side of the road"

67. Hillbilly Hippies, by Montgomery Gentry

"We got some friends like us
Fill up a crew cab truck
Like an old VW bus"

68. The Great Hank, by Robert Earl Keen

"So there we were out the door
and into the city of brotherly love
Into the night,
out of sight
In a VW Bug"

69. Glory Bound, by Martin Sexton

"So I packed it up and I went to the winds
And I lived out of a VW bus for a year or two
Ain't nothing but a pipe dream and my guitar"

70. Factory, John Cougar Mellencamp

"Well I'm up every morning by 6:08
Take the Volkswagen bus up the interstate"

71. God Babe, You've Been Good for Me, by Harry Chapin

"You picked me up in your battered blue Volkswagen, babe
You laid me down on the mattress on the
Floor that was your bed"

72. Hippopotamus, by Sparks

"There's a Volkswagen microbus,
a Volkswagen microbus,
a Volkswagen microbus in my pool
A '58 microbus
A '58 microbus
A '58 microbus in my pool.
A hippie is driving,
a hippie is driving,
a trippy old hippie
poor, poor guy
A hippie is driving,
a hippie is driving,
I throw him a towel
Here, go get dry"

73. Gypsy In My Soul, by Johnny Reid

"Momma told me my daddy was a ramblin' man
I was born in the backseat of a Volkswagen van"

74. Volkswagen Van, by Wonder Coast

75. Volkswagen Bus, Alex Call

76. Volkswagen Thing, by Asylum Street Spankers

77. Volkswagen, by Bennettopia

78. Volkswagen Boogie, by Henry & The Bleeders

79. Volkswagen Blues, by Black Cassette

80. Volkswagen Breakdown, by The Plate Scrapers

81. Grey Volkswage, by Poor Man's Whiskey

82. Volkswagen Commercial, by Ryan Kulp

83. Blue Volkswagen, by Michael Beetley

84. Volks Volkswagen Blue, by Os Brazões

85. Blues to a VW Bus, Vasko the Patch

Bulgarian artist.

86. Calamine / Volkswagen Breakdown (Live), by Zigue

87. Quero Ser o Teu Volkswagen, by Balla

Translates to "I want to be your volkswagen." Hmmmm.

88. I Got a Volkswagen You Got a Cadillac, by Buzzy Beano

89. Lost in the Bush in a Broken Down Volkswagen in Nigeria, by Nikolaj Hess

90. Little VW Kafer Car, by A-OK for Kids

91. Saga of a Volkswagen Kafer Car, by Stories for Kids

Not a song, but a fun little story of the life cycle of a Volkswagen Bug for kids.

92. Blue Kombi, Davizera

93. Na Kombi, by Expresso Luz

94. Kombi 71, by Paulo Meyer and the Thunderheads

95. Kombi 72, by Paulo Meyer and the Thunderheads

96. Centennial, by Tokyo Police Club

"I'm running to catch up to that old VW
They're leaning out the back"

97. A Prince in a Pauper's Grave, by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine

"In Ford Capri Orange
And Volkswagen yellow and gold
Johnny drinks"

98. Alice's Restaurant, by Arlo Guthrie

"So we got in the red VW microbus with the shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the police officer's station."

99. Cream Green Karmann Ghia,

100. Volkswagen 1966 Novelty Songs, by Ray Pillow

101. Ol’ Ralph Bennett’s Volkswagen, by Wendy Bagwell

102. Dune Buggy, by The Presidents of the United States

103. End of the Road (‘69 Campervan), by Jimmy Lee Morris

104. Townes Van Zandt Camper Van Blues (1976 Road Song), by Frenchy Burrito


VW Songs on Spotify that aren't on YouTube

105. VW Bus Vibe$, by AJ

106. Little Blue Volkswagen, by Dean Brody

107. Transporter You a& I, by Volkswagen

108. Volkswagen Blue, by Jose Cid

109. As Great as Those Great Volkswagen Ads, by FAD

110. El Agua en la VW Camper, by El Ruido Blanco

111. Karmann Ghia, by CAPYAC

112. Karmann Ghia, by Brian Delaney

113. Meu Karmann Ghia, by Adilson Ramos

114. Blue Karmann Ghia, by Fergus McCormick

115. Tiffany Blue Karmann Ghia, by Christian Russell

116. Baby Blue, by Badfinger

While this song has nothing directly to do with VW’s, my daughter named her 1969 VW Bug that we restored together Baby Blue :-). So this is for her and her Bug.

117. Camper Van, by Joaquin Gonzalez

118. Splitscreen, by howdenjones


Honorable Mentions: Bands with VW Names, but without VW Songs:


Us and The Bus

My son's (blonde guitarist on the right) and his friend's band in high school :-) They named it as he and I were fixing up the Bus back then (before it became the #ChalkBus) and he drove it all the time. His friends all loved it, too. 

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Camper Van Beethoven


The V.W. Bus Band


The Vdub Sessions

We are a group of music enthusiasts located in Oklahoma City. We invite bands and artists to perform and create inside a green 1977 VW van. 

Here is a playlist 15 of their excellent sessions:


The Kombi Sessions

By the superb Kombi Life channel adventures. Songs played in their Kombi, but not necessarily about VWs themselves. 

Here is a playlist 15 of their excellent sessions:


LOOK FOR MORE HERE: 

https://www.lyrics.com/lyrics/VW

https://www.lyrics.com/lyrics/volkswagen