Channel 19

Todd Dills

Blame the Brits for ‘gear change hall of shame’

| September 18, 2008

Big rigs with 18 wheels, and sometimes just as many gears to change, take the heat in name only at the website Truck Driver’s Gear Change Hall of Shame. The site lists sudden and sometimes startling musical key shifts in nearly 50 years of pop, rock, country and Motown by song title, year and composer. British radio host Siegfried Baboon started the online archive in October 2003. Three months later, BBC Radio 2 recognized its popularity as “>best website of the day.” Although some say the key shift is an easy out for less-talented songwriters, parties guilty of it include it in some classics: Frankie Laine’s 1959 “Rawhide,” Stevie Wonder’s 1972 “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and Conway Twitty’s 1980 “I’d Love to Lay You Down” share a listing with Beatles hits. In an email message to iOverdrive, Baboon wrote that an acquaintance told him the key change is like changing gears. “I seemed to end up combining that with the image of gears being crunched in a particularly big truck,” Baboon said. A trivia aficionado, he published “Bears Can’t Walk Downhill” in 2006 and a sequel, “Emus Can’t Walk Backwards,” in 2007 under the pseudonym Robert Anwood. Submit songs with key shifts to . –Lucinda Coulter strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.

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Todd Dills

Todd Dills is Senior Editor of Overdrive magazine and writes from Nashville, Tenn. He frequently covers business, regulatory and lifestyle topics for the magazine and at His work on the “CSA’s Data Trail” series in Overdrive about the federal CSA program was awarded the highest honor in trade journalism – the “Grand Neal” – by American Business Media at the 2014 Jesse H. Neal Awards. Dills’ Channel 19 blog covers a grab bag of on-highway hearsay, owner-operator news and driver views from the roadways the nation over. His work in trucking journalism builds on a background of news feature, fiction and other creative writing and editing. Find him here at the Channel 19 blog and via his Twitter feed, or send tips to or via phone at 205-907-2481.


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