The Foote Files: “Hitchin’ A Ride” By Vanity Fare

(CBSDFW.COM) – Today’s song of the week came to mind from watching CBS11 News This Morning, particularly CBS11 traffic reporter Madison Sawyer.

If you watch our early morning news and notice what Madison does sometimes, she gives that “thumbs up” pointed back to the traffic map, designed to get the viewer’s attention to what she is talking about. Well, that “thumbs up” triggered in my mind the song “Hitchin’ A Ride” by the British pop rock group Vanity Fare.

The quintet consisted of Trevor Brice (vocals), Tony Gulden (guitar), Barry Landeman (piano), Tony Jarrett (bass), and Dick Allix (drums). Formed in 1966, they were originally known as The Avengers but later took the name Vanity Fare based on the classic novel by William Makepeace Thackeray. Their first single “I Live For The Sun” charted on the U.K. Top 20 but it would be a year before their next hit, “Early In The Morning” in 1969, hitting #12 on the American Top 40 chart. But in the spring of 1970, they released “Hitchin’ A Ride” which sold over a million copies in the U.S. As was common in that day, they appeared on various TV music shows in U.S. and the U.K. They are actually still together today.

By the mid 1970s, their recording career was pretty much over although they continued to tour.

Written by Mitch Murray and Peter Callandar, the song was about a young man trying to hitchhike but just one little problem: he has no money! The song was orchestrated for two recorders (which is an instrument) and electric piano which you hear in the bridge portion of the song. The lyrics go like this:

“A thumb goes up, a car goes by
It’s nearly one A.M. and here am I
Hitchin’ a ride, hitchin’ a ride
Gotta get me home before the morning light

I got no fare to ride a train
I’m nearly drowin’ in the pouring rain
Hitchin’ a ride, hitchin’ a ride

Gotta get me home to my baby’s side
Ride, ride, ride, hitchin’ a ride
Ride, ride, ride, hitchin’ a ride”

The video I was looking for was a performance of this song on BBC’s “Top Of The Pops” but this version should do the trick!

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