One Piece At A Time – Johnny Cash

The endless news stories about the sour economy and the many problems in the auto industry got me to thinking about an old song I’ve always liked. Written by Wayne Kemp and recorded by Johnny Cash, it hit number one on jc1country charts in 1976 and crossed over to make a good showing on pop charts too.

It’s a clever little ditty about an autoworker who can’t afford one of the Cadillacs he’s helping build, so he decides to take matters into his own hands by slipping a car part into his lunchbox each night. He knows it will take time, but eventually he can build his own Cadillac using the parts he’s getting “One Piece At A Time.”

It’s a song that sort of tweaked the automakers a little, implying that their own employees couldn’t afford their high-priced product. But it also winked at the time-honored practice of helping yourself to the company’s property, and apparently Cash’s large blue-collar following didn’t take offense at that — if anything, they liked the idea.onepiece

Not long after the song hit the top, a Nashville auto dealer actually built a car to the specifications of the Cadillac in the song and gave it to Cash. In the thirty years since, the mutant Cadillac has moved from one place to another and currently resides at the Historic Auto attractions Museum in Roscoe, Illinois.


2 thoughts on “One Piece At A Time – Johnny Cash

  1. I believe we have a new look about us huh? Well….at our age a little ‘blog face lift’ never hurt anyone! The new theme looks good.

    Me being from Arkansas myself, I can’t help but wonder if John hadn’t seen a few of those classic “mix and match automobiles” locally in the river delta. 🙂


  2. Yeah, I’ve been playing with the theme of the site a little. Might still try something else as long as I’m toying with it — I want to get something I like because once I settle on something I tend to leave it alone for quite a while. (The old one had been the same for 3 years.)

    …and I know what you mean about old junker cars.


NOTE: Comments are welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s