We’ve talked about jingles, but Friday’s feature demands a bit more volume. And for that, I’m turning to 1980s-era Volvo and their ‘I Am Rolling’ album. The fine purveyor of durable vehicles designed with nothing but a straight edge decided they would go all-out for their 60th anniversary. In 1987, the Swedish company released not just an advertising jingle, not just a song, but an entire album of Volvo-themed songs. Thirteen songs, to be exact.
Before ‘I Am Rolling’ There Was ‘The Spirit of Volvo’
The 1987 ‘I Am Rolling’ album was crafted by one man. Carl-Erik Mossberg is the one to thank, as he wrote all of the music and lyrics. But ‘Rolling’ wasn’t his first creation for Volvo. If the comments are legit, Mossberg’s son tells the brief tale on YouTube:
Dad wrote it in -82 I think, written for a Volvo Worldwide convention in Phoenix Arizona. Two years later they made a whole album with songs about Volvo and safety. So when you bought a new Volvo there would be a cassette for you in the car.@59moss, YouTube
While the timing may have been a bit off – ‘Rolling’ came out in 1987 – The Spirit of Volvo indeed came first and offers a mix of majesty and happy oompah band vibes.
From ‘Spirit of Volvo’ to ‘I Am Rolling’
If what we read in the YouTube comments can be taken as fact – and you know the internet is always right – Mr. Mossberg was then contracted to produce an entire album for Volvo, which he did indeed do. Named after the meaning of Volvo in Latin – “I Roll” – the album has such hits as “My Sevenforty Car” and “Our Estate of Mind” on its track list.
Peter Wiberg arranged and produced the album, recorded at what was then called “Studio 2” in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was made available on both cassette and vinyl for owners and enthusiasts alike. Check out the entire album here, split up by chapters in one 38-minute YouTube video:
But Then They Made a Music Video
Volvo wasn’t done when the album dropped, no ma’am. Why not make a music video showcasing the bad-weather capabilities of the vehicles they built? The Volvo “Snow Race” video is a five-minute segue into 1980s what-if-we-did video production, in which a suited man in his Volvo 240 comes across three drivers of new Volvo 740 and 760 sedans having the kind of fun we all want to have in very snowy conditions.
Translated to English, the video starts off with the narrator saying “Sometimes the most unexpected things can happen. So then it can be good to have a stable and safe car, ask Brian… he knows.”
Though Brian joins in with his 240, he can’t keep up with the three 700-series Volvos and they eventually lose him, drifting their way back in to town where the drivers are staying at a cabin. It’s then revealed that all three 700-series drivers are women, apparently out for a ski weekend together, and when Brian finally appears at their cabin, the one just shakes her head.
This entire series of song, then album, then cars flying through the air music video is something that could have only been done in the 1980s. Would today’s Volvo recreate this, with flying XC90s and V90 Cross Countrys? No way. Would anyone? Not if their lawyers had anything to say about it.
What a time. Have a great weekend, everyone.