Artist: Vanity Fare

Hitchin a Ride ~ Vanity Fare

Vanity Fare (due to the similarity of the novel and magazine title often misspelled Vanity Fair) were a UK pop/rock group formed in 1966, best remembered for their million selling song, “Hitchin’ a Ride,” which became a worldwide hit in 1970.

School friends Trevor Brice (vocals), Tony Goulden (guitar), Dick Allix (drums) and Tony Jarrett (bass) formed the band in Kent in 1966, originally calling themselves The Avengers. They played local clubs and were spotted by entrepreneur Roger Easterby who became their manager and producer. Having changed the name of the band to Vanity Fare after the novel Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, they signed to Page One Records. Vanity Fare achieved a UK hit single with their first release, a cover of “I Live For The Sun” (originally recorded by The Sunrays in 1965) in the summer of 1968. Following two more singles, “Summer Morning” and “Highway Of Dreams,” both of which failed to make the UK Singles Chart, they released their biggest UK hit “Early in the Morning”. Written by Mike Leander and Eddie Seago, it reached number 8 in that country in August 1969 and number 12 in the US in early 1970.

For their next release “Hitchin’ A Ride” they added keyboardist Barry Landemen to the group. “Hitchin’ A Ride”, written by Peter Callander and Mitch Murray, gave them a second million-selling hit reaching number 5 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and making number 16 in the UK in January 1970.

The hit was preceded by a tour of the United States, following which both Dick Allix and Tony Goulden left the band and were replaced by guitarist and singer Eddie Wheeler and drummer Mark Ellen.

Two more singles followed before the end of 1970; Mike Leander and Eddie Seago’s “Come Tomorrow” and Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway’s “Carolina’s Coming Home” both of which failed to dent the charts on either side of the Atlantic.

Over the next couple of years more singles were released including Tony Macaulay’s “Better By Far” in 1972, but none of them entered the charts. Following this they decided to concentrate on live performances touring Europe, where they were having hit singles. Following the mid 1970s, and amid many band member changes (including the departure of Jarrett, replaced by Bernie Hagley), the group recorded only sporadically. In 1986, the band attempted to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest, finishing third in the UK heat of A Song for Europe, with the song “Dreamer” featuring Jimmy Cassidy on vocals, Phil Kitto on keyboards alongside long time members Ellen, Wheeler and Bernie Hagley. In 2007 they toured alongside P. J. Proby.

They are still together today with a line-up of Hagley, Wheeler, Ellen and Steve Oakman.

Hitchin’ a Ride

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/vanity-fare-hitchin-a-ride.flv[/flv]

A thumb goes up, a car goes by
It’s nearly 1 a.m. and here am I
Hitchin’ a ride, hitchin’ a ride
Gotta get me home by 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

Long distance call I got today
She sounded lonely so I’m on my way
Hitchin’ a ride, hitchin’ a ride
Gotta get me home, keep her satisfied

instrumental break

Ride, ride, ride, hitchin’ a ride
Ride, ride, ride, hitchin’ a ride

A thumb goes up, a car goes by
Oh, won’t somebody stop and help a guy?
Hitchin’ a ride, hitchin’ a ride
Been away too long from my baby’s side

Ride, ride, ride, hitchin’ a ride
Ride, ride, ride, hitchin’ a ride

Ride, ride, ride, hitchin’ a ride
Ride, ride, ride, hitchin’ a ride

Ride, ride
Ride, ride
Ride, ride
Ride, ride

  • Audio from the 1969 single, Hitchin’ a Ride, re-recorded and released on the 1975 album, Hitchin’ a Ride:

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