Hate Crime: Trooper’s The Boys In the Bright White Sports Car

The world is a negative place. Now, more than ever.

People shroud themselves in the darkness and seemingly, purposefully, avoid the light, step into the raindrops, not between, or betwixt.

So. What can you do?

Well, you can be blithely ignorant Sister Mary Fucking Sunshine and forcefully love the shit out of everything including kitties and unicorns and crocheted owls, or you can lean into that hate, lance that boil, vent that spleen and have some fun doing it.


After all of the positive-ishness — or not — that precedes this column, please know monthly you can come here, to this spot, to this page, to read a journalist, musician, actor, politician, athlete, chef, activist, comedian and, maybe, one of (dismissive wave) you people, to talk about an artistic experience that left them scarred, violated, angry and in need of some payback.

We’re talking about something they harbour an unhealthy haaaaaate for — the worst song, album, concert, film, TV show, episode, finale, theatrical presentation, sporting experience or any other entertainment thing (we’ll have to call an audible on that definition) they’ve ever witnessed.

Kicking things off is the usually docile and buttoned-down former Calgary music journalist and editor Mr. David Veitch, who inspired this new monthly feature with how passionate, profane, eloquent, caustic and uncharacteristically full of vitriol he was in this diatribe about a goddamn Canrock fucking classic.

How does that not inspire a lasting legacy?

One we’re happy to embrace and hope you fully enjoy.


It might not be the worst song of all time. But. The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car. To say it has no redeeming qualities is probably the most generous thing you can say about it. Because, frankly, I don’t think most Canadians have yet to come to grips with its depths of wretchedness and wrong-headedness. It’s a cultural blight that many of us don’t notice anymore because of its enduring, undeserving ubiquity on Canadian airwaves. 

But let’s start with the facts. The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car originally appeared on Trooper’s 1976 album, Two for the Show, and was re-recorded for the Canadian band’s 1979 best-of, Hot Shots; and released as a single. The song lingered on RPM’s Top 100 singles chart between June and October 1979, peaking at a modest No. 25 in August. So, yes, the song had only middling success — not quite the feel-stupid hit of the summer — that nevertheless has been bestowed with immortality. Why? Because the song runs three minutes; as such, it is long enough to meet CanCon requirements (making it a staple on Canadian classic-rock radio stations) and too short to be considered a possible war crime. It was written by the band’s singer and guitarist, Ra McGuire and Brian Smith, respectively.

The song starts with the chorus:

“Here they come

“The boys in the bright white sports car

“Waving their arms in the air

“Who do they think they are?

“And where did they get that car?”

You heard that correctly. McGuire and Smith rhymes “car” with “are” and then rhymes “are” with “car.” Genius, that.

Still, this opener sets the scene. There are boys – not sure who they are yet, or how many – and they’re waving their arms in the air. (It’s never made clear if they’re sticking their arms out windows, or driving in a convertible with the roof down.) “Who do they think they are?” McGuire asks, as if waving arms in the air is a privilege reserved only for certain people. Then McGuire — without evidence — suggests a crime has been committed. “Where did they get that car?” he asks while, presumably, clutching his pearls. 

We move on. McGuire soon reveals who’s in the car. 

“It’s jack-of-all-trades Stan

“And Jerry’s a garbageman.”

At this point, we realize McGuire is a condescending prick. To me, Stan sounds like a handy guy. I bet he can do some carpentry. Do some plumbing. Maybe he’d even help you fix your car. He’s a jack of all trades. And Jerry works in sanitation. No shame in that. Good for them! Stan and Jerry work hard and probably spend their hard-earned cash wisely. Yet McGuire clearly doesn’t think these two fellows are worthy of having, or even driving, this fine vehicle. He wonders, “How did they get that car?” Hey, Ra: maybe they bought it, you fucking asshole. 

McGuire defends himself by pointing out he’s not alone. And he’s right.

“The boys are really rollin’

“Some old lady called the cops

“Said the car is probably stolen. STOLEN!”

Here we learn that McGuire and “some old lady” are equally shocked by the sight of two men, in a sports car, waving their arms and honking at girls. Now listen. I’m not endorsing honking at girls. Maybe Stan and Jerry are just young guys. Young guys do stupid shit like this. And, yeah, waving your arms in the air while in a car seems silly, and dangerous if you’re the driver. But I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion these two fellas are car thieves. By the way, McGuire sings the second STOLEN like he just wet his fucking pants. Like a rock star.

We are now 70 seconds into a 180-second song. We have two central characters and the start of a story. What comes next? Do the boys do something else crazy, like making a right without using their turning signal? Do the police get involved? Do McGuire and the old lady go for tea and crumpets to calm their shattered nerves? 

First, there’s the most boring guitar solo in the history of guitar solos. (Seriously, you’ve heard the song. Hum the solo. You can’t, can you?) Then the songwriters decide to repeat the bridge and the chorus.

That’s right: 1:10 into the song, McGuire and Smith have lost interest in the story, or perhaps they’ve lost interest in writing this song, so they just repeat the shit they’ve already written. Even with the recycled bits, this song is too short to be a single.

So McGuire and Smith pool their creativity, vocabulary and storytelling prowess and come up with the best way they know how to bring this story and song to a fulfilling conclusion.




I can just hear them now. “Shit, the song is still too short. Let’s do that again!”




To recap this story: “I saw two guys I know driving in a bright white sports car, and they were waving their arms and honking their horn at girls, and this upset me, as well as an old lady, and made us suspicious. Ladadada. The end.” Thank Christ, McGuire and Smith never attempted a concept album.

Yet, somehow, McGuire and Smith were nominated for Composer of the Year at the 1980 Juno Awards for this song and the equally reprehensible 3 Dressed Up as a 9 (which adds a soupçon on misogyny to the Trooper formula). I won’t immediately jump to the conclusion that the nominating committee was comprised of deaf, fucking idiots. As you can tell, I’m a happy, glass-half-full kinda guy. My theory is: the committee hated this shit song, too, and wanted to nominate McGuire and Smith so they could be humiliated by losing to the guy who wrote Music Box Dancer.

The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car. Maybe not the worst song ever. But what a fucking awful song this is.