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Ballad for Whoever Lived in My Car
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Ballad for Whoever Lived in My Car

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Ballad for Whoever Lived in My Car
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So what is the Best Song in the World today? Now, by BRYANT PARK PROJECT standards, that doesn't mean it just has a good beat and it's easy to dance to or it's number one on iTunes. It's a song or songs that have a story that go with them, a tale to tell. And here to tell that tale is Ian Chillag, one of our producers who brings us today's Best Song in the World.


STEWART: Morning.

CHILLAG: All right, I got to give you a little back story here. A couple of years ago, I had this car. It was a Ford Focus. And this particular Ford Focus was cursed. It just - one time, it broke down, and I went inside to call AAA to come get it. I came back out. And in the time between calling AAA and coming back outside, a moving van had plowed into it. And this car is…

(Soundbite of laughter)

CHILLAG: It was unbelievable.

STEWART: Oh, no.

CHILLAG: So - anyway. So one day, I went to put my key in the ignition, and the key actually didn't fit. It would not - the key wouldn't even insert.

STEWART: Did the tumbler shift or something?

CHILLAG: Yeah, yeah, like the tumbler broke in there. So I had another tow truck. They knew - they, like, knew my name by this point. I had another tow truck come out to take it away, and it was in this particular parallel parking space - it was a narrow street - and they couldn't get the car out of the space without having two cars in front of it removed, which is never going to happen.

So I left notes on the cars and would go back, and it just - it would, every day, it was just less and less hope. And finally, I just, I've had it. I just -I just decided, I'm going to let the car rot.

STEWART: You just left it there?

CHILLAG: I just left it there.

STEWART: You abandoned the car.

CHILLAG: I left it. I couldn't - it was like, it was a street that I walked on a lot and I couldn't even walk down the street. I would go out on my way not to look at this car. So, you know, months passed, maybe two or three months, and I finally I was thinking, oh, God. I got to go back, you know, it's probably covered in tickets. It's probably - you know, I probably owe the city $700.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CHILLAG: So I go, I go back to it and the thing is nasty. It's just covered in filth, windows broken, trash in it. I - finally, I got this tow company. They put things under it to pull it perpendicular out of the space, like this a whole special procedure, got rid of the car and went to the mechanic. It was gone. A couple of weeks later, I go to pick it up. It's beautiful. It's like this - it's shiny. It looks brand new.

And the mechanics had taken everything of mine in the car and put it in the box in the back seat. So I was driving home and I was reaching back in the box, and I pull out these sunglasses. They weren't mine. And then there - I was like that's weird. And then there were these cassette tapes. And I realized I was looking at the personal effects of the guy who had been living in my car while I abandon it. So I put it in this tape and - here, I have the tape here…

STEWART: And you have the tape because you've just moved to New York, and you found it when you're unpacking.

CHILLAG: Right. I took out the boxes, there's just tape, blank, nothing on it, and I played it, and it brought the memories back.

(Soundbite of song, "To Love Somebody")

Ms. NINA SIMONE (Singer): (Singing) There's a light, a certain kind of light that never shone on me. I want the…

CHILLAG: Things are going as planned.

STEWART: I think it's good. I can't believe you found a tape player.

CHILLAG: Yeah, yeah, we dug one up. And I just - listening to these songs, like, that's a great song.

STEWART: That is a great song.

CHILLAG: And whenever I listen to any of the songs on here, it's just breaks my heart, because I think, like, here's this guy, these are his tapes. This is all he had, carrying these things from car to car. There's all this great soul music down there, and you listen to it and every song is a sad song, no matter what. If it's about love lost or love found, it's still - it just feels like just feels like a broken heart.

STEWART: So, Ian, officially, what is the Best Song in the World Today?

CHILLAG: It's got to be this song, "To Love Somebody," by Nina Simone.

(Soundbite of song, "To Love Somebody")

Ms. SIMONE: (Singing) You don't know what it's like. Baby, you don't know what it's like, to love somebody, to love somebody the way I love you.

In my brain, I see your face again. I know that my frame of mind. You ain't got to be so blind, yet I'm so blind, so blind.

I'm a woman. Can't you see what I am? I live and breathe for you. What good does it do if I ain't got you? If I ain't got you. If I ain't got you.

Baby, you don't what it's like. Baby, you don't know what it's like to love somebody, to love somebody the way I love you. Ooh, you don't know what it's like, baby you don't know what it's like to love somebody, to love somebody the way I love you.

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