The song was inspired by drummer Jim Keltner’s request of a Mercedes car instead of payment for performing on Harrison’s 1974 North American tour.
The reference to ‘It’s What You Value’ came about because in ’74 tour the drummer – Jim Keltner – was supposed to be in the band with Andy Newmark but he backed out in the last minute, so we continued through rehearsals and into the first week without Jim. I kept phoning all the time asking him to come, and finally I got through all the obstacles and he said ‘OK, I’ll come and do it but I don’t want paying for it’… (There were still six weeks to go.) ‘I don’t want paying for it… but I’m sick of driving that old VW bus’. I said ‘I get it, you want a car then?’ It turned out that he got a Mercedes 450SL instead of payment but months later there was a bit of feedback from some of the others in the band saying ‘Well how come he got a Mercedes and all we got was money!’
Someone’s driving a 450
And his friends are so wild
They’re still in their stick shifties
But they feel they have much more style
But I’ve found…
By then it had turned into a motoring song, sort of; it was up-tempo anyway. I played around with a few different lyrics and I ended up on:
Someones’s driving a six-wheeler
which is a reference to the six-wheeled Elf Tyrrell Formula One racing car that appeared in 1976/77.
I Me Mine
‘It’s What You Value’ was the fourth and final single released from Thirty Three & ⅓. It was issued in the UK on 31 May 1977, with ‘Woman Don’t You Cry For Me’ on the b-side.