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From Motown to Rock ‘n’ Roll: A Journey through Genres in Old School Music
In today’s fast-paced digital world, where new music is constantly being released and trends come and go in the blink of an eye, there is something undeniably special about old school music. It takes us back to a time when music was raw, authentic, and full of soul. One popular way to immerse oneself in the nostalgia of old school music is by tuning in and listening to these timeless classics. So, if you’re ready to take a trip down memory lane, let’s explore the various genres that define old school music.
The Soulful Sounds of Motown
When talking about old school music, it’s impossible not to mention Motown. Founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy Jr., Motown Records became a powerhouse for African American artists during a time when racial segregation was still prevalent in the United States. Motown introduced the world to legendary artists such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross & The Supremes, and The Jackson 5.
Motown’s signature sound combined elements of R&B, pop, and soul, creating catchy melodies and unforgettable harmonies that are still beloved today. From Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” to The Supremes’ “Baby Love,” listening to Motown classics will transport you back to an era filled with love, hope, and social change.
The Rise of Rock ‘n’ Roll
In the 1950s, another genre was taking the world by storm: rock ‘n’ roll. With its rebellious spirit and energetic rhythms, rock ‘n’ roll quickly became a symbol of youth culture. Artists like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis were at the forefront of this musical revolution.
Listening to old school rock ‘n’ roll will make you want to dance and let loose. Songs like Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” are timeless classics that continue to inspire generations of musicians to this day. So, turn up the volume, grab your air guitar, and get ready to rock out.
The Smooth Sounds of Jazz
Jazz is often referred to as America’s classical music, and it played a significant role in shaping old school music. Originating in African American communities in the late 19th century, jazz evolved into a genre known for its improvisation and complex harmonies.
Listening to old school jazz is like taking a journey through time as you explore the works of legendary artists such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. Songs like Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” and Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” continue to captivate listeners with their emotional depth and virtuosity.
The Timeless Appeal of Old School Hip-Hop
While old school hip-hop may not be as old as Motown or rock ‘n’ roll, it has undoubtedly earned its place in the pantheon of classic music genres. Emerging in the 1970s and 1980s in New York City, hip-hop revolutionized the music industry with its innovative use of sampling and poetic storytelling.
Artists like Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, and N.W.A paved the way for future generations of hip-hop artists. Listening to old school hip-hop will transport you back to a time when boomboxes ruled the streets, breakdancing was an art form, and rap lyrics carried important social messages.
So whether you’re a fan of Motown soul or prefer the rebellious energy of rock ‘n’ roll or enjoy the smooth sounds of jazz or find solace in old school hip-hop, listening to old school music is like stepping into a time machine. It allows us to experience the magic and emotions of a bygone era and reminds us of the enduring power of music throughout history.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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60 Best Road Trip Songs to Rock the Drive
Written By: The Planet D
Updated On: March 16, 2023
Our list of the best road trip songs from the classics to today. We do a lot of road trips have rounded up the best driving songs to help you pass the time.
Nothing makes driving better than a good road trip playlist. And we’ve compiled the ultimate road trip playlist for your next overland adventure.
Table of Contents
The Best Road Trip Songs
1. sympathy for the devil by the rolling stones.
If you are looking for a song to drive to with a lot of groove, Sympathy for the Devil is just the ticket. We’ve been lucky enough to see the Rolling Stones in concert three times. Dave even met the band way back in 2003 when he shot a media blitz they did in Toronto.
This is by far our favorite Rolling Stones song for a road trip . Even if we have to get out of the car soon, we’ll leave the engine running until the final chord is played!
Get it on Amazon for just $1.29 / Buy the Rolling Stones Greatest Hits on Amazon
2. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
I didn’t know a lot about Lynyrd Skynyrd until I watched the documentary Muscle Shoals . It’s a music biography about one of the most innovative sound studios of the 60s featuring the Rolling Stones and Lynard Skynyrd.
But I have always known the song Sweet Home Alabama, and there is something about this song’s beat that make it the perfect driving song.
In Sweet Home Alabama, there’s a stanza saying: “ Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers And they’ve been known to pick a song or two “
Watching Muscle Shoals makes us want to get in the car and drive to Alabama to see the famous studio for ourselves!
Purchase Sweet Home Alabama for $1.29
3. Little Red Corvette By Prince
One of the best driving songs ever is Little Red Corvette by Prince. Who wouldn’t want to be driving a red corvette through the streets. The song is filled with metaphors, but when I sing it, I just think about driving.
It is sad to see another legend lost, but his music lives on. Buy Little Red Corvette $1.29
Pick up a copy of Prince’s Greatest Hits , you won’t be disappointed. But there are some tributes happening on Spotify now.
4. Another One Bites the Dust by Queen
Queen is my ultimate favourite band. Metallica is Dave’s. I could have just said, “ buy Queen’s greatest hits and you’ll have the perfect Road Trip playlist”.
However, I can only choose one, and if you want a song that picks you up when you’re feeling a little groggy on the road, Another One Bites the Dust does the trick. Man, I love the bass in this song.
If you watch the Queen Documentary on the BBC , you’ll learn that the Bass Player, John Deacon, actually wrote some of Queen’s biggest anthems, like this one, You’re my Best Friend and I Want to Break Free.
Get Another One Bites the Dust on Amazon just $1.29 / Watch Bohemian Rapsody
- Start Planning our own road trip with National Geographic’s World Atlas available on Amazon
5. Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars
While spending a summer in Spain and driving around Costa Brava this Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars tune was was our go-to road trip song. We called it the song of summer and whenever it came on, we’d jive and jam in the car.
Dave and I love to sing during a road trip and this one makes you want to wail at the top of your lungs. “We’re gonna Uptown Funk you Up!”
Download Up Town Funk on Amazon
6. Home for a Rest by Spirit of the West
This roadtrip song by Canada’s Spirit of the West always makes me want to go to London, England, and hang out in the pubs. I think about all the travels we have done, and when we do come home, we really do need a rest.
Travel is exhausting and when you add pub crawling to the mix, it is doubly exhausting. Spirit of the West captured the spirit of travel beautifully with this perfect driving song.
“ You’ll have to excuse me I’m not at my best, I’ve Been Gone for a Month, I’ve Been Drunk Since I left. These so called vacations will soon be my death, I’m so sick from the Drink, I need home for a rest …”
Download now on Amazon
7. Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers
How does one choose a favourite Red Hot Chili Pepper’s song? They have so many great albums. But Californication is the perfect tune for a road trip. Heck, even the video is all about driving.
I used to say, “How can anyone not name Red Hot Chili Peppers as one of the greatest bands of all time?” I mean, everything is perfection. Anthony Kiedis is a poet, Flea is a master on the bass, and John Frusciante creates the most memorable and intricate guitar riffs out there today. Plus, how can you forget Chad Smith on drums. He’s quiet and unassuming in real life, just like his music: Subtle and creative. Plus, he looks exactly like Will Ferrel.
You’ve got to read Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis – this book will blow your mind about everything he and the band have gone through. Buy the album Californication . The entire disc is perfection.
8. 500 Miles by The Proclaimers
There’s nothing really amazing musically about this song by the Scottish Band, the Proclaimers, but when it comes to road trip music, it has the perfect beat. When comes up on the playlist, everyone stops to sing along. This song was made to be a song to drive to!
It’s one of those songs that you can’t help but love. Even if you hate it! I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) must be included on your Road Trips Songs playlist, it would be criminal to leave it out. Check out our guide to the North Coast 500
Buy it on Amazon for $1.29 / Rent Benny and Joon where the song was featured
9. Take it Easy by The Eagles
Remember when Elaine’s boyfriend refused to speak to anyone when Desperado came on the radio during a classic Seinfeld episode ? When it comes to the Eagles, Hotel California is our song. But when it comes to road trip songs by The Eagles, Take it Easy is Number one. See a great California Road Trip at 17 Mile Drive in Monterey
“ Well I’m a runnin’ down the road trying to loosen my load I’ve got seven women on my mind”
This song was meant for driving. It’s seriously all a bout driving.
If you happen to be going on an Arizona Road Trip, be sure to stop on the corner of Winslow Arizona like in the lyrics “ Well, I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona . Such a fine sight to see .”
Don’t speak to me, don’t even look at me when Hotel California comes on because I am going to sing along and play air guitar to that classic solo.
Get it now on Amazon / Get the Hell Freezes Over Tour where the Eagles come together live.
10. Running on Empty by Jackson Browne
I bet you didn’t know that Jackson Browne played a huge role in making the Eagles famous. He was roommates with Glen Frey and Don Henley at one point.
Heck, for the longest time when I was a kid, I thought Running on Empty was performed by the Eagles. They have similar sounds because Jackson Browne actually co-wrote a lot of the Eagles songs. How do we know all this? We watched the Eagles documentary.
Anyway, back to the song. Running on Empty is a road trip song, period. Come on, the album cover has a road on it!
Buy Running on Empty on Amazon / Rent the movie The Eagles History to see the role Jackson Brown played in their success.
11. Paradise by the Dashboard Light by Meatloaf
Who doesn’t love Meatloaf? Paradise by the Dashboard Light was the song of the 70s. There are so many layers to this song and right from that first guitar lick, you can’t help but get ready to start singing along in the car.
Dave and I love it when it breaks into a duet and we sing back and forth. We start screaming until our vocal chords nearly break. After that song, you almost have to pull over for a break. It’s that intense. For us, it’s one of the most fun songs to drive to on our playlist.
Get the album Bat Out of Hell . Every song is great.
A great one day drive that we highly recommend is the Hana Highway on Maui. Make sure you have your road trip songs picked out because radio service in limited.
12. Take the Money and Run by Steve Miller Band
“T his here’s the story ’bout Billy Joe and Bobby Sue “.
The Steve Miller Band’s Songs were made to sing along to. Dave and I love to harmonize to their music. It’s just so easy to hear the thirds and fifths. The reason we chose Take the Money and Run is that ” They’re headed down south and they’re still running today .”
We don’t plan on shooting anyone and taking their money, but we do plan on traveling forever. It’s in our blood and even if we do settle down a bit, something tells me we’ll always be on the move. Dave and I moved to Vancouver in 1992 and we’re still moving today. Maybe not running, but definitely at a steady pace.
Get Steve Miller’s Take the Money and Run
13. Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf
It’s probably the first and most cliché road trip song that anyone thinks of. Considering the lyrics start with:
“ Get your motor running Head out on the highway .”
So, really any road trip playlist would be remiss by not including it. It’s a good one to get the energy up when hitting the open road.
Add it to the list from Amazon
14. I’ve Been Everywhere by Johnny Cash
I love this song by the Man in Black. If you are looking for a song to drive to that is challenging to learn, this is it! It’s all about the places he has been crisscrossing through North America on his tour bus.
I originally only had this song in our travel songs playlist, but I realize that not everyone checks out both articles, so I had to bring it over here. You can’t ever leave out Johnny Cash man.
Get motivated on Amazon
15. On the Road Again by Willie Nelson
On The Road Again is the quintessential song about road tripping. But, his laid back style of singing will make for a relaxed road trip moment and be sure to keep you within the speed limit. It’s a fitting song for this list because after all “I just can’t wait to get on the road again.”
Buy it now $1.29
16. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Everybody loves Bruce Springsteen and Baby we were born to run, is one of the great songs to drive to. This entire song is about driving and running. It’s about getting out of the small town trap and getting to the place you want to be.
The Boss is a great lyricist using car metaphors to tell his story. This driving beat will make you want to get behind your engine and run too.
Buy it on Amazon
17. Graceland by Paul Simon
When Paul Simon’s Graceland came out I went nuts for the rhythms inspired by his trip to Africa. When I went to Kenya for the first time , I was totally blown away that I stayed at the same lodge that he and Carrie Fisher stayed at during that exact trip. But that’s another story.
Graceland is an awesome song that fits with driving through America’s southern states. Who wouldn’t want to take a road trip to Elvis’s Graceland?
Get it now to see what I’m talking about
18. Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane
We always love including Canadians. Tom Cochrane’s rock anthem “Life is a Highway” was playing across radio stations throughout the summer that Dave and I met.
We’d drive down the road belting out “ life is a highway, I wanna drive it all night long .” It has a great driving beat and the lyrics are easy to learn. It’s perfect for a road tripping son.
get it on Amazon
19. Love Shack by the B52s
You can’t have a party without The B52s. I’ll never forget seeing them in concert. I had no idea who they were a friend invited me and I’m glad he did.
We arrived at Massey Hall in Toronto where the crowd was filled with people sporting beehive hairdos and wardrobes straight out of Austin Powers.
Once the music started, we rushed the stage and there I stood at the very front listening to the best party tunes I’ve ever heard. When choosing road trip music, be sure to include Love Shack!
Get Love Shack on Amazon
20. Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys
It was after watching Love and Mercy and The Wrecking Crew that we realised just what a genius Brian Wilson is. We even had the opportunity to see the Beach Boys live (sans Brian Wilson) at a private party in Orlando a few years ago.
They made a lot of good lighthearted songs like California Girls, Surfin’ USA and Kokomo, but it’s Good Vibrations that really shows the depth and musicality of the band’s genius. This song has the vibe that both Dave and I love for a road trip. I’m pickin’ up Good Vibrations.
Listen now on Amazon
21. Back in Black by ACDC
You may be thinking “No way, Highway to Hell is the ACDC song that fits in the road trip play list”. You may be correct, but doesn’t Back in Black have an awesome beat. That guitar at the beginning just rocks.
It’s no wonder Marvel’s Iron Man used it as the song for their opening scene as Robert Downey Jr. was driving with a band of army guys (and gal) from his arms dealing display in Afghanistan .
Ever since then I’ve associated Back in Black with driving. Sure, he was in a Humvee and I’m usually in a mini compact economy car, but hey, I feel tough when that tune is playing.
Start making your own road tripping playlist for just $1.29 / Buy it on Amazon
22. The Way by Fastball
Don’t you ever want to just hit the road without ever knowing the way. That’s what this song is about. One of my favorite lyrics in the song is “an exit to eternal summer slacking, but where were they going without ever knowing the way.” So let’s. go wander the highway while listening to The Way.
23. Lose Yourself by Eminem
I once sang this song in Belize with the local crime lord. I didn’t know it at the time, but after I got off the karaoke stage, where I was joined by a random man who had a big grin on his face, I was told, he was that man. Woah.
The friends you make when you sing Eminem. But this song rocks. Dave and I saw 8 Mile in the theatre and were totally impressed with Mr. Marshall Mathers’ acting ability.
We promptly bought the soundtrack and learned the lyrics to this song.
It’s one of those songs where, once you learn the lyrics, you never forget them because they are so fast and furious, you fall over yourself trying to say them with him!
Listen to Lose Yourself now / Get the Movie 8 Mile on Amazon Prime
24. Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
A road trip song playlist wouldn’t be complete without Fleetwood Mac and this song has the groove for driving.
“Let’s all sing it together….You can go your own way, Go your own way You can call it another lonely day You can go your own way”
25. See You Again by Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth
Why this song wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award was beyond me. Everyone was shocked when actor Paul Walker was killed in a car crash. He died during the filming of Furious 7.
I never did see the film, but this song played during his final scene in the movie, which I read all about. It seemed to be a beautiful send off to him and whenever I hear it, it still brings a little tear to my eye.
This is a great song for a road trip and is fitting since it’s the title theme for a movie about fast cars.
Buy this song on Amazon $1.29 / Watch all the Fast and the Furious Movies in this Box Set.
26. Jack & Diane by John Mellencamp
John Cougar was the first musician I ever saw live. My brother and now sister in law brought me to a show at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton and I couldn’t get enough of his music after that.
I loved his rockabilly sound and to this day, the minute those first five chords ring out over the car stereo, I start rockin’. Jack and Diane is probably his best song and is all about two American kids living in the heartland .
Check it out on Amazon $1.29
27. Drive My Car by The Beatles
Baby you can drive my car, yes I’m gonna be a star. Have you watch Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartney and James Corden yet? It is awesome and yes, they do sing the quintessential Beatles road tripping song as they drive around Liverpool checking out Paul’s old haunts.
28. You Oughta Know by Alannis Morisette
The feminism anthem of the 1990s was written and performed by a Canadian. We owned the album Jagged Little Pill and there isn’t a bad song in the bunch.
But it’s You Oughta Know that is one of the best road trip songs on the album. The staccato speech at the beginning gets you hooked for the driving beats ahead making it one of the best driving songs out there.
“I – Want – you – to – know. That – I’m – happy for you. I – wish – nothing – but – the – best – for – you both.”
Was this sone about Joey from Full House? We’ll never know. But you oughta know
Buy the album Jagged Little Pill, it’s a good one!
29. Sweet Child O’Mine by Guns n’ Roses
Okay, Dave and I are huge Guns n’ Roses fans. When choosing road trip songs, GnR is right at the top.
We know every word, and both of us immediately stop talking and start singing and playing air guitar. (Or if Dave’s driving, air drumming on the steering wheel.) Guns n’ Roses’ music holds up after all these years and they have many songs made for passing the time on long drives.
Download Sweet Child O’ Mine on Amazon
30. Coming to America by Neil Diamond
During our cycling road trip through Africa . I had Neil Diamond’s Greatest Hits on my playlist. Whenever I was feeling exhausted or just overwhelmed with the scope of the day’s ride ahead, I’d put on Neil Diamond’s mix of mellow and fun tunes. It was “Coming to America” that picked me up the most. It’s just so motivating.
The driving beat makes you feel that you can do anything. It’s all about traveling far and coming to America. I’m not even American, and it inspires me. This song captures what America used to be to so many people. Let’s hope they get there again.
Buy on Amazon Now
Enjoy reading about our road trip through the Causeway Coast at The Best Things to do in Northern Ireland
31. Carry on Wayward Son by Kansas
If you are a fan of Supernatural , (the TV series) you’ll recognize this song from the recaps they do at the beginning of most seasons. This song by Kansas has stood the test of time, not only because of Supernatural, but it was huge during the Guitar Hero days.
When they belt out their harmonies at the beginning followed by the hard drums and guitar solo, you can’t help but bounce to the beat. It’s no wonder this song is featured on Supernatural, Sam and Dean are always driving from town to town in Dean’s 1967 Chevy Impala
32. Hello by Adele
Who doesn’t love Adele’s velvet voice? Sure, “Hello” isn’t a fast-paced tune, but it is an excellent road trip song. Why? Because you can howl, scream and holler along.
Turn the stereo up to 11 and belt out those notes along with Adele. Don’t worry, everyone in the car will be singing along, so nobody will hear you scream “ Hello from the outside “.
Buy Hello to Add to your Road Trip Songs playlist $1.29
33. The Nights by Avicii
The best road trip songs are upbeat and easy to sing to. If you agree with that definition, The Nights is definitely a perfect tune for your playlist.
It’s easy to learn the lyrics and a lot of fun to sing a long with. The song is by the Swedish DJ Avicii, but it feels more Celtic to me. It was an awesome tune on our playlist for our road trip through Ireland last year.
You can buy the single on Amazon
34. The Distance by Cake
Man, Cake has some great road trip songs. They have a super sense of humour and their music is just simply a lot of fun. I could choose a couple of their songs for our road trip playlist, like Short Skirt Long Jacket or the hilarious Sheep go to Heaven, but Going the Distance is the song that was made for a road trip.
Because that’s in essence what you are doing when driving, right? “You’re going the distance, and you’re going for speed.”
Add Going the Distance to your Road Trip Playlist
35. More Than a Feeling by Boston
Lead Singer Brad Delp had one of the best voices in Rock n’ Roll. Dave and I love great vocalists and Boston’s songs were meant to wail to. He could reach the high notes with such clarity and there’s nothing more satisfying when out for a long day on the road than reaching those notes in the car and pretending to be a rock star. This is the song to do that to.
Buy More than a Feeling on Amazon
36. American Pie by Don McLean
When on a long road trip, there’s nothing better than a really long anthem-like song to come on. The miles seem to just fall away on the road. American Pie is one of those songs. A song that cuts nearly 10 minutes out of your road trip, as you sing along with each verse.
There’s something about knowing all the lyrics of American Pie that makes you feel like you are smart or something. When you know every word, it’s impressive to others. Well, at least Dave and I impress ourselves and that’s all that matters since we’re usually the only two in the car!
Download the ultimate road trip song on Amazon
37. American Woman by The Guess Who
Let’s stay with the American theme and go with this American classic, written by Canadians! When Dave and I got free tickets to see The Guess Who from his friend who ran their lighting, we weren’t sure what to expect. Weren’t these some old guys that sang songs we’ve never heard of? Boy were we wrong.
Burton Cummings’ voice is outstanding and Randy Bachman can make his guitar sing. But you’d also be surprised how many songs you know by the Guess Who. They had hit after hit.
American Woman has been deemed an American Anthem, but what’s funny about it is that the entire song disses on America.
“ I don’t need your war machines, I don’t need your ghetto scenes”. Colored lights may hypnotize Sparkle someone else’s eyes”
Listen closely and you’ll see that they’re telling America to stay away from them!
Get American Woman on Amazon 1.29
38. All About the Bass by Meghan Trainor
When I first heard Meghan Trainor’s voice I was hooked. It’s so clear and fun. Have you seen her sing on Jimmy Fallon with the Roots playing kids school instruments as back up? It’s amazing. That’s how you know someone can sing: When they’ve got nothing backing them up but a kazoo and they sound awesome.
This tune is so much fun. We’re also fans of Your Lips Are Movin’ by her as well. Meghan Trainor’s tunes were made for road tripping.
Get this road trip song on Amazon
39. Africa by Toto
Let’s slow This Road Trip Songs Playlist down a little now. Africa by Toto didn’t mean a lot to me until I went to Africa. They capture it beautifully in the song and it’s so soothing to listen to.
Wild dogs really do cry out in the night and yes, Kilimanjaro does rise like Olympus above the Serengeti. When Africa comes on, it makes me want to book a flight to Tanzania or Kenya.
These countries are two of our favorite places in the world and we could go back again and again. But until we do, there’s always Toto there to remind us of how much we love it.
Download on Amazon
- One of our favorite road trips where we had the tunes cranked was definitely a drive along the Cowboy Route in Southern Alberta.
40. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
Journey may have had a resurgence thanks to Glee, but we have always loved them. Open Arms is actually my favourite by them, but it doesn’t exactly fit the bill as one of the best road trip songs of all time. It’s more of a love ballad. We were both huge fans of Separate Ways, but perhaps the synthesizer is a little dated.
Don’t Stop Belivin’ is definitely the Journey song that was made for driving. Heck it’s even about taking a journey. “Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit . He took the midnight train going anywhere”.
Buy the song on Amazon / Rent the movie Don’t Stop Believin ‘, it’s so inspiring!
41. I Bet My Life by Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons are quickly becoming one of our favourite bands of the 2000s. They are so versatile, with so many hits you don’t even realise they are the same band. They are the same guys that sing Radioactive, Demons and It’s Time. All songs are so different.
But it’s I Bet My Life that makes us want to bop our heads to the beat. We drove a lot through Europe last year and this was one of the big road trip songs for us to listen to.
Buy I Bet My Life for just $1.29
42. Dream On by Aerosmith
This song starts off slow and builds to a screeching point with Steven Tyler wailing “ Dream On, Dream On, Dream On, Dream Until Your Dreams Come True! “
You don’t want to be in the car with Dave and I when this song is on. Both of us are yelling at the top of our lungs and banging our heads to the beat. When Dream on comes on the radio, there’s no talking to either of us until the song is over.
Buy AeroSmith’s Greatest Hits
- You don’t have to be in a car to appreciate good music. We had our playlist going like made in our Bluetooth helmets during our tour around Lake Superior on motorcycles.
43. Rock Star by Nickelback
Hey, don’t hate on Nickelback okay? Everyone loves to hate this band, and yet they still have tons of top hits and sold out shows. Yes, Chad Kroeger’s hair sucks with his long bleach blond locks and dark roots and his goatee does not fit his face, but Nickleback has some pretty memorable tunes.
I remember listening to them sing live from “The Edge Studios” in Toronto for the first time when they belted out How you Remind Me. That song was their breakout hit, but you gotta listen to Rock Star. The lyrics of this song are hilarious and it was made for singing along to in the car.
Give Rock Star a chance now
44. Hey Ya by Outkast
I love the positive beat of this song. Sure it may or may not be a break up song, I can’t be sure about the lyrics – is it about breaking up or staying together? Who cares, it’s gone a cool vibe.
The video is so much fun and when this tune comes on, you instantly feel good. Andre3000 was named one of the best rappers of all time, and yet it’s this little ditty that we love for a road trip. My Baby don’t mess around.
Hey Ya on Amazon
45. Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks
The ultimate female rock voice is Stevie Nicks. This has been one of my favourite songs for years. I could only wish that I had a Rock n Roll voice. Mine was stuck in the pop world, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t daydream about rocking it like Stevie on the big stage one day.
This rock song is great for anyone. Even Dave rocks out to it when I turn it on. It may have never made it to the top 10 when it was released in 1981, but this is the most memorable of all her songs and over time has gained more fame and glory than it had during its original release.
Give it a shot and listen to it!
46. I Wanna Be Sedated by The Ramones
This is the easiest song to sing along to. It repeats and repeats but the beat keeps on going. When we’re on a super long road trip, we agree, Twenty, Twenty, Twenty-Fours hours to go! I wanna be sedated. Get the Ramones on your road trip playlist now. They’ll have you Ba ba baba, baba ba baba along all night long!
Purchase I Wanna Be Sedated
One of our latest road trip adventures took us to Fraser Island in Australia . We spent 3 days driving through the sand dunes and scenery of this amazing destination.
47. Redemption Song by Bob Marley
Bob Marley is another artist where we could just put on his greatest hits and make that a road trip playlist. But the self imposed rules of this article was to choose only one song per artist.
Yes, he has more up-tempo songs that could fit the genre better, but we feel that sometimes you gotta slow down when choosing a road trip song and let the mellow feeling takeover as you drive the open road.
Redemption Song is the perfect song for that occasion. It’s one of those songs where you can put your vocal skills to the test and sing with feeling.
Download Redemption Song for 1.29 on Amazon
48. Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie
Sticking with slow songs, Dave and I love this one by Death Cab for Cutie. It’s a love song and we love a good love song. Hey, we’re both romantics at heart. One of my favourite lines is:
“You and me have seen everything to see From Bangkok to Calgary The soles of your shoes are all worn down “ That’s how Dave and I feel, we’ve seen it all together and we love doing so.
Download this now for your Road Trip Song Playlist on Amazon
49. Life’s Been Good by Joe Walsh
Another very long tune. Life’s Been Good is a great road trip sing-a-long song. It goes on for a whopping 8 minutes. Do you know how many km you can cover when driving at 100km (or if you’re like most people, 120km) per hour?
That’s right, 15km will fly right by! How does Life’s Been Good fit with a road trip? Well, he does sing, “ My Maserati does 185, I lost my license, now I don’t drive. ” Best lyrics ever!
50. Shelter from the Storm by Bob Dylan
Well, since we’re in the vein of 1960s music icons. We must include a little Bob Dylan. You see, you want your road trip playlist to be versatile. You can’t stick with one genre or one decade. It needs to span many years and cover all music types.
That way you never get bored. Shelter from the Storm is one of Bob’s greatest hits and he’s had many.
You may choose one of his more famous songs like Blowin’ in the Wind, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door or Mr. Tambourine Man, But listen to Shelter from the Storm. This is a great song.
Purchase Shelter From the Storm Now
51. Piano Man by Billy Joel
I’ll never forget locking up Sherry Ott’s phone (of Ottsworld’s ) during the Mongol Rally. She and Rick had to listen to our playlist the rest of the 10,000 km and she mentioned, if only we had some Billy Joel. I love Billy Joel, so I felt the same way!
We didn’t have Spotify then, so we couldn’t just magically download Billy Joel in the Gobi desert, but I do agree, he makes for some great road trip music. Yes, he has a lot of hits, but Dave and I both love Piano Man.
It’s another long anthem type song that lets you sing along forever. With verse after verse our voices grow stronger and more powerful in the car until we’re both belting out “Sing us a Song You’re the Piano Man!” no you’re the piano man!
Get it on Amazon
52. Old Man by Neil Young
From Piano Man to Old Man. Niel Young is another iconic Canadian in our list. I could do a Canadian version of Road Trip Songs, but I am afraid half of you wouldn’t know the songs I am talking about.
Anyone else out there know of The Tragically Hip’s Fireworks ? Our Lady Peace’s Starseed or Blue Rodeo’s Bad Timing ? Didn’t think so.
But we the world knows Neil Young. Even the younger generation knows him thanks to Jimmy Fallon. Old Man is our favourite. What’s yours?
Listen to Old Man Now
Watch Jimmy Fallon and Neil Young on YouTube
53. Lust for Life by Iggy Pop
In the 1990s, I didn’t know a lot about punk rock. Dave and I were into Grunge at the time. But when we went to go see Trainspotters at the theatre, we were introduced to Lust for Life by Iggy Pop.
If this doesn’t get you rocking in the car, nothing will. It is the perfect way to end our road trip songs playlist with an upbeat tune that was made for road tripping.
Lust for Life is on Amazon for just $1.29
54. Radar Love by Golden Earring
Whenever the popular rock and roll radio station in Toronto does a traffic update, they play this song. They also play “I’m a highway star” but Radar Love has the much better groove. I love adding grooving songs to drive to on my playlist.
55. Route 66 by Nat King Cole
It’s a classic and an oldie but goodie. All kinds of people have covered Route 66 but nothing compares to the velvet voice of Nat King Cole. So add this classic road song to your playlist and get your kicks on Route 66.
56. Mustang Sally in the Commitments
When I was younger I was in a band that had the feel of the movie The Commitments. I loved singing back up vocals to Mustang Sally, “Ride Sally Ride. This song has a cool groove that gets you in the mood to drive. (Among other things)
57. The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
Who doesn’t love that drum solo by Phil Collins in the Air Tonight. I’ll never forget hearing it for the first tim eon Miami Vice when Crocket and Tubs were driving down the strip of Miami. Man, this is the best grooving driving song out there.
58. Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is awesome. There isn’t a song of his I don’t like. But when it comes to songs about driving, this is it. I love the lyrics:
“I’m on my way Driving at ninety down those country lanes Singing to “Tiny Dancer” And I miss the way you make me feel, and it’s real We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill.”
Dave and I totally sing to Tiny Dancer when driving and we always think about driving those back roads in Ireland. How can the locals possibly go 90 on narrow winding roads, and yet they do. they really do! Get Castle on a Hill now
59. Boys of Summer by Don Henley
I admit, I bought a pair of RayBans just because of these lyrics… “Driving in your car with those Wayfarers on baby.”
When I listen to the Boys of Summer, I envision beautiful people driving up and down the sunset strip in Los Angeles. I always have and still do. Check out our guide to the Ultimate California Road Trip
60. Where the Streets have No Name by U2
And let’s end with a song that actually has a street in the name. Well, the Streets have no name here. U2s anthem is the perfect ending to our road tripping song. From the Joshua Tree, that takes us through the California desert, the Streets Have No Name, is a song that will hypnotize you as you get lost in Bono’s dreamy vocals. Just make sure to keep your eyes on the road!
So there you have it. This is our list of our favorite road trip songs. So are you ready to hit the road with the best playlist ever?
We have this on our playlist, what’s on yours? Have you ever taken a road trip going anywhere?
Do you have a song that needs to be included when you go traveling? We’d love to hear in the comments below.
- Best Travel Songs Playlist – It’s different from this!
- Best Travel Movies
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Travel Planning Resources
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Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner
Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor
Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO .
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Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.
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81 thoughts on “60 Best Road Trip Songs to Rock the Drive”
Where Chris Rea? There should be at least one song if not 3
Interesting list you have here. I have some recommendations here if you don’t mind.
Raspberries – Go All the Way Jason Isbell – Super 8 Big Star – In the Street Crack the Sky, the best band to come out of Baltimore – Nuclear Apathy Wishbone Ash – (In All My Dreams) You Rescue Me The Bottle Rockets – Radar Gun Danny O’Keefe – Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues Cross Canadian Ragweed – Fightin’ For
Thanks for the nice collection, will definitely try this!!
Thank you so much for sharing this playlist. I really loved it.
Very nice collection thanks for sharing!!
Blatantly missing: “Roll on Down the Highway” – Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Great selection. Along with ‘Go Your own Way’ and ‘Life is a Highway’, I’d add ‘Peaches’ by Justin Bieber
Nice One! Amazing Playlist! Really love This, thank you for sharing this lovely playlist.
Awesome Playlist !! Love It
Thanks for the song list now it will be very easy for me to go on a road trip.
thanks for the list of songs. I loved the ‘boys of summer’ song so much. Every time when I drive I always play this song.
Superb Collection..i definitely tryy all songs..i am planning to go out . i hope it helps for me. Thank you
Thank you very much for this playlist. I really loved it.
Superb Collection.. Thanks for the lovely post
fantastic article thanks for sharing, I appereciate your work
Thanks so much! Do you have a favourite song to add?
Most of these songs and genres that aren’t rock should be left off the list completely. The best road songs are real rock hands down. The best road song ever is Judas Priest’s “Heading Out To The Highway”. The live version of the Priest Live album from 1987.
You reminded me of songs that I love but forgot about. Thanks for making this playlist, I will definitely be listening to some old favorites as well as some ones you’ve recommended…Old is gold
Thanks for this article but there are many tracks apart from these to make the highway journey a perfect experience.
You reminded me some of the songs that I love but forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding me again, I will definitely be listening to some old favorites as well as someones you’ve recommended. 🙂
Great collections thank you so much for sharing this article.
Really a great collection of songs thanks for sharing hopefully it will help me next time i go out.
Thank you for this wonderful list. It really helped me a lot during my road trip.
Amazing article I really loved it. Thanks for sharing this amazing content.
Hey there Thanks for the Wonderful Playlist.
This is an excellent list. I have a trip to plan here shortly. Hopefully everyone can agree on this playlist.
Yes.. This is an excellent list of songs for road trip
Superb Collection. Thanks for sharing it.
Superb Collection..i definitely tryy all songs..i am planning to go out . i hope it helps for me.
You reminded me of songs that I love but forgot about. Thanks for making this playlist, I will definitely be listening to some old favorites as well as some ones you’ve recommended…Old is gold
Awesome and ‘d add Big Sugar’s “Please Let Me Sleep In Late or My Heart Refuses To Pound”.
The requirement for any good road trip is, as everyone knows, a killer soundtrack. And summer is the optimal time to hit the road and go on an adventure. Whether you’re embarking on a solo trip or gathering with friends and family, you’re going to need some tunes to keep you company along the way. We’ve collated classic driving songs from throughout the eras and assembled the best road trip songs to fire up as you head out on the open road.
Hey, nice post loved it.
You reminded me of songs that I love but forgot about! Thanks for making this playlist, I will definitely be listening to some old favorites as well as some ones you’ve recommended!
Awesome playlist! Added some of these for my next road trip, thankyou so much sir ??
Awesome playlist! Added some of these for my next road trip 🙂 Thanks for the post!
really nyc playlist
Thank you so much!! You don’t know how you helped me. But you helped me a lot. Usually, I get bored while going for a long ride but now it is gonna Amazing. Thank you again.
Hi, You have put together a great collection of songs. It’s true music and travel if combined together can make any trip a great one. I have although written a similar article on my blog but being an Indian I love Bollywood songs. Lately, I have added some modern International songs too on my playlist and I am loving those. I have noticed that you have added many classic old songs, I have listened to a few of them on YouTube and I found them pretty great. Thanks for sharing your list of songs with us. You can check out mine too. It’s a bit different from yours.
Great collection. There is so much good music out there, old and new, the challenge always seems to be keeping the list to a manageable number. Quite a few caught me by surprise. I was a long haul truck driver for many years, and a big music fan, but you learn something new every day. A running joke in my house is that I have been more places with Melissa Etheridge than I have with my wife of 36 years. Submitted for your consideration: You can sleep while I drive-Melissa Etheridge. Radar Love-Golden Earring Roll Me Away- Bob Seger In The Air Tonight- Phil Collins Uneasy Rider-Charlie Daniels Here I go Again-Whitesnake Eastbound and Down-Jerry Reeves This Flight Tonight-Nazareth Fly At Night-Chilliwack The Load Out-Jackson Browne Several dozen more than you will have space for.
Superb Collection..i definitely try all songs..i am planning to go out . i hope it helps for me.
Thank You So Much For The Playlist. Now I Am Gonna Rock The Long Drive.
What an Amazing Wonderful Collection Realy I Love IT 🙂
Great collection man..Enjoy
Nice playlist. I’d include America’s Ventura Highway.
was going to put I’ve Been Everywhere Man on the list and then I decided against it because I have it on another music list on this site. I linked to it in this article and I thought, uh oh, I can’t repeat songs too muc
Thank you so much for the playlist. I loved all of them. Now am ready to hit the long roads.
I can’t argue with most of the selections on the list, but there are a few blatant omissions:
Born To Be Wild Radar Love Twilight Zone
I don’t know how any music list (regardless of theme) can be complete without a single song by Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Rush, or the Boss, let alone missing all of them???
I love music so much.this is the best article ever about road trip songs playlists. Thank you for nice article.
Excellent collection of songs! I truly needed to recommend this to these amazing people who have done great road trips I’m in touch with and will do in future. One of their trips was 20,000 Kms. Will share it ahead!
Thank you for the great road trip list. It was great.
Thanks Dev & Deb !! You made my day…!! By reading your article I found so much happiness because in coming days I’ll go on long tour with my new car & these road trip songs will rock it all the way … !! 🙂
– Jenny Diana
Jessica by the Allman Brothers is one of the best for me. In the movie of my life, it’s the music that would playduring the scenewhen I take a long road trip or move cross-country. 😛
Great addition, I’ll have to add it to my Spotify.
Ooooooh, so many. Led Zep’s Dazed and Confused (26 minute version), Hendrix’ Voodoo Chile, a lot of Buddy Guy. Yesterday I heard B-52s “Planet Claire”–that is a serious jam.
I am so happy to spend my time here, i am always search exactly like this blog. Thanks for sharing us.
Great choices and I love that you included a Canadian. Life is a Highway. Woot!
Awesome and ‘d add Big Sugar’s “Please Let Me Sleep In Late or My Heart Refuses To Pound”.
Great selection. Along with ‘Go Your own Way’ and ‘Life is a Highway’, I’d add ‘Dance the Night Away’ by Van Halen
Superb!! Never gonna to forget this one!!
I Wanna Be Sedated BY The Ramones
Amazing this post, thanks for share it.
Amazing this one thanks for share it.
Fantastic list, thank you! One addition comes to mind right away: “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane. I mean, it actually has the word highway in it. Classic.
That’s a great addition. I was actually thinking about that song. I love him because he’s also Canadian and I like adding Canadians to the list. But I then decided to leave him out because for me, he was oversaturated (in our neck of the woods anyway) and that song was totally overplayed and now I just can’t listen to it anymore. But most people love it!
I would add “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac.
Great choice! How could I forget that one!
thank you! One addition comes to mind right away: “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane.
LOVE THESE!! Couldn’t agree more about Paradise by the Dashboard Light. I love Meat Loaf, LOL. He was my first concert at age 8 😀 and we played “I Would Do Anything For Love” at our wedding hahaha. Great pics. I love any Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash as well—perfect for an All-American road trip. Also 80’s rock.
Road trips are the best!!
I loved that I would do Anything for Love. It was a great comeback song for him. So what wouldn’t you do? Haha, He says, I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that. HAha. I always think about what is that? 🙂 I was going to put I’ve Been Everywhere Man on the list and then I decided against it because I have it on another music list on this site. I linked to it in this article and I thought, uh oh, I can’t repeat songs too much.
Very good article…this is a very unique article for me. I have never seen this kinda article on any sites… REALLY VERY NICE..CHEERS
Thanks Jessica. We love music so much we decided that we had to put together a list of our playlists. So there you go!
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Top 10 Travel Songs
It’s evident from these Top 10 Travel Songs that musicians spend plenty of time in transit. They write about the time they spend on planes, trains and automobiles, as well as buses, boats and motorcycles. We’re celebrating the mobile nature of rock 'n' roll with this list -- though it should be made clear that we avoided “life as a band on the road” songs, which might as well be its own genre. Before the train leaves the station, let’s ramble down the river, up the road, across the country and even into Middle Earth with these tunes.
From: ‘Led Zeppelin II’ (1969)
There are plenty of “got to find my woman” songs, but how many singers have to go rescue their girl from Gollum and Sauron? The unexpected journey depicted in the thunderous ‘Ramble On’ takes its inspiration from the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien – just like a few other Zeppelin gems. Robert Plant sings that “ time has come to be gone ” as he sets off to search for his “ love so fair .” Watch out for Ring-wraiths, my friend.
‘City of New Orleans’
From: ‘Hobo’s Lullaby’ (1972)
The folk-rocking progeny of Woody Guthrie scored a radio hit in1972 with this steady-rolling ditty, one of the all-time great train songs. It was written by Chicago singer-songwriter Steve Goodman about riding the rails from the Windy City down to the Big Easy, rolling past “houses, farms and fields.” As Guthrie hits the sweet refrain – “ Good morning, America, how are ya? ” – his honeyed voice is laced with exuberance, greeting a country that is both mythic and mundane.
From: ‘Idlewild South’ (1970)
This isn’t merely one of the Top 10 Travel Songs, but also one of the best outlaw tunes ever conceived. Co-written and sung by Gregg Allman , ‘Midnight Rider’ depicts a man on the run, because he’s got few other choices. “ The road goes on forever ,” he sings and he’s down to his last coin, but this bandit is determined to get away.
From: ‘Lust for Life’ (1977)
Iggy Pop makes us the passenger on Berlin’s S-Bahn rapid transit system, riding through the city at night, gazing upon it while “under glass.” Winding through Berlin, he captures the magical atmosphere of a city late at night, when the people have disappeared and you feel like you’ve got the whole place to yourself. David Bowie produced the track (and all of Pop's ‘Lust for Life’ album) in Germany and helps drone the “la la la” chorus.
From: ‘Book of Dreams’ (1977)
Blues-rocker Paul Pena wrote this tune, appropriated in 1977 by Steve Miller and his band, who had a Top 10 hit with their version. Miller plays the funky guitar riff and sings about his journey on the 707, while being torn between staying at home and leaving the nest. As such, the lyrics are often at cross purposes – contrast “ You know I’ve got to be movin’ on ” with “ Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay .”
From: ‘Bayou Country’ (1969)
This entry into the Top 10 Travel Songs is so simple, so elemental and so brilliant that it’s difficult to imagine anyone writing it. At this point, ‘Proud Mary’ might as well be ‘She’ll Be Coming ’Round the Mountain’ or ‘Goodnight, Irene’ – a uniquely American song that seemed to manifest itself. Of course, John Fogerty wrote this classic about the workingman’s life on a riverboat coming from New Orleans, taking inspiration from all sorts of places: his discharge from the Army, a Will Rogers line and even Beethoven. Ol’ Ludwig was known to go rollin’ on the Rhine River, wasn’t he?
‘Open All Night’
From: ‘Nebraska’ (1982)
Springsteen’s stark ‘Nebraska’ album is loaded with songs about traveling (over the border, away from the cops, across the plains), but the most dynamic imagery comes in the form of ‘Open All Night.’ On this rockabilly tune, we ride shotgun on one man’s predawn drive along the Jersey turnpike to get back to his girl. It’s all neon lights, gospel stations and refinery tours, and the indelible line, “ This New Jersey in the mornin’ like a lunar landscape .” Still waiting to see that quote on a Garden State travel brochure.
‘Tangled Up in Blue’
From: ‘Blood on the Tracks’ (1975)
In Dylan’s wide-ranging classic, the songwriter’s characters don’t just travel around the country (East Coast, out West, New Orleans), they also travel through time as periods and perspectives shift without warning. Dylan, who altered the song from the first person to third in concert, later commented on the freedom he discovered when writing this way: “You’ve got yesterday, today and tomorrow all in the same room, and there’s very little you can’t imagine happening.” Indeed, there’s a restless excitement to this incomprehensible travelogue.
‘Born to Be Wild’
From: ‘Steppenwolf’ (1968)
‘Born to Be Wild’ was a riff-rocking hit in 1968, then featured prominently in ‘Easy Rider’ a year later. Ever since, it’s been impossible to extricate the song from visions of free-roaming bikers, tearing up the highway and eventually landing in New Orleans (which is apparently where all travel songs lead). Although the song – written for Steppenwolf by band associate Mars Bonfire – could just as easily have been about cars, it’s the sense of movement that matters. On the open road, the possibilities are endless.
From: ‘Bookends’ (1968)
This gentle, haunting song lets us tag along on a journey from Saginaw, Mich., through Pittsburgh to New York City, during which two young lovers go looking for America and, perhaps, have an adventure in the process. The lyrics, written by Paul Simon in unrhymed blank verse, follow the travelers from idealism to frustration, from goofy games on a Greyhound bus to “empty and aching” isolation. The journey continues, the relationship unspools and while looking for America, these characters begin to discover themselves.
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The 20 Of The Best Road trip Rock Songs
via AC/DC / Youtube
Nothing could beat the joyous feeling of road trips together with your friends. The adventures on the path, the stories, the laughter, and the rushing feeling of excitement shared are beyond priceless. To make things better, it’s always great to be pumped up for the long drive with classic rock tunes to suit your mood. Below, we’ll take you on a tour with these 20 rock songs guaranteed to make you sing your lungs out. Have fun!
“It’s My Life” — Bon Jovi
This Bon Jovi classic will definitely swing your mood to the fullest. “It’s My Life” is the lead single from their Crush album.
“Brown Sugar” — The Rolling Stones
This Rolling Stones’ hit will find your heart wanting for more Jagger vibes albeit with its controversial lyrics. The song serves as the opening track to their popular Sticky Fingers album.
“Sweet Home Alabama”— Lynyrd Skynyrd
If you want a more refined, country-rock song, then your heart is in the right place if you listen to this. A Lynyrd Skynyrd classic that catapulted the legends to popularity, this belongs to their album Second Helping.
“Back in Black”— AC/DC
These Aussie rockers made the greatest song as a tribute to one of the greatest frontmen in the history of rock, Bon Scott. It belongs to their album with the same name and is the first one to feature newly-recruited vocalist, Brian Johnson.
“Roadhouse Blues”— The Doors
This lovely Doors’ gem is a concert staple from the group, and also features Jim Morrison’s vocal prowess. It can be found in their Morrison Hotel LP.
“Whole Lotta Love”— Led Zeppelin
This opening rocker to LZ’s 2 nd album, Led Zeppelin II is guaranteed to make you crank up your energy. The song’s insane riffs are considered to be one of the best of any rock song in comparison.
“Smoke on the Water”— Deep Purple
Deep Purple came up with this defining rocker when they firsthand witnessed a catastrophic event on the Montreux Casino located in Switzerland. This is the lead single from their Machine Head LP.
“Sweet Child O’ Mine”— Guns N’ Roses
Who couldn’t resist rocking with this classic gem from Guns N’ Roses? Their album Appetite for Destruction basically turns them into rockstars overnight.
“Sultans of Swing”— Dire Straits
The highlight of Dire Strait’s debut album would definitely want you to dance for a little while. “Sultans of Swing” is a song worth listening to.
“Take It Easy”— The Eagles
The Eagles went solid for their debut album, especially for the opening track. Aside from “Hotel California,” “Take It Easy” is one of the band’s most recognizable songs.
“I Want to Break Free”— Queen
This John Deacon-penned song would make you want to reflect on the life you’re living at this point. It appears on their album The Works.
This heavy metal song from the legends of the metal arena is worth every means of appreciation. It’s definitely worth listening on the long, drowsy trips to keep the spirits high.
“Listen to the Music”— The Doobie Brothers
The Doobie Brothers became popular all thanks to their first big hit, “Listen to the Music.” If this will not want you to sing for more, we don’t know what will.
“Run to the Hills”— Iron Maiden
Another heavy metal classic, only this time it’s from the one and only, Iron Maiden. This should keep the heart racing and ache for more metal songs. The song is a part of The Number of the Beast LP.
“Ace of Spades”— Motorhead
Motörhead hit the jackpot when they created “Ace of Spades,” which became a quintessential metal anthem. It belongs to their album of the same name.
“I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing”— Aerosmith
This power ballad deserves to be a part of the classic road trip list because almost everyone in your circle wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to sing it! This belongs to Aerosmith’s album of the same name.
“Life is a Highway” — Tom Cochrane
“Life is a highway, I want to ride it all night long,” because who wouldn’t? This rockin’ road trip anthem is a must for any long trips that you’ll take.
“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”— Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
This Joan Jett classic is a go-to when you want to prove your admiration for the beloved genre. Jett’s version is only a cover, but it’s a well-known version compared to its original singers. It’s the lead single from her album of the same name.
“I Want to Know What Love Is” — Foreigner
Depending on your mood on the road, cheesy love songs are still worth a listen. If you ever want to jump on that ship, “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner has got you covered. It’s the band’s most successful single from their Agent Provocateur LP.
“Jump”— Van Halen
Van Halen’s most successful single, “Jump” is a song worthy to be listened with a full-fledged rocking mood, and will keep your adrenaline going. It’s a part of Van Halen’s 1984 album.
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The best road trip songs of all time
These road trip songs will make your next excursion a memorable one, whether you’re driving for few hours or a few days
Don’t get us wrong—we really love city life. But sometimes day-tripping to a nearby summer music festival doesn’t quite satiate our need for escape, and that’s where these classic road trip songs come in. When the urge strikes, it’s time to hit the highway/motorway/ whatever for a good, old-fashioned road trip. Of course, you can’t drive in complete silence—well, you can, but the very thought is giving us a flat tyre—so we’ve compiled our list of the best road trip songs to get your motors running and propel your journey into fifth gear. Crank up classics from the Boss, the Dead and Prince, and even some Whitesnake, as you cruise along the open road, forgetting every care in the world.
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Best road trip songs, ranked
1. ‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen
Like Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the U.S.A.,’ ‘Born to Run’ is darker than it may seem. Embedded in the scuffed poetry of the lyrics is a potent combination of rebellion, sex, disgust and determination—brought to life by the throaty passion of Springsteen’s voice, the liberating wail of Clarence Clemons’s sax and the sheer propulsive force of the E Street Band’s backup. “Someday girl, I don’t know when/We’re gonna get to that place where we really wanna go,” Springsteen promises. ‘Born to Run’, for all its spikes, takes you there. It’s a love song, an urban-jungle cry and a perfect anthem of pedal-to-the-metal escape.
2. ‘Little Red Corvette’ by Prince
It doesn’t take a B.A. in poetry to figure this ditty’s got nothing to do with cars. In the world of Prince, coupés are women, horsepower is a pack of Trojan condoms, and gas is stamina in the sheets. The beat takes its time, synthetic drums echoing into the distance, just as the Purple One implores his one-night stand to take it slow, to make it two, three or more nights. Dez Dickerson peels out in the guitar solo, but she’s the one driving here. Perfect choice of car model—elusive, American, curvy, risky. It wouldn’t work as a Ferrari or Rolls.
3. ‘Here I Go Again’ by Whitesnake
Been dumped recently? You need to go for a drive (preferably in a Jaguar XJ). You’ve made up your mind. You ain’t wasting no more time. So tease your hair, don your pleather, and crank up the volume on this 1982 hit—just try not to get stuck in traffic. This power ballad works better on the open road (with no adjacent drivers to judge your Coverdale cover moves).
4. ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ by U2
This anthemic opening track from U2’s landmark 1987 LP, The Joshua Tree, is an ideal kick-starter for any road trip (particularly if you're wandering about the California desert where the titular yucca plant is commonly found). From a whisper, the sound of an organ builds up like a spiritual beacon being unveiled. It’s well over a minute before the Edge’s churning guitar and Adam Clayton’s propulsive bassline kick in, and another 40 seconds before Bono’s vocals touch down. By then, you’re ready to hit top gear and wail along: ‘I want to run/I want to hide/I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside.’ Though this road trip song is about Bono’s vision of an Ireland free from class boundaries, it has inspired countless highway warriors to venture out to those places that maybe aren’t on the map.
5. ‘Love Shack’ by the B-52s
‘Hop in my Chrysler! It’s as big as a whale, and it’s about to set sail!’ booms Fred Schneider on this all-time great party song . Admittedly, it’s hard to dance like no one’s watching when you’re behind the wheel of a Chrysler (or a Fiat Punto, for that matter), but ‘Love Shack’ will liven up any road trip. If your bum’s getting numb, just whack it on and have yourself a little front or backseat disco.
6. ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd
American football possibly killed off Southern boogie rock. Hear us out. Because of college pigskin rivalries, this song could not be made today. College football is a matter of life and death down there, literally. Iconic trees and people have been murdered over games. Skynyrd was born deep in SEC country: The boogie-rock brothers were from Jacksonville, not Alabama, and cut the track in Georgia. Could you imagine a bunch of Gators fans cutting a tune that could in any way be construed as ‘Roll Tide’? Yankees and rivals love to mock and loathe the Crimson Tide, but when this ditty plays, every human in the room, no matter the allegiance, becomes a temporary, gen-u-wine Mobile redneck.
7. ‘I Drove All Night’ by Cyndi Lauper
The irreverent thrift-shop spunk that defined Cyndi Lauper’s persona in the 1980s sometimes overshadowed her killer range and sensitivity as a vocalist, but ‘I Drove All Night’—from her third album, 1989’s ‘A Time to Remember’—finds her in a different mode. Driven by a feverish desire, she takes the wheel and makes her own way to her lover’s bed. (She may coyly ask, ‘Is that all right?’ but by that time she’s already done it.) And Lauper’s impressively sustained last note is a perfect expression of the song’s sense of undeterrable yearning.
8. ‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman
Tracy Chapman’s beautifully direct 1988 hit, from her eponymous debut album, gives escapism an especially poignant twist. The speeding car and its romantic freedom (‘City lights stretched out before us/Your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder’) can’t be separated from what it’s speeding from: a life of urban poverty, trapped taking care of deadbeats—first a drunk father and then, at the end, the very driver that she had dreamed might carry her to rescue.
9. ‘Keep the Car Running’ by Arcade Fire
If there’s one quality that characterizes Arcade Fire’s sound, it’s urgency—and nowhere is that more evident than on ‘Keep the Car Running’ from the band’s super noir, grandiose 2007 ‘Neon Bible’ album. Based on singer Win Butler’s childhood nightmares (‘Men are coming to take me away!’ he pines), ‘Keep the Car Running’ expands these fears into a sense of global anxiety, and the certainty that there must be something better down the road (‘Don’t know why, but I know I can’t stay’). On its release, the song was likened to prime-era Bruce Springsteen; imagine fans’ joy when Butler and Régine Chassagne made a surprise showing at the Boss’s stadium gig to bust out the song with him. Warning: You will need to be super-careful not to break the speed limit if you play this song while driving.
10. ‘Truckin’’ by Grateful Dead
Let us pause, and acknowledge the fact that this road trip song has been recognised by the U.S. Library of Congress as a national treasure. Mmmm. Written and performed communally by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and lyricist Robert Hunter, the catchy, bluesy shuffle turns the band’s misfortunes on the road into a metaphor for getting through life’s constant changes. And really, what’s a good trip—or a good life—if you can’t exclaim at the end, ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been’?
11. ‘Road to Nowhere’ by Talking Heads
The gospel-choir intro to this upbeat single, off 1985’s ‘Little Creatures’ LP , makes for a great start to any road-trip mix. The song celebrates the journey over the destination—as frontman David Byrne puts it, ‘I wanted to write a song that presented a resigned, even joyful look at doom.’ (Typical of him.) Not every end point is a good one, but we’ll be damned if this march doesn’t have us enjoying the ride.
12. ‘Graceland’ by Paul Simon
Road trips are a time for contemplation, whether we expect it (or like it) or not. Paul Simon’s 1986 single is a perfect, toe-tapping example—we’re treated to what’s basically his stream of consciousness on a drive to Graceland with his son after the failure of his marriage to the late, great Carrie Fisher. At turns both nostalgic and hopeful, it runs the gamut of emotions we always seem to experience a little more profoundly on the road.
13. ‘Take It Easy’ by the Eagles
The Eagles took flight in 1972 with their debut single: a quick but mellow paean to the romance of the road, where a world of troubles—romantic and otherwise—can be shucked at the mere sight of a girl (my lord!) in a flatbed Ford. Cowritten by frontman Glenn Frey and his friend Jackson Browne, the song’s rejection of worry and release into insouciant adventure are perfect for relieving tension on a drive. As the lyrics gently urge: ‘Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.’
14. ‘America’ by Simon and Garfunkel
Add this one to your bucket list: Everyone should be required (at least once) to listen to their restless side, hitchhike, board a bus and go to another city/state/country to find something better—as described in Simon and Garfunkel’s 1968 classic, which follows two young lovers on a Greyhound in search for America. Take your sweetie along for the ride, smoke cigarettes on the side of the road, chat with the weirdos you meet on your journey, and by all means, indulge in a few slices of all-American pie.
15. ‘Route 66’ by Chuck Berry
This R&B standard, written in 1946 by Bobby Troup, has been covered by everyone from the Rolling Stones to John Mayer and Depeche Mode. We’re partial to Chuck Berry’s 1961 rendition, which matches the 2,400-mile pilgrimage on the L.A.–Chicago-connecting titular highway to a T. Who better than the father of rock & roll to accompany a trip past greasy-spoon diners, tiny towns frozen in time and striking Americana landscapes?
16. ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
First and foremost a love song, the L.A. troupe’s jingly-jangly 2010 smash single is also, obviously, about coming home – making it the perfect road trip song. Naturally, the feel-good tune should be played at the end of your voyage, when you’re speeding a bit because you just can’t wait to get home to your significant other/parents/puppy/comfy bed.
17. ‘Going Up the Country’ by Canned Heat
Released in 1968 and adapted from a 1920s blues song, Canned Heat’s highest-charting single was the unofficial anthem of Woodstock—and even after all this time, it’s the perfect track to kick off a road trip, a steering-wheel-tapping, grin-inducing song that makes you immediately pine for sun-drenched fields: “I’m going where the water tastes like wine, we can jump in the water, stay drunk all the time.” Those dudes had their priorities straight…just so long as they had a designated driver.
18. ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ by Johnny Cash
Music has always had the power to educate. Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ taught us more 20th-century American history than a year’s worth of school hisoty lessons. For a CliffsNotes anatomy lesson, we turned to Professor Sir Mix-a-Lot. And when it comes to geography, there is no better musical resource than this name-dropping country ditty, first released with North American locales in 1962 by Canadian crooner Hank Snow. In four verses, 91 places are rattled off in rapid-fire succession—destinations both big (Chicago and Nashville) and small (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and Haverstraw, New York). This road trip song has been covered many times and adapted for different regions of the globe, but we’re partial to the Man in Black’s 1996 rendition, simply because his weathered, gravelly bass-baritone suggests a man who has indeed been everywhere.
19. ‘Hit the Road Jack’ by Ray Charles
Fiendishly simple with its descending piano chords, ‘Hit the Road Jack’ is sung from the perspective of a philanderer being ejected by his lady. By all rights this 1961 R&B classic should win a prize for being impossible not to sing along to: ‘What you say?!’ screams soul hero Charles to his velvet-voiced Raelettes. Later he complains, ‘You can’t mean that,’ about as convincingly as a cat picking bird feathers from between its teeth. The track's most memorable use in a road trip appears in the 1989 comedy movie The Dream Team .
20. ‘Holiday Road’ by Lindsey Buckingham
Hard to hear this seemingly happy little sock hop without thinking of the Griswold family station wagon zooming to Walley World. As its dark video helps to underline, the lyrics speak more of feeling trapped than free. The Fleetwood Mac man was an ace at hiding his boyish ache behind melodic smiles. Which is why this road trip song is such simple genius: It works the same whether you’re chained to a desk and longing for a vacation or finally on the highway, shooting to God knows where with no deadlines.
21. ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ by Electric Light Orchestra
The sweet spot is 176 beats per minute. That’s a giddy run, the pace of your footsteps hitting the pavement as you jog home after a first kiss. Though we haven’t tested this, we theorise it is the precise cadence of fence posts whipping past your window as you motor down a highway just above the speed limit. ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ is 176 beats per minute, which is why, whenever it plays, you have the urge to run like a big dumb puppy dog to a boyfriend/girlfriend, or let the wind blow through your hair at 76mph, as you croon along to the vocoder like a robot. Warning: When ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ is used without such outlets, it can cause deep wanderlust.
22. ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ by the Proclaimers
If there’s one road trip song that can unite everyone in the car in the simple act of thumping whatever surface is near them in time with a ludicrously catchy tune, it’s this one—a hit in 1988 for Scottish twins the Proclaimers. Fun fact: The ‘havering’ referred to in the first verse (‘And if I haver, I know I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you’) is Scots slang for babbling foolishly. So now you know.
23. ‘Ride Like the Wind‘ by Christopher Cross
Take your EGOT and stuff it. Chris Cross has the transportation trifecta—mega-hits for the sea (‘Sailing’), sky (‘Arthur’s Theme’) and road (‘Ride Like the Wind’). People condescendingly pigeonhole the guy as yacht rock (the pink flamingo on his smash album doesn’t help), but he’s truly yacht-jet-and-rental-car rock. Despite its lily-white reputation, ‘Ride‘ is cool and dangerous. It’s possibly—no, probably—about drug smuggling. Racing away to Mexico with Michael McDonald as the devil on your shoulder. Hearing those percolating bongos, wind effects, electric piano and oily guitar licks, it could fit right on Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’ album . It remains DJ gold. Call it ‘Get Unlucky’.
24. ‘Ramblin’ Man’ by the Allman Brothers Band
We may not have been born in the backseat of a Greyhound bus (thanks, mum!), but for whatever reason, the idea of being a ramblin’ man (or woman) is endlessly appealing. And when we play this 1973 hit—based on Hank Williams’s 1951 song of the same name—on the open road, that’s exactly who we are. At least until Monday.
25. ‘On the Road Again’ by Willie Nelson
Nothing beats hitting the open road, where you can escape the stress of work, family, bills, city life and just be free, man. Just ask tireless road dog Willie Nelson. The Red Headed Stranger penned this 1980 country hit—the ultimate get-the-hell-out-of-town anthem—not in the back of a tour bus but rather, of all places, on a barf bag midflight.
26. ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream’ by Tom Petty
Some would argue that we could have built this entire list solely out of Petty tunes—but we had to make a choice, and we picked this 1989 single from the song man’s first solo record, ‘Full Moon Fever’. Not only does it take place in a car, but the tune’s reference to Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway’ and killer guitar solo make it a perfect fit for blasting out of your speakers while cruising down the interstate in pursuit of the American dream, your future destination or simply that next roadside burger.
27. ‘Let Me Ride’ by Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic’ album arrived on the heels of the 1992 South Central riots. Folks in Compton were looking to escape and could not—and not just because of the traffic on the 110 and 405. This was a cry for cruising with the bucket seats dropped back, slow rolling on a resting-heart-rate rhythm and those G-funk dog-whistle keyboards. ‘Swing down, sweet chariot, stop, let me ride,’ goes the chorus lifted from Parliament’s ‘Mothership Connection,’ itself based on a slave spiritual. But just because the song hides a deeper political meaning the way lowriders hide a subwoofer in the trunk, there’s no reason Dre can’t roll in style. Specifically, in a 1964 Chevy Impala shoed with Dayton rims (a.k.a. ‘Ds,’ as in ‘Throw some Ds on that bitch’).
28. ‘Born to Be Wild’ by Steppenwolf
The riff, like the rev of a motorcycle throttle, has become so terribly commonplace, it’s hard to imagine what it must have been like to hear its ‘heavy-metal thunder’ with virgin ears during the opening credits of Easy Rider . Today, Steppenwolf’s monster hit is a movie-trailer cliché on par with ‘Bad to the Bone’ and ‘I Got You (I Feel Good).’ What was once-tough biker rock is now Viagra-ad fodder. Still, if you can wash out the soundtrack memories of Problem Child, Dr. Dolittle 2, Rugrats Go Wild, et al., the dirty little number still rips, along with a deep huff of exhaust fumes and jazz cigarettes.
29. ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ by Journey
A thousand terrible karaoke performances have somewhat dulled the lustre of this once-gleaming classic ’80s song , but once it comes on in the car, you’ll be in love with it all over again within seconds. Just don’t use it as a road map—there is no such place as South Detroit. Okay, there is, but it’s in Ontario, Canada, so you might need your passport.
30. ‘Interstate Love Song’ by Stone Temple Pilots
The underrated STP (hey, that’s a fuel additive) was never truly a grunge band. The ‘Core’ album was a trend-surfing foot in the door, the American equivalent to Blur’s baggy-riding ‘Leisure’. Really, the bands have more melodic ambitions. Scott Weiland, as his solo albums and pink fur coat proved, had far more Bowie in him than his peers. ‘Interstate Love Song’ was the lifting of the veil, when the Pilots announced, Hey, we actually listen to the Beatles , not the Melvins. It chugs along with drop-top bliss, even if the chorus is oddly about trains, not driving.
31. ‘Radar Love’ by Golden Earring
Appropriately for a song about driving, this 1973 cut from Dutch rockers Golden Earring is one of the best road trip songs ever written. ‘The road has got me hypnotised, I’m speeding into a new sunrise!’ wails singer Barry Hay, as that bassline gets your head nodding and your foot instinctively pressing down on the gas. ‘Radar Love’ also has the best breakdown of any rock song ever. This is an indisputable scientific fact.
32. ‘Life Is a Highway’ by Tom Cochrane
Okay. We know how heavy-handed these metaphors are. And how forced the rhymes are. We never said every song on this list was a masterpiece. But we dare you not to sing along with the chorus of this 1991 cheesefest— especially on a highway. Maybe no one ever listens to the song in its entirety (sorry Tom), but one or two ‘life is a highway’s are pretty much mandatory. Give in.
33. ‘The Way’ by Fastball
Alt-rock band Fastball had a breakout 1998 hit with this fast-driving tale of a married pair that ditches its conventional home and family, in favour of a dream life on the highway with no destination. The feel-good, sing-along optimism of the chorus—‘They’ll never get hungry, they’ll never get old and grey’—has a dark undercurrent: Weeks after their disappearance, the bodies of the real-life Texas couple who inspired the song were discovered in an Arkansas ravine. But all of life’s roads hit a dead-end eventually: Better, maybe, at least to leave the driveway.
34. ‘California’ by Phantom Planet
Contrary to popular belief, the hair-metal power ballad did not die by grunge’s bullet. The hair just got shorter and the trousers got looser. Case in point: this 2002 theme from The O.C. It is emo made only from the emotion of uncut nostalgia. It is basically Motley Crüe’s ‘Home Sweet Home’ for mollycoddled millennials, right down to the video compiled from sentimental tour footage. And it is oddly reminiscent of Al Jolson’s ‘California, Here I Come.’ That’s some feat, finding the common ground between Jolson and the Crüe. Man, remember when Ryan became a cage fighter after Marissa died?
35. ‘Shut Up and Drive’ by Rihanna
This electro bop from 2007 isn’t a top-tier Rihanna tune, but it still kinda rips. Driven – pun definitely intended – by a crafty sample from New Order’s club classic ‘Blue Monday’, it’s an unashamedly fluffy new wave pastiche that’s as much about sex as hitting the open highway. Don’t even pretend you can resist it – especially when the chance of RiRi releasing new music any time soon seems to get slimmer with each passing year.
36. ‘Running on Empty’ by Jackson Browne
There’s a reason this song soundtracks the Forrest Gump protagonist’s famous transcontinental jog: Few pop tunes capture the rush of earthbound travel—by foot, by car or, in Jackson Browne’s case, by tour bus—better than this autobiographical FM-radio staple. But what makes it a classic is the ambiguity in Browne’s message. ‘I don’t know where I’m running now; I’m just running on,’ he sings, perfectly summing up how the desire for escape can be its own kind of trap.
37. ‘Two of Us’ by the Beatles
The Fab Four’s back catalogue is replete with songs about travelling around: ‘Drive My Car,’ ‘Day Tripper,’ ‘Ticket to Ride,’ ‘Yellow Submarine’—the list goes on and on like a long and winding road. No Beatles track, though, captures the feeling of setting off into uncharted territory with someone special better than ‘Two of Us,’ penned by Paul McCartney in 1969. There is debate as to whether McCartney’s partner in crime in this song is future wife Linda Eastman, as he claims, or John Lennon, which some of the nostalgia-infused lyrics would suggest. No matter—an impromptu road trip is a good time whether your passenger-seat companion is your new flame or your counterpart in the greatest songwriting tandem of all time.
38. ‘Chicago’ by Sufjan Stevens
Some songs make your heart beat faster from the get-go, and 2005 road-trip song ‘Chicago’ is just such a gem, announcing its entrance in a whirlwind of strings and a rush of percussion. The backing cuts suddenly to Stevens’s voice, whispering that most universal human sentiment: ‘I fell in love again—all things go, all things go,’ and then later, another familiar feeling: ‘I made a lot of mistakes, I made a lot of mistakes.’ It’s this acknowledgement of our frailty, coupled with our irrepressible capacity for hope and excitement that gives ‘Chicago’ its electrifying, driving charge. That and the fact it features in the ridiculously touching road movie Little Miss Sunshine .
39. ‘Fade Into You’ by Mazzy Star
Night driving found a shimmering musical complement in this ethereal 1994 track from dream popsters Mazzy Star. In a rare bit of sonic magic, it seems that no matter how fast you’re driving, the low beats per minute on ‘Fade Into You’ always manage to sync up perfectly with the passing dividing lines visible from your car’s two headlights. And a night drive, preferably undertaken as you’re pining for an unrequited love, wouldn’t be complete without Hope Sandoval’s dusk, haunting vocals echoing throughout your ride. Two-lane highway bliss, by moonlight.
40. ‘The Golden Age’ by Beck
This 2002 road trip song, off Beck’s desolate, heartbreaking ‘Sea Change’ , is one of the most perfect and profound illustrations of driving as a means of escape. It’s best played at night, in the desert if you’ve got one handy, when you feel like crap but have pretty much come to terms with it. And when, as Beck says, ‘You've gotta drive all night just to feel like you’re okay.’ Go forth, drive and wallow. Maybe you’ll feel better in the morning.
41. ‘Scar Tissue’ by Red Hot Chili Peppers
The L.A.-bred Peppers clearly know a thing or two about hitting the highways, as evidenced by a song catalogue riddled with Cali-inspired, crank-up-the-dial tunes. For a journey out on the open road, we like this lead track off the band’s 1999 album, ‘Californication’, due to its lilting desert-by-twilight vibe. The song’s main attraction is John Frusciante’s wailing guitar solos, which achingly embody Anthony Kiedis’s lyrics about isolation and the twisted, drug-fuelled paths he’s traversed (‘With the birds I’ll share this lonely view’). Enter tumbleweed, stage right.
42. ‘Every Day Is a Winding Road’ by Sheryl Crow
The little sister to Tom Cochrane’s ‘Life Is a Highway,’ Sheryl Crow’s 1996 hit unabashedly co-opts the use of automotive byways as metaphors for life’s ups and downs. (Billy ‘the world is a vampire’ Corgan apparently misread the memo.) The ‘wacky’ characters in Crow’s songs are often a bit too precious for our liking—in this case, a vending-machine repairman with a daughter he calls ‘Easter’ (what?)—but the chorus always gets us fired up for some hairpin turns, even when we’re cruising down a seemingly endless straightaway. This road trip song works perfectly when your destination is San Francisco’s iconic Lombard Street, whose residents probably have this tune swirling in their heads 24/7.
43. ‘Jack & Diane’ by John Cougar Mellencamp
Inevitably, your road trip is going to hit some lulls: You’re fighting off the yawns, your passengers have passed out, and it's 57 miles to the next pit stop. When this happens, there’s one sure-fire way to get your journey back on course: Unleash the Cougar. Indiana’s favourite son specialiaes in songs about the heartland, and his crowning jewel is this 1982 chart topper about two high-school sweethearts and the twists and turns of their American Dream. Despite the jaunty beat and an epic drum breakdown rivaling the one in Phil Collins’s ‘In the Air Tonight,’ the tale is cautionary, urging us to savour those thrilling, carefree teenage years. Oh, to be young, in love and suckin’ on chilli dogs outside the Tastee Freez.…
44. ‘King of the Road’ by Roger Miller
Did our dads play this 1964 ditty on long car rides when we were little? You betcha. Do we think they contemplated the potential consequences of making penniless vagabonds sound super cool? Doubtful. Regardless, it’s a timeless everyman’s anthem, and darn if it isn’t catchy. We really like listening to it in our van down by the river.
45. ‘Green Onions’ by Booker T. & the M.G.’s
This R&B instrumental, recorded in 1962, is the perfect soundtrack for an unhurried drive, when you’re sick of singing along and ready to just cruise. It’s repetitive, much like the open road, but with a steady beat and some soulful Hammond organ to keep things interesting. Widely considered to be one of the greatest songs of all time, it’s received accolades from Rolling Stone , Acclaimed Music, the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Library of Congress. If AAA had a greatest songs list, we’re sure ‘Green Onions’ would be on that, too.
46. ‘Mustang Sally’ by Wilson Pickett
You can probably blame censorship for our automobile sex fetishes. Early rock & rollers couldn’t sing about sex, so they sang about their cars…with not-so-subtle undertones. ‘Mustang Sally,’ the grandmother of ‘Little Red Corvette’ only wants to ‘ride around,’ and Pickett howls with his thumb out, looking to hitch. Don’t let this song’s karaoke staple status let you forget what it’s really about.
47. ‘Going Back to Cali’ by LL Cool J
From Al Jolson to Led Zeppelin and Phantom Planet, dozens of artists have tapped into the westward dream of the Golden State. Heck, the tradition stretches back to Gold Rush ditties of the mid 19th century, Smithsonian Folkways fodder like ‘Life in California.’ But only one man made the trip wrapped in precious metals, not seeking them. Cool J cruises to the coast, as he proclaims in verse, in a Corvette with a Laurents chrome chain steering wheel, Dayton wire rims and a gold-leaf convertible top. Rick Rubin’s stark 808 beats thunder under the extremely relaxed rhymes of Mr. Ladies Love. ‘I’m going back to Cali,’ he nearly whispers before shrugging it off. ‘Hmm, I don't think so’ He might go, he might not. With his riches, he is a walking California. That’s cool. Cool enough to pull off one of the few sax solos in hip-hop history.
48. ‘The Distance’ by Cake
With the band’s signature horns and a self-serious melody that practically requires head-bobbing and Speed Racer–esque intensity (you may even want to invest in racing gloves), this single off of 1996’s ‘Fashion Nugget’ album is irresistible. The album is filled with more on-the-nose driving songs than this one (‘Race Car Ya-Yas,’ ‘Stickshifts and Safetybelts’), but this is the money single—and got the album platinum status. Throw it on repeat and hit the open road. Just take an occasional break for track No. 7, the band’s excellent cover of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive.’
49. ‘Roadrunner’ by the Modern Lovers
Talk about a brilliant juxtaposition: Jonathan Richman’s 1972 cut, written when he was 19, beautifully contrasts the Velvet Underground’s bare-bones, dirty-as-hell chugalug sound with a subject matter so suburban that Richman’s heroes Lou Reed & Co. wouldn’t dare touch it: The thrill of being young, driving in a car and blasting the radio. The song’s repetitive two-chord propulsion is a perfect late-night road-trip pick-me-up. And there’s a bangin’ cover by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts to check out, too.
50. ‘Have Love, Will Travel’ by the Sonics
At some stage in your life—at any point between getting your driver’s licence and getting married, really—you’ll drive from ‘Maine to Mexico’ for a piece of ass, as Gerry Roslie does in this proto-punk classic. The high-tension twang of the guitar sounds like the strings are about to snap, the perfect sonic emulation of sexual frustration. A recent ad for Mexican beer claims you need an ‘encyclopedic knowledge of garage rock’ to pull up this song, as if from some lost, dusty volume. Nah, this is Rock & Roll 101.
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These 21 Songs About Adventure Will Get You Pumped for Your Next Trip
There's nothing like packing for a trip with an epic adventure playlist sounding off in the background. Add these to your travel playlist and get ready to explore!
- Gravel Travel
- Team Gravel
There's nothing like packing for a trip with an epic adventure playlist sounding off in the background.
Whether you're headed on a cruise, road trip, or hiking expedition, these 20 songs about adventure will get you pumped in no time.
Add them to your travel playlist and get ready to explore!
1) "Adventure of a Lifetime" by Coldplay
As the title suggests, this song is about taking chances and living life to the fullest. It's a great anthem for anyone who's feeling restless, itching for a new journey, or just looking for great songs about traveling.
2) "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey
There's a reason karaoke enthusiasts love this go-to classic — it's just so darn uplifting! Whether you're a small-town girl, city boy, or anything in between, sometimes you just want to take the midnight train and go anywhere, amirite?
3) "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz's 1998 jam, "Fly Away," is a perfect fit for this list of travel songs. In it, Kravitz sings about being as free as a bird and going wherever he pleases. The next time you're feeling cooped up, give this tune a listen. It's sure to lift your spirits.
4) "Life Is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane
This rock song about adventure was originally released in 1991 by Tom Cochrane, a Canadian singer-songwriter. It was later covered by Rascal Flatts for the 2006 Disney/Pixar film, "Cars." No matter which version you prefer, both are surefire ways to get you pumped for a road trip.
5) "On the Road Again" by Willie Nelson
Traveling is about going to places you've never been before and seeing things you may never see again. The lyrics to Nelson's country song capture this feeling beautifully. It's sure to get your hands drumming on the steering wheel as you hit the open road.
6) "The Longest Road" by Morgan Page
What makes this electronic dance song about adventure so great? It features singer-songwriter Lissie, whose soaring vocals and carefree lyrics encourage you to "go down the longest road to nowhere." If this doesn't get you boppin' while packing your bags, then we don't know what will!
7) "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers
A feel-good song for travel lovers, "I'm Gonna Be" is an ode to going the distance. But you don't have to be in a long-distance relationship to appreciate this catchy tune's sentiment. Cue it up when you're packing your bags or planning your next adventure.
8) "Ready to Go" by Republica
Another '90s tune, this upbeat dance track earns its place on our list of the best travel songs. It's about being young and carefree, with a sense of wanderlust that can't be denied. It'll have you shouting from the rooftops, "Baby, I'm ready to go!"
9) "Orinoco Flow" by Enya
Are you preparing to go on a cruise or some other maritime journey? If so, this New Age song about adventure will encourage you to "sail away" and explore the world. From Peru to Cebu, Enya will get you in the mood.
10) "Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2
U2's 1987 album, "The Joshua Tree," spawned hits like "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "With or Without You." But the lead-off track, "Where the Streets Have No Name," stands out for its anthemic sound and Edge's signature, delay-drenched guitar. It also shows that some streets, like the ones in this location , don't have names at all.
11) "Two Tickets to Paradise" by Eddie Money
Eddie Money's smash '80s hit, "Take Me Home Tonight," may have eclipsed this song about traveling, but "Two Tickets to Paradise" is a close second. This 1978 ditty is about taking a much-needed vacation to get away from the daily grind. The lyrics say it all: "Won't you pack your bags, we'll leave tonight."
12) "Around the World" by Daft Punk
You have to love a song about adventure whose entire lyrics are simply "around the world, around the world" for more than seven minutes. This shiny-helmet-wearing, French house music duo knows how to get people moving, and this song is no exception. Add it to your travel playlist stat.
13) "Sand in My Shoes" by Dido
They say art imitates life, and this adventure song is living proof. British songstress, Dido, penned this tune for her second studio album, "Life for Rent," after a personal event brought her beach vacation to an abrupt end. She literally had sand in her shoes while racing to catch a flight to Los Angeles. The song captures the bittersweet nostalgia of leaving paradise and returning to reality. Still, it's an upbeat tune that will make you look forward to your next exotic getaway.
14) "Roam" by the B-52s
Of course, a list of travel songs wouldn't be complete without a nod to the B-52s and their hit song, "Roam." This party classic is about exploring the world with your besties by your side. So, do as the lyrics say: "Take it hip to hip" and "rock it through the wilderness" with your crew.
15) "Africa" by Toto
This song about adventure is one of the most popular tunes of all time. Released in 1982, "Africa" by Toto was an instant hit and has since been used in countless movies and television shows. It's the perfect song to inspire wanderlust, with its beautiful imagery and catchy chorus. So the next time you're feeling the urge to explore, put on this classic tune and let it take you away.
16) "Drive My Car" by the Beatles
This 1965 track from the Fab Four's album, "Rubber Soul," is a great song about traveling that encourages listeners to never stop dreaming. The lyrics are simple yet poignant: "Baby you can drive my car … and maybe I'll love you." Beep-beep, yeah!
17) "Why Does It Always Rain on Me? by Travis
Fran Healy of the Scottish rock band, Travis, wrote this song while on holiday in Eilat: a dry beach town in the southernmost tip of Israel. According to Healy, he wanted to escape the constant, rainy gloom of Glasgow, only to be greeted by yet more rain during his two-day stint by the sea. Think of it as the go-to consolation song for when your vacation plans don't quite go as expected.
18) "Vacation" by the Go-Go's
There's nothing quite like the excitement of planning a vacation. The Go-Go's capture this feeling perfectly in their 1982 single, "Vacation." Whether you're headed to Cancun or just taking a staycation, this classic song will get your toes tapping and have you daydreaming of sunny shores.
19) "Ruin" by Cat Power
American singer-songwriter, Chan Marshall, also known as Cat Power, delivers a delightful indie song that will transport you to exotic new places. With its infectious rhythm and captivating lyrics, this surprise head-bopper lists Saudia Arabia, Dhaka, Calcutta, Soweto, Mozambique, Istanbul, Rio, Rome, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Taiwan, Great Britain, Belfast, and the deserts of Spain in rapid-fire succession. We challenge you to sing along without getting lost!
20) "I've Been Everywhere" by Johnny Cash
Another tongue-twisting song about adventure, this classic track sees Johnny Cash weaving his way over 90 destinations around the world , totaling more than 100,000 miles. Whether you've been to all the places he mentions or just one, this song is sure to hit a wanderlust nerve.
21) "Volare" by the Gipsy Kings
Last but not least, we have this uplifting travel song from the Gipsy Kings. Originally written in Italian, "Volare" has been translated into multiple languages and covered by many artists throughout the years. Its lyrics tell of a traveler who takes flight on the wings of love and dreams of distant lands far away.
Adventure Travel With Gravel
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Are we missing any songs about adventure? Let us know your favorites in the comments below. And for more travel tips, be sure to check out the rest of the blog .
Happy adventuring! 🧳 🚗💨🛫 🌍✨
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