What makes a great driving song? The beat, the lyrics, the killer guitar lick. Here is our list of the 22 greatest driving songs for your Summer enjoyment. Maybe you are cruising around your hometown or planning a cross-country road trip. Wherever you go be sure to consider some of these songs for the road.
Inspired by Rolling Stone‘s post, Weekend Rock List: Best Road Trip Songs Ever, I decided to scroll through my music library and pick out what I think are the 22 greatest driving songs ever in preparation for Summer. Maybe you are cruising around your hometown or planning a cross-country road trip. Wherever you go be sure to consider some of these songs for the road. Disputes and suggestions are encouraged, please leave them in the comments. Without further ado, here’s my list (in reverse order to keep up the spine-tingling suspense):
22. The Weight – The Band
A beautiful song featured in one of the great all time road trip movies. Not Road Trip, idiot, Easy Rider with Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and a young Jack Nicholson. Those who know the movie will know this won’t be the only song from it featured on this list. Speaking of Jack Nicholson…
21. I’m Shipping Up to Boston – The Dropkick Murphys
This song was recently featured in The Departed with a (much older) Jack Nicholson. If you have seen the movie you know that this Celtic punk song repeats throughout. And it is awesome when it plays.
20. American Woman – The Guess Who
Once you get past the bluesy intro the song really kicks into gear with the tripped out guitar riff that will give anyone 70s muscle car fantasies. If you like Lenny Kravitz you can opt for his version… but I don’t.
19. Drive My Car – The Beatles
Despite the fact that the girl in this song doesn’t actually own a car, this makes a nice driving tune. Beep-beep-mm-beep-beep yeah!
18. Slow Ride – Foghat
Roll down the windows and cruise to this one. Foghat weren’t big on lyrical content (Slow ride, take it easy… repeat) but this song rocks out and has a great beat.
17. Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
There are probably entire Led Zeppelin albums that would be appropriate driving music but I will constrain myself to this one song. Beautiful airy guitar and an excellent chorus make this a driving gem.
16. One Headlight – The Wallflowers
The Wallflowers are great for driving – simple beats and singable lyrics – but this song stands out as being particularly appropriate. I wonder why?
15. Highway Man – Johnny Cash
The beat behind Johnny Cash’s music makes for perfect driving music. This song is perfect for rolling down long open highways.
14. Take the Money and Run – The Steve Miller Band
Maybe this song will provide some inspiration for an impromptu road trip following a run-in with the law. We won’t endorse anything illegal, we’ll just provide the soundtrack.
13. Ramblin’ Man – The Allman Brothers Band
A classic traveling tune with a great story and stellar beat.
12. Fuel – Metallica
Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire. Probably the hardest rocking song on the list, it may not be for the faint of heart but try to suck it up and do a little headbanging. As a passenger that is, please don’t headbang your way into something you might sue us for.
11. Let it Ride – Ryan Adams
If you’ve never heard this song I would go out and give a listen. It is an amazing song for cruising on the open road.
10. Graceland – Paul Simon
As was mentioned in response to the Rolling Stone article, the entire Graceland album is great driving music, but this song has particularly good lyrics.
9. Tiny Dancer – Elton John
See Almost Famous.
8. All Right Now – Free
If you saw American Beauty, you remember when Lester buys his dream car and cruises home blasting this song. Enough said.
7. Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys
Having grown up on the beach this song has a special place in my heart, but it’s a song about a girl with a fast car – who would argue with that?
6. Running on Empty – Jackson Browne
A classic driving-themed song with a great chorus.
5. East Bound and Down – Jerry Reed
If you don’t recognize this song, it’s the theme from the movie Smokey and the Bandit. If you don’t know Smokey and the Bandit, then you just got a new number one for your Netflix queue.
4. Panama – Van Halen
“Yeah we’re runnin’ a little bit hot tonight. I can barely see the road from the heat comin’ off. Reach down between my legs, ease the seat back…” You tell ‘em Van Halen.
3. Highway to Hell – AC/DC
We’re getting into the heavy hitters here. There is no end to how awesome it is to crank the windows down and blast this song no matter where you are headed.
2. Born to be Wild – Steppenwolf
The classic road theme from Easy Rider. It has probably accompanied more road trips than any song in history, and with good reason.
1. Life is a Highway – Rascal Flatts
I am not generally a fan of Country music, but if there’s one thing Country artists know how to sing about it’s the open road. This song is no exception. Its appearance in Cars was excellent, and it is sure to make for a spectacular trip, whether it is to the grocery store to pick up some last minute beers or back to college across the country.
We hope you enjoyed our list. Don’t forget to let us know your favorite driving songs in the comments!