The 1990s truly brought a new era to music, producing some one-of-a-kind road trip songs, a new era of rock and pop music, and the rise of more females in the musical scene. A new style of rock emerged with bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Green Day, while bubblegum pop overtook the charts with boy bands and Britney Spears.
If you are planning a trip on the open road, we have compiled the best road trip songs from the beloved decade of the nineties. Hop in your vintage truck, 1999 Cadillac, or little red Corvette (with the top down) and sing along to these classic 90s driving songs. Whether you are going cross-country or just cross-town, this road trip playlist has a jam for you.
Best Road Trip Songs from the 1990s for the Open Road
11. Ricky Martin – “Livin’ Da Vida Loca”
The 90s ended on a high note with the smash Ricky Martin hit “Livin’ Da Vida Loca.” The writers said they were attempting to create the “The Millennium party song from Hell,” and along with the help of the brand-new Pro Tools, they were able to create a number one hit that was 100% non-analog. “Livin’ Da Vida Loca” ended up becoming a cultural phenomenon and brought fame to Puerto Rico’s Ricky Martin.
10. Green Day – “Basket Case”
Billie Joel Armstrong wrote “Basket Case” as a way to deal with panic attacks and anxiety. It was Green Day’s third album “Dookie” and became their breakout hit, seeing airplay on rock, top 40, and alternative radio stations. The song is easy to relate to and a great one to sing along to when you find yourself on the road again.
9. Third Eye Blind – “Semi-Charmed Life”
Although the content of the song is far from road-related, “Semi-Charmed Life” was and still is an instantaneous 90s classic. If you grew up in this decade, you definitely know can sing along to every of this road trip hit by pop-rock outfit Third Eye Blind.
8. Metallica – “Enter Sandman”
A perfect song for the open road, “Enter Sandman” by Metallica stands as one of the most globally known metal songs of all time. It was the lead single off of “The Black Album,” released in July of 1991 which debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard charts in the United States as well as in nine other countries.
7. Sheryl Crow – “Everyday is a Winding Road”
Released as the second single on Sheryl Crow’s self-titled second album in 1997, “Everyday is a Winding Road,” is an ode to the open road and not really knowing where you are headed. Crow told CMT that “it really wound up being about being in the moment and not always looking to the next moment and analyzing things.” Well, Sheryl, we agree that this song is the perfect road trip song.
6. AC/DC – “Highway to Hell” (LIVE 1991)
Although this song originally debuted in the late seventies, we are bending the rules just a bit to include the 1991 live edition on our road trip playlist. “Highway to Hell” was the first AC/DC song to hit the charts in the United States and the album of the same name has sold over 7 million copies.
5. Britney Spears – “…Baby One More Time”
Her first hit off of her first album, this ground-breaking song changed pop music as we saw it back in the late 1990s. Along with the memorable music video, “…Baby One More Time” showed the world who Britney Spears was and that she was here to stay.
4. Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
The song that catapulted Nirvana to writhing success and changed the rock genre as we know it, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was an anthem for the disgruntled youth of the 90s. A doorway for the creation of grunge, the song was on the band’s album “Nevermind” that went triple platinum by early 1992.
3 . Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Under the Bridge”
“Under the Bridge” was released on the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” album in the grand year of 1991. One of the biggest hits from the band, it was not their typical rock and rock sound. This heartfelt ballad is all about the lead singer’s struggle with drug addiction in Los Angeles.
2. Will Smith – “Gettin’ Jiggy With It”
This danceable number from Will Smith had the whole world singing “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” when it was released on 1997’s “Big Willie Style”. The song was produced by Poke & Tone and it took the term “jiggy” to become a popular street lexicon in the late 90s and early aughts. Will Smith even won the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance for the song.
1. Tom Cochrane – “Life is a Highway”
This 90s driving song anthem comes from Tom Cochrane, a Canadian with many accolades in his home country. “Life is a Highway” was birthed from Cochrane’s trip to West Africa where he was helping the global famine relief efforts. He notes that his trip “was just mind-bending and soul-sapping, I was mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted and I really needed something to pull me out of this funk.” He went into the studio and out came one of the best road trip songs ever.
There you have it, the top 11 road trip songs from the iconic 1990s era. We made this 1990s road trip playlist on Spotify and added even more 1990 hits to make your road tripping that much more enjoyable.
Wide Open Roads’ 90s Driving Songs Playlist
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