Whether you are heading out for a weekend adventure or taking a cross-country road trip, the open road is always more fun with amazing driving songs blasting in your speakers. It does not matter if you are riding solo or have a car full of friends, great music is the key to successful road trips (like this one along historic Route 66).
Even if you are just driving across town to run errands, the experience of being in the car is exponentially more enjoyable with a solid road trip playlist and the music turned up loud. While music tastes vary across ages and generations, most people can agree that classic rock is a great place to start when it comes to epic driving songs on a road trip. However, if you are more into Country music, this list is also a great resource for driving songs.
Top 15 Driving Songs
15. Wilson Pickett – “Mustang Sally”
First written and recorded by Mack Rice in 1965, “Mustang Sally” gained popularity when Wilson Pickett covered it on his 1966 album The Wicked Pickett. Rumor has it that “Mustang Sally” is even better when played in a vintage Mustang convertible with the top down.
14. Tom Petty – “Runnin’ Down A Dream”
Released in the summer of 1989 and co-written by Tom Petty, this rock song is a staple for a playlist of road trip songs. It was the second single from Petty’s first solo album Full Moon Fever and became the name of the 2007 documentary about the band.
13. The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”
Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys wrote this sixties hit from inspiring words of his mother, who told him about cosmic vibes and picking up energies from other people. This beloved song serves as one of The Beach Boy’s most popular of their long history.
12. Steppenwolf – “Born To Be Wild”
Written by Mars Bonfire and performed by the band Steppenwolf, “Born To Be Wild” became the biker anthem of the year in the hot summer of 1968. It became ultra-famous when it was played in Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider.
11. Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Sweet Home Alabama”
Even if you are not from Alabama, it is no surprise that this Lynyrd Skynyrd tune is a favorite among Rock and Roll lovers. Originally released in 1973, the southern tune has a complicated history but that does not stop the masses from singing along to its catchy lyrics.
10. Fleetwood Mac – “Go Your Own Way”
Written and recorded by British-American rock outlet Fleetwood Mac, “Go Your Own Way” was the band’s first top-ten hit in the United States. A road trip must-have, “Go Your Own Way” was released as the first single on Fleetwood Mac’s 11th studio album Rumours in 1977.
9. Bruce Springsteen – “Born to Run”
The title track from Springsteen’s third studio album Born to Run, this American classic was released in 1975 and made it on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 500 Great Songs of All Time at #21. In interviews, Bruce Springsteen revealed that the song’s meaning references getting out of Freehold, New Jersey, on U.S. Route 9.
8. Whitesnake – “Here I Go Again”
RELATED: 10 Best 1980s Driving Songs
More than four decades later, this eighties’ anthem from English hard-rock group Whitesnake brings more than its iconic music video — it brings the perfect song to listen to on a long drive. This tune takes us back to the days of 80’s hair bands, now-vintage jaguars, and a prime moment in pop culture history.
7. John Denver – “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
A beloved favorite of West Virginians and John Denver fans, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” stands as one of the best driving songs of all time. The story of the song is really quite interesting, and you may be surprised to find that the state that inspired the tune is in fact not West Virginia.
6. The Eagles – “Life in the Fast Lane”
“Life in the Fast Lane” debuted on the famed Hotel California album when guitarist Joe Walsh had just joined The Eagles. Written by Walsh, Don Henley, and Glenn Frey, this song is all about a man and woman who lost it all due to their lifestyle, symbolized by living “life in the fast lane.”
5. Prince – “Little Red Corvette”
The late and great Prince gave us a lot of amazing anthems but “Little Red Corvette” is one of the choice picks. While the song is not actually about a little red corvette, Prince definitely had specific life experiences that inspired the song that sparked his fame.
4. Talking Heads – “Road to Nowhere”
This Talking Heads hit was written by David Byrne for the 1985 album Little Creatures. The apocalyptic doomsday theme does not halt the fact that this song is a great one to sing along to on your next car ride.
3. Steve Miller Band – “Fly Like An Eagle”
Making it to number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1977, this classic song presents a heart-warming ode to the yearning for freedom and exploration. Is there a better song to throw on your playlist during a long car ride?
2. The Rolling Stones – “Start Me Up”
Seen as The Rolling Stones’ biggest hit of the eighties, “Start Me Up” was the lead single on their 1981 album Tattoo You. However, it was originally a reggae number written by Keith Richards intended for the band’s 1976 album Black and Blue.
1. Willie Nelson – “On the Road Again”
The king of country Willie Nelson created this classic as a spur-of-the-moment tune for Honeysuckle Road, a movie directed by Jerry Schatzberg. The timeless classic even won a Grammy in 1980 for Best Country Song. It is undeniable why this is the number one pick for the best driving song.
Playlist of Best Driving Songs
There you have it. Our top 15 driving songs to throw on the next time you need extra motivation on that long drive. We even put these songs (and a few others) onto this Spotify playlist to make it even easier for you to focus on the road ahead.
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