25 Essential Road Trip Songs
One of our more popular older posts is a list of 25 essential summer songs. In that spirit, and with the holiday weekend almost here, the time's right to unveil my list of 25 essential road trip songs.
A good road trip song should have at least one of the following:
- lyrics that reference a lot of different cities and states or literally talk about driving
- Have music and/or lyrics that express the feeling of escaping to the road
- have parts that are fun to sing along with
With that criteria in mind, here are my 25 Essential Road Trip Songs (in no particular order):
- Stop, by Jane's Addiction: What better way to kick off a road trip than with Perry Farrell's exuberant cry of "Here we go!".
- Radar Love, by Golden Earring: This is an obvious choice, but I honestly can't think of a another song that feels more like driving.
- Come Sail Away, by Styx: Not only is this song about escaping to the sea, it's really, really fun to sing along to - even if you're not Cartman
- Ohio (Come Back to Texas), by Bowling For Soup: This is just a plain fun song that mentions not only several places, but some famous faces ("Troy Aikman wants you back. The Bush twins want you back")
- Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk, by Rufus Wainwright: At first glance, this may not seem like a good road trip song. Listen a little more closely, however, and you'll notice that the song is just repetitive enough (both lyrically and musically) that even your passengers who've never heard it before will be singing along by the end of the song.
- Closer To Fine, by Indigo Girls: Speaking of singing along, this song is fun for road trips because you and your passengers can all choose different parts of this song and sing together for maximum chaos.
- King of the Road, by Roger Miller: This is a more traditional road song, but you know it's a great one because it still feels fresh. Roger Miller, who knew?
- Sunday Morning, by Maroon 5: If you'd rather ease into your road trip rather than blast off into it with a song like "Stop", this is a good choice. It's lively, but not too lively. It's not going to make you get any speeding tickets.
- The Humpty Dance, by Digital Underground: Every road trip needs a little old school rap.
- Faithfully, by Journey: Likewise, every road trip also needs the obligatory "I miss you and I'm not cheating on you while I'm gone, really" song. In my humble opinion, this is the best of the genre.
- Chicken Train, by Ozark Mountain Daredevils: Speaking of the best in genre. This here is the best song ever about chickens. It's also the best song that includes cawing. Oh hell, it just may be the best song ever. Period.
- LDN, by Lily Allen: Listening in the car, you can just get into the fun music and gloss over the kind of depressing lyrics. Oh that Lily Allen, why must she trick us through songs?
- I've Been Everywhere, by Johnny Cash: Truly the gold standard among songs that mention places. Lots of places. And he's been to them all. :-)
- Driver 8, by R.E.M.: With a sing-a-long chorus and lyrics about, uh, driving, this is simply a can't miss road trip song.
- Bass Run, by Max Stalling: A lot of Max's songs are suitable for road trips, but I picked this one because it's not so much about a trip to another place, but rather a trip to a simpler time.
- Peace, Love and Understanding, by Elvis Costello: Put this one on your road trip playlist and listen to your whole carload sing the "Haaaaaarmony, sweet harmony" part. Laugh. Repeat.
- Back To Life, by Soul II Soul: For something completely different, this chill 80s track is guaranteed to get your thumbs dancing on the dashboard.
- I Don't Feel Like Dancin', by Scissor Sisters: Contrary to the title, you will feel like dancing when listening to this. Of course, it's safe to dance in your car seat. No one will judge you, right?
- Breakaway, by Kelly Clarkson: Not every road trip song has to be some loud, aggressive male-oriented song. Some of them can be light, airy girly pop songs.
- Indianapolis, by The Bottle Rockets: This funny song highlights the downside of road trips: breakdowns. Would this song exist if The Bottle Rockets had AAA?
- Heavy Metal Drummer, by Wilco: While some songs are fun to sing along to with your friends, this song is great for solo trips. There's so much musically going on in it that I like to listen to it over and over again and concentrate on a different part of it each time. Nothing makes the miles pass by quite so quickly.
- Chelsea Dagger, by The Fratellis: Just a flat out fun song to play loud and drive fast to. Plus, how can I resist an opening lyric like "Well, you must be a girl with shoes like that"?
- Busted Afternoon, by Old 97's: Don't be put off the slower tempo, you'll have fun singing the "BUS-ted Afternoon" part. (As an aside, while looking for a clip of this song, I came across this You Tube video of Rhett Miller's performance of the Chili's commercial during his show in Madison last year. I swear that you can hear me yelling for "King of all of the World!!!!" in the background.)
- Headstart For Happiness, by The Style Council: 2:59 of pure pop pleasure. Plus, thematically, I'd like to think that any road trip is a headstart for happiness, wouldn't you?
- Time For Me To Fly, by REO Speedwagon: While this song is a fitting start to any road trip, it's also a fitting end to the list. I hope you've enjoyed it!
Posted by at May 22, 2008 12:26 AM
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|# May 22nd, 2008 8:25 AM jagorham|
|The heck with Rufus Wainwright - go with his father: Loudon Wainwright III's "Dead Skunk."
Drive out in the country during the summer, and it comes to mind even without it on the Ipod :P
|# May 22nd, 2008 8:53 AM KVBigSis|
|A couple off the top of my head:
Space Truckin' by Deep Purple
Hot Rod Lincoln by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
|# May 22nd, 2008 2:50 PM BVBigBro|
|Baba O'Reilly and Going Mobile by the who, Mind Flood by Sam Roberts. |
|# May 31st, 2008 12:58 AM DMLewis|
|Sister Ray--Velvet Underground
Who Am I--Country Joe
Symphony #2--Sir Arnold Bax
Blonde on Blonde--Bob Dylan