Top 11 Road Trip Songs
Whether they be best heard during a road trip, or they're simply so well-known anyone can sing along, we've compiled a list of the best road trip songs
A classic North American summertime activity, the road trip is the modern-day version of a pilgrimage, just, you know, a lot more fun. Integral to any good road trip, more than your car-mates or your route, is the playlist of songs you're going to be playing during the very long car ride.
Chances are you and your crew of travel buddies don't share the same musical tastes for the most part, so you're going to need to pick songs everyone can enjoy when in the car. Whether they be best heard during a road trip, or they're simply so well-known anyone can sing along, we've compiled a list of the best road trip songs that will make the perfect mix of music for any combination of travelers, no matter how eclectic. Give a read below and get driving.
AC/DC - Highway To Hell
Two features of "Highway to Hell" make it one of the best songs for when you're road-tripping. One, which is pretty damn obvious, is that the song is all about driving on a highway, which you'll undoubtedly be doing a lot of when you're on a road trip, even if your destination isn't Hades. Two, pretty much everyone has heard this song and knows most of the lyrics, thus creating a high-octane sing along that'll make your car's morale level skyrocket.
Boston - Hitch A Ride
So ideally you've already got your car situation figured out, and there'll be no need for you to hitchhike/hitch a ride during your road trip. But Boston's "Hitch A Ride" isn't really about finding a random ride, it's all about getting away from your old life and journeying somewhere new. Filled with the classic rock vibes (read: guitar solos) and a smooth melody, Hitch A Ride is exactly what you need to turn your road trip into an epic adventure straight out of the 70's.
Tom Cochrane - Life is a Highway
When you're driving for a really long time on the highway, your life kind of literally becomes entwined with the road. Maybe that's a little too metaphysical for what Tom Cochrane was going for in his famous song "Life is a Highway," but the track is still a perfect road trip tune even if it was never meant to be that deep. Just make sure not to follow Cochrane's advice and actually drive all night long, though if you're blaring this song the entire time, you might not be able to actually doze off anyway.
The Arcade Fire - In The Backseat
Try not to pay attention to the lyrics of The Arcade Fire's "In The Backseat," especially if you're literally in the backseat. Even though Alice's car rides ends a little fatally, In The Backseat, beautifully sung by Régine Chassagne, perfectly captures the essence of being in the back of a car on a long car ride. Melodically dream-like, the track musically embodies the act of watching landscapes wiz by and falling asleep in the backseat, that is until the song picks up and jolts you awake towards the end.
The Beatles - Ticket to Ride
An easy way to appease anyone in your car with music is to simply play any Beatles song, because, well, everyone loves The Beatles. But, to truly fit the road trip motif, you should be playing Ticket To Ride first, foremost, and most often. This early Beatles song is actually about taking a ride out on the British Railways, according to McCartney, though the other members of the band didn't quite agree, each having their own ideas and interpretations. Not really an issue, because if The Beatles can't even decide what their own song means, that just gives you free reign to attach whatever significance you want to the tune. Let it be about your road trip exclusively, because who knows, maybe it always was.
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Proud Mary
A road trip is usually all about taking a break from your 9 to 5 life, hitting the highway with friends, and escaping the routine of the city. Creedance Clearwater Revival's classic track Proud Mary is all about taking time off from "workin' for the man ev'ry night and day" and just rollin' away from all that stress, with such high energy vocals everyone in the car won't be able to keep themselves from singing along. Technically you won't be on any river, but just sub out a boat and insert a car into the imagery and you're set.
Rihanna - Shut Up and Drive
Just about every car ride needs a pop tune sing-along. Say what you will, but nothing gets a cramped car full of irritable friends more jazzed up and ready to have fun than a high energy pop track, and given the car-based theme running through this list, Rihanna's Shut Up And Drive is the perfect choice. Sure, the song is a little too apt when you're actually driving, but that just adds to the fun. Folks in the passenger side/backseat can also use this tune to abruptly end a bad story being told by the driver. She or he will definitely get the point once the chorus hits.
Life in the Fast Lane - Eagles
Most of the more famous Eagles tracks are pretty ideal for road-tripping, since a majority tend to be pretty upbeat and easy to sing along to. Nothing out of the Eagles canon is as apt for long car rides than Life In The Fast Lane, as the title spells out for you. Get on the highway, slam the gas pedal, blare "Life In The Fast Lane," and feel like a true speed demon. Just be sure to make better life choices than the couple in the song.
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
Knowing all of the words to a song is nearly essential when you're singing along in a car, this isn't karaoke with the words streaming in front of your face, after all. Road trip rock-outs get much better when everyone in the car knows the words, of course, and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody happens to be one of the very few songs in musical history most people know the words to, or at least most of them, despite the songs verbose nature. Anyone in your car who doesn't know at least 70% of the lyrics should be kicked out immediately, or given an immediate crash-course in Queen, because you shouldn't go through life being unable to gleefully yell "Mama Mia" and not be referring to the musical. Added bonus: you can re-enact the car ride sing-along scene from Wayne's World.
Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses
Everyone knows the story of Ulysses (aka Odysseus, as the Greeks originally called him) or at least they should. If ancient myth isn't your game, all you need to know is that Ulysses, following the Trojan war, went on an epic journey (or odyssey, if you will) that lasted a whole decade. Your road trip journey probably won't last as long, or involve a cyclops, queens, or witches, but with Franz Ferdinand's Ulysses, you can invoke the essence of epic adventure with a very upbeat track that is perfect for cruising in the sunshine.
Bon Jovi - Wanted Dead or Alive
A veritable Jovi-anthem, Dead Or Alive accomplishes the secret goal of everyone has when they take a road trip: to feel like a cowboy (or girl) riding through the lands like a badass. You may not carry a six-string on your back, but you're definitely riding on a steel horse (your car) which is all the justification you really need to put yourself in Jovi's cowboy boots. Dead Or Alive's fairly simple chorus also makes it really easy for folks who don't know the tune to rock out, a key element of any track you're going to play in a car full of people with varied musical interests.