The List: Best Driving Songs

Taking a look at some of the best song to hear when you’re behind the wheel cruising down the highway. 

One of the best things about music is that it can be enjoyed in so many ways. Listening to the radio, spinning a record or my favorite, the live concert. But there is another way to listen that usually brings out our inner rock star; blasting our favorite road songs while we are driving.

Windows down, wind in your face and tunes blasting out of your car's speakers, there’s not much better. As I get ready for my annual family road trip, I decided to put together a list of some of the best driving songs that make all of my road trips that much better.

Holiday Road by Lindsey Buckingham

Holiday Road is best known as the theme to the classic 80s comedy, Vacation. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the great Lindsey Buckingham recorded the song. Begin your mix with this and get your journey moving the right way as every road trip should start with this one.

Born to Be Wild by Steppenwolf

Another road trip must. Born to Be Wild is from the road movie, Easy Rider, and adds a little extra something to the mix. If timed right, the song should kick in right as you hit the highway.

Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots

With the highway under our wheels, a perfect song to match is Interstate Love Song by the great Stone Temple Pilots. The band themselves are a great addition to any road trip.

In fact, I suggest bringing along some of their albums along for the ride as you can put them in and listen to them beginning to end without any skips.

California by Phantom Planet

Unless you were a fan of The OC you may not recognize this one, but Phantom Planet's California is a great road trip song since it is a song about road trips and heading back home. Put it on and see if anyone in the car recognizes it. If they do, I know you will all be singing the chorus.

Drive by Incubus

Slowing things down a bit for the middle of your journey, you should throw in a few sing along chill out songs. Drive is a great choice as it’s an Incubus classic and one we all know and love.

Thunderstruck by AC/DC

After keeping things low key for a few tracks, get everyone back in it for the long haul with this killer AC/DC classic. Once that guitar riff hits, everyone in the car will be bopping their heads to the beat and then rock out like crazy people to the chorus. Air guitar is totally appropriate here.

Sleep Now in the Fire by Rage Against the Machine

Keeping things rocking and rocking hard, it’s time for a little Rage. Once again, that guitar riff totally gets you ready for the awesomeness about to hit.

Rage Against the Machine in general are a great choice for road trips as every song is such high energy and will keep you awake during those super long trips.

Sabotage by The Beastie Boys

Closing out the trifecta of hard rocking goodness is Sabotage. Just be safe as this song can make the driver go 100 mph. For me it’s always fun when this song plays during the trip and the bass riff hits, to see who screams along with you as the song goes there.

California Love by Tupac and Dr. Dre

Keeping the hip hop undertones of the Beasties and Rage, we go full on hip hop as every road trip needs some of that. California Love is the perfect hip hop break in your mix bringing us two of the best MCs of all time with one of the best rap tracks of all time.

Nuthin But A G Thang by Dr. Dre (feat. Snoop Dogg)

You can’t leave the mix with only one, so a good companion to California Love is some Dre and Snoop. Let your inner gangsta out while listening to a true hip hop classic.

Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey

Now is the right time to throw a curveball. After the hip hop twofer, it’s anthem time and all rise from here. Journey is a perfect way to kick that off and to let everyone in the car know it’s sing along time as we all know the words to this one. Admit it, you know them.

Where the Streets Have No Name by U2

You can’t have a road trip mix or a set of anthems in your mix and not have this one. One of the biggest anthems of all time, this is another one to really get your blood pumping while driving down that highway.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

The anthem that every other anthem hopes to be and the anthem that no road trip is complete without. The Boss wrote a song for the ages and no matter how many times you hear it; it never gets old. This is another song to get everyone to sing with as sing alongs are so important to the road trip experience.

My final three choices are my personal must haves and my three favorite road trip songs.

LA Woman by The Doors

I love The Doors. A lot. LA Woman is the perfect road trip song as it’s seven minutes long and is all upbeat. Jim Morrison is on fire here and the jamming throughout the song is made for road trips.

After the middle breakdown in the song, Morrison’s Mr. Mojo Risin’ into the climax of the track gives you that little extra you need to get to the end of your journey.

Show Me How To Live by Audioslave

Chris Cornell could write the hell out of a driving song. His catalogue is full of great driving tunes. Show Me How To Live is the top of them all.

That opening riff by Tom Morello into the jam is made for flying down the highway. There aren’t many road songs out there better than this except the song listed below.

Rearview Mirror by Pearl Jam

No song gets me more pumped while driving than this Pearl Jam gem. I’ve had this song in my car with me since I started driving whether on cassette, CD or iPod.

From those opening chords to the incredibly epic second half, this song is meant to be played at maximum volume while blazing down the highway singing the song at the top of your lungs. No contest for me.

I hope my choices make your next road trip a fun one musically. Give this List a try and rock on!

For more Lists, check out some of the best album openers in rock history. To take things to the flip side, see some of the best album closers since 1990.