Top 11 Road Trip Songs

Michael D'Alimonte
Top Lists
3 minute read
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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.

11 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.

10Boston - 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.

9Tom 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.

8The 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.

7The 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.

6Creedence 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.