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15 Great Drive Songs
Winter is the perfect time to set out on long drives. And what’s a drive without some great music to accompany you? Here’s our purpose-built playlist for setting the tarmac on fire.
The kings of Power Pop know how to hit the melodic sweet spot like few other bands. And who can argue with the idyll of Holiday:
“Don’t bother to pack your bags,
Or your map,
We won’t need them where we’re going,
We’re going where the wind is blowing,
Not knowing where we’re gonna stay,
The Beatles: Get Back
That chugging bass line, the manic guitar, and the playful organ all entice you to take off, because sometimes you can’t get to where you want to without getting back to where you once belonged.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Road Trippin’
The funk meisters’ mellow, soft focus song is so self-explanatory that there’s little for me to say. It’s especially perfect if you’re headed for a beach. “Staying high and dry’s more trouble than it’s worth in the sun,” they sing. We agree.
Fastball: The Way
Who doesn’t want to leave all their cares behind and just take off on the open road? And that’s just what the protagonists of The Way do. In the paradise that they run off to one fine morning, “They’ll never get hungry, they’ll never get old and grey.” Perfect.
Otis Redding: (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay
Slow down a little for this soul classic. Sometimes when you despair that nothing is ever going to change, maybe its enough to just dip your feet in the sea and whistle a wistful tune.
Tom Petty: Runnin’ Down a Dream
Tom Petty sings the ultimate myth of the open road on this classic.
“Runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads”
Steppenwolf: Born To Be Wild
Another one that was born to be blasted out of a car going full tilt down the highway. And yes, when you’ve got the need for speed, you are taking the world in a love embrace!
James Brown: Night Train
Over a staccato rhythm the mirrors a subway train, the king of funk James Brown raps over an infectious groove that will get you moving, all the way down to that distant sunset.
The Grateful Dead: Truckin’
You’re coming to the end of your drive. But the drive back remains. Once that’s done, you can reflect on what a long, strange trip it’s been.
Chuck Berry: Route 66
The rock’n’roll pioneer does his unique take on the ultimate road trip song.
Roy Orbison: I Drove All Night
When Roy Orbison sings in his honey velvet voice, “I drove all night, to get to you,” you’ll want to do the same.
Led Zeppelin: Going To California
Not all driving music has to be bombastic, of course. This lilting tune by the hard rock titans flows down the highway wistfully, and you float along.
The Clash: Brand New Cadillac
From the opening riff to Joe Strummer intoning “Drive, drive”, play this song on a loop as you make your getaway
The Modern Lovers: Roadrunner
Nodding off on your wheel on an overnight drive? Listen to the radio, and be like the roadrunner, driving alone through the dark.
The Temptations: Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone
That funky guitar, that ominous bass line, those fantastic voices drive on to the end of the line, and then some.
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