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15 Best Driving Songs: A Playlist For The Open Road

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The best driving songs tell a story of adventure and freedom. Like the road ahead, these songs take us on a journey; looking for love, running from the law, or just moving on. We’ve assembled a list of 15 of our favorite driving songs along with key lyrics. Reacquaint yourself with an old favorite or sample something new. You’ll find this music has a tempo and energy best suited for the open road, and sounds even better rolling down the highway. So roll the windows down, turn the music up and hit the gas.

15 best driving songs for road trips and adventure

1. Radar Love

  • Artist: Golden Earring
  • Album: Moontan
  • Released: 1973
  • Musical Genre: Rock

Key lyrics:
No more speed, I’m almost there
Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care
Last car to pass, here I go

And the line of cars drove down real slow
And the radio played that forgotten song
Brenda Lee’s comin’ on strong
And the newsman sang his same song
Oh one more radar lover gone

2. Roadhouse Blues

  • Artist: The Doors
  • Album: Morrison Hotel
  • Released: 1970
  • Musical Genre: Rock, Blues

Key lyrics:
Yeah, keep your eyes on the road, your hand upon the wheel
Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel
Yeah, we’re goin’ to the Roadhouse
We’re gonna have a real
Good time

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3. Shut Up and Drive

  • Artist: Rihanna
  • Album: Good Girl Gone Bad
  • Released: 2007
  • Musical Genre: Pop, R&B

Key lyrics:
So if you feel it, let me know, know, know
Come on now, what you waiting for, for, for
My engine’s ready to explode, explode, explode
So start me up and watch me go, go, go, go

4. One Piece at a Time

  • Artist: Johnny Cash
  • Album: One Piece at a Time
  • Released: 1976
  • Musical Genre: Country

Key lyrics:
I’d get it one piece at a time
And it wouldn’t cost me a dime
You’ll know it’s me when I come through your town
I’m gonna ride around in style
I’m gonna drive everybody wild
‘Cause I’ll have the only one there is around.

5. Little GTO 

  • Artist: Ronny & The Daytonas (Beach Boys)
  • Album: G.T.O.
  • Released: 1964
  • Musical Genre: Surf Rock

Key lyrics:
Little GTO
You’re really lookin’ fine
Three deuces and a four-speed
And a three-eighty-nine
Listen to her tachin’ up now
Listen to her whine
C’mon and turn it on, wind it up, blow it out, GTO

6. Ramblin’ Man

  • Artist: The Allman Brothers Band
  • Album: Brothers and Sisters
  • Released: 1973
  • Musical Genre: Southern Rock

Key lyrics:
My father was a gambler down in Georgia
He wound up on the wrong end of a gun
And I was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus
Rollin’ down highway forty-one

7. The Passenger

  • Artist: Iggy Pop
  • Album: Lust For Life
  • Released: 1977
  • Musical Genre: Rock, Punk

Key lyrics:
I am a passenger
And I ride and I ride
I ride through the city’s backside
I see the stars come out of the sky
Yeah, they’re bright in a hollow sky
You know it looks so good tonight

8. 87 Southbound

  • Artist: Hank Williams III
  • Album: Risin’ Outlaw
  • Released: 1999
  • Musical Genre: Country, Rock

Key lyrics:
87 southbound
To San Antone
It’s getting late out,
I ain’t got no home

The pavements burning
At ninety-two
I don’t need to hear no more excuse
That I don’t love you

9. Baby Driver 

  • Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
  • Album: Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • Released: 1970
  • Musical Genre: Folk, Rock, Pop

Key lyrics:
They call me Baby Drive
And once upon a pair of wheels
I hit the road and I’m gone
What’s my number
I wonder how your engines feel
Ba ba ba ba
Scoot down the road
What’s my number
I wonder how your engines feel

10. Drive On

  • Artist: Wayne Hancock
  • Album: Wild, Free & Reckless
  • Released: 1999
  • Musical Genre: Country, Blues

Key lyrics:
Today we’re gonna pull fifteen long hours
Yeah, brother drive on
Ain’t stoppin’ for nothing but
cigarettes, gas and coffee
Yeah, brother drive on
And when I get to Phoenix
I lay my body down
It’s only ten more hours to that
California town

11. Passenger Side

  • Artist: Wilco
  • Album: A.M.
  • Released: 1995
  • Musical Genre: Alternative Country

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Key lyrics:
Hey, wake up, your eyes weren’t open wide
For the last couple of miles you’ve been swerving from side to side
You’re gonna make me spill my beer,
If you don’t learn how to steer
Passenger side, passenger side,
I don’t like riding on the passenger side

12. Lord Mr Ford

  • Artist: Jerry Reed
  • Album: Lord, Mr. Ford
  • Released: 1973
  • Musical Genre: Country

Key lyrics:
Lord Mr. Ford, I just wish that you could see
What your simple horseless carriage has become
Well it seems your contribution to man
To say the least, got a little out of hand
Well Lord Mr. Ford what have you done

13. Red Barchetta

  • Artist: Rush
  • Album: Moving Pictures
  • Released: 1981
  • Musical Genre: Progressive Rock

Key lyrics:
Drive like the wind
Straining the limits of machine and man
Laughing out loud
With fear and hope, I’ve got a desperate plan
At the one-lane bridge
I leave the giants stranded
At the riverside
Race back to the farm
To dream with my uncle
At the fireside…

14. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

  • Artist: Lucinda Williams
  • Album: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  • Released: 1998
  • Musical Genre: Country

Key lyrics:
Cotton fields stretching miles and miles
Hank’s voice on the radio
Telephone poles trees and wires fly on by
Car wheels on a gravel road

15. Roadworn & Weary

  • Artist: Supersuckers
  • Album: Must’ve Been High
  • Released: 1997
  • Musical Genre: Indie, Alt Country, Alternative

Key lyrics:
This road is a rocky place
And it’s good to see a smiling face
And I just ain’t satisfied
‘Til the coffee’s on and the eggs are fried
Roadworn and weary
I’ve gone one too many miles got no one near me and it’s going to be a while


Bonus track: Highway Patrol

  • Artist: Junior Brown
  • Album: Guit With It
  • Released: 1993
  • Musical Genre: Country, Rock-a-Billy

Key lyrics:
I got a star on my car and one on my chest,
A gun on my hip and the right to arrest
I’m the guy who’s the boss on this highway
So watch out what you’re doin’ when you’re drivin’ my way
If you break the law, you’ll hear from me, I know
I’m a-workin’ for the state I’m The Highway Patrol.


Music lovers: Check out these 31 song lyrics that changed how we talk.


Even more driving songs:

Hip Hop

  • Let Me Ride – Dr. Dre
  • My Hooptie – Sir Mix-A-Lot
  • Drive Slow – Kanye West
  • Drivin’ Down the Block – Kidz in the Hall

Classic Rock / Pop

  • Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf
  • Low Rider – War
  • Moonlight Drive – The Doors
  • Drive – The Cars
  • Hot Rod Honeymoon – Jeff Beck
  • Brand New Cadillac – The Clash
  • Driver’s Seat – Sniff ’n’ the Tears
  • Under My Wheels – Alice Cooper
  • Goin’ Mobile – The Who
  • Jerry Was a Race Car Driver – Primus
  • Cars – Gary Numan
  • Skidmarks on My Heart – The Go Go’s
  • Bad Habit – The Offspring
  • Little Red Corvette – Prince
  • Chevy Van – Sammy Johns
  • Highway Star – Deep Purple
  • I Can’t Drive 55 – Sammy Hagar
  • On the Road Again – Canned Heat
  • Riders on the Storm – The Doors
  • Carefree Highway – Gordon Lightfoot
  • Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan
  • Drive My Car – Beatles
  • Highway to Hell – AC/DC
  • Driving In My Car – Madness
  • Route 66 – Nat King Cole
  • Supersucker Drive-By Blues – Supersuckers

Surf Rock

  • Little Deuce Coupe – Beach Boys
  • I Get Around – Beach Boys
  • Rocket 88 – Bill Haley and the Saddlemen
  • Hang Up and Drive – Junior Brown

More music lyrics? 15 Famous Songs with Lists in the Lyrics


Southern Rock

  • Midnight Rider – Allman Brothers Band
  • Highway Song – Blackfoot 
  • Call Me the Breeze – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Let It Roll – Little Feat

Rockabilly

  • No Particular Place To Go – Chuck Berry
  • Hot Rod Lincoln  – Johnny Bond
  • Pink Cadillac – Elvis Presley
  • Flat Land Boogie – Wayne Hancock
  • Down the Line – Buddy Holly
  • Detour – The Rebel Rousers
  • Thunderstorms and Neon Signs – Wayne Hancock
  • I Drove All Night – Roy Orbison

Classic Country

  • Lost Highway – Hank Williams
  • I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
  • Country Roads (Take Me Home) – John Denver
  • On The Road Again – Willie Nelson
  • Amarillo By Morning – George Strait
  • Highwayman – The Highwaymen
  • East Bound and Down – Jerry Reed

Alternative Rock

  • Passenger Seat – Death Cab for Cutie
  • Automobile – John Prine
  • Stickshifts and Safetybelts – Cake
  • Driving Your Girlfriend Home – Morrissey
  • Drive – REM
  • The Distance – Cake
  • Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

This is just a small sampling of the multitude of driving songs ever recorded. We hope you have rediscovered an old friend or perhaps uncovered something new. Now take your songs out on the open road!


Music lovers may also enjoy the top Motown songs: the singers, stories and fun facts.

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