15 Best Driving Songs: A Playlist For The Open Road

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

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.


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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


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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!

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