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 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.

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The most popular driving songs

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

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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

Great driving songs we love

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

Classic driving songs

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 driving song: 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 Driving Songs

  • 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 driving songs image

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
  • Rockin’ Down The Highway – The Doobie Brothers
  • 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 driving songs image

List of driving songs

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 Driving Songs

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

Rockabilly Driving Songs

  • 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 driving songs image

Classic Country Driving Songs

  • 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 HighwaymenEast Bound and Down – Jerry Reed

Alternative Rock Driving Songs

  • 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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By Greg Johnson | Published 4/20/2018