It’s been over a year since I published my 20 Top Route 66 Driving Songs – Part 1 and so this time around I’ve tried to mix it up a bit. Again, this list is just a small selection of what I consider to be good Route 66 driving songs and I’ve made sure to include a mix of the classics and a few less predictable entries.
I know there’s at least one that I might get a bit of a roasting for so please be kind!
So here, in no particular order are the second lot of 20 top Route 66 driving songs – hope you enjoy!
1. AC/DC – Back In Black
A perfect track to get things started … the ultimate rock song worthy of any credible list of driving tunes. What a riff and what a vocal! Ranked number 190 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
2. Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City
An all-time classic that always features high in polls of greatest rock tracks. “Paradise City” has been the bands closing song for live shows since 1988!
3. Free – All Right Now
Window down, volume up, singing at the top of your voice… Go on, you know you want to!
4. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird
The definitive power ballad. Much like Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City”, this track is nearly always used as a finale during live shows, often going well over 14 minutes when played live. Great for passengers who might like to play a little air-guitar!
5. Golden Earring – Radar Love
“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hand’s wet on the wheel” – some have described this as the ultimate driving song – what do you think?
6. Alan Parsons – Out of the Blue
A slight change of pace here, this track has a wistful, melancholic vibe that lends itself to night-time driving. If the voice sounds familiar that’s because the vocals are provided by Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet.
7. Lindsey Buckingham – Holiday Road
Recorded by Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, this song brings back great childhood memories – who fancies a road trip to Walley World! Such a good feel-good tune.
8. Prince – Little Red Corvette
A reminder of Prince’s incredible talent as a songwriter and musician. The track is laden with double meaning or you can simply choose to hear a song about a car – the choice is yours!
9. U2 – Where The Streets Have No Name
A great track from a great album with a great music video to boot. “Where The Streets Have No Name” is often voted the best track on “The Joshua Tree” album. A great driving song for hitting the open road.
10. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
One of those classic tracks that HAD to be featured. Although it’s considered a classic driving anthem all over the world, it’s imagery and lyrics and make it specifically perfect for an American road trip.
11. Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
“Born to Run” ranked number 21 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time which is now small achievement. Springsteen is the personification of the US in music form!
12. Paul Simon – The Boy In The Bubble
I was a latecomer to the Graceland album but fell in love with it when I heard this opening track. The album contains numerous songs that would make this list but this is a personal favorite so please indulge me!
13. James Taylor – Mexico
Another personal favorite – James Taylor is one of those artists that can’t put a foot wrong in my opinion. From the opening guitar riff to the uplifting singalong chorus, this track is perfect in every way.
14. Charley Pride – Six Days On The Road
A great country artist this track has obvious appeal to a list celebrating driving songs. In the 1970’s Charley Pride was RCA Records best selling performer since Elvis Presley!
15. John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads
Even if you don’t know the verses so well it’s hard not to sing along to the chorus – a staple of any road trip playlist.
16. Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
A more contemporary addition to this list (well, 2006 is relatively contemporary!) but well deserving of it’s place, “Chasing Cars” is a beautiful track building to an euphoric crescendo. Turn up the volume and let it wash over you as you cruise along…
17. Green Day – Holiday
Another relatively contemporary addition to the list but perfect driving material for those days when you’ve got nothing but open road before you. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t a record about taking a vacation, the “holiday” in question here is the one we take when we’re apathetic about the decisions taken by our political leaders.
18. Sheryl Crow – Everyday Is A Winding Road
Neil Finn from Crowded House provides the backing vocals to this great driving song. Crow’s back catalogue consists of numerous tracks that could have made this list but the title of this one just swayed it for me!
19. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
I’m going to take flak for this! I’ll admit it’s a guilty pleasure but in my defense the tune was originally written as a folk tune before being given the pop makeover and I think it shows! Not convinced? I’ll move on quickly…
20. Iggy Pop – The Passenger
Have I now earned back your respect?! Inspired by a road trip with David Bowie, and loosely based on a poem by Jim Morrison, this one is surely a credible entry? An evocative and moody track with an earworm of a chorus!
So there you have it – part 2 of my 20 top Route 66 driving songs. It was a tough task and I’m sure it would be different for everyone – feel free to leave yours in the comments.
Take it easy, Steve