Table of Contents
It’s no secret that choosing the right music can make or break a road trip. Looking for the best songs to get you pumped up for your next journey? Check out our list of best road trip songs.
“Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey
Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,” written by Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain, was released in 1981. It was originally released as a single and included on the album Escape. The song is about a man who is down on his luck and is trying to make his way back home.
Many artists have covered it, including the Glee Cast, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Taylor Swift. The song has also been featured in movies and TV shows such as The Sopranos, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Simpsons.
“The Middle” – Zedd
“The Middle,” by artist Zedd, was released on January 23, 2018. The lead single from his Beautiful Now album, the song peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100.
The production on “The Middle” is ethereal and otherworldly, with a delicate piano melody and swirling synths creating an almost dreamlike atmosphere.
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” – John Denver
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” is one of the most popular and recognizable songs of the 70s. The song was written by John Denver, Bill Danoff, and Taffy Nivert and was released in 1971. It quickly became a hit and has been covered by numerous artists.
A timeless classic, “Take Me Home Country Roads” is about the beauty of the country and the desire to be home. Many artists, including Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, have covered the song.
“Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” was released in 1974 as a part of the Second Helping album. The song quickly became popular, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Its singalong quality makes it one of the best road trip songs.
The song has been used in movies and television shows like Forrest Gump, Crimson Tide, Con Air, Joe Dirt, Sweet Home Alabama, and Despicable Me.
“Walking on Sunshine” – Katrina and the Waves
Katrina and the Waves’ singalong classic “Walking on Sunshine” was released in 1985. Written by band member Kimberley Rew and produced by John McLaughlin, it was a worldwide hit, reaching number one in the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Australia, and South Africa. In the United States, it peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song has a positive and uplifting message, which has helped it become one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s and one of the best road trip songs.
“Walking on Sunshine” was featured in the movie Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and the Scrubs television series. It has been covered by Bon Jovi, Oasis, Kelly Clarkson, Aly and AJ, and many others.
“Life Is a Highway” – Tom Cochrane
“Life Is a Highway” is a very popular track by Tom Cochrane. Released in 1991 on the album Me and My Gang, it was inspired by Cochrane’s life experiences.
The upbeat song is a great reminder that life is meant to be enjoyed. It was featured in many movies, including There Goes the Neighborhood, Cheaper by the Dozen, and Cars.
“Hotel California” – The Eagles
Undoubtedly one of the best road trip songs, Eagles’ classic “Hotel California” was written by Don Henley, Glen Frey, and Don Felder. Released on their 1976 album of the same name, the song is a classic example of the Eagles’ talent for creating catchy-yet-thought-provoking lyrics.
“Hotel California” tells the story of a group who checks into a hotel only to find they “can never leave.” Some people believe the song is about the dark side of the American Dream, some that it’s about addiction and materialism, and others that it’s about hell. Whatever the song’s true meaning, it is undoubtedly one of the Eagles’ most popular tracks.
“Road To Nowhere” – Talking Heads
Talking Heads’ “Road To Nowhere” was released in September 1985. The first single from their album Little Creatures, it was written by David Byrne and produced by Talking Heads and Brian Eno. The chorus alone is enough to put it on a list of best road trip songs.
The song peaked at number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States and 26 on the UK Singles Chart. In 1986, the song won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
“On The Road Again” – Willie Nelson
“On The Road Again” is one of country legend Willie Nelson’s most popular songs. Written by Willie and his producer Chip Davis, the song was released in 1968 and has been covered by many other artists. It was also part of the movie Honeysuckle Rose.
The classic country song is about a man living on the Road and never staying in one place for too long. It has a catchy melody and Nelson’s voice is full of emotion. It is one of the best road trip songs.
“Running on Empty” – Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty” was released as a single in 1977 and peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song was used as the main theme for a running montage in the 1994 film Forrest Gump. It talks about how a person can get so caught up in their own life that they forget to take care of themselves, which can lead to them running on empty and eventually burning out. A bit bleak, but still one of the best road trip songs.
“Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake
Massive 80s hit “Here I Go Again” is a song about starting over and never giving up on your dreams. It is a reminder that sometimes all you need is to start over again and try something new. Like many tracks on this best road trip songs list, it has a singalong chorus that begs to be belted out at the top of your lungs.
“After Dark” – Mr. Kitty
“After Dark” is a song by American electronic musician Mr. Kitty. Released on October 28, 2016, the dark and atmospheric track features Mr. Kitty’s signature 8-bit sounds and synth work.
The song has been described as “a love letter to the dark hours of the night” and is one of the artist’s most popular songs.
The production is atmospheric and moody, with eerie synths and percussion that create a sense of unease. The song is perfect for a road trip on a dark, stormy night when you want to be transported to another world.
“Born To Run” – Bruce Springsteen
The title track from Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 album Born to Run belongs on any list of best road trip songs.
The huge hit is about youth, freedom, and living life to the fullest. It’s one of those songs that gets under your skin and stays there. The Springsteen classic is one of the best driving songs of all time.
“Where the Streets Have No Name” – U2
U2 classic”Where the Streets Have No Name” was released in 1987 and quickly became a hit. The song was written by the lead singer Bono and is about the struggles of the poor and oppressed in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The lyrics paint a picture of a city where the streets are full of violence and poverty. Despite the hardships, the people of Belfast keep their hope alive.
It is perhaps the most thought-provoking song on our best road trip songs list.
“Take It Easy” – The Eagles
The Eagles make their second appearance on this list with “Take It Easy.” Released in 1972 and written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, the song is about taking life easy and not worrying about the future.
“Take It Easy” was a huge hit, reaching #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.