Songs about cars have always had a big part in the human creative psyche. From the angsty vibes of a teenage love affair in “Drive” by Incubus to the absolute road-trip banger that is Roxette’s “Sleeping in My Car,” songs about cars have been in the minds of musicians since cars have been a thing.
Here are 20 of the best songs about cars to help you get your road trip on.
“Highway to Hell” – AC/DC
“Highway to Hell” has long been an absolute rock anthem. The title track from their sixth studio album Highway to Hell would propel AC/DC into rock royalty.
The track is inspired by the brutal nature of the band’s rigorous touring schedule.
It is the second-highest-grossing album for the band, second only to Back in Black, and the song is a hard-rock masterpiece
“Drive” – Incubus
“Drive” was a single from Incubus’ 1999 album Make Yourself. It is the band’s best-known hit and would make it to the top of the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks.
According to lead singer Brandon Boyd, the lyrics were inspired by being driven by fear, how that influences the choices that you make, and what life would be like if we made our decisions without fear.
This is one of the few more modern songs about cars on this list.
“(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” – Rolling Stones
“Route 66” is a road soaked in urban legend. This track off of The Rolling Stones’ self-titled album is a cover of a tune originally written by Bobby Troupe and performed by Nat King Cole. The Rolling Stones turned it into a rock `n roll anthem.
“On The Road Again” – Canned Heat
This instantly recognizable track from Canned Heat comes from their 1968 album Boogie. “On the Road Again” is a blues boogie that just makes you want to hit the road.
Dig that super cool falsetto.
“Low Rider” – War
This is one of those tracks that you know even if you think that you have never heard it before. It’s one of those old songs about cars that is a beautiful bit of funk and has everything you would expect: a driving bassline, an almost disco-like hook, and a whole lot of attitude.
This single from their 1975 album Why Can’t We Be Friends is a must-have for any drive.
“Skidmarks on my Heart” – The Go-Gos
This thumping new wave tune comes from The Go-Gos’ 1981 album Beauty and the Beat. Its guitar-driven post-punk noise is a testament to the crazy nature of love and cars in the collective psyche.
“Mercedes Benz” – Janis Joplin
This haunting a cappella tune from Janis Joplin is an absolute classic. It was recorded in a single take during a recording session on 1 December 1973. This collection of recordings would prove to be Janis’ last, as she would die less than a week later.
“Mercedes Benz” is a plea to God to prove his love in the form of material blessing “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz, my friends all drive porches, and I must make amends.”
Many music scholars have read this song as a critique and rejection of consumerism.
“Mustang Sally” – Wilson Picket
Wilson Picket released “Mustang Sally” as a single in 1966 on his album The Wicked Picket. “Mustang Sally” is a cover of Mack Rice’s 1965 original.
However, the song would only hit critical acclaim with Picket’s version and would become a staple of every playlist for songs about cars.
“Hotrod Honeymoon” – Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck’s “Hotrod Honeymoon” lends itself to the open road right from its opening guitar riff. Released on Beck’s 9th studio album, Jeff, this bluesy track is the perfect accompaniment to those long drives.
“Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman
This is easily the most well-known Tracy Chapman song. It was released as a single from the singer-songwriter’s 1988 self-titled studio album.
This tune speaks to the drive to escape your situation. Where you start often determines where things end, and if you don’t get moving, you may get stuck.
“You gotta get your fast car and keep on driving” indeed.
“Sleeping in my Car” – Roxette
This thumping driving classic from Swedish rock group Roxette is a staple of any driving playlist. Released in 1994 on the band’s Crash!Boom!Bang! album, the single raced up the charts (so to speak).
The band would get their second number-one in Sweden and hit the top 10 in 15 other countries with one of the most iconic songs about cars and driving.
“Shut Up and Drive” – Rihanna
Rihanna’s 2007 hit Shut Up and Drive was released on her third studio album Good Girl Gone Bad. It’s one of the top R&B songs about cars.
The upbeat driving tune, which made it all the way up the top of the charts, makes fans all over the world want to find someone of their own to “shut up and drive.”
“Getaway Car” – Taylor Swift
Taylor has always been great at relating heartbreak, and this driving song about bad starts and worse endings is no different.
The track was released in 2017 on the singer-songwriter’s sixth studio album, Reputation. It is one of the few songs about cars the 2000s produced.
“I Drove All Night” – Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night” was released in 1988 on her third studio album, A Night to Remember. This is the ultimate track for those all-night drives that end in wild declarations of love.
“Little Red Corvette” – Prince
Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” is the ultimate anthem about a one-night stand. The track was released in 1983 as a single on Prince’s 1999 album. A definite banger for those late-night drives.
“Moonlight Drive” – The Doors
Released in 1967 on The Doors’ second album Strange Days, “Moonlight Drive” is a haunting tale of love that starts off as a moonlight swim but moves on to much darker themes.
This was the first song ever recorded by The Doors, but it was left off their first album.
“Driving in My Car” – Madness
“Driving in My Car” was a massive hit for Madness. Released as a single in 1982, it would spend a full eight weeks on the UK singles chart and peaked at number 4. If you like quirky songs about cars, then this is your jam.
“No Particular Place To Go” – Chuck Berry
Released as a single in 1964, Chuck Berry’s tune is a hilarious romp through a car trip between two lovers. It has become a sing-along road trip favorite worldwide.
“I’m In Love With My Car” – Queen
If you are a car fan, then “I’m in Love With My Car” is a must-add to your Best Car Songs playlist.
“I’m in Love With My Car” was released in 1975 on Queen’s A Night at The Opera album. It’s also the only song on the album written entirely by Roger Taylor, the band’s drummer.
“Carwash” – Rose Royce
Everyone knows the track “Carwash,” whether you heard it in its original disco setting or were introduced to it via the absolute mountain of films it has been used in.
This was the first single released by the group in 1976 and is the theme for the film Car Wash. It was a big hit of the disco era and definitely belongs on any songs about cars playlist.