I love and hate road trips. I think anyone who regularly travels knows this feeling well. The actual act of traveling is always a thrill in itself. There’s nothing like laying eyes on new vistas and towns for the first time, but if you’re anything like me, the expansive cornfields and broken down towns can be wearing. After years of experience, I’ve come up with a short list of the best road trip songs, which also seem to work well if you have a life-crisis and decide to leave everything and drive to Tijuana, whichever comes first. The list, like me, favors music from the 60’s and 70’s, but hang in there! I swear there’s some modern stuff!
It took me forever to appreciate LZ. I just couldn’t get into Robert Plant’s voice on some songs, but I don’t care who you are, Ramble On makes you want to drive into the sunset. Pay close attention to the Lord of the Rings references, you’ll giggle.
Ramble on and now’s the time, the time is now, to sing my song
I’ve been this way ten years to the day ramble on
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams
I’m a HUGE Hendrix fan! Jimi has a lot of “on the road” songs, so I could have filled this whole post with them, but I took the most fitting. The song is semi-autobiographical, so you can easily picture a young Jimi strolling down the road, thumb in hitchhike position.
Yeah, his guitar slung across his back
His dusty boots is his cadillac
Flamin’ hair just a blowin’ in the wind
Ain’t seen a bed in so long it’s a sin
He left home when he was seventeen
The rest of the world he had longed to see
But everybody knows the boss
A rolling stone who gathers no moss
I was going back and forth between which CCR song I was going to add. Sweet Hitchhiker was also a top contender. Up Around the Bend not only stokes the image of running away into something simpler and more beautiful, it warns us, Alexander Supertramp style, that the mainstream is going down fast.
There’s a place up ahead and
I’m going just as fast as my feet can fly
Come away, come away if you’re going,
Leave the sinking ship behind.
I swear, it’s my last pick from the 60’s or 70’s. Admittedly, Steve Miller and CCR make up about half my road trip music. I think I was born in the wrong era. Take the Money and Run though is one of my classic favorites. I swear, there’s no other song that puts a smile on my face like this one.
This here’s a story about Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue
Two young lovers with nothin’ better to do
Than sit around the house, get high, and watch the tube
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly
I’d fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please
I know, I know, you’ve heard it a thousand times, but it still needs to be part of any adventure’s soundtrack, particularly one into the mountains.
I heard them calling in the distance
So I packed my things and ran
Far away from all the trouble
I had caused with my two hands
Alone we travelled armed with nothing but a shadow
We fled, far away
Australian Indie rock has never produced a better group than The Holidays. Conga’s hypnotic and mellow beat will take you home for the final stretch of the trip. The positive lyrics will see you through life with a smile on the face.
Have you told them, have you told them
About our place where skies are golden
Life is free
Beneath the trees
Perfect people in a perfect world,
Behind closed doors all in control
Life, in a world of luxury,
Cold cash money mentality
You gotta keep the faith, you gotta keep the faith
You’d better keep the faith and run awayI have more songs I could recommend, but top-10 lists are cliche, so I think a top 8 is awkwardly perfect. Cheers!