Driving and music go together like Ant and Dec, fish and chips or Jeremy Clarkson and steak. That is, they’re almost inseparable.
Long journeys can feel shorter with the right music. Slow songs can make night driving an almost cathartic experience, while some classic rock can make you feel like you’re cruising along Route 66 in a Ford Mustang – even if the reality is stop-and-start traffic on the M25 in a Vauxhall Corsa.
With all this in mind, we’ve put together 10 of the best driving songs ever produced. Stick these into a playlist and hit play next time you’re behind the wheel to make that road trip even more fun!
Jessica by The Allman Brothers Band
There’s really only one place to start when it comes to driving songs, and that’s with Jessica by The Allman Brothers Band. The song, which was originally released in 1973, rose to fame as the title music to Top Gear.
It’s an instrumental piece of country rock music featuring a catchy guitar riff. Fans of Clarkson and co will be in the mood for driving the second that iconic riff kicks in.
The Chain by Fleetwood Mac
Let’s keep it on the subject of theme music with this iconic tune by Fleetwood Mac. Taken from the album Rumours, The Chain became synonymous with Formula 1 ever since it was used by the BBC for the opening credits.
Between 1978 and 1997 it fronted the corporation’s coverage, until the rights went to ITV. When F1 returned to the BBC in 2009, so did The Chain.
The first two-thirds of the song, however, are unrecognisable, as the famous bassline doesn’t kick in until near the end. It’s still a great song, and worthy of any driving playlist.
Spanish Sahara by Foals
Driving at night when the roads are quieter can be much more enjoyable than driving during the day. And the mood can be set with some chilled-out music. The first of our night-time driving recommendations comes from pop-rock band Foals.
Spanish Sahara starts out slow and simple, but by the end it has built up to a cacophony of epic noise that’s best enjoyed with the volume turned up to 11. Intro by The XX
This song is just the introduction to The XX’s debut album, but its beautifully haunting guitar and echoing snare drum will lower your heart rate and make long-distance cruising a joy.
Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen
At the completely opposite end of the spectrum, there’s this powerful rock classic. It was Springsteen’s last attempt to become successful after his previous two albums were sales flops.
The song’s theme of running and travelling is perfect for enjoying behind the wheel.
Little Red Corvette by Prince
When this song was released in 1983, it quickly became Prince’s best-selling song to date. The mixture of slow verses and an energetic chorus combine to make this song perfect for driving.
The ‘little red Corvette’ in the lyrics might be a metaphor for a girl, but if you take it literally it could evoke imagery of cruising through America in a pony car!
Love Shack by The B-52’s
There are few songs that can perk up any mood quite like Love Shack can. It’s one of the greatest pop songs ever recorded, and is perfect for putting on when you’re car-sharing.
Everyone knows enough of the words to sing along, even if they don’t realise it at first. It’s great for getting your passengers in high spirits!
Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
It might have been hijacked by a bunch of kids on a singing show, but Don’t Stop Believin’ was an iconic classic rock track Glee took over.
It was released in 1981 and was a hit in the USA, but it didn’t make much impact in the UK first time around. Its inspirational chorus is just the thing you need when you’re nearing the end of a long trip, or you’re sitting in seemingly endless traffic. Don’t stop believin’!
Highway To Hell by AC/DC
Okay, so hopefully the title of this legendary rock song won’t be taken too literally. If your destination really is Hell you might want to make a U-turn at the earliest opportunity.
But ignore the title and focus instead on the heavy guitar riff as well as one of the best sing-along choruses ever written and you have yourself the perfect song to keep spirits high in the car.
Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf
The classic rock continues with Born To Be Wild. Even the music video shows a couple of guys cruising along deserted highways in America – albeit on a pair of motorbikes.
The relentless guitar riff and chorus that begs to be screamed by anyone in earshot is just what you need to keep the wheels turning without nodding off from boredom!