Best Road Trip Songs

13 Best Road Trip Songs

I brought along nearly a dozen CDs to listen during my recent long distance travels but opened not one jewel case.

Instead, I tuned into whatever radio station waves were available and hung on until the static proved too much then it was on to the next available terrestrial signal. Sometimes country music was the dominant theme but I managed to find enough rock stations to fill the time cruising America’s highways. Obviously, the further away from a major city the number of available stations declined but there always seemed to be something worth listening to.

It was interesting to hear what FM radio stations in various parts of the country were playing which helped pass the time.  What also helped were those songs that brought you to life while building a bit of excitement, allowing you to completely forget about the hundreds of miles left before reaching your final destination, buuuuuut depending on their playlist the white nose of the road sometimes offered a better soundtrack.

Regardless, I haven’t made a mixed tape in a very long time but the joy of listening to songs on the radio that offered a pleasant reminder of why music makes such an impact to life got me thinking about what I would include on a mixed tape, or CD, to help expedite the long excursion from Point A to Point B.

None of these road trip songs I present in true top ranking fashion. In fact, I started out with a Top 10 Best Road Trip Songs but I didn’t find it acceptable to leave so many off. Some, not all, of these songs were those recently heard that helped me cruise through small towns and mountain curves offering a reminder of those bands I let escape from my personal playlist while others comprise what I would have preferred to hear from the band instead of what the DJ picked.

I include the videos, but from past experience the links do not translate to mobile phones. Not sure if that’s an issue with WordPress, YouTube or cell phone providers but I included a live version for the Metallica entry very worth your time.

Best Road Trip Songs

1. Poison – Nothin’ But A Good Time

Ain’t nothin’ but a road trip and this song to pass the time. A classic that resonates and Bret Michaels nails the melody and party fun.

2. Shinedown – Second Chance

I saw these guys open for Nickelback, I swear many years ago (seriously I promise), and they made more of an impression then the main act. I knew then Shinedown had the chops as I watched singer Brent Smith expertly work the mic and I regret not falling in line back then but they always made a blip on my radar. 

3. Motley Crue – Kickstart My Heart

A song borne from a near death experience offers exactly what you need to inject a bit of adrenaline to your long drive.

4. AC/DC – Thunderstruck

Certainly one of the best ever openings to a song.

5. Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City

One of my favorite Guns N’ Roses songs, a radio staple everywhere and those opening bars offer a welcome respite from the long and sometimes winding road.  

6. Twisted Sister – I Wanna Rock

My brother and I watched, near endlessly, the video for “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as products of the 80s but Dee Snider puts on a vocal clinic for “I Wanna Rock” and I heard this one multiple times on whatever local radio which I enthusiastically ate up.

7. Metallica – Enter Sandman

The song that solidified Metallica into the mainstream, “Enter Sandman” transcends time and if it comes on the radio, I will not change the station.  Now, put yourself in the oppressive confines of the former Soviet Union, finally experiencing freedom and seeing Metallica in the motherland.

8. Scorpions – Wind of Change

Let me dry my eyes first. I fully failed in seeing the Scorpions live and I’m glad they have called it quits multiple times only to rescinded their retirement because there’s still a chance to seeing them on stage, but this song always stops me in my tracks. Except when I’m driving and it just makes me drift off in my thoughts until it ends.

9. Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

I wasn’t alone on my travels but I really should make “Here I Go Again” a theme song whenever I hit the road. I’m guessing “Here I Go Again” has made a variety of lists for any number of personal ambitions but the David Coverdale fronted band recorded a gem more than 30 years ago that sounds like yesterday.

10. Styx – Come Sail Away

Six minutes of paradise theater you’ll want six more minutes of prompting a search for other AOR that might have one of Styx’s best songs on stand-by.

11. Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills

One of hard rocks finest, “Run to the Hills” starts methodically and deliberately with punched up drums and heavy guitar leaving you waiting patiently for the meat of the song you know is coming, and when it hits you quickly disperse the next four miles in your rear view.

12. Rolling Stones – Paint It, Black

The 60s have this allure I cannot put words too but the songs of that decade offer a glimpse into the era for those who did not grow up then. “Paint It, Black” feels like a road trip song 55 years ago and it retains the same glamor today.

13. KISS – Rock and Roll All Nite

A favorite of mine and a favorite of KISS fans, if you have ever seen them live they typically close their show with this anthem that leaves you longing for more. So just imagine the few minutes of bliss that comes when this one radiates through the speakers.   

Let me know your favorite road trip songs below!


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