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100 Greatest Songs About Cars and Driving

If listening to music helps you get through time spent on the road, check out this playlist.

songs about cars and driving

The first car radio was introduced in 1930 by Motorola and ever since, music and driving have been inextricably linked.

For many drivers, listening to music can make getting from point A to point B a whole lot more enjoyable. Whether playing some tunes helps you fight anxiety, boredom or stress, music can be your best companion during high-traffic situations or long excursions.

Today, the evolution of infotainment systems in modern cars has made it easier than ever to listen to a near-infinite number of songs. But if you need a playlist for a fun day trip, lengthy road trip or you simply want to make your commute less unbearable, check out our picks for the best songs about cars and driving.

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Songs from the 1950s

From Cadillacs and Lincolns to a little Nash Rambler, the 1950s was a great decade for songs about cars and driving.

1. “Hot Rod Race” by Arkie Shibley and His Mountain Dew Boys
Album: Hot Rod Race
Year: 1950

Multiple versions of this song would be produced during the ’50s, by the same group and others.

2. “See The U.S.A. In Your Chevrolet” by Dinah Shore
Album: See The U.S.A. In Your Chevrolet
Year: 1950

3. “Riding in my car (Car Song)” by Woody Guthrie
Album: Songs to Grow on, Volume One: Nursery Days
Year: 1951

4. “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats/ Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm
Album: Come Back Where You Belong – B-Side
Year: 1951

5. “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Charlie Ryan
Album: Hot Rod Lincoln
Year: 1955

Many artists would cover this song, but the most popular version is arguably “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.

6. “Maybellene” by Chuck Berry
Album: Chuck Berry is on Top
Year: 1955

Chuck Berry also released “No Particular Place to Go” on his 1964 album, St. Louis To Liverpool.

7. “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66,” by Nat King Cole
Album: After Midnight: The Complete Session
Year: 1956

8. “Beep Beep (The Little Nash Rambler)” by The Playmates
Album: Your Love – B-Side
Year: 1958

9. “Brand New Cadillac” by Vince Taylor & His Playboys
Album: Pledgin’ My Love
Year: 1959

10. “Somethin’ Else” by Eddie Cochran
Album: Somethin’ Else/Boll Weevil Song
Year: 1959

songs about cars

Songs from the 1960s

The 1960s produced a plethora of songs about cars and driving, from artists like The Beach Boys, The Beatles and Bob Dylan.

11. “Road Runner” by Bo Diddley
Album: Bo Diddley in the Spotlight
Year: 1960

12. “409” by The Beach Boys
Album: Surfin’ Safari
Year: 1962

The Beach Boys clearly loved cruising, because the group also released “I Get Around,” “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Little Deuce Coupe” in the 60s.

13. “Drag City” by Jan and Dean
Album: Drag City
Year: 1963

This album also featured “Dead Man’s Curve” and “I Gotta Drive.”

14. “Hey Little Cobra” by The Rip Chords
Album: Hey Little Cobra
Year: 1964

15. “G.T.O.” by Ronny & The Daytonas
Album: G.T.O.
Year: 1964

16. “Drive My Car” by The Beatles
Album: Rubber Soul
Year: 1965

17. “Highway 61 Revisited” by Bob Dylan
Album: Highway 61 Revisited
Year: 1965

18. “King of the Road” by Roger Miller
Album: The Return of Roger Miller
Year: 1965

19. “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett
Album: The Wicked Pickett
Year: 1966

This song was originally written and released by Sir Mack Rice and would see several covers, but we like Pickett’s.

20. “Expressway to Your Heart” by The Soul Survivors
Album: When the Whistle Blows Anything Goes
Year: 1967

21. “Moonlight Drive” by The Doors
Album: Strange Days
Year: 1967

22. “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf
Album: Steppenwolf
Year: 1968

23. “Drivin’” by The Kinks
Album: Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
Year: 1969

The Kinks also released “Somebody Stole My Car” on their 1993 album called Phobia.

24. “Driving Song” by Jethro Tull
Album: Stand Up
Year: 1969

Songs from the 1970s

During the 1970s, driving songs would emerge from a variety of artists and genres, from rock bands like AC/DC and Queen to singer-songwriters John Denver and Jerry Reed.

25. “Truckin’” by The Grateful Dead
Album: American Beauty
Year: 1970

26. “Going Mobile” by The Who
Album: Who’s Next
Year: 1971

27. “Henry” by New Riders of the Purple Sage
Album: New Riders of the Purple Sage
Year: 1971

28. “Jeepster” by T. Rex
Album: Electric Warrior
Year: 1971

29. “Mercedes Benz” by Janis Joplin
Album: Pearl
Year: 1971

This song would be Joplin’s last recording before her untimely passing.

30. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
Album: Poems, Prayers and Promises
Year: 1971

31. “Drivin’ Around” by Raspberries
Album: Fresh
Year: 1972

32. “Highway Star” by Deep Purple
Album: Machine Head
Year: 1972

33. “Rockin’ Down the Highway” by The Doobie Brothers
Album: Toulouse Street
Year: 1972

34. “Chevy Van” by Sammy Johns
Album: Sammy Johns
Year: 1973

Sammy Kershaw would release a cover of “Chevy Van” in 1996.

35. “Keep on Truckin’” by Eddie Kendricks
Album: Eddie Kendricks
Year: 1973

36. “Lord, Mr. Ford” by Jerry Reed
Album: Lord, Mr. Ford
Year: 1973

37. “Ol’ 55” by Tom Waits
Album: Closing Time
Year: 1973

38. “Radar Love” by Golden Earring
Album: Moontan
Year: 1973

39. “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
Album: Born to Run
Year: 1975

Springsteen would also sing “Pink Cadillac” and “Racing in the Street.”

40. “Convoy” by C.W. McCall
Album: Black Bear Road
Year: 1975

This song was also covered by Paul Brandt.

41. “Freeway Jam” by Jeff Beck
Album: Blow By Blow
Year: 1975

“Freeway Jam” makes an interesting driving song because it’s completely instrumental.

42. “I’m in Love With My Car” by Queen
Album: A Night at the Opera
Year: 1975

43. “Low Rider” by War
Album: Why Can’t We Be Friends?
Year: 1975

Some may recognize this song as the theme of television sitcom “George Lopez.”

44. “Slow Ride” by Foghat
Album: Fool for the City
Year: 1975

45. “Long May You Run” by Neil Young
Album: Long May You Run
Year: 1976

46. “Mercury Blues” by Steve Miller Band
Album: Fly Like an Eagle
Year: 1976

This song was originally called “Mercury Boogie” when it was first recorded in 1948.

47. “Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers
Album: The Modern Lovers
Year: 1976

48. “The Passenger” by Iggy Pop
Album: Lust for Life
Year: 1977

49. “Driver’s Seat” by Sniff ‘n the Tears
Album: Fickle Heart
Year: 1978

50. “Greased Lightnin’” by John Travolta
Album: Grease: The Original Soundtrack
Year: 1978

51. “Cars” by Gary Numan
Album: The Pleasure Principle
Year: 1979

52. “Cruisin’” by Smokey Robinson
Album: Where There’s Smoke…
Year: 1979

53. “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC
Album: Highway to Hell
Year: 1979

54. “Trans Am (Highway Wonderland)” by Sammy Hagar
Album: Street Machine
Year: 1979

Sammy Hagar would also have “I Can’t Drive 55” on his 1984 album, Voa.

songs about cars

Songs from the 1980s

The 1980s saw a rise in the number of female artists singing about cars and driving.

55. “Driving My Life Away” by Eddie Rabbitt
Album: Horizon
Year: 1980

56. “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson
Album: Honeysuckle Road
Year: 1980

57. “Sausalito Summernight” by Diesel
Album: Watts in a Tank
Year: 1980

58. “Red Barchetta” by Rush
Album: Moving Pictures
Year: 1981

59. “Skidmarks On My Heart” by The Go-Go’s
Album: Beauty And The Beast
Year: 1981

The Go-Go’s also have “Stuck in My Car” from their 2005 album God Bless the Go-Go’s.

60. “Little Red Corvette” by Prince
Album: 1999
Year: 1982

61. “Holiday Road” by Lindsey Buckingham
Album: National Lampoon’s Vacation Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Year: 1983

62. “Keep Driving” by Meat Loaf
Album: Midnight at the Lost and Found
Year: 1983

There’s also Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” and “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are.”

63. “Drive” by The Cars
Album: Heartbeat City
Year: 1984

64. “Freeway of Love” by Aretha Franklin
Album: Who’s Zoomin’ Who?
Year: 1985

65. “The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song)” by George Jones
Album: Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes
Year: 1985

66. “Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads
Album: Little Creatures
Year: 1985

67. “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins
Album: Top Gun
Year: 1986

68. Sweet Little ’66 by Steve Earle & The Dukes
Album: Exit 0
Year: 1987

69. “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2
Album: The Joshua Tree
Year: 1987

70. “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman
Album: Tracy Chapman
Year: 1988

71. “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car” by Billy Ocean
Album: Tear Down These Walls
Year: 1988

72. “I Drove All Night” by Cyndi Lauper
Album: A Night to Remember
Year: 1989

73. “Runnin’ Down a Dream” by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Album: Full Moon Fever
Year: 1989

74. “You Can Sleep While I Drive” by Melissa Etheridge
Album: Brave and Crazy
Year: 1989

Songs from the 1990s

Driving songs from the 1990s seemed to feature the act of driving/traveling more than actual automobiles.

75. “Black Sunshine” by White Zombie ft. Iggy Pop
Album: La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1
Year: 1992

76. “Contact” by Phish
Album: Junta
Year: 1992

77. “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane
Album: Mad Mad World
Year: 1992

For a more modern version, see Rascal Flatts’ 2006 cover.

78. “The Car” by Jeff Carson
Album: Jeff Carson
Year: 1995

79. “Everyday is a Winding Road” by Sheryl Crow
Album: Sheryl Crow
Year: 1996

80. “I’d Rather Ride Around with You” by Reba McEntire
Album: What If It’s You
Year: 1996

81. “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash
Album: American II: Unchained
Year: 1996

Though it’s not the first version of this song, Cash’s is our favorite.

82. “Stickshifts and Safetybelts” by Cake
Album: Fashion Nugget
Year: 1996

This album also features “The Distance” and “Race Car Ya-Yas.”

83. “455 Rocket” by Kathy Mattea
Album: Love Travels
Year: 1997

84. “Hot Rod Heart” by John Fogerty
Album: Blue Moon Swamp
Year: 1997

85. “Open Road Song” by Eve 6
Album: Eve 6
Year: 1998

Songs from the 2000/2010s

The start of a new century, the 2000s and 20010s would see many songs about cars and driving coming from the country genre.

86. “Drive (for Daddy Gene)” by Alan Jackson
Album: Drive
Year: 2002

Jackson also has a song called “The Talkin’ Song Repair Blues.”

87. “In My Car (I’ll Be the Driver)” by Shania Twain
Album: Up!
Year: 2002

88. “The Golden Age” by Beck
Album: Sea Change
Year: 2002

89. “Leave the Driving” by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Album: Greendale
Year: 2003

Neil Young and Crazy Horse also did “Sedan Delivery.”

90. “Daddy’s Cup” by Drive-By Truckers
Album: The Dirty South
Year: 2004

91. “All I Wanted Was A Car” by Brad Paisley
Album: 5th Gear
Year: 2007

92. “Camaro” by Kings of Leon
Album: Because Of The Times
Year: 2007

93. “Keep the Car Running” by Arcade Fire
Album: Neon Bible
Year: 2007

94. “Highway 20 Ride” by Zac Brown Band
Album: The Foundation
Year: 2008

95. “Shut Up and Drive” by Rihanna
Album: Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded
Year: 2008

96. “Red Camaro” by Rascal Flatts
Album: Nothing Like This
Year: 2010

97. “Crown Victoria” by The Presidents of the United States of America
Album: Kudos to You!
Year: 2014

The group also has a song called “Mach 5.”

98. “My Ol’ Bronco” by Luke Bryan
Album: Spring Break…Checkin’ Out
Year: 2015

99. “Getaway Car” by Taylor Swift
Album: reputation
Year: 2017

100. “That Old Truck” by Thomas Rhett
Album: Center Point Road
Year: 2019


Stay Safe

Though it may help you get through your commute or a road trip, don’t let music become a distraction. Safety should always come first when you’re driving, so don’t play your music too loud and be sure to keep your attention on getting where you have to go. Making a playlist ahead of time is a great way to avoid taking your eyes off the road.

What’s your favorite driving song? Tell us in the comments!

This article has been edited and expanded to include suggestions from our members. 

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