100 Greatest 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 simply want to make your commute easier, check out our picks for the best songs about cars and driving.

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

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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. “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.

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

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

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

22. “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.

23. “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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This song was also covered by Paul Brandt.

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

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

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

42. “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.”

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

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

45. “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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

53. “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.

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

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

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

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

58. “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.

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

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

61. “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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

73. “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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

80. “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.

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

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

82. “455 Rocket” by Kathy Mattea
Album: Love Travels
Year: 1997

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

84. “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.

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

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

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

Twain also sings “You Win My Love,” which mentions a ’55 Chevy, fancy little pick-up truck and cool Cadillac.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

96. “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.”

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

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

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

100. “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo 
Year: 2021

This debut single quickly hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It has since gone on to break records across streaming services.


Stay Safe

Don’t let music become a distraction. Prepare your playlist ahead of time and make sure the volume doesn’t get too high in the car so you can stay focused on driving and keep your eyes on the road.

Listen to these songs anywhere with our Spotify playlist. 

Did we forget to add any of your favorite songs about cars and driving? Tell us in the comments!

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

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176 Thoughts on “100 Greatest Songs About Cars and Driving

  1. Great list, so many amazing songs; however it’s missing my absolute favorite song about Cars & driving: Jesus built my Hot Rod by Ministry (1992) Album Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs. Eventually covered by Burn the Priest (2019 single) & was amazing in the fact that they did an exact replica of the sound.

  2. Please include some Billy Joel tunes: Movin’ Out (he’s tradin’ in his Chevy for a Cadillac-ac-ac-ac), Zanzibar (I got my old man’s car), You May be Right (rode my motorcycle in the rain), and It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me (what’s the matter with the car I’m driving), and all these tunes have such great energy for driving.

  3. I know it is hard to narrow this list down to 100.

    You listed “409” but how could you forget these two classic great ones by the Beach Boys:

    Shutdown
    Little Deuce Coupe

  4. Great list and comments. Did I miss “Pink Cadillac” by Bruce Springsteen and The Pointer Sisters? Also, great catch on NRBQ. “”Ridin’ in My Car” is one of my all-time favorites.

  5. Meat Loaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” is my personal favorite, but the car doesn’t move much…

  6. Jan and Dean’s “Little Old Lady from Pasadena”; Beach Boys’ ” Little Deuce Coupe”, Ronnie and the Daytonas” “Little Cobra”

  7. Booker T & the MG’s had several “songs to drive by” including “Green Onions” used in the movie American Graffiti during the drag race at the end of the movie.

  8. The perfect song to show how much Americans love their cars is “Shut Down” by the Beach Boys (1963). The lyrics are a gearhead’s dream. Just lovin’ their machine –
    “Tach it up, tach it up
    Buddy, gonna shut you down”
    and
    “To get the traction I’m ridin’ the clutch
    My pressure plate’s burnin’, that machine’s too much”

  9. I’d like to enter these for the 90’s category:

    Superchunk – “Precision Auto”
    Primus – “Jerry was a Race Car Driver”
    Elastica – “Car Song”
    Swervedriver – “Son of Mustang Ford”
    Built to Spill – “Car”
    White Stripes – “The big three killed my baby”

    and this one for the 80’s
    The Primatives – Crash

  10. MAN!!…the Eagles: “Hotel California”, “Seven Bridges Road”, “Life In The Fast Lane”. All on one album.

  11. YOU CAN’T LEAVE OUT “CRUISIN IN MY AUTOMOBILE” BY JEFFERSON AIRPLANE (OR STARSHIP). WHEN I HEAR THAT WHILE I’M DRIVING, I’M DOING 80 BEFORE I KNOW IT.

  12. How could you possibly leave out “Transfusion” by Nervous Norvus (1956): “Tooling down the highway doing 79, / I’m a twin-pipe papa and I’m feelin’ fine, / Hey man, dig that, was that a red stop sign? // EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECRASH!!! // Transfusion, transfusion, / I’m just a solid mess of contusions, / Never never never gonna speed again, / Slip the blood to me, Bud!” (Full lyrics and the Dot recording are readily available on the internet.)

    1. I entered Transfusion before I read your comments. One of the lesser known but great ones. Love it.

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