Driving Songs

This year on Top Gear, they’re doing a write-in survey of the best driving songs of all time. Since I love lists, and I love thinking about lists, I decided to give it a shot. This is the seriously jet-lagged malaria-pill-induced-hysteria list, so I reserve the right to look at this list in a couple days, call myself a tool, and redo it.\
Before I bust out the list, let’s review what makes a good driving song. First, I’ll tell you what it isn’t – a good coding song. They’re two different things. Coding songs put you in a zonked out place where you can code without getting outside yourself – it pulls you into yourself. A driving song heightens everything. It makes you do everything a little crisper: accelerate, turn, brake, check your mirrors, etc. It also doesn’t have to be about driving… Anyway, here’s the list in no particular order (and feel free to add your own):

  • Busy Child – Crystal Method
  • Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf: Duh, come on… this is the original and still king of driving songs.
  • Saturday Morning – Eels: Often blaring when Max and I go out to breakfast on Saturday mornings.
  • Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel: Actually, the whole second disc of Secret World could be in this spot, but I said songs, not albums, right?
  • Back in Black – Living Colour: The AC/DC version will do in a pinch, but I love the Living Colour cover. It’s balls out, no kidding around, and Corey Glover just runs away with it (you know, actually singing instead of screaming).
  • Cowgirl – Underworld: Pick your remix, doesn’t really matter. This song kicks so much ass, it needs a list of its own (you could probably easily do a top ten Cowgirl remixes).
  • I See You Baby – Groove Armada: See Cowgirl, all the same things apply. The remix from Boom is especially good.
  • Communication – INXS: Good piano riff, good guitar riff, and Michael Hutchence at his finest. Oh, and meaningless lyrics, which is a plus for any good driving song.
  • The Mango Song – Phish: A bonus feature for driving songs is length… the longer, the better. Six and a half minutes is just about perfect, and this song nails it. It’s not the hardest song on this list, but it flows so well it’s just a sublime driving song.
  • Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake: Cake could run over this list if I really thought about it (see malaria-pill-induced-hysteria). For driving albums, they could have the top two or three spots, easily. This song is my favorite. It has catchy lyrics, and a hook to die for. Oh, and rock trumpets kick balls, man (it’s like kicking ass, but it does it head on).\
    An honorable mention goes to Junior Senior for both Move Your Feet and Shake Your Coconuts (a song that needs more mash-ups, come on interweb!). I’m sure there are more, but it’s time for petit dejeuner (hooray, breakfast!).

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Lead Engineer @ Impactive, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.

23 replies on “Driving Songs”

A couple of no brainers, here:
The James Bond Theme (don’t know if it has an actual title), by Marty Norman
Theme from “Peter Gunn”, by Henry Mancini, covered by the Blues Brothers band
And some that just do it for me:
“Woke Up This Morning (Theme from ‘The Sopranos’)”, by A1 (maybe it’s just a Jersey thing…fuggedaboudit.)
“Jessica”, by the Allman Brothers, covered by They Might be Giants
“25 or Six to Four” by Chicago
“A Little Less Conversation”, by Elvis Presley (NOT the remixed version)
“The Green Hornet”, by Herb Alpert

I don’t know if it fits your definition of a driving song, but Dave Matthew’s Band’s ‘Jimi Thing’ always brightens my driving experience…and a big AMEN to the Blue’s Brothers’ rendition of the Perter Gunn theme!

shoot to thrill-ac/dc
hit that-offspring
real big-mannie fresh
dammit-blink 182
basket case-greenday
i mainly listen to those in the car when im drivin. just about anything off ‘back in black’ is good

In no particular order, I picked:
Drive – Incubus
The Way – Fastball
Mustang Sally by…five million different artists… (though I personally like the Credence version best)
Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
Roam – B-52s
Highway to Hell – ACDC
Dreams – The Cranberries
Here I Go Again – Whitesnake
Standing Still – Jewel

Roadhouse Blues- The Doors
First I Look at The Purse- J. Giels
Hard Drivin Man- J. Giels
Whole Lotta Love- Led Zeppelin
Cheap Sunglasses- ZZ Top

Roadhouse Blues- The Doors
First I Look at The Purse- J. Giels
Hard Drivin Man- J. Giels
Whole Lotta Love- Led Zeppelin
Cheap Sunglasses- ZZ Top

In this particular order & from an English POV
There is a light that never goes out – The Smiths
Rabbit in your headlights – UNKLE ft Thom Yorke
Hounds of Love – The Futureheads
Connection – Elastica
Sabotage – The Beastie Boys
Cannonball – The Breeders
Plug in Baby – Muse
Elektrobank – Chemical Brothers
Breathe – Prodigy
Tour de France – Kraftwork
Queen Bitch – David Bowie
Tonight Tonight – Smashing Pumpkins
I am the resurection – The Stone Roses

Feuer frei!
Seeing double at the triple rocks
What’s my age again?
Beast and the harlot
Bat country
Girl all the bad guys want
Are you dead yet
Smells like teen spirit
Fast, dark, or hard. that’s the way to go….

HELLO!!! DEFINITELY missing some good, maybe even CRUCIAL songs for driving:
Route 66 (Nat King Cole)
I Can’t Drive 55 (Sammy Hagar)
Hot Rod Lincoln (Commander Cody)
Drivin My Life Away (Eddie Rabbit)
Rev on the Red Line (Foreigner)
Free Ride (Edgar Winter)
Radar Love (Golden Earring) too, but it’s already up.
I may be young, but I get my taste in drivin music from my daddy.

HELLO!!! DEFINITELY missing some good, maybe even CRUCIAL songs for driving:
Route 66 (Nat King Cole)
I Can’t Drive 55 (Sammy Hagar)
Hot Rod Lincoln (Commander Cody)
Drivin My Life Away (Eddie Rabbit)
Rev on the Red Line (Foreigner)
Free Ride (Edgar Winter)
Radar Love (Golden Earring) too, but it’s already up.
I may be young, but I get my taste in drivin music from my daddy.

Rock N Roll Star (Oasis)
Hard To Explain (Strokes)
Bat Out Of Hell (Meatloaf)
Bartender And The Theif (Stereophonics)
Mr Brightside (Killers)
Razorblade (Strokes)
I Hope I Think I Know (Oasis)
Roll With It (Oasis)
Where The Streets Have No Name (U2)
Chocolate (Snow Patrol)
Come On Feel The Noise (Slade)
Are You Gonna Be My Girl (Jet)
All These Things That I’ve Done (Killers)
My Generation (The Who)
Stay Young (Oasis)

what about lonestar what about now! thats a tune and u didnt even put meat loaf bat out of hell or queen dont stop me now in. i know these are the obvious choice and thats probably why you didnt put them in but you put born to be wild in. also what the hell is it that you feel when listening to a driving tune

How about some of these for that high octane agressive kind of driving! NO SUNDAY DRIVERS
I was made for loving you – KISS
Turbo lover – Judas Priest
White wedding – Billy Idol
The trooper – Iron Maiden
Twilight zone – Golden Earring
Black betty – Ram Jam
Don’t fear the reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

Song 2 by Blur (u know, “WOO HOO!”) – Put this at the end of your CD. When u get to the light thats right b4 the highway entry ramp, or when ur about to really hit it, put this song on. If you time it right, youll be laying down on the pedal right when the song starts the “WOO HOO!” and it makes for a very pantamimical (pantimime-y?) start of a good drive. Best part is, if its at the end, then the CD starts over and u got ur whole list of driving songs to go.
James bond theme – thumbs up on that one.
And u gotta have a good remix to the M.I. theme as well. Both good tracks for when ur ducking the fuzz ;-P.
Voodoo people – Prodigy. Lots of good remixes, i like the pendulum one cuz it has great guitar. Long too.
N.E.R.D – The whole “In Search Of…” CD is good for cruising in any condition, even traffic.
And last but not least, go get some techno/trance/etc. remixes to classical songs (fur elise is a must). Its the perfect balance of serenity and agression, and techno music usually always runs long.
Happy Driving!

The Doors – Roadhouse blues
Pulp Fiction music
Bon Jovi – I ll sleep while i am dead

Gotta agree with Back and Black
Heres My Playlist”
Sweet Emotion: Aerosmith
Rebel Yell – Billy Idol
Bad Medicine – Bon Jovi
Life in the Fast Lane – The Eagles
Slow Ride – Foghat
Kickstart My Heart and Dr. Feelgood – Motley Crue
Highway to Hell – AC/DC
Revelations – Audioslave
Shake That Ass – Eminem (oh i bet you all thought i was older till now)
Day Tripper – the Beatles

Lots of good songs, here’s my list in no particular order
Spitfire – Prodigy
Dragula – Rob Zombie
Bulls on Parade – Rage Against the Machine
Turn the Page – Metallica
X – Xzibit
This Could Be Anywhere In The World – Alexisonfire
People = Shit – Slipknot
BYOB – System of a Down
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
Ruff Ryderz Anthem – DMX
Smooth – Santana
Rock and Roll All Nite – KISS
Enter Sandman – Metallica
Creeping Death – Metallica
Breathe – Prodigy
Du Hast – Rammstien
Time – Pink Floyd (but only at certain times hahaha)
Cowboys From Hell – Pantera
Summer of 69 – Bryan Adams
Heart Shaped Box – Nirvana
Nookie – Limp Bizkit
Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue
All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix
Drones – Rise Against
Still Dre – Dr. Dre
Man in the Box – Alice in Chains
And of course, the single best driving song EVER made:
You Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
There’s a lot of other songs I’d put, but they’d been said before. Tried not to repeat other people’s

Air – Alpha Beta Gaga
Billy Ocean – Get Out of My Dreams, Get into My Car
Cardigans – My Favorite Game
Shiny Toy Guns – La Disko
The Cars – Let’s Go
Those are just a few of my top driving songs.

modest mouse – styrofoam boots
clouddead – velvet ant
fugazi – shut the door
why? – rubber traits
clouddead – dead dogs two
sonic youth – silver rocket
orchid – …and the cat turned to smoke
american football – never meant
the knife – silent shout
!!! – must be the moon
thee more shallows – night at the knight school
battles – atlas
sun kil moon – carry me ohio
neutral milk – holland, 1945
13 & god – men of station

I am a person of moods so my fav driving tunes depends on where, when and what I’m feeling… these are my most frequent favs
*Golden Oldies*
Stuck In The Middle With You – Stealers Wheel
Let’s Go – The Cars
More Than A Feeling – Boston
What I LIke About You – The Kinks
Ballroom Blitz – Sweet
A Town Called Malice – The Jam
Down On The Corner – Credence Clearwater Revival
Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy – Tams
Whisky In The Jar – Thin Lizzy
Dreadlock Holiday – 10cc
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Itchycoo Park – Small Faces
September – Earth, Wind And Fire
There She Goes Again – The La’s
*Late Nights/Ocean Cruise*
Teardrop – Massive Attack
Porcelain – Moby
Requiem For A Dream – Moloko
Daydream – I Monster
One Step Too Far – Faithless feat. Dido
Silence – Delerium
Sleep – Dandy Warhols
Marroned – Ballimgoingo
Take Me Away – 4 Strings
Prototype – Andre 3000
Slid In – Goldfrapp
Lift Me Up – Moby
Milk – Garbage
Move For Me – Chocolate Brown Coffee
*Driving To The Pub*
Let’s Get Def – Kennedy
Dirty Basement – Elektrons
Spank – Dirty South feat. Boogie Fresh
Faster Kill Pussycat – Paul Oakenfold feat. Brittany Murphy
Dirty Dreams – The Potbellies
Le Disco – Shiny Toy Guns
I Love It – Sneaky Sound System
Seduction – Stella MC
Boys Wanna Be Her – Peaches
Do It Again – Chemical Brothers
It’s A Swede Thing – Goodwill & Tommy Trash
Let Me Think About It – Ida Corr vs Fredde Le Grand
Pull My Trigger – Firefox
Electrify – Mind Electric

Blood sugar – pendulum
faint – linkin park
onward to victory – icepink
serial thrilla – prodigy
mona lisa overdrive – juno reactor
that should make u drive into a wall from going absolutely mental out of control

This is my playlist. I’m into rock more than anything else.
Burn it to the ground – Nickelback
Hell Yeah – Rev Theory
What I Want – Daughtry (Feat. Slash)
Devour – Shinedown
The Good Life – Three Days Grace
Invincible – Adelitas Way
It’s Not My Time – 3 Doors Down
Light It Up – Rev Theory
Sound of Madness – Shinedown
Welcome to the Jungle – Guns ‘n Roses
I Own You – Shinedown
Use Me – Hinder
Stricken – Disturbed
Through the Fire and Flames- Dragonforce
Storming the Burning Fields – Dragonforce
Ready, Steady, Go – Oakenfold
Riot – Three Days Grace
Panama – Van Halen
Ready to Roll – Jet Black Stare

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