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!).
Categorized as music

By Kevin Lawver

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


  1. M-D says:

    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

  2. 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!

  3. J@Y says:

    Radar Love by Golden Earring
    Texas Flood – Stevie Ray Vaughn

  4. thomas N says:

    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

  5. Callista says:

    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

  6. Tim Kondrat says:

    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

  7. Tim Kondrat says:

    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

  8. Bobby Broadbent says:

    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

  9. Chicken Chaser says:

    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….

  10. Sayrah says:

    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.

  11. Sayrah says:

    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.

  12. brian says:

    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)

  13. ben says:

    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

  14. Bill Peverley says:

    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

  15. M. says:

    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!

  16. Ra3i says:

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

  17. Sarah says:

    Gotta agree with Back and Black
    Heres My Playlist”
    TNT – AC/DC
    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

  18. Adub says:

    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

  19. April says:

    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.

  20. z magic says:

    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

  21. Mel says:

    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

  22. Daz says:

    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

  23. Stephen says:

    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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