Americans have an innate sense of adventure, and for many of us, this trait translates into extensive traveling. And while you could go the easy route and take a plane, what’s more American than hopping in the driver’s seat and setting off into the sunset?
After all, the first road trippers were those hardcore SOBs who went across the country in wagons with no roads to speak of. Who wouldn’t want to follow in those tracks? Fortunately, we’ve got streaming music these days, so the best road trip songs can keep us from going Donner Party on each other.
1. “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” – The Beastie Boys
The ultimate road trip itinerary often includes a trip to The Big Apple, but even if it doesn’t, “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” from The Beastie Boys should still be on your best road trip playlist. Whether you’re “going coast to coast to watch all the girls shaking” or “taxing little girlies from here to L.A.”, this song will keep you motivated throughout the trip.
2. “Truckin’” – Grateful Dead
Even if you’ve had laser tattoo removal to get rid of your Grateful Dead ink and join the corporate world, you can’t deny that their music is still amazing. Their song “Truckin’” describes major changes in life metaphorically through their road trip journeys.
Side note: If you’re still thinking of having that tattoo removed or trying to sport the Jerry Garcia beard, check out BSG’s products and services to get on the right track.
3. “Take a Back Road” – Rodney Atkins
The host of “Mike’s Road Trip,” Mike Shubic, often expresses his love for going off the beaten path and enjoying things that tourists overlook. That’s an exciting way to travel, and it falls right in line with Rodney Atkins’ “Take a Back Road.”
Yes, this choice is like a hiring quota in the fact that we felt compelled to include at least one modern country song. If getting off the major roads and into rural America is your thing, this song is a must.
4. “La Grange” – ZZ Top
Disclaimer: The inclusion of “La Grange” on this best road trip song list is not an endorsement of visiting prostitution rings.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, “La Grange” tells the story of getting off the road and into the loving arms of a lady at “the best little whorehouse in Texas.”
And if you can manage to grow a manly beard like the members of ZZ Top, maybe you’ll get a discount!
Double disclaimer: Again, this is not an endorsement of whorehouses.
Dammit, why does that keep happening?!?
5. “I’ve Been Everywhere” – Johnny Cash
Travel guru Don Wildman says that, if you can afford to travel, you have a responsibility to do so. By following this line of reasoning, you will end up like Johnny Cash one day. Not nearly as cool, obviously, but you’ll fit in with his song “I’ve Been Everywhere.”
This work is one of the quintessential road trip songs, and there’s a danged good chance you’ll roll through one of the cities that Cash mentions by name. “Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota….”?
Yes, they’re all mentioned in there — along with nearly seven dozen other locales. If you don’t go through a city Cash mentions, you really are on the backroads of America.
The Best Road Trip Songs Make Trips Better
A list of the best road trip songs is typically a subjective undertaking. After all, everyone has different tastes. With that being said, rest assured that these really are the best songs for your drive to wherever you’re going.
They’re meant to keep you motivated while helping you get into the road trip state of mind. If you’re setting out on your own, they could also mean the difference between turning around due to mind-numbing boredom and trucking on to your final destination.
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