Recently, my family and I went on a road trip within our state. It had been a while since we had done one, so I was excited because, honestly, I love road trips. The freedom to stop wherever you want, relax on the drive, and listen and sing along to some great tunes. I love it!

I was thinking about what songs are synonymous with road trips for me, the songs that just make me think about going on a road trip. You know the ones: the songs that everyone knows all the words too; the guilty-pleasure songs we don’t listen to at any other time besides in the car; the great driving songs. So today, I thought I’d share with you five of my favourite road trip songs, that remind me of being on the road, away from the room where I am right now. These five songs, in no particular order, are songs that remind me of my childhood, where my family went on road trips frequently. I’m also focusing more on the musical elements rather than the lyrics, because, let’s face it, you want songs with good music when you are travelling. Overall, they are songs that I feel are essential to any road trip playlist!

Here they are!

  1. Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

For some reason, every time I hear this song I am taken back to my childhood, when we used to go on drives almost every weekend. There is something so nostalgic, so classic, about the riff that plays throughout the entire song. What is this song about? I honestly don’t know and I have never understood the lyrics. Like what does “I did not believe the information/just had to trust imagination/My heart going boom boom boom/Son, he said, Grab your things/I’ve come to take you home” supposed to mean? That’s the great thing, though, about “Solsbury Hill”. You don’t need to know what the song is about, because the music on its own makes it memorable, fun and catchy. The driving pulse, nostalgic riff and weird lyrics make this song the perfect road trip tune.

2. Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum

Another old song with a catchy riff. This song is memorable to me as its one of my mum’s favourite songs. Every time this song comes on the radio she sings and dances along to it. With heavy religious undertones, “Spirit in the Sky” is about accepting death and wishing for afterlife. Heavy stuff, right? Funnily enough, the music doesn’t really fit these themes. In fact, I would say that the musical elements are light, fun and true rock and roll (also known in the 60s and 70s as “devil music”). This song is really happy and catchy, the perfect song to sing along to during a long road trip.

3. Check it Out – John Mellencamp

I feel like this whole list could be just John Mellencamp songs. Like “Solsbury Hill”, whenever I hear any of his songs I am reminded of my childhood and driving to my favourite place of all time: Daylesford, Victoria. But that would be a really boring list! So I chose “Check it Out” to represent Mellencamp’s music, because I feel like this is the one that gives me the most nostalgia. I don’t know what it is about this song, but again, it just feels really nostalgic to me. The song is very catchy, and musically it has the perfect beat and rhythm for driving. Honestly, just a catchy and fun song for road tripping.

4. Summer of ‘69 – Bryan Adams

“Summer of ’69” is an absolute classic rock song from the 1980s. Even the lyrics are nostalgic, as Adams reminisces about a great summer in the year 1969. This is one of those songs that is sure to get everyone in the car singing and dancing along. It’s got a great, catchy beat and riff, and the lyrics and melody are fun to scream out loud whilst driving. Honestly, if this song doesn’t make you feel happy, just by hearing that iconic opening guitar riff, there’s something wrong with you! An absolute road trip staple.

5. A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton

Finally, I’ve got a more recent song on this list. “A Thousand Miles” has always been iconic to me, especially in my childhood. As a pianist, I always wanted to learn the piano part to this song, and when I finally did, in high school, I was so excited! There is something about the piano riff that just makes this song so happy and upbeat to me. It’s also extremely catchy and fun to sing along to. A hit that everyone in the car will know and want to scream along to.

So, there were five of my favourite road trip songs. Like I said, these are purely based on nostalgia, and there are plenty of other, more recent jams of mine that I could put on this list. But I think road trips are the perfect time to reminisce and listen to songs you might not have listened to in years. And also, for me, the more nostalgic songs make the best road trips!

To accompany this blog post, I have created a full playlist, with all my favourite road trip songs, on Spotify. Click the link below to check it out and let me know what you think of it!

What are your favourite road trip songs? Let me know below, and maybe I’ll discover some new songs to add to my playlist! 

Have fun road tripping,