Top Five Road Trip Songs

Top Five is a show where the hosts categorize, rank, compare, and stratify everything… from cars to gadgets to people and movies. From stuff that is hot, and things that are not nearly as interesting – it’s Top Five.

On a long trip, there is sure to be great conversation, but during those lulls a good song can make the trip even more pleasurable. This week, your hosts run down the top five songs to listen to on a road trip.

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About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. Music episodes of Top Five are always hard, so to help narrow it down for myself I picked five great road trip songs ABOUT driving and/or travel.

    5. Turbo Lover – Judas Priest from Turbo: The best song from Priest’s worst album of the 80s! You put this one on right as you hit the on-ramp for the freeway or interstate.

    4. Ride On – AC/DC from Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap: Great bluesy number. Nothing better than this one when you’re in a car and it’s raining, or just after the sun has gone down.

    3. I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash from Unchained: Unchained may be one of the best driving records ever made. It’s one hell of a road record, and I pretty much only ever listen to it when I’m in a car. Good for watching miles tick by.

    2. Hot Rod Lincoln – Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen form Lost in the Ozone: Great song for driving fast and having fun. Fun to sing along if you know all the lyrics, or even some of ’em! Telephone poles look like a picket fence!

    1. Bat Out of Hell, the title track of Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf. Epic song, epic length, nearly 10 minutes long. A crash song about a guy whose motorcycle wreck is so bad the last thing he sees is his own beating heart torn from his body! Hard not to drive fast during this one…though one should heed the crash. Keep your eyes on the road, and wear a seat belt!

    The album version of ‘Radar Love’ is 6;24 by the way…I’ll put it on my iPod and see you at Nerdtacular!

  2. 5. Clubbed to Death-Rob Dougan from Furious Angels: When I listened to this song from the soundtrack of “The Matrix” on a long road trip through Texas I slowly became enthralled by the layers of sound that continued to oscillate. Still gives me tingles to this day.

    4. I Believe in a Thing Called Love-The Darkness from Permission to Land: I remember driving through Utah with this song blaring and everyone singing along with their worst falsetto. Good times.

    3. Hotel California-Eagles from Hotel California: Whenever I go on a drive with my brother this song inevitably ends up playing and we immediately end whatever conversation we were having and just listen. (Also the cover by the Gipsy Kings is awesome).

    2. Highway Star-Deep Purple from Machine Head: A perfect road song with awesome keyboard and guitar solos. What else could you ask for?

    1. Bohemian Rhapsody-Queen from A Night at The Opera: Party time; excellent!

    Honorable Mentions:
    Black Sunshine-White Zombie
    Paradise City-Guns ‘n’ Roses
    Highway to Hell-AC/DC
    Knights of Cydonia-Muse

  3. Great, great episode as ever. I would really have loved for you to play small snippets of the songs.
    I think you would have been able to do that without paying royalties.

  4. 5. East Bound & Down: by Jerry Reed. No matter how much I HATE country music, this song is just for being on the road & being about the road a great road song.

    4. Golden Age of Leather: by Blue Oyster Cult. A great rock and roll song about a bunch of Hell’s Angels drinking, doing drugs, and fighting each other at the Apocalypse.

    3. Walk: by Foo Fighters. A song about defying one’s own mortality (I have no idea if that’s what is really about, that’s just my take away) that just has a great beat and what not to it. As Harry Dresden can attest, it will make great montage music, as your sitting in the car going places.

    2. Hit Somebody by Warren Zevon. A great song, that really tells a story of some poor hockey player as he tries (and eventually succeeds somewhat) in achieving his dream

    1. Princes of the Universe: by Queen. Great upbeat, lyrics that one can just rock out too, and pretend your driving to face the Kurgan.

    Honorable Mentions:

    Boys are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy
    Wayward Son by Kansas
    Rocket Man as covered by Me First & the Gimmie-Gimmies
    Look How Far We’ve Come by Matchbox 20

  5. These all remind me of road trips I have taken in the past.

    1. I’m Gonna Be (The Proclaimers) (This isn’t really from a road trip. 500 miles just seems like a long distance.)
    2. heaven is a place on earth (belinda carlisle) (This is from a road trip where I met a friend who wound up being the best man in my wedding)
    3. Humpty Dance (Digital Underground) (same road trip as #2)
    4. Heads High (Mr. Vegas) (From a road trip where I was visiting law schools with a friend of mine)
    5. Tempted to Touch (Rupee feat Daddy Yankee) (From a mix tape I made for my honeymoon, which was a road trip)

  6. I have to say I am disappointed that this episode wasn’t sponsored by, because I feel that would be oddly appropriate, if not down right suspicious, because that is the true answer to road trips.

    If I was taking a road trip, I would forget modern music and listen to this:

    5. Scheherazade – Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and powerful classical music, and it lasts about 30 minutes.

    4. Carmina Burena — The first movement of this piece of classical music is so good it has clearly influenced many modern film scores, including Conan The Barbarian( 1982 version), Phantom Menace, Matrix Revolutions, just to name a few. The entire piece is over an hour long. Do you notice a pattern?

    3. Nerdist podcast — Interesting interviews with all sorts of people. Chris Hardwick has great interacts in very causal settings with a wide variety of actors, directors, and others like Tom Cruise, Joss Whedon, and Astrophysicist Neil Degress Tyson.

    2. Critical Hit — Dungeon & Dragons podcast performed by most of the same people that do Top 5. Depending on which episode you start with, there is what? 300 hours of entertainment here. I wouldn’t want to image a road trip that lasted over 300 hours.

    1. — Listening to books while makes driving long distances acceptable, and sometime encourages me to take longer trips. For me, this is only time I am willing to spend time experiencing a book.

  7. 5. Holiday Road (Lindsey Buckingham) – Best known as the song sung over the postcards at the start of National Lampoon’s Vacation.

    4. Vacation (The Go-Go’s) – Best version is from their 2001 DVD Live in Central Park.

    3. Running on Empty (Jackson Browne) – Favorite version is from the live 1977 album Running On Empty.

    2. The Load Out/Stay (Jackson Browne) – see #3.

    1. We Didn’t Start the Fire (Billy Joel) – Favorite song of all time. Best version is from the 1990 concert film Live at Yankee Stadium.

  8. Solid Muldoon on

    5: Eastbound And Down by Jerry Reed
    4: Life During Wartime by Talking Heads
    3: Mr.Krinkle by Primus
    2: Whipping Post by The Allman Brothers Band
    1: Sing Sing Sing by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra

  9. I mainly like high energy songs, with a handful of exceptions, when I drive.

    What I mostly listen to
    Pop music that I normally wouldn’t turn on

    Honorable Mentions:
    Biting Elbows, Bad Mother-F***er, high energy
    Blue valentine, invitation to the blues, Anything on Rain dogs, Tom Waits,
    Washington, Kennedy, and RP tournament, Brad Neely, Weird and easy to sing to.

    5: There is a light that never goes out, Smiths. Not allowed to sing this while driving anymore. Can’t imagine why my wife finds it disturbing.

    4: Cant stop me now, Queen. Fun to sing, and it has this keep driving thing going.

    3: Immigrant Song, Zep. Its got lots of oomph, If I am drifting, It whips me back into shape.

    2: Na na na/Save Yourself, MCR, Again, high energy, and it feels like its about driving places car song.

    1: Barrett’s Privateers, Stan Rodgers, Out of left field. My wife and I sing it, and a variety of other such songs.

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