Today, I’m embarking on a 1,426 mile road trip with my two of my childhood besties, Amanda and Tammi. We’re headed from Houston (100 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico) to northern Wisconsin (100 miles south of Canada, eh) for the next week. I think we’re all pretty excited for a break from reality – and the Texas heat. Personally, I’m excited to do a true cross-country road trip with two of my best friends. Is there anything else that screams “SUMMER!” quite as loudly as that? We’ve never done anything like this together, so it’s sure to be an adventure!
In preparation for our trip, we’ve been making some playlists on Spotify (good lord, what did I do before this thing? So useful!): one for road trip songs, one for summer songs. So in honor of our trip, I asked Amanda and Tammi to each make a mini-playlist for the blog of five songs and share what makes them a perfect road trip tune.
Much like my Anthem post, I love how all over the place we are in our musical tastes. Here’s a snippet of what we’ll be jamming to as we pass through Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin over the next two days.
For me, a good road trip song pretty much falls in line with a good karaoke song. I love upbeat songs that just make you want to sing out loud. I also love songs that remind me of good times with friends either from growing up or something more recent.
Everybody – Backstreet Boys
Now that I think about their group name, it seems so silly. So this one reminds me of junior high and the silliness that comes with being that age. The Backstreet Boys were also the first concert I remember attending, and we went with a big group of friends. Part of listening to that song now is when everybody listening starts doing movements that mimic the music video. It’s just fun.
Footloose – Kenny Loggins
Now I have to admit that I finally saw this movie (the original) a couple weeks ago. Despite the movie, this song just makes me want to move and dance. The “ooh oohs” just sound like something that you as the audience are supposed to sing along with. Pretty much everyone knows at least some of the words to sing along.
Rocksteady – Marc Broussard
While not as commonly known as some other songs, this one has a good groove to it. “When I get there, you better be ready to rocksteady.” It’s kind of anticipation of making it to the destination and being ready to enjoy your vacation or wherever you’re headed.
Chattahoochee – Alan Jackson
The first music I started listening to outside of the ‘elevator’ music my parents listened to and got hooked on was country. A big part of this was from Tammi and her Nana. Nana always loved Alan Jackson, and she shared that with us. It’s a coming of age song, the signs of summer and having fun. Can’t go wrong with that, right?
When Did Your Heart Go Missing – Rooney
I just like this song! Once I figured out this album was actually out, I was in Italy for part of the summer. In addition to walking pretty much everywhere and taking trains to various places, this song reminds me of traveling and happiness.
Life is a Highway – Rascal Flatts
In a huge country that is crisscrossed with miles and miles of highways, where we have endless possibilities of finding new adventures, this is the grittier version of the original and perfect to kick off a road trip.
Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf
With the country at war overseas and among itself in the late 60s and early 70s, this song was the embodiment of the hippies and became the song to listen to for any young generation looking to see what else is out there, on and off the roads.
I Can’t Drive 55 – Sammy Hagar
Road trips are about the open road and if you’re going 55, you’re stuck in the city. Life is too short to go that slow on a road trip!
Streetcorner Symphony – Rob Thomas
An upbeat, feel good song for everyone that incorporates horns. What’s not to love?
I’ve Been Everywhere – (various artists, Johnny Cash is what I found on Spotify)
It originated in Australia but you can find the lyrics redone to fit just about any place, even a city. I found a Houston version in my searching. It just proves to me that no matter how far I go on a road trip, there are still so many more places to visit and see.
A couple of things I realized while working on this:
- Why are so many good road trip songs about California? There must be a ton of song written about that state. Not that Texas doesn’t have a lot too, but they usually do not make hit songs outside of Texas that everyone sings all the time. I can’t think of another state that has as many songs about it.
- Road trips really are an American thing. Maybe in England, but in Europe they use the train mostly. We’re too damn dependent on our cars. Maybe we need a better passenger train system.
Back in Black – AC/DC
Or an AC/DC tribute band, in this case. Maybe it’s from my recent Iron Man marathon with my dad, but that opening guitar lick just screams open road, speed, sunglasses, windows down to me. (Or Black Friday…) BUM. BADADUM. BADADUM. Love it.
California – Phantom Planet
Though we are headed nowhere near sunny California, this is one of those great songs about being on the road and racing to get to your destination. Someday maybe we’ll drive down the 101…for this trip, substituting “Oklahoma” might work! (Something I heard PP do on multiple occasions when I saw them live in Oklahoma.) Also, case in point for Tammi’s comment on driving songs being about California.
Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys
Given they’re considered a “surf band,” I’m always surprised by how many songs The Beach Boys have about cars and driving. Though there’s other songs, like “Little Deuce Coupe” which I originally picked, that are great car songs…but this trip Amanda, Tammi and I will have fun fun fun ’til daddy takes the T-bird (or Tuscon, in my case) away!
My House – Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves is a recent favorite (and a fellow Texan!). While we might not be taking off in an RV or trailer, we will be driving through her hometown of Sulphur Springs, TX early on in day #1. I just love the idea of hopping in your home and taking off on the open road. And away we go!
Tiny Dancer – Elton John
Included purely for the scene in “Almost Famous.” I couldn’t help myself. The sing along is just too good to not be a perfect road trip song. We hope you all enjoyed yourselves, and we’ll see you again in 1974!
What are some of your favorite road trip songs?
We’re on the road today and tomorrow, so if you Tweet one of us with your suggestions we can add them to our playlist right away! 1,426 miles is a lot of ground to cover in two days, so we’re looking forward to music, among other things, to help pass the time.
You can also check out our two master playlists we’ve been compiling: one for road trip songs and the other for summer songs. They’re kind of a hodge podge with no real order to the songs but still kind of fun to browse.