Top Driving Songs for an American Road Trip

America is a country made to be experienced by road. Its maze of diverse routes conjure up a distinct image; panoramic landscapes with the sunset on the horizon, mountains looming in the distance and music to soundtrack your adventure. Our top driving songs are guaranteed to see you through your journey.


East Coast Driving Songs

Start spreading the news – we're leaving today. But it’s not Ol’ Blue Eyes that'll be blasting through our speakers. Instead, we love these tracks that ooze all the mellow glow of a city tower sunrise being left far, far behind.

Lou Reed – 'Coney Island Baby'

This is the chilled-out tune you need to ease you into the journey ahead. Lou's practically spoken-word vocals weave a whimsical tale of love on the New York City beachfront, perfectly set against the most chilled-out of backing tracks.

Ah, but remember that the city is a funny place,
Something like a circus or a sewer.

Lana Del Rey – 'Brooklyn Baby'

A nod to the aforementioned Velvet Underground legend, Lana Del Rey paints a tongue-in-cheek portrait of what it means to be young and free in New York today.

Well, my boyfriend's in the band –
He plays guitar while I sing Lou Reed.


Through the middle

The route to the Great Plains is anything but. Draw any straight line east to west and you're sure to pass from towering skyscrapers to miles of iconic flat wilderness.

Smashing Pumpkins – 'Tonight, Tonight'

Chicago-native Billy Corgan will make you wish the Windy City was your hometown when you hear this ‘90s classic jump out. Turn up the stereo – this beautiful, bold and bustling track is as big and atmospheric as the city itself.

And the embers never fade
In your city by the lake.

EL VY – 'Happiness, Missouri'

If you're looking for a tranquil spot to settle down for a proper holiday, the answer isn't so much blowin' in the wind as ripping out trees with a gale force in this track from indie super group EL VY – which sees The National's Matt Berninger lending his lugubrious vocals to dark and rolling guitar melodies.

While away while someone counts the minutes,
Happiness, Missouri, I got to get your mind off.


West Coast Driving Songs

Home to the City of Angels, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Big Sur and Elvis's drive-through wedding chapel, it's no surprise that the beautiful, madcap West Coast has captured the imaginations of hundreds of songsmiths.

The Runaways – 'California Paradise'

You know a state must be good if even the local teenagers are singing its praises. Get ready for the west coast's untamed coastlines and neon nights with this raucous track from Los Angeles outfit The Runaways.

California – you're so nice.
California – your paradise.

Prince – 'Let’s Go Crazy'

Sure, he's Minnesota born and bred, but who else could tap into the beautiful, madcap world of the West Coast like a beautiful, madcap whirl of a frontman like Prince? Turn the speakers up loud and let his brilliantly nonsensical funk-pop drive you into the sunset.

Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down?
Oh, no. Let's go!


Driving Songs for Down South

Where the days seem to stretch a little longer, the sun seems a little brighter, and everybody seems to have left their sweetheart – or at least found a new one.

Old Crow Medicine Show – 'Wagon Wheel'

Inspired by Robert Zimmerman (better known as Bob Dylan of course), the energetic Old Crow Medicine Show spent years busking on the East Coast before finally being discovered in North Carolina. You'll be ready to rock your way down south to the land of the pines with this jaunty tune – it'll be in your head for weeks.

And I gotta get a move on before the sun –
I hear my baby calling my name and I know that she’s the only one.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes – 'Home'

Heading down the Interstate 65 to Alabama is the perfect time to enjoy the comfortingly feel-good tones of Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinas. Just make sure none of your passengers can whistle or you might have to pull over.

Well, hot and heavy, pumpkin pie, chocolate candy, Jesus Christ –
Ain’t nothing please me more than you.


Up North Driving Songs

The northern states have long served as the backdrop to tales of adventure – whether that's through snow-capped mountains or downtown coffee houses is down to you.

Heather Woods Broderick – 'Wyoming'

When the sun melts to a faint glow beneath the darkness, and the streets of Everytown, America, grow silent, drive right into your own indie movie with this mellow, haunting track from the former backing singer of Sharon Van Etten.

I'm a house,
And you're Wyoming.

Johnny Horton – 'North to Alaska'

Even if you're not ready for the level of hammed-up fist fights that that John Wayne and Stewart Granger encountered on their daring trip to 'the top of the world', the film's hopeful theme of love and gold will sing you sweetly all the way to the northernmost state.

Sam crossed the majestic mountains to the valleys far below –
He talked to his team of huskies as he mushed on through the snow.

If you're ready to start your next adventure, hire a car with Alamo today!

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