The 10 Best Road Trip Songs of All Time

(Image credit: Richard E. Aaron/Getty Images)

As we've learned from countless TV commercials, the automobile connotes freedom, status, sex appeal...and really cheesy music.

Screw all that. Only rock and roll will suffice on a real road trip. Toss in a desirable member of the opposite sex (snacks are nice, too) and you'll soon discover the meaning of life.

Grip the wheel. Crank the stereo. Look to your left. Then to your right. Then to your left again. And crush the pedal to the floor.

If the law pulls you over, just tell them you were listening to this playlist. Nothing warms a cop's heart like a great road tune.

10. "Ramblin' Man," the Allman Brothers Band

Not all of us were born to ramble, but ramblin' skills can be acquired. Hence this list. "When it's time for leavin'," this boogie-rock anthem gently merges you into the fast lane.

09. "L.A. Woman," the Doors

Jimbo reportedly set a personal record during these sessions, glugging 36 beers in one day. Sure, no one tossed him the keys after a hard day's work, but this bluesy boiler turns any Sunday drive into a party.

08. "Good Vibrations," the Beach Boys

When car culture and teenage wildlife collided in California in the Sixties, the Beach Boys were there to bottle the "excitation." You've rambled. You've scoped L.A. women. Now pick up on those good vibrations.

07. "Low Rider," War

This salacious groove (nice cowbell) can transform even your madre's Plymouth Voyager into a hydraulic love machine. You'll want to leave your mother at home, of course.

06. "Radar Love," Golden Earring

Been driving all night, hand's wet on the wheel...and these Dutch guys aren't even halfway through this track's psychedelic breakdown. With its relentless shuffle beat and epic running time, "Radar Love" works well as a cruise control for long hauls.

05. "Highway Star," Deep Purple

"Nobody gonna beat my car. It's gonna break the speed of sound." OK there, "highway star," you might wanna pull over for nap, especially if you start calling your vehicle a "killing machine."

04. "Panama," Van Halen

An ode to fast cars, anonymous sex, tropical climates and potent herb; in other words, right up old vintage Diamond Dave's alley. This anthem not only provides a destination (Panama) but also directions for when you arrive ("Ease the seat back...").

03. "Tush," ZZ Top

"Lord, take me downtown. I'm just looking for some tush." These naughty Texans knew you could score some backside if you drove a slick ride, even while sporting Taliban-style beards.

02. "Bad to the Bone," George Thorogood

This track makes no mention whatsoever of the combustible engine. But try explaining that to the bikers who've made it a cruising anthem. That would be a b-b-b-b-b-bad idea.

01. "Highway to Hell," AC/DC

Many thought fun-loving Bon Scott was speaking figuratively about the title's destination. Then he went and drank himself to death in the back of a car. Please listen and drive responsibly.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Guitar World Staff

Since 1980, Guitar World has been the ultimate resource for guitarists. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is the place to look.