Tell me your road trip music

Since things are coming together, the realization that I’m moving to Tucson also has me realizing that I’ll be making a cross-country (or pretty close to it) drive this summer. Which means I need to make sure I have the right music.

I’d prefer things that I can purchase by the song from iTunes, since everything will be loaded onto the iPod. I’ve got a car adapter for it, but now I need the songs. I’m open to just about anything that won’t drag me down - country, rock, alternative, folk…heck, I’ll give just about anything a try.

So tell me the songs you must have when you’re on a long road trip.

You might consider checking out, there are 8 hour-long podcasts there. It may not be your cup of tea, but you can sample the eclectic music types before you download the shows, to see if you like the music. On the show pages and the “Artists Played” page, each song in each show has a short snippet of the song. If you like the snippets, then you should like the whole shows. If you like them, you can either download from the show pages, or you can RSS subscribe via iTunes.

You can also listen to the shows via streaming audio at
(ETA, Some start out very slow but get more upbeat, and some shows are probably too languid for you, and a couple of shows are very very weird, which might actually help with you’re trying to stay awake…your brain will keep saying “wtf?”)

I guess it all depends on what music you like, of course.

For a long road trip, I tend to prefer country music or 80’s hair bands. (both styles that I don’t normally listen to at home). If there is going to be some night driving involved, and I reccommend strongly against, as you miss the scenery, the soundtrack from Ridge Racer or any other driving arcades.

May I recommend Rascall Flatts’ cover of “Life is a Highway”? That song makes me want to take a road trip…

The JJCale/Eric Clapton collaboration, The Road to Escondido, is superb driving music.
Infectious rhythms, absorbing lyrics, not one dud track in the collection.

For road trip music, when I’m the driver at least, I switch between two polar opposites: bouncy, slightly minimal synth-pop (Postal Service, Frou Frou, etc.) and reasonably paced death metal (Entombed, Carcass, etc.).

Thanks Caprese - I hadn’t even considered *Life is a Highway, *and I hadn’t heard of The Road to Escondido.

I know I’ll be adding more Kim Richey to my collection before the trip - I figure I’ll just complete her Rise album, since who doesn’t need a song with the title “Girl in a Car” for a road trip? Plus, I really like what I’ve heard of her stuff.

Equipoise, I’ll take a listen to see if I want to grab a couple of those before the trip.

Sapo, I can listen to just about anything, really - I guess what I should have said in my OP was, “give me the songs that **you **must have for a road trip” - don’t worry about what I might like, since with this kind of drive time, I’m perfectly willing to check out things that I wouldn’t normally think of. I’m making a point of grabbing the iTunes single of the week each week, so that I have some different stuff there. I figure that this move is a major change in my life - so I might as well experiment with new music too!

I found that listening to the entire Bruce Springsteen 1975 - 1985 Live 4 CD set was great road music. He covers so many different styles, and “paints” images of so much Americana - perfectly suited for a cross-country trip.

Non-music tip: for long driving days, books-on-tape are the way to go. Keeps you alert while driving.

I haven’t gone on any road trips in awhile, but when I think of music for a road trip it’s generally country. Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, The Highwaymen, Red Sovine (most especially), Johnny Horton, Gordon Lightfoot… a bit of 80’s rock, and 60’s folk as well.

All the stuff we’d listen to in the car when Dad took us on drives.

I agree, that Springsteen set is good road music. I think it’s only three discs though, unless you have a special version I don’t know about.

We always start our road trips with Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell. Shut up, it’s awesome.

Sudds in the bucket from Sara Evans

October Project, especially their first album with the same name.

Beach Boys!!!

I know this isn’t music, but books on tape can really help the time fly.

For music I like Jonathan Richman for road trips, it revs me up every time (it may be the only time I listen to it).

I had a long drive across to NW Ireland a few weeks back. A big jumble of CDs accompanied me, but the best moment was sitting back and relaxing as the road started to go from busy to empty, a rich orange-&-purple sunset started to appear ahead, and Billie Holiday was singing. Priceless.

Anything that gets me singing along…
Roger Miller
Steve Earle
King Kahn and BBQ Show
Old 97s
Joe Jackson
Elvis Costello
David and David
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Reigning Sound
Merle Haggard
The Replacements
Dukes of Hamburg
Les Sexareenos
Roky Erickson
Daniel Johnston
The Sonics
The Clash
The Ramones

Really almost anything, as long as it’s loud and the windows are down!

I just took a 10 hour road trip soundtracked mostly by Kevin Smith’s SModcast. Quickest 10 hours ever.

There you have it. In one line. Driving music is all about singing along.

My favorite road song, especially if I’m with people, is Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Damn, that song rocks, and is so fun for a lot of people to sing along to, or just plain sing.

Otherwise, I’ll go with David Bowie’s hits, Queen’s hits, the Strokes’ first album, Franz Ferdinand’s first album, Blazing Arrow by Blackalicious, any White Stripes album, maybe some Cake, maybe some Jack Johnson or Polyphonic Spree, and definitely some electronica to round it out (Ratatat, DJ Shadow, Justice, etc etc etc).

For driving to Tucson, I’d recommend U2’s The Joshua Tree once you hit desert. It’s just made to be listened to in that ecosystem.

I like TV Tunes for driving. I’ve only listened to Volume 1, but it’s got a nice variety of songs (theme songs from TV shows of the 50s and 60s). Lots of short songs of different styles - always something new to listen to every few minutes.

We’ve been listening to a lot of audio books on trips also. We’ve gotten the kids into Weird Al Yankovic. Good times!