10 Songs to Hit the Open Road

It's time to buckle up and check out some of the best driving songs rock music has to offer.

10 Songs to Hit the Open Road
A good tune is what can turn a dull trip into an epic ride. Driving is one of those things that can be taken to a whole new level with some proper music, just like exercise, running, walking and pretty much anything. Rock music had its fair share of driving hits, and when you think about it a bit, it's the car playlists that people most often tend to compile. So this week we'll check out some of the best tracks to blast on the open road. Some you might know, some may be new to you, but in the end, it's all about the good drive. So buckle up and let's take a ride in the fast lane.

ZZ Top "La Grange"

We'll kick it off with a more obvious choice classic 1973 ZZ Top tune "La Grange." We sort of avoided some of the too obvious picks, as you'll see below, but "La Grange" simply had to find its spot out here. That riff alone is enough to keep you driving on and on for hours.

Lynyrd Skynyrd "Call Me the Breeze"

We're still in the classic rock domain, we've just gone a bit more southbound. A gorgeous cover of JJ Cale's "Call Me the Breeze" by southern rock icons Lynyrd Skynyrd features a steady groove, clever guitar tricks and an epic piano solo, earning them an easy spot on the list. Once the "Call me the breeze / I keep blowing down the road" verse kicks in, there's no better place to be than behind the wheel jamming away.

Anthrax "Metal Thrashing Mad"

Let's take a heavy turn and get some metal blasting out. Just sit in your "street machine of steel," get your "foot pinned to the floor" and listen to those frantic riffs and ripping vocal screams. It's "Metal Thrashing Mad" by Anthrax we're talking about, a definite staple thrash metal driving tune, especially when it comes to the lyrics.

Megadeth "502"

Dave Mustaine and co. are keeping things thrashy with their 1988 track "502." When a song is named after the police code for driving under influence, you pretty much know what you're likely to get. So it's furious riffs, drum bashing and lyrics such as "Full tank, pockets lined with cash / Full throttle, gonna rip some a-s," all of which guarantee a hell of ride.

Motley Crue "Kickstart My Heart"

Some may not find putting Motley Crue after the titans of thrash as too appropriate, but it is how it is. Glam rockers' hit number "Kickstart My Heart" will have you flooring the gas pedal, from the starting motorcycle guitar noises through the very last set of gut ripping guitar riffs.

Nickelback "Midnight Queen"

Say what you want about these guys, and seeing that this is UG (or just the Internet for that matter) it's probably not a whole lot of songs of praise, but you can always count on Nickelback to surprise you with a wall-tearing riff when you least expect it. One such riff can be found on the band's latest release, 2011's "Here and Now," as a part of the "Midnight Queen" track. As philosophical as any other tune about a certain lady who "walks like a model and talks like a trucker, doesn't wanna lollipop but she sure loves a sucker," the song is guaranteed to pump you up behind the wheel.

Savoy Brown "Hellbound Train"

Driving is not always about jamming the pedal to the max or going loco with fuel, sometimes it's those steady, solo night rides that you treasure the most. And if you ever happen to go on such a ride, make sure to pop Savoy Brown's "Hellbound Train" into your player. The 1972 blues rock gem is perfect for a gloomy night cruise with it's mesmerizing steady bass line and a laid-back groove. Clocking in at 9 minutes, the track is filled with tasty guitar and Hammond fills. Make sure not to miss the part when they kick out the jams a bit in the final quarter.

Metallica "Holier Than Thou"

You probably expected "Fuel," and chances are that it might even fit you better behind the wheel, but there's just something about those talk box fills that gets your blood pressure way up. So we're back in the metal zone with the fastest song off Metallica's eponymous 1991 record. Some good driving choices from the metal giants that crossed our minds also include "Attitude" and "Motorbreath." It's Metallica, so choices are basically infinite.

Pantera "F--king Hostile"

When we've gone heavy, we might as well go all the way. If you're really looking to induce road rage, blast Pantera's "F--king Hostile" and you'll have the engine fired up in no time. If you need a similar follow-up, you can go with "Suicide Note Pt. 2" and switch to full insane mode.

Airbourne "Runnin' Wild"

They've got Lemmy driving a truck, of course they had to be here. But seriously, Aussie rockers Airbourne have put out one of the finest driving songs of the past several years with the 2007 release of "Runnin' Wild." Killer rock riffs, Marshall amp stacks and Lemmy, what else do you really need? And yeah, no AC/DC on the list, but the band that everyone accuses of ripping them off gets a spot; UG logic, go figure.
So of all the lists that could stretch for miles, this one could probably stretch the most. Of course, such classics as "Highway to Hell," Deep Purple's "Highway Star" (or "Speed King"), Judas Priest's "Heading Out to the Highway" or "I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar most definitely came to our attention along with probably a few hundred of other highway tracks, but we opted not to go with the way too obvious choices. So now it's your turn, let us know what you like cranking up on road in the comments section below.

229 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    where the hell is deep purple - highway star?
    They said they're trying to avoid the obvious- it does get a mention at the end though. An interesting list of more obscure driving tracks (obscure as in not ones that immediately come to mind rather than obscure "nobody's heard of theses songs" obscure.)
    Listening to Songs For The Deaf all the way through works too.
    Or Kyuss's welcome to sky valley
    I prefer Blue's for the Red Sun, or DOWN's NOLA but the fact that this song isn't on this list is disturbing.
    It definately is disturbing. And also coincidental that I'm reading your post today as I'm seeing these guys live for the fifth time in a few hours.
    Exactly what I thought. Odd hell bound train made it, but radar love didn't.
    Effing aye! Every morning starts with Gardenia while driving to work. Fudge hells yes.
    Audioslave's self-titled does wonders, too.
    Franko 316
    sounds so sad, but for every exam I've done since first semester university Audioslave has been my pump up ritual during my hour long drive to uni. Cochise!! It'll be on in the car tomorrow. **** you exams.
    Theres never a bad moment for QOTSA...or any Josh Homme in general
    I've been enjoying listening to "...Like Clockwork" in my car, particularly Smooth Sailing.
    I find My God Is The Sun a good fast paced song when I'm racing through traffic to work :p
    I feel that ...like clockwork isn't great as driving music, better for a sit down a listen session. too many slow parts, and its too nuanced to not fully pay attention to it
    Agreed. A "Best Driving Albums" would actually be a cool poll for UG to do, and I'm sure that would be on it.
    Franko 316
    Thats almost the best thing to shout along to ... the best: Proclaimers anybody??? DA DA DADA, DA DA DADA, UNDELA UNDELA UNDELA LA LA LA!!
    Got a car playlist quite similar to this one. Although, Metallica - Fuel, Megadeth - 1,320 and Motrhead - Ace Of Spades are a must have on any adrenaline ride.
    Pretty solid list! Fun fact: The two speeding tickets on my record are both Kickstart My Heart's fault.
    Driving at night listening to Dogs by Pink Floyd is enjoyable. Also, I enjoy listening to Ten by Pearl Jam in its entirety while driving as well.
    Driving in the night also gets me through a couple of RHCP songs like "I could Have Lied", "Scar Tissue" and "Strip My Mind".