This week we are “On the Road” with Monday Listicles. Whether you are on the road for a day or more, nothing helps the miles click away better than some great tunes. So that’s what I am linking up. I make absolutely no claims about this list other than these are great road trip songs. In my last phone call to Ellen before she disembarked on her cruise, I asked her for her thoughts. “Well, definitely not the theme song from Titanic.” Got it.
So these are all me, plus a little bonus for Ellen. Enjoy and feel free to leave any of your favorites in the comments. I wrote and rewrote this list a thousand times, so I know some of what’s missing. I might be able to make a whole new playlist from your favorites. Thanks! Erin
1. “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones—In the opening riff, it practically begs you to hit the road and then the beat just keeps you going. Really you could probably put any Ramones song on your list and be just fine, but this song is sheer perfection if you are hitting the blacktop.
2. “Mr. Blue Sky” By ELO— You might be tempted to dismiss this song. Don’t. You cannot hear this song without head-bobbing and toe-tapping—a definite plus to get you through boring stretches of highway or traffic snarls.
3. “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2—Way back in the day, my Uncle Bill told me that Irish people were a little left of center as an explanation for the sheer genius of this group. Whatever the reason, they just work for me, and this song works for a road trip. You can sing along to lyrics (a definite bonus for a road trip song), and the music itself has all the energy and rhythm of wheels to pavement.
4. “Mercedes Benz”—Janis Joplin-– No road trip playlist is complete without a song about a car. There are a bunch to choose from, but I am a chick so this is where I go. It also has that sing out loud quality that catapults a song from good to great.
5. “Good-bye, Earl”–Dixie Chicks—This song might be one of the most fun songs on the planet, and it makes the perfect road trip song. Great beat, fun lyrics, with a little shot of Thelma and Louise—two of the best movie characters ever to hit the road! Channel your inner bad-ass and get out there!
6. “Bamboleo”–Gypsy Kings—If you have never heard of them, well, then let me introduce you. If you question me bumping La Grange by ZZ Top for them, well, then let me convince you. Steve travelled through Indonesia and Asia for 5 weeks listening to them, then we travelled for 2 weeks through Ireland on our honeymoon listening to them. Pretty much anything by The Gypsy Kings works on a road trip too,but this is THE song—listen to the rhythm, the melody, the beat and pretty soon you have arrived effortlessly on the doorstep of your destination.
7. “Roadhouse Blues”— The Doors—I don’t need to convince anyone about the magic of the The Doors. This song’s bluesy folksiness, perfect lyrics, and great advice (Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel!) will really get you where you wanna go.
8. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”—The Proclaimers- These Scottish twins know how to have a good time, and we can all thank The Housemartins for giving them their big break so they can let us in on the fun. Remember that toe-tapping I was mentioning before? Try to stop yourself.
9. “Radar Love”–Golden Earring—Probably one of the best road trip songs ever. I’m not saying anything else. Just perfect.
10. “Thunder Road”– Bruce Springsteen—Oh, Bruce, you totally nailed it on this one. The longing, the harmonica, the lyrics—”well, the night’s busted open, these two lanes will take us anywhere”—well, try to keep your keys from the ignition after this song.
But in case you aren’t feeling my list, NPR has many more. Check them out and get out there!
PS–A little bonus track for Ellen who is safely back on dry land, but rock-climbing with Girl Scouts today. You can’t keep that girl still for long.
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski