Summer may be over but with the price of gasoline falling and the holidays approaching, Americans, to quote Willie Nelson, are going to be on the road again. To help make long road trips tolerable, motorists cue up music that helps melt away the travel time. (If you’re not actually hitting the highway yourself, consider watching one or more of these 35 must-see road trip movies.)
To determine America’s most popular road trip songs, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a study by the insurance and financial services comparison site Confused.com which analyzed some 1,481 U.S. road-trip playlists on Spotify. The site then reported the 100 songs that appeared on the most lists as of August 30, 2022. Our list covers the top 35.
As you might expect, many of the songs on our list have travel as the theme and/or title of the song. At least five songs mention or allude to California as a destination.
Travelers might start their trip with reliably singalong tunes such as Don McLean’s “American Pie,” Miley Cyrus’ celebration anthem “Party in the U.S.A.,” and one-hit wonder The Proclaimers song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).” As travelers settle in to the journey, and the road ahead seems endless – especially if you’re on a desert road out West – the mood might become more subdued and you’re more inclined to listen to Don Henley’s wistful “Boys of Summer” or Bryan Adams’ nostalgic song “Summer of ‘69.”
Bruce Springsteen has three songs on the list, more than any other artist, including his signature song “Born to Run.” Creedence Clearwater Revival, which had a string of hits in the politically charged 1960s, had two songs on the list, as did more mellow rockers Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. (See which singers and bands made our list of the absolute best songs in history.)
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