Hey there, road warriors and highway song lovers!
If the call of the open road has you revving your engines, you know that a great soundtrack can make the journey unforgettable. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the 30 Best Highway Songs to keep your tires rolling and your spirits high.
Whether you’re a music lover into classic rock anthems, country road tunes, or something in between, we’ve got beloved tracks that will have you singing along mile after mile.
So grab your keys, hit the road, and let’s turn the music up with these awesome highway songs!
1. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – The Proclaimers
Album: Sunshine on Leith
Date Released: August 1988
No road trip is complete without this iconic anthem from The Proclaimers. The catchy chorus and upbeat tempo make “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” one of the best songs for long drives. It captures the essence of journeying great distances for love, making every mile feel like a step closer to home.
2. “Highway to Hell” – AC/DC
Album: Highway to Hell
Date Released: July 1979
This hard-rock classic from AC/DC isn’t just a high-octane track; it’s a quintessential highway song. With its rebellious lyrics and adrenaline-pumping guitar riffs, “Highway to Hell” will have you speeding down the open road (within the speed limit, of course).
3. “Country Roads” – John Denver
Album: Poems, Prayers & Promises
Date Released: April 1971
This John Denver classic is an ode to the idyllic countryside and serves as a call to head back to simpler times. While the song pays tribute to West Virginia, its emotional resonance is universal. As you drive along country roads, you’ll find yourself transported to a place you belong.
4. “On the Road Again” – Willie Nelson
Album: Honeysuckle Rose
Date Released: August 1980
Willie Nelson captures the sheer joy and freedom of being “On the Road Again” in this country song. Whether you’re journeying solo or with friends, this track celebrates the nomadic lifestyle and the adventures that come with it.
5. “Road to Nowhere” – Talking Heads
Album: Little Creatures
Date Released: June 1985
For a more philosophical drive, Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere” offers a contemplative take on life’s uncertainties. The upbeat tempo juxtaposed with the song’s existential lyrics creates a deeply immersive experience, making it a unique addition to any road trip playlist.
6. “Working on the Highway” – Bruce Springsteen
Album: Born in the U.S.A.
Date Released: June 1984
Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on the Highway” gives a nod to the everyday laborers who construct the very roads we travel on. With its rock-infused energy and storytelling lyrics, the upbeat song offers a different perspective on highways — one of toil, love, and dreams.
7. “Highway Star” – Deep Purple
Album: Machine Head
Date Released: March 1972
Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” is a speed demon’s anthem. The song’s fast tempo and screaming guitar solos make it an exhilarating addition to any high-speed drive. It’s rock ‘n roll at its finest, embodying the freedom and excitement of life on the road.
8. “Truckin’” – The Grateful Dead
Album: American Beauty
Date Released: November 1970
“Truckin'” captures the nomadic lifestyle inherent to the Grateful Dead’s ethos. This iconic track about life on the move embodies the ups and downs of the journey, making it one of the best songs for any road trip.
9. “Rockin’ Down the Highway” – Doobie Brothers
Album: Toulouse Street
Date Released: July 1972
With its groove-heavy rhythm and soulful lyrics, “Rockin’ Down the Highway” is a quintessential driving song. The Doobie Brothers manage to encapsulate the sheer joy of cruising down the highway, windows down, with no particular destination in mind.
10. “Born to Be Wild” – Steppenwolf
Date Released: January 1968
This rock classic is practically synonymous with open-road freedom. Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” serves as an enduring anthem for road-trippers and bikers alike. The song’s liberating lyrics and robust guitar riffs will have you embracing your inner rebel.
11. “Pacific Coast Highway” – Nils
Album: Pacific Coast Highway
Date Released: February 2005
Nils brings smooth jazz to the highway with “Pacific Coast Highway.” This instrumental track offers a relaxing backdrop for a scenic coastal drive. With its laid-back guitar solos and soothing rhythms, it’s a perfect choice for unwinding on the road.
12. “Ramblin’ Man” – The Allman Brothers
Album: Brothers and Sisters
Date Released: August 1973
The Allman Brothers Band’s “Ramblin’ Man” is an ode to the wandering spirit. Its southern rock charm and poetic lyrics capture the essence of a life lived on the road, making it an essential track for any long journey.
13. “Life Is a Highway” – Tom Cochrane (covered by Rascal Flatts)
Album: Mad Mad World (original), Cars Soundtrack (cover)
Date Released: 1991 (original), 2006 (cover)
Whether you prefer Tom Cochrane’s original or Rascal Flatts’ country-infused cover, “Life Is a Highway” remains a joyful anthem for the road of life. Its optimistic message and catchy tune make it an enduring favorite for road trips.
14. “Highway 61 Revisited” – Bob Dylan
Album: Highway 61 Revisited
Date Released: August 1965
Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” is more than just a road song; it’s a journey through the American landscape. With its harmonica solos and bluesy vibe, the track explores the various intersections of life, all found along the famous Route 61.
15. “L.A. Freeway” by Guy Clark
Album: Old No. 1
Date Released: 1975
Despite its title, “L.A. Freeway” by Guy Clark is actually a farewell letter to the city of Los Angeles, capturing the singer’s desire to leave the fast-paced life behind for something more authentic. With its acoustic arrangement and contemplative lyrics, the song has long resonated with anyone who’s ever felt stuck or dreamed of a different path.
16. “Highway Child” – The Rolling Stones
Album: Unreleased, Available on Bootlegs
Date Released: Recorded in 1968
“Highway Child” is a lesser-known Rolling Stones track but no less compelling. Its raw blues-infused rock captures the essence of a life untamed, lived on the open road. Though not officially released, it has become a cult favorite among Stones fans.
17. “Kings Highway” – Tom Petty
Album: Into the Great Wide Open
Date Released: July 1991
Tom Petty’s “Kings Highway” is a heartfelt song that encapsulates the feeling of liberation that comes with driving on a long highway. With Petty’s signature rock sound, the song makes for an uplifting companion on any journey.
18. “Take the Highway” by The Marshall Tucker Band
Album: The Marshall Tucker Band
Date Released: April 1973
Southern rock at its finest, “Take the Highway” by The Marshall Tucker Band is a high-energy song perfect for rolling down the windows and enjoying the wind in your hair. Its soulful vocals and spirited instrumentals make it a road trip must-have.
19. “Ventura Highway” by America
Date Released: November 1972
“Ventura Highway” by America delivers a soft rock experience filled with daydreams of escapism. Its iconic opening guitar riff and smooth harmonies create a relaxed atmosphere for a leisurely drive.
20. “Highway 20 Ride” – Zac Brown Band
Album: The Foundation
Date Released: November 2008
Zac Brown Band’s “Highway 20 Ride” takes a more reflective approach to the theme of highways. It tells the story of a father driving down Highway 20 to visit his son, encapsulating the emotional journey as much as the physical one.
21. “The Long and Winding Road” – The Beatles
Album: Let It Be
Date Released: May 1970
While not technically about a highway, “The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles captures the emotional journey one embarks upon while traversing long distances. The melancholy tone and poignant lyrics make it a perfect companion for those solitary drives when you’re lost in thought.
22. “Highway Don’t Care” – Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift & Keith Urban
Album: Two Lanes of Freedom
Date Released: February 2013
This modern country hit features a trio of star power and a catchy, emotive melody. “Highway Don’t Care” tells a story of love and longing, making it a compelling choice for any road trip playlist where you’re missing someone special.
23. “Long Lonesome Highway” – Michael Parks
Album: Long Lonesome Highway
Date Released: 1970
Michael Parks’ “Long Lonesome Highway” is the quintessential song about life on the road. The classic tune focuses on the ups and downs of constant travel, embodying the spirit of adventure mixed with a dash of loneliness.
24. “Key To The Highway” – Eric Clapton
Album: Derek and the Dominos: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Date Released: November 1970
Blues-rock legend Eric Clapton brings his classic touch to “Key To The Highway,” a song that’s been covered by many but owned by few. Its bluesy vibe and Clapton’s extraordinary guitar work make it a must-listen for any road journey.
25. “Highwayman” – Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson
Date Released: May 1985
When you combine the voices of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, you get something transcendental. “Highwayman” is a haunting yet uplifting song that encapsulates the life of a traveler. The star-studded collaboration also features Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson, making it a country supergroup classic.
26. “Hit the Road Jack” – Ray Charles
Date Released: 1961
Ray Charles brings soul and groove to any road trip with “Hit the Road Jack.” It’s a breakup song at its core, but the infectious rhythm and Charles’s unique vocal delivery make it an excellent tune to belt out while cruising down the open road.
27. “Highway 40 Blues” – Ricky Skaggs
Album: Highways & Heartaches
Date Released: 1982
Ricky Skaggs’s “Highway 40 Blues” is a country staple that taps into the universal feeling of facing hurdles and hardships. Its fiddle-infused melodies make it an enjoyable and upbeat addition to your road trip playlist.
28. “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen
Album: Born to Run
Date Released: August 1975
Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” is more than just a highway song; it’s an anthem for anyone who has ever felt the urge to escape and find something more. The Boss captures the restlessness and excitement of youth in this timeless track.
29. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake
Album: Saints & Sinners
Date Released: November 1982
Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” is the quintessential ’80s rock song for those who find themselves alone on the road but committed to moving forward. Its powerful chorus and rock instrumentation make it a high-energy selection for any highway journey.
30. “Love Shack” – The B-52s
Album: Cosmic Thing
Date Released: June 1989
A slight deviation from the conventional highway theme, “Love Shack” by The B-52s adds a party vibe to your road trip. Its quirky lyrics and funky beats make it a fun, upbeat choice for a lighter moment on the road.