A recent British study reported that drivers who are singing along to favorite music are likely to concentrate more on their driving and are less likely to fall asleep. This matches my own anecdotal experience, but it is great to have it confirmed scientifically. In the spirit of the study, here are my top 10 driving songs.
With that chugging beat and lyrics that begin "I've been driving all night, my hands wet on the wheel," "Radar Love" is the perfect song for cross-country night driving with no objective other than being with the one you love ASAP. Surprisingly, this universally well-known classic did not even make the pop top 10 upon its initial release.
This parody of Bob Dylan's style by Scots Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan locks into an outstanding rhythm for gentle 4-wheel cruising. The song was produced by classic pop songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Who can help but join in with the instantly memorable chorus "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am...stuck in the middle with you?"
"Let's Go," from the Cars second album Candy-O includes one of the most brilliant pauses in the history of pop music. Those few seconds between "She says" and "Let's go" make the entire song work. I must admit I still don't completely understand "She's so beautiful now, she doesn't wear her shoes." As one would expect from their name, the Cars made several great driving songs, but "Let's Go" is the best.
"Layla" by Eric Clapton's alter ego band, Derek and the Dominos, is one of the top rock classics of all time. The extended instrumental fade out is a warm antidote for a long, lonely drive. Duane Allman's slide guitar solo will expose and soothe any brand of emotional disturbance. Lock it in for any lengthy solo drive.
It's a bit of a left-field selection, but this classic is addictive from hearing it the first time. It's all about dialing in a Mexican station from dusty border territory. The next time you're headed along dusty highways from Texas to California, make sure this classic is on your playlist.
8. Beatles - Drive My Car (1966)
"Drive My Car" kicks off the Beatles' Rubber Soul, one of the greatest pop albums of all time. It's easy to enjoy on a drive and sing along to the chorus, but when listened to closely, the lyrics are among the Beatles' most witty. "Beep beep, beep beep, yeah!"
Cars were a key element of a number of the Beach Boys' early classics. "Little Deuce Coupe" is possibly the best. If there was ever a love song written to a car, this is it. Just substitute what you've got for the words "little deuce coupe," and your auto will be purring in loving response.
For many, "I’m running down the road tryin’ to loosen my load, I’ve got seven women on my mind," were the first words they ever heard from the Eagles. The song continues on exploring the joys of cruising around being admired by members of the opposite gender. It was an 8-track classic, now burn it to the nearest CD.
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