The absolute best road trip tunes, according to you

Car Cassette Player

Last week in the Hagerty Forums, we popped open a conversation about your favorite road trip tunes—so let’s talk shop with the results. 

While open hoods start some conversations, open windows and blasting stereos can start others. Whether you’re rocking down the highway or stopped at a red light (may they ever be few), your favorite tunes influence both your driving experience and your persona. 

Nostalgia and cars, two chummy truckers in the cab of an old beater, reigned supreme among the answers. Rock tunes from the ‘70s were crowd favorites, with notable dips into the ‘60s (hello, Beach Boys) and country (anybody down to ride eastward?) was another popular choice.

Tune in or tune out 

Beach Boys Fun Fun Fun Album
Capitol Records

Some of you turned back the pages of time with Bob Seger, reveled in behind-the-wheel freedom with Rush and Red Barchetta, or tuned in to the engine music of the ride itself. Why sing about a ‘65 Mustang when you can drive one?

While you might chat with a passenger on jaunts around town, road trips are the perfect time to break from conversation and experience an entire album, such as Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense

More ‘70s heroes

Natalie Cole Pink Cadillac Album
Columbia Records

While we’re meandering among the many musical heroes of the ‘70s, what about The Doobie Brothers? Maybe the music of the engine is just alright for you. But if you’re yearning to vicariously relive some stock car days, grab some Jim Croce and ride along with Rapid Roy (but don’t mess around with Jim).

Tunes from the Steve Miller Band and Kansas would be right at home among rock-heavy playlists, and fans of Slick Black Cadillac and Springsteen alike might enjoy Natalie Cole’s cover of Pink Cadillac. And for overcast days that don’t quite jive with chipper vibes of East Bound & Down, you could always dive back into some Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Retro-inspired tunes

Car radio
Frank Albrecht

If you’d like to take a cautious detour into contemporary rock/pop, and if you enjoy a dose of synth with your retro rock/pop, check out the low-key title album of The Night Game. For old-style groove with contemporary funk, try The Motet and Like We Own It. And if Cake by the Ocean isn’t your style, there’s just plain Cake (which, if it were a cake, would be red velvet) and its motor-friendly jam Stickshifts and Safetybelts.

May your roads, windows, and throttles be ever open—and for days clogged with traffic, there’s the sympathetic Long Line of Cars, also by Cake, to sustain you.