Top 10 Ultimate Road Trip Anthems

Script written by Sean Newman Heading on a road trip? Want a music playlist that will keep you entertained on your way to your destination? We’ve got you covered! Press play on our spotify playlist to hear music like Tiny dancer by Elton John, Danger zone by Kenny Loggins, Perm by Bruno Mars, Hey Ya by OutKast, Take it Easy by The Eagles, A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton, and I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers.

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Top 10 Road Trip Anthems

The open road has a special sort of magic that brings out our innermost joy and happiness, and an adequate soundtrack is all but required for these fun-filled journeys. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Road Trip Anthems.
For this list, we’ll be looking at songs that perfectly accentuate our feelings of excitement and elation when embarking upon the open road.

#10: “A Thousand Miles” (2001)
Vanessa Carlton

They say it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey to get there. Vanessa Carlton’s classic hit perfectly embodies this sentiment. From the minute the instantly recognizable piano melody comes on, there’s an unspoken understanding that no one changes the song for the next four and a half minutes. The tune is calming yet powerful, and emotions tend to swell to the point where it’s hard not to scream along, as Vanessa proclaims how far she would walk to see her lover. It’s carefree and sensational, and goes perfectly with a straight stretch of country road that goes on for mile after mile.

#9: “Take it Easy” (1972)
The Eagles

What better use is there for a road trip than to remind us to leave our troubles behind and live in the moment. Relationship troubles, work, and financial woes are not welcome on the open road, as you should all just be taking it easy. The acoustic guitar and banjo remind us that technology and the big city have been left behind in the rearview mirror. Therein lies the essence of this song, at least in our interpretation; bestowing the feeling of carefree enjoyment upon its listeners, with a chorus that’s easy to sing along with.

#8: “Hey Ya” (2003)

What’s cooler than being cool? Look no further, because Outkast has the answer. It’s difficult not to tap your feet along with this tune, although we recommend the driver sticks to head bobbing. Technically speaking, Hey Ya has no reference to travel or the open road, but it’s the sensations that are derived from a song that give it meaning, and this one has Fun Times written all over it. For maximum enjoyment, we recommend turning the radio up to 11, rolling down the windows, and shaking it like a Polaroid picture!

#7: “Perm” (2016)
Bruno Mars

Forget the inner peace of the open road, lets break it down in a way that only Bruno Mars can. Put on your shades and get ready to dance once this one is queued up. Perm may have been released in 2016, but it’s got a James Brown feel that brings us back to the era of Funk. Whichever passenger knows the words best can belt out the verse, and the choir of fellow passengers is then invited to soulfully sing back to them. Any steam that’s built up over a cramped, 10-hour car ride can be let loose in a jiffy with this party hit.

#6: “Danger Zone” (1986)
Kenny Loggins
“Top Gun” is perhaps best remembered for two things: hunky beach volleyball and the Danger Zone. Which one warrants more attention? It’s hard to say. But only one can be recreated within the confines of a 4-door sedan, so there’s no reason not to strap in and take a ride into the danger zone. In all seriousness, this song could make a trip to the supermarket feel thrilling, so it’s certain to highlight the adventure of the upcoming Spring Break like no other song out there. With a chorus that’s easy to memorize and fun to sing along with, this dance-rock hit will make you feel straight dangerous.

#5: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” (1988)
The Proclaimers

Back to basics, this is another largely acoustic song that is practically mandatory in any road trip playlist. The list of reasons why this is the perfect anthem goes on and on. In particular, the chorus is incredibly fun to sing along with, and seamlessly fits with the open road. The Proclaimers patently Scottish accent invites hilarious attempts to imitate as well, with varying degrees of success. Finally, comes a series of onomatopoeia that is nearly impossible not to enjoy when it comes on half way through the song. This is a tune we’ll happily proclaim again and again.

#4: “Wannabe” (1996)
Spice Girls

A wild road trip with the girls would not be complete without a little “zig-a-zig-AH”. “Wannabe” may not deliver an in-depth and nuanced message, but it embodies the sensation of female friendship like no other, and is so fun to sing along with at the same time. Another tune that works best when amateur pop star passengers sing back and forth with each other, you don’t even have to memorize the words to get it right. Just throw in a “what I really really want” every couple of seconds, and you’ve got a classic road trip anthem.

#3: “Tiny Dancer” (1972)
Elton John

Sir Elton John is a musician and composer with a legacy like few others, and this may be his most iconic song ever. Funny enough, Tiny Dancer only made it to #41 on the U.S. pop chart upon its initial release. Perhaps this sleeper hit was more adequately intended for travelers on the open road in the 21st century, because it’s just too perfect for this setting. Beginning with  sweet, nostalgic piano, this classic ballad was originally written to capture the spirit of 1970’s California. With Tiny Dancer, it’s clear Elton John knows how to make music that is undeniably good for the soul.

#2: “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975)

An anthem is defined as a rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause. A good road trip anthem embodies the wanderlust lifestyle, and by that logic, Bohemian Rhapsody is an outstanding road trip anthem. This power ballad regales the tale of someone destined for the gallows after killing a man. He regretfully communicates with his beloved mother one last time. Half way through, we take a hard right turn into the delightfully bizarre realm of rock opera. Before you know it, every person in the car is trying out their best falsetto and throwing in an air guitar or two for good measure

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
“Take on Me” (1985)
Born to be Wild (1968)

“Life Is A Highway” (1991)

Tom Cochrane


#1: “Livin’ On a Prayer” (1986)
Bon Jovi

Step one: enigmatic synth and bass to set the tone. Step two: turn it up a notch with the drums, electric guitar, and wah pedal. Step three rock out to a whole new level as Bon Jovi lays it all on the line. All of a sudden, it doesn’t seem so bad that there’s six hours left of travel. Every song on our list is fun to join in, but it’s practically a requirement with this song. Whether you’ve been staring at the road for 3 hours or happily slumbering, be prepared to perform the minute this rock n’ roll romp comes on.
Do you agree with our list? Which anthem is at the top of your road trip playlist? For more rockin’ Top 10s, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.


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