Songs about cars make a great soundtrack to your summer road trip — Photo courtesy of iStock/monkeybusinessimages
The harshness of winter is in the rear-view mirror and the kids are out of school. Now it's time to put the top down and turn the stereo up, as you hit the streets for a summer road trip.
For 10Best's first road trip playlist, we've chosen 10 of our favorite songs about the four-wheeled contraptions that get you where you're going: cars.
"Cars" - Gary Numan
What better way to kick off a playlist about cars than...well, "Cars"? Speaking about his seminal New Wave hit, artist Gary Numan once described cars as "your own little personal empire with four wheels on it," and we have to agree with his lyrics that it's the only way to live.
Okay, maybe that's taking things a bit too far, but at least for our money, road trips wouldn't be the same without cars.
" '92 Subaru" - Fountains of Wayne
Fountains of Wayne's fourth album, Traffic and Weather, is heavy on songs about travel, including "I-95", "Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim", "Seatbacks and Traytables", and the wanderlust anthem "New Routine." When winnowing down our list of favorites for this playlist, we couldn't resist the band's ode to souped-up rides.
"You better make way 'cause I'm coming through / In my late '92 baby blue Subaru..."
"G.T.O." - Ronny & The Daytonas
Pontiac first rolled out the G.T.O. in 1964, the same year that Ronny & The Daytonas wrote this song celebrating the model. Little did they know, the G.T.O. would soon become iconic, earning its status as one of the most memorable American muscle cars of all time.
"Brand New Cadillac" - The Clash
Originally released as a B-side by Vince Taylor in 1959, The Clash covered "Brand New Cadillac" 20 years later for London Calling. It's the ideal rockabilly-infused tune to get your toes tapping as you hit the road. Just don't tap the accelerator too hard.
"Little Red Corvette" - Prince
"Little red Corvette / Baby, you're much too fast / Little red Corvette / You need a love that's gonna last..."
So, "Little Red Corvette" isn't exactly about a car; we all know what it's really about. But its excellent use of metaphor and its anthemic chorus – that you can't help but sing at the top of your lungs – earns it a well-deserved spot on this playlist.
"Get In The Car" - Moxy Früvous
It was a mighty battle between this and The Beatles' "Drive My Car", but we think we made the right call for our road trip playlist. "Get in the Car" captures the joy and excitement of stepping behind the wheel, and that's something we can really relate to. (The line about the Billy Ocean 8-track, though, maybe not so much.)
"No Particular Place To Go" - Chuck Berry
If you've ever really listened to the lyrics of "No Particular Place to Go", then you know that Chuck Berry is singing about a fussy seatbelt that gets in the way of some late night romance. We can't say we've ever experienced anything quite like that when riding along in our automobiles, but "cruisin' and playin' the radio / with no particular place to go" sometimes makes for the most memorable moments of a road trip.
"Hot Rod Lincoln" - Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
Covered by Commander Cody, the original version of "Hot Rod Lincoln" should be credited to Charlie Ryan, who based the song on his very own hot rod – and racing experiences.
The song is an answer to Arkie Shibley's "Hot Rod Race" from 1951, in which a Ford and a Mercury are evenly matched, but are outdone by a third car described as a "hopped-up Model A" – the Hot. Rod. Lincoln.
"Fun, Fun, Fun" - The Beach Boys
Another hot-rodding hit from 1964, "Fun, Fun, Fun" is an ode to freedom in a fast car. The surf rock tune has a contagious, bouncy beat that just might get you carried away behind the wheel, so be cautious. As we all know, too much fun, fun, fun might get your T-bird taken away.
"Car Song" - Elastica
"Let me count to ten / 'Cause it's gone way too far."
Frontwoman Justine Frischmann wasn't singing about this playlist but is still onto something; we have counted to ten. While we can't shake the sneaking suspicion that cars might be a metaphor for something else, "Car Song" still seemed like the perfect way to close out 10Best's first road trip playlist.
Whether you have a specific destination in mind or are driving around with no particular place to go, we hope you've enjoyed this selection of car songs, and the next one isn't too far away! We'd love to hear what you think in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter.