The Best Driving Anthems of Summer

Posted in April 18th, 2012
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It doesn’t matter how cool you think you are; no one is above rolling down the windows, cranking up the car stereo and singing their favorite summer jams with a group of your similarly un-hip friends. Summer is all about dusting off the cobwebs that formed over your vocal cords during winter and belting out your favorite tunes while you hit the road with your best friends. If you’re planning an epic road trip or desperately need some music to liven up your morning commute, here are the top five driving songs of summer. Enjoy them thoroughly!

5. “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen

No other song in the history of rock n’ roll is more sexy that Bruce Springsteen’s homage to teenage angst, “Born to Run.” Women across the United States swooned at the thought of jumping on the back of a motorcycle behind Bruce Springsteen while he uttered the unforgettable line“just wrap your legs ‘round these velvet rims and strap your hands across my engine.” The song remains a perennial favorite and is finding a whole new audience, thanks to comedian Jimmy Fallon and the Fox hit show, “Glee.”

4. “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car” – Billy Ocean

This song is a little hokey, maybe very hokey, but that is what makes it so great. You probably remember the video for “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car” more than the song itself or even Billy Ocean altogether. The music video featured a well-dressed Ocean cruising down the road in a convertible with a variety of cartoon characters in the passenger’s seat. The video was fairly cutting-edge for the late 1980s and was also featured in the Corey Feldman/Corey Haim comedy “License to Drive.” The best way to experience this song is with the top down, driving on a sultry summer day, receiving looks of bewilderment from gawking pedestrians.

3. “Little Red Corvette” – Prince

Featuring a mixture of smooth beats and the sounds of stellar electronic drum machine that leads into a full-blown rock and roll chorus, 1983’s “Little Red Corvette” is one of the best songs featured on one of the greatest albums of all time, the incomparable Prince’s “1999.” Vehicle metaphors abound in this tune that tells the story of the singer’s one-night stand with a beautiful woman of ill-repute or the title “Little Red Corvette.” She is warned to “slow down” and locate a long-lasting love before she destroys her engine… or some other weird car metaphor. It was the 1980s, after all, and Prince was trying to liken love-making to a car.

2. “Born To Be Wild” – Steppenwolf

The song starts out with a rocking beat before the first immortal lines are uttered. “Get your motor runnin’. Head out on the highway. Looking for adventure, or whatever comes our way.” Canadian band Steppenwolf unknowingly created one of summer’s greatest anthems when they released “Born to be Wild” in the summer of 1968. If this song comes on the car radio and you’re not screaming “heavy metal thunder” at the top of your lungs, you need to have your head examined because your brain’s fun lobe is seriously damaged.


1. “Radar Love” – Golden Earring

What better reason is there to down gallons of coffee and energy drinks during an all-night drive than to be reunited with your significant other? The now famous 1974 “Radar Love” received lukewarm reviews at best when it was first released by Dutch rock band Golden Earring. As the years passed, the song grew on people and is now considered one of the most distinctive driving songs of all time. It’s the song’s classic first line that gives it the coveted first place spot on this and many other lists: “I’ve been driving all night, my hands wet on the wheel.” When it comes to road songs, you don’t get much better than that.

Many other tunes deserve honorable mention, naturally. Among them are Van Halen’s “Panama,” ZZ Top’s “Legs,” Georgia Satellites’’ “Keep Your Hands to Yourself,” Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway” and the memorable Steve Miller Band classic, “The Joker.”

Whichever song you decide to make this summer’s anthem, sing it loud and proud and don’t stop until the first leaves begins to change their color.


This post was written and contributed by Edson Farnell. Edson writes about various automotive topics.