Road Trip Playlist Starter Kit

No road trip is complete without the perfect playlist. You’re gonna need a LOT of songs for a cross country adventure, but as much as we’d like to, the boss won’t let us put 1,000 tunes in here. Instead, we assembled some classic road trip songs by decade. These 6 songs can be the foundation of anyone’s ultimate road trip playlist.

The 1970s: Life in the Fast Lane – Eagles (1977)

Before the vocals even begin, your foot gets a little heavy on the accelerator. “Life in the Fast Lane”is sure to appeal to your need for speed (PSA: we at OneRequest highly encourage being responsible and adhering to traffic laws. End of PSA). The iconic guitar riff at the beginning inspired the creation of the song. Joe Walsh played the riff as a practice warm-up before a rehearsal and the band loved it so much, they turned it into a song! The song itself carries a heavy message about the dangers of an irresponsible lifestyle, but “Life in the Fast Lane”has become a classic addition to driver’s road trip playlists, including ours!

The 1980s: I Can’t Drive 55 – Sammy Hagar (1984)

Some of us fogies remember when speed limits across the country maxed out at 55 MPH. Sammy Hagar was driving in New York state at 2am when he was pulled over and ticketed for going 62 in a 55 zone. According to Sammy, he was the only driver on the road (besides the officer) and the officer told him “We give tickets around here for over 60.” Sammy’s response, “I can’t drive 55,” inspired the 80s hit. He wrote the song there on the spot and the rest is history! Surprisingly, it wasn’t Hagar’s biggest hit, but the song has stood the test of time as a classic road trip tune.

The 1990s: Everyday is a Winding Road – Sheryl Crow (1996)

Sheryl Crow’s “Everyday is a Winding Road”is an ode to the open road and all its possibilities. Crowded House’s former drummer, Paul Hester, was the inspiration for the song. While Crow was on tour as their opening act, she witnessed Hester’s exit from the band. Hester (allegedly) told Neil Finn, lead singer of Crowded House who also sang backup vocals on the track, “Every day is a winding road… it’s time for me to veer off.” Crow wrote the song initially as a road song, but later said that its meaning grew to represent being in the moment. No matter how you interpret the song, Crow’s 90s hit is a great addition to our OneRequest road trip playlist.

The 2000s: A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton (2002)

If you’re on a trip to visit a loved one, Vanessa Carlton may be your muse with her 2000s hit, “A Thousand Miles.” The song illustrates Carlton’s unrequited love for a classmate while studying at Julliard in the 90s. Carlton’s love transcends distance; she has no problem traveling a thousand miles to get to him. The song became Carlton’s trademark song and made the top ten in several countries including the US, UK, Ireland, Poland, and France and was nominated in the “Song of the Year” category at the 2003 Grammy Awards.

The 2010s: Maps – Maroon 5 (2014)

When you think of 2010s pop music, there’s no doubt that at least one Maroon 5 song comes to mind. “Maps” was Maroon 5’s sixth straight top-ten hit and the lead single on Maroon 5’s fifth studio album, V. The song focuses on lead singer Adam Levine’s hope for a relationship despite the girl leaving him during a hard time. Though the song’s lyrics may be heavy, there’s no doubt the song is a catchy tune for any road trip.

The 2020s: drivers license – Olivia Rodrigo (2021)

Olivia Rodrigo struck gold with her 2021 hit “drivers license.” The song broke the Spotify record for the most streams of a song in a single week with 65 million streams in the week ending January 14, 2021. It is also part of Spotify’s “Billion Club” with over a billion streams on Spotify. Funny enough, Rodrigo struggled to get her driver’s license, but nonetheless she was successful on the charts and (eventually) at the DMV. Rodrigo’s breakout hit is a perfect addition to our OneRequest Road Trip playlist.


Click on this link to access our playlist starter kit on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3KDWPTFZqmdUJflerycq1p?si=12f0de03f6c34645. Let us know your favorite road trip tunes, old or new, in the comments! And, as always, don’t forget to use OneRequest to find your new ride for your next road trip!

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