Who fancies a road trip this summer?
Whether you’re heading for a one-day drive around the Great British countryside or you’re heading to your staycation destination, every road trip needs a playlist.
But what are the best and most popular road trip songs?
Cath Kidston’s independent data collection partner has analysed all playlists on Spotify with ‘road trip’ in the title to create the ultimate road trip playlist. We have 100 songs in total and we’ll detail the top 10 here.
#1 – Mr Brightside by The Killers
The ultimate feel-good, sing-your-heart-out song, it’s easy to see why ‘Mr Brightside’ has topped the road trip playlist chart, appearing in 134 playlists. It’s the perfect combination of teen angst and adult singalong with an added dose of nostalgia for good measure.
#2 – Riptide by Vance Joy
In contrast to Mr Brightside’s angsty rock vibe, the tinkly mellow guitar strings in ‘Riptide’ are oh-so-summery. There are mixed interpretations of this song – some believe it’s a love song, some think it’s directed at a lover who is drifting away from the singer, and some read it as a break-up song. Whichever it is, the melody is uplifting and summery, making it a great road trip song that appears on 107 playlists.
#3 – Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
If there’s a song that epitomises the classic American road trip, it’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. The classic guitar intro is instantly recognisable and it’s another song that gets an outing every summer. It’s been sampled by Kid Rock since, highlighting the enduring popularity of this tune. But you can’t beat the original, which features on a total of 96 playlists.
#4 – Stacy’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne
Continuing the theme of nostalgic indie rock is the classic, ‘Stacy’s Mom’ by Fountains of Wayne, in at number four with 93 playlist inclusions. This already-entertaining tune has recently been parodied on TikTok, with the title becoming Stacy’s Dad. It’s another song we all know the words to and can sing along to at the top of our lungs.
#5 – Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
Coming in at number five and appearing on 92 playlists is the huge Journey anthem, ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’. Who hasn’t heard the intro and immediately jumped to their air guitar to play and sing along? The upbeat song is beloved by people of all ages and experienced a renaissance with younger generations when it was covered on Glee and sang by X-Factor winner Joe McElderry on the show, introducing a new generation of listeners to Journey.
#6 – Hey, Soul Sister by Train
As infectious as it is joyful, Train’s ‘Hey, Soul Sister’ comes in at number six. We can imagine driving through the rolling hills of the Lake District or the glorious Norfolk coast, car top down, with this blasting. If the trip is beginning to fatigue you a bit, this tune will certainly perk you back up and have you singing along carefreely. No wonder it features on 86 road trip playlists.
#7 – Africa by TOTO
As far as classics go, it doesn’t get much better than TOTO’s ‘Africa’ – featuring on 81 road trip playlists. You’ll be prepared to bust a lung singing along to the irresistible chorus, arms in the air (if you’re a passenger, of course). In fact, we love this one so much that we might need to put it on repeat. Now, after us: “I bless the rains down in Africaaaaaaaa…”
#8 – All Star – Smash Mouth
In at number eight, with inclusion on 77 playlists, we have a real head-bopper. Many of us were introduced to this catchy tune through 2001’s cinematic masterpiece, Shrek. That’s why it holds so much childhood nostalgia for us. Long-term fans of the band will have heard this song long before the movie as it placed in the charts when released, and it’s stood the test of time as a classic for old and new listeners.
#9 – Shotgun by George Ezra
‘Shotgun’ was one of the biggest songs of 2018, hitting number one in the charts and staying there for four weeks – but in the charts for a huge 128 weeks in total. It’s easy to see why it’s featured in 74 road trip playlists – Ezra’s lyrics describe riding shotgun on a road trip “underneath the hot sun.” You can pretend this song is describing your trip as you play it.
#10 – Hotel California – 2013 Remaster by Eagles
The final song in the top 10 most featured road trip playlist tunes is another that could easily describe your road trip – ‘Hotel California’. The song begins with “on a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair” – and while we don’t quite have desert highways in the UK, we can certainly pretend we do as we roll past beaches and other landmarks on a hot summer day. This classic features on 72 playlists.
So there you have it – the 10 most popular road trip playlist songs. So pack your travel bags, throw your day-out backpacks into your car, and crank up the volume.