Turn it up! Sweet Home Alabama tops the list of most-played road trip songs, according to a study of Spotify playlists released by Confused.com.
The study researched hundreds of playlists in 15 countries for favorite road trip songs. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd appeared on eight of the top 10 tracks. The song, released in 1974, was the band’s highest-charting single at No. 8 on the Billboard Top 100.
Hotel California by the Eagles is the No. 2 road trip song in the U.S., according to the survey. The song was released in 1977 and peaked at No. 1.
Rounding out the top three is Don McLean’s 1971 hit American Pie. It sat on the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top 100 for four weeks in early 1972.
The rest of the Top 10 road trip songs in the U.S. according to Confused.com are:
- Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen
- Take It Easy, 2013 Remastered by the Eagles
- Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts
- Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
- Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver
- Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf
Singing and distracted driving
Seems like every distracted study that comes out sounds like your dad teaching you to drive. “Both hands on the wheel at 10 and 2” (It’s actually now on opposite sides because of air bags, but we digress). “Eyes on the road.” “Turn the radio off.”
Turns out that last piece of advice might not be quite so accurate.
According to a 2021 study, Analysis of Naturalistic Driving Data to Assess Distraction and Drowsiness in Drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles, by the U.S. Department of Transportation singing and talking actually reduce the risk of distracted driving.
“Some tasks were found to increase safety risks while others reduced it. In general, safety-improving tasks involved mental or physical activity (e.g., speaking on a hands-free device or to a passenger, singing along to music) but did not encumber a driver’s hands or take their eyes off the roadway,” a brief on the study states.
Turns out one of those physical activity categories that was found to reduce distracted driving was “simulated ‘dancing’ while in the driver’s seat.”
While that all makes some sense, we’re going to bet that that scene from Wayne’s World probably wasn’t what the researchers were talking about.
Thinking of road trip music, I would be remiss if I didn’t share my all-time favorite road trip song, On the Road Again.
Nothing beats hitting the open road where you can escape the stress of work, bills, city life, and just be free, man. Just ask tireless road dog Willie Nelson. The Red Headed Stranger penned this 1980 country hit—the ultimate get-the-hell-out-of-town anthem—where else, but the back of his tour bus.
The most popular road trip playlists around the world
Looking for the perfect road trip playlist? This report has analysed hundreds of playlists on Spotify to reveal the ultimate road trip tracks worldwide.
The world’s most popular road trip songs
After analysing 999 of Spotify’s top road trip playlists from around the world, the study found that 27 tracks are featured the most. They include some of the biggest artists of all time such as Fleetwood Mac through to modern-day hits from artists such as Harry Styles.
The most popular road trip song around the world is Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd, appearing on 121 of the playlists analysed. Released in 1974, this track was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s highest-charting single (reaching 8th position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974).
Despite being one of the most recognised tracks out there, Sweet Home Alabama never reached number 1 in the charts. Out of the 15 countries analysed, Sweet Home Alabama featured on 8 of the top 10 tracklists proving the song is a hit with drivers worldwide.
Popular prom and wedding song, Mr Brightside by The Killers comes in second featuring in 114 playlists. Mr Brightside was one of the first full songs The Killers ever wrote. Initially released in 2003, it became most popular when re-released in 2004, peaking at number 10 in both the US and the UK.
The only other song appearing in over 100 global road trip playlists is Riptide by Vance Joy which comes in third place. This coming-of-age love story was released in 2013 and peaked at number 10 in the UK. In 2015 it was the second longest charting single on the US Billboard Hot 100, appearing for 43 weeks.
The most popular songs for road trips in the United States
The United States sees the largest search volume for road trips on Google and also the biggest number of U. S.-related road trip playlists. In total, there are 1,481 of these playlists on Spotify.
The top tracks feature classic American hits from the likes of the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, and John Denver. Sweet Home Alabama ranks as the U. S.’s favourite road trip track with Hotel California and American Pie filling the second and third place spots respectively.
The most popular songs for road trips in Canada
Canada sticks to some of the most famous road trip songs, heavily influenced by American classics. Sweet Home Alabama ranks first, with Life is a Highway and Free Fallin’ following in second and third place respectively.
The rest of the Top 10 road trip songs in Canada are:
- Mr Brightside by The Killers
- I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers
- Hotel California – 2013 Remaster by the Eagles
- American Pie by Don McLean
- Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts
- Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams
- Don’t Stop Believin‘ by Journey
You’ve heard the old Willie Nelson country music song with the lyrics, “On the road again. Just can’t wait to get on the road again…” We’ll be singing this song for sure.