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Top 10 songs to crank while driving

By Craig Clough, Contributing writer
Published On: Nov 17 2011 02:42:59 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 25 2013 09:22:38 AM CST
road trip, traveling in car, driving

iStockPhoto/lisegagne

Rock and roll was invented in America and so was mass production of the automobile.

It only seems natural that the two frequently go together like chocolate and peanut butter -- two great tastes that taste great together.

As long as rockers have been writing songs, they have been singing about their love for fast cars, so much so that the old saying could easily go "sex, drugs, cars and rock and roll."

When Americans take road trips across the country's highways and these songs come on, many are likely to turn the volume up and step down on the gas.

So if you've got a road trip in your future, why not take along these 10 songs to make the miles speed by faster?

Chuck Berry black and white

No. 10: "No Particular Place to Go" by Chuck Berry

Perhaps no song better sums up the feeling of taking a long Sunday drive for no good reason than "No Particular Place to Go."

Berry's classic song dates back to 1964 and reached No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. But things don't turn out perfectly for the singer, whose date is foiled by a malfunctioning safety belt.

Best lyrics:

Ridin' along in my automobile
My baby beside me at the wheel
I stole a kiss at the turn of a mile
My curiosity runnin' wild

Highway Star Deep Purple album cover

No. 9: "Highway Star" by Deep Purple

"Highway Star" is one of Deep Purple's best known songs and appeared on its 1972 album "Machine Head." It is a fast-paced song with ripping guitar chords that is basically a high octane love song about the singer's unspecified car.

Former Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover told Guitar Magazine in a 2003 interview that the song was actually written on a tour bus in 1971 when a reporter asked the band how they wrote songs. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore grabbed an acoustic guitar while singer Ian Gillan improvised lyrics.

The song was refined and was performed that same night. Now, that's rock and roll.

Best lyrics:

Oooh its a killing machine
It's got everything!


The Beatles

No. 8: "Drive My Car" by The Beatles

"Drive My Car" was the opening track to the Beatles 1965 album "Rubber Soul," which was ranked as the fifth best album of all time by Rolling Stone in 2003.

The song is one of the Beatles more lighthearted songs and it's hard not to get a smile on your face if it comes on the radio while you are out cruising around.

Just try to avoid shouting along with the "Beep beep'm beep beep yeah" parts. We dare you.

Best lyrics:

I told that girl I can start right away
When she said listen babe I got something to say
I got no car and it's breaking my heart
But I've found a driver and that's a start


Low Rider by War album cover

No. 7: "Low Rider" by WAR

"Low Rider" is a 1975 song that chronicles the practice in auto culture of installing hydraulics to a muscle car's suspension system, making it a "low rider."

The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was also featured on the soundtrack to the 1995 film "Dazed and Confused," a movie about a bunch of teenagers that like to drive around and go cruising in the 1970s.

Listen to it a few times, and you will wish you were right there with them.

Best lyrics:

All my friends know the low rider
The low rider is a little higher
Low rider drives a little slower
Low rider is a real goer


Bruce Springsteen younger

No. 6: "Pink Cadillac" by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen used auto imagery in many of his songs, but probably never more famously than in this top 10 hit from 1984.

The Boss has said that he was inspired to become a musician after seeing Elvis Presley on television when he was 7 years old. While the owner of the pink Cadillac in the song is a woman, it's difficult to imagine that it wasn't at least partially inspired by Elvis Presley's famous pink Cadillac, which is still preserved at Graceland.

As you listen to the song's soulful saxophone whine, we bet you won't be able to think of anything but the open road.

Best lyrics:

But my love is bigger than a Honda
It's bigger than a Subaru
Hey man there's only one thing
And one car that will do


Charlie Ryan Hot Rod album cover

No. 5: "Hot Rod Lincoln" by Charlie Ryan

"Hot Rod Lincoln" has been recorded by several artists, but was originally written by Charlie Ryan and released in 1955. The song is about a race between a Lincoln and a Cadillac and is considered a classic among hot rod and drag racing culture.

Ryan, who owned a real hot rod that was built from a 1948 12-cylinder Lincoln chassis shortened two feet and with a 1930 Ford Model A body, actually recorded the song twice. His 1959 version, recorded as Charlie Ryan and The Timberline Riders, is probably the better known of the two.

The song also found fame in versions recorded by Johnny Bond in 1960 and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in 1975, which climbed to No. 9 on the Billboard charts.

Best lyrics:

My pappy said, "Son, you're gonna' drive me to drinkin'
If you don't stop drivin' that Hot Rod Lincoln


Dr. Dre

No. 4: "Let Me Ride" by Dr. Dre

Just like their rocker counterparts, rappers have an affinity for automobiles.

On his landmark 1992 album "The Chronic," considered one of the most influential in the history of rap and hip hop, Dr. Dre documented rap culture's love of the low rider on "Let Me Ride." It also didn't hurt that the chorus features a sweet funkadelic sample from George Clinton and Parliament.

The video featured Dr. Dre cruising around L.A in his "six fo'," -- a 1964 Chevy -- and making the front end of his car jump up a down with hydraulics by "hittin' the switches."

Best lyrics:

Back in the days, when I used to have to get my stroll on
Did nobody wanna speak
Now everybody
Peeping out they window when they hear me beatin' up the street
Is it Dre?
Is it Dre?
That's what they say
Every single day in L.A


Golden Earring Radar Love album cover
No. 3: "Radar Love" by Golden Earring

In 2005, the BBC car show "Top Gear" named "Radar Love" the second greatest driving song of all time. But it and "Highway Star" were the only songs on the top five list that were actually about driving.

It's easy to guess that many speeding tickets have been received by drivers over the years because of this song. Everything about it makes you want to drive fast, from its opening lines -- "I've been driving all night, my hand's wet on the wheel" -- to its rising tempo, methodic bass lines and easy-to-sing-along-with chorus.

Best lyrics:

The radio's playing some forgotten song
Brenda Lee's "Coming on Strong"
The road's got me hypnotized
And I'm speeding into a new sunrise

Beach Boys I Get Around record

No. 2: "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys

The Beach Boys sang about cars almost as often as they did about surfing and beach life.

Classics like "409," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Shut Down" and "Little Deuce Coupe" are all about cars. Aside from their music, the Beach Boys' iconic image of easy-going, free-wheeling surfers helped cement the group as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time.

"I Get Around" is perhaps their best song about cars because it captures that image perfectly. While not about a specific ride like in some of their other songs, "I Get Around" is more about the cruising lifestyle they helped popularize and captures their laid back California mentality.

Best lyrics:

We always take my car 'cause its never been beat
And we've never missed yet with the girls we meet
None of the guys go steady cause it wouldn't be right
To leave their best girl home now on Saturday night


Prince Little Red Corvette album cover

No. 1: "Little Red Corvette" by Prince

If you listen closely, "Little Red Corvette" is actually not about a car at all, but about a woman and a one-night stand. The Purple One wasn't the first to use a car as a metaphor for a woman in a song, but he did it better than anyone before or since.

"Little Red Corvette" is one of Prince's best known songs and helped launch him to superstar status in 1983. It was his first song to reach the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the accompanying music video was one of the first on MTV to feature an African-American artist.

The lyrics are Prince at his sexually-suggestive best, and hardly a line passes without the use of a double entendre or layered metaphor. Some have interpreted the lyrics, including the title, of being so dirty that if Tipper Gore had listened closely she would have been much more horrified at "Little Red Corvette" than she was when she heard "Darling Nikki" and launched her crusade to censor song lyrics.

Best lyrics:

Believe it or not
I started to worry
I wondered if I had enough class
But it was Saturday night
I guess that makes it all right
And you say, baby, have you got enough gas?
Oh yeah

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