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25 of the Greatest Songs About Cars

From blues to country and rap to rock, we love songs about cars. These are some of our favorites.

Rockin’ and Rollin’

For us, the automotive experience isn’t truly complete without our favorite tune blasting on the stereo; preferably with the top down, woofer humming, and old folks on the sidewalk shaking their fists for us to turn it down. This list compiles twenty-five of the greatest songs about cars from across the decades and across genres. Is it comprehensive, definitive, and inarguable? Absolutely. No doubt whatsoever. (Also, make sure to let us know in the comments what should’ve made the list instead of Macklemore.)

“Fun, Fun, Fun” – The Beach Boys 

1965 Ford Thunderbird - netcarshow.com
1965 Ford Thunderbird - netcarshow.com

The Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun” is the classic tale of a teenage joyride, in this case a Ford Thunderbird. But, as the Boys warn, it’s all “fun, fun, fun, til daddy takes the T-bird away.”

“White Walls” – Macklemore

Cadillac in "White Walls" - Macklemore LLC on youtube.com
Cadillac in "White Walls" - Macklemore LLC on youtube.com

Rappers love Cadillacs. Macklamore loves his Cadillac. “White Walls” helps explain this obsession over classic American luxury with lyrics like “Old school like that Old English in that brown paper bag/I’m rolling in the same whip my gran dad had.”

“Cars” – Gary Numan

Gary Numan "Cars" Video - The Arkive on youtube.com
Gary Numan "Cars" Video - The Arkive on youtube.com

Ah, ‘80s new wave doesn’t get much better than the synth and driving drum machine of Gary Numan’s “Cars”. The music video features weird lighting, Gary in makeup and a red jump suit, and absolutely no actual cars … anywhere.

“Little Red Corvette” – Prince

Red Chevrolet Corvette - media.chevrolet.com
Red Chevrolet Corvette - media.chevrolet.com

Prince turns the typical anthropomorphizing of cars on its head by referring to the woman in the song as a “Little Red Corvette” who’s “much too fast” for her own good.

“Stick Shifts and Safety Belts” – Cake

1965 Chevy Malibu bench seat - carsforsale.com
1965 Chevy Malibu bench seat - carsforsale.com

Most will look to Cake’s “The Distance” as the band’s preferred driving related song. Good as “The Distance” is, we prefer the country-fied B-side tune “Stick Shifts and Safety Belts” which extols the virtues of the traditional bench seat. Lyrics include: “Stick shifts and safety belts/bucket seats have all got to go/when we’re driving in the car/it makes my baby seem so far.” Certainly not safe, but romantic, nonetheless.

“Mustang Sally” – Wilson Pickett

1965 Ford Mustang - media.ford.com
1965 Ford Mustang - media.ford.com

This classic was originally written by Mack Rice, but its best rendition was recorded by Wilson Pickett and the Wrecking Crew at Muscle Shoals.

“Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood

"Before He Cheats" Video - Carrie Underwood on youtube.com
"Before He Cheats" Video - Carrie Underwood on youtube.com

“Before He Cheats” stands as a warning to all those two-timing men out there that heck hath no fury like a woman scorned. And specifically, a reminder that, at minimum, you’re hazarding your favorite ride to the wrath of your jilted lover.

“Mercedes-Benz” – Janis Joplin

Mercedes-Benz 280 SL - media.mbusa.com
Mercedes-Benz 280 SL - media.mbusa.com

In this song, Janis Joplin asks for divine intervention in acquiring a proper Mercedes-Benz to compete with her friends’ Porsches. The a cappella performance perfectly highlights Joplin’s staggering talent.

“Low Rider” – War

Low riders in "Low Rider" - War on youtube.com
Low riders in "Low Rider" - War on youtube.com

War’s “Low Rider” is a love letter to the LA car scene of the early 70s and became synonymous with the custom car itself. Read more on low riders here and here.

“No Particular Place to Go” – Chuck Berry

Car parked at an overlook
Car parked at an overlook

Chuck Berry had already had an automotive related hit with “Maybellene,” but his best car song is “No Particular Place to Go” in which the singer gives a roaming ride to his girl. The romance is frustratingly cut short when he can’t get his girl’s seatbelt undone.

“Jerry Was a Racecar Driver” – Primus

1972 Oldsmobile 442 - carsforsale.com
1972 Oldsmobile 442 - carsforsale.com

In “Jerry Was a Racecar Driver,” the Bay Area’s weirdest prog rockers spin the cautionary tale of Jerry the racecar driver, who drunkenly wraps his 442 (Oldsmobile 442 that is) around a telephone pole. Always have a designated driver, kids. Check out more on the 442 here.

“I Can’t Drive 55” – Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar's Ferrari BB 512i - Sammy Hagar on youtube.com
Sammy Hagar's Ferrari BB 512i - Sammy Hagar on youtube.com

Love or hate his stint in Van Halen, Sammy’s greatest contribution to rock ‘n roll was his hit, “I Can’t Drive 55.” For anyone who lived through a time when highway speeds were an excruciatingly slow 55 mph, I’m sure you can relate. The video (an ‘80s classic) features Sammy’s own Ferrari BB 512i. If that was our car, we’d have a hard time slowing down too.

“Shut Up and Drive” – Rhianna

Ferrari F430 in "Shut Up and Drive" - Rihanna on youtube.com
Ferrari F430 in "Shut Up and Drive" - Rihanna on youtube.com

The video for Rhianna’s “Shut Up and Drive” features the singer rolling up to an all-female chop shop in a Ferrari F430. The song is chock full of automotive metaphors with the central one being an entreaty for her man to make his move, or rather “Shut Up and Drive.”

“Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman in "Fast Car" - Tracy Chapman on youtube.com
Tracy Chapman in "Fast Car" - Tracy Chapman on youtube.com

“Fast Car” is a song of escape rather than escapism, opening with the lyric: “You gotta a fast car/I wanna take it anywhere.” Chapman’s biggest hit offers that quintessentially American hope that a better life lies down the road and just over the horizon.

“Eastbound and Down” – Jerry Reed

Smokey and the Bandit scene - imdb.com
Smokey and the Bandit scene - imdb.com

The theme to Smoky and the Bandit, Jerry Reed’s “Eastbound and Down” has a driving rhythm elevated by an equally energetic banjo for a song almost as roguishly charming as Burt Reynolds himself.

“Terraplane Blues” – Robert Johnson

1936 Hudson Terraplane - carsforsale.com
1936 Hudson Terraplane - carsforsale.com

As the father of the blues, Robert Johnson also began the perennial tradition of romantic/automotive metaphors in American song with “Terraplane Blues”.

“Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac)” – Outkast

"Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac)" - Outkast on youtube.com
"Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac)" - Outkast on youtube.com

Off Outkast’s sophomore album, ATLiens, “Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac)” threw down the rap gauntlet and proclaimed that the hottest thing in rap wasn’t happening in LA or New York.

“Rocket 88” – Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats (Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm)

1950 Oldsmobile 88 Rocket - carsforsale.com
1950 Oldsmobile 88 Rocket - carsforsale.com

Recorded under a pseudonym in 1951, “Rocket 88” is considered by some as the first straight rock n’ roll recording. Ike sings about the V8 and convertible top of his Rocket 88, references the Oldsmobile 88, then a hot new car seeing major success on the NASCAR circuit.

“On the Road Again” – Willie Nelson

One of Willie Nelson's tour buses - rollingstone.com
One of Willie Nelson's tour buses - rollingstone.com

Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” is an ode to the peripatetic life of a traveling musician. And it wasn’t just a song, Nelson famously toured for decades in his custom outfitted tour bus.

“It Was a Good Day” – Ice Cube

'64 Impala - Ice Cube / Cubevision on youtube.com
'64 Impala - Ice Cube / Cubevision on youtube.com

West coast rap has a deep affinity for lowriders and the ’64 Impala in particular. Naturally, the car gets a shout out in Ice Cube’s laid back “It Was A Good Day.” The video features a beautiful green Impala convertible with rims and hydraulics. Lyric: “Had to stop at a red light/lookin’ in my mirror/not a jacker in sight/and everything is alright.” A good day indeed.

“I’ve Been Everywhere” – Johnny Cash

Young hitchhiker
Young hitchhiker

The itinerary alone is impressive but combined with Cash’s rapid-fire delivery, “I’ve Been Everywhere” becomes a classic road song, hitchhiking across the wide-open spaces of the America.

“Hot Rod Lincoln” – Charlie Ryan and the Livingston Brothers

Original Hot Rod Lincoln - Hagerty on facebook.com
Original Hot Rod Lincoln - Hagerty on facebook.com

This tune has been covered again and again, but the best version might be the first, a rockabilly tune by Charlie Ryan that tells the tale of a street race between a Cadillac and a hotrod Lincoln. Naturally, the singer gets pulled over and arrested. He calls and asks his dad for bail, leading the concluding lyric: “Son, you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’/if you don’t get rid of that hotrod Lincoln.”

“Ride Wit Me” – Nelly

Trans Am in "Ride Wit Me" - Nelly on youtube.com
Trans Am in "Ride Wit Me" - Nelly on youtube.com

Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” is a catchy hip-hop classic that puts automotive courtship to a danceable beat. In the music video, Nelly can be seen rolling in a t-top Pontiac Trans Am Firebird, complete with leopard-print seat covers. How’s that for inviting, ladies? For more on the Firebird, click here.

“Drive My Car” – The Beatles

Personal driver opening the door
Personal driver opening the door

From The Beatle’s 1965 Rubber Soul, “Drive My Car” tells the story of an ambitious young woman who offers the singer a chance to be her chauffeur, or perhaps more than that. Lyric: “Baby, you can drive my car/Yes, I’m gonna be a star/baby, you can drive my car/and maybe I’ll love you.”

“Born To Run” – Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen in "Born to Run" - Bruce Springsteen on youtube.com
Bruce Springsteen in "Born to Run" - Bruce Springsteen on youtube.com

The Boss outdid himself with “Born to Run.” The story of two lovers seeking escape from the doldrums of a dead-end life in Jersey. Unlike the thematically similar “Fast Car” (see above), Springsteen’s song is as exhilarating as it is desperate, a driving beat to match the motor’s rpm.

Honorable Mention Goes To…

“Daddy’s Lambo” – Yelawolf

2004 Lamborghini Gallardo - TheSmokingTire on youtube.com
2004 Lamborghini Gallardo - TheSmokingTire on youtube.com

There are few greater tests of romantic fealty than to ask your girl if you can borrow her “Daddy’s Lambo.”

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Chris Kaiser

With two decades of writing experience and five years of creating advertising materials for car dealerships across the U.S., Chris Kaiser explores and documents the car world’s latest innovations, unique subcultures, and era-defining classics. Armed with a Master's Degree in English from the University of South Dakota, Chris left an academic career to return to writing full-time. He is passionate about covering all aspects of the continuing evolution of personal transportation, but he specializes in automotive history, industry news, and car buying advice.

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