Looking for the perfect road trip playlist? This report by confused.com has analysed hundreds of playlists on Spotify to reveal the ultimate road trip tracks worldwide.
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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 the following 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.
Rank Track Artist Playlists 1 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd 121 2 Mr Brightside The Killers 114 3 Riptide Vance Joy 112 4 Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey 88 5 Africa TOTO 83 6 Life is a Highway Rascal Flatts 78 7 Pumped Up Kicks Foster The People 73 8 Hotel California – 2013 Remaster Eagles 72 9 Little Talks Of Monsters and Men 71 10 Hey, Soul Sister Train 70 10 Shotgun George Ezra 70 12 Dreams – 2004 Remaster Fleetwood Mac 68 13 Shut Up and Dance Walk The Moon 67 13 Classic MKTO 67 15 Dancing in the Moonlight Toploader 66 16 I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) The Proclaimers 65 16 Stacy’s Mom Fountains Of Wayne 65 16 All Star Smash Mouth 65 19 As It Was Harry Styles 60 19 Party in the U.S.A. Miley Cyrus 60 21 Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond 58 21 High Hopes Panic! At The Disco 58 23 American Pie Don McLean 56 24 Watermelon Sugar Harry Styles 54 24 Don’t Stop Me Now – Remastered 2011 Queen 54 24 Go Your Own Way – 2004 Remaster Fleetwood Mac 54 24 Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God) Kate Bush 54
The most popular songs for road trips in the UK
The most popular road trip song in the UK is I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by Scottish duo the Proclaimers, appearing in 13 playlists. Fittingly, it was written by Craig Reid while preparing himself for a road trip to Aberdeen for a football match.
This is followed by 2 songs that appeared on 12 playlists each: London Calling and Everybody Wants to Rule the World.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) The Proclaimers 13 2 London Calling – Remastered The Clash 12 2 Everybody Wants to Rule the World Tears For Fears 12 4 Life is a Highway Tom Cochrane 11 4 Friday I’m in Love The Cure 11 4 Don’t Stop Me Now – Remastered 2011 Queen 11 7 Africa TOTO 10 7 There She Goes The La’s 10 7 Go Your Own Way – 2004 Remaster Fleetwood Mac 10 7 The Chain – 2004 Remaster Fleetwood Mac 10 7 Song 2 – 2012 Remaster Blur 10 7 I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor Arctic Monkeys 10
The most popular songs for road trips in Scotland
It may not come as a surprise, but Scottish duo The Proclaimers reached the top spot for Scotland’s most popular road trip song with their hit I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). Data shows that 139 Scottish road trip playlists feature this track.
In second place is Mr Brightside by The Killers, featuring on 60 playlists. This is followed by Go Your Own Way – 2004 Remaster by Fleetwood Mac, appearing on 39 playlists.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) The Proclaimers 139 2 Mr Brightside The Killers 60 3 Go Your Own Way – 2004 Remaster Fleetwood Mac 39 4 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd 33 4 I’m on My Way The Proclaimers 33 4 As It Was Harry Styles 33 7 Shotgun George Ezra 32 8 Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey 30 8 Riptide Vance Joy 30 8 Dreams – 2004 Remaster Fleetwood Mac 30
The most popular songs for road trips in Ireland
Ireland’s harbour city of Galway is a namesake for Ireland’s most popular road trip track.
Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran appears in 42 different Irish road trip playlists, with the song being heavily influenced by traditional Irish music.
The songs in second and third don’t have any clear links to the Emerald Isle, with Riptide by Vance Joy in 23 playlists and Sweet Home Alabama in 22.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 Galway Girl Ed Sheeran 42 2 Riptide Vance Joy 23 3 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd 22 4 N17 The Saw Doctors 20 5 Brown Eyed Girl Van Morrison 19 5 The Boys Are Back in Town Thin Lizzy 19 7 Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey 18 7 Linger The Cranberries 18 7 Dirty Old Town The Pogues 18 10 Whiskey in the Jar The Dubliners 17
The most popular songs for road trips in the USA
The United States sees the largest search volume for road trips on Google and also the biggest number of USA 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 USA’s favourite road trip track, with Hotel California – 2013 Remaster and American Pie filling the second and third place spots respectively.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd 489 2 Hotel California – 2013 Remaster Eagles 352 3 American Pie Don McLean 296 4 Born in the U.S.A. Bruce Springsteen 276 5 Take It Easy – 2013 Remaster Eagles 227 6 Life is a Highway Rascal Flatts 187 6 Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey 182 8 Californication Red Hot Chili Peppers 170 9 Take Me Home, Country Roads John Denver 168 10 Born to Be Wild Steppenwolf 159
The most popular songs for road trips in Italy
Italy’s favourite road trip tracks are Dreams – 2004 Remaster by Fleetwood Mac and As It Was by Harry Styles, both featuring on 26 playlists. Harry Styles has 2 songs in Italy’s top 10, showing how popular he is in the country. Classics from the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac also feature in the top 10 most popular songs.
L’Italiano by Toto Cutugno features in 25 of Italy’s top road trip playlists, ranking as the third favourite track. Released in 1983 L’Italiano was Toto Cutugno’s biggest international success. The track hit number 1 in Italy, France, Portugal, and Switzerland.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 Dreams – 2004 Remaster Fleetwood Mac 26 1 As It Was Harry Styles 26 3 L’Italiano Toto Cutugno 25 4 Hotel California – 2013 Remaster Eagles 18 4 Felicità Al Bano And Romina Power 18 6 Here Comes the Sun – Remastered 2009 The Beatles 17 7 Africa TOTO 16 7 Mystery of Love Sufjan Stevens 16 9 Late Night Talking Harry Styles 15 9 Love in Portofino Dalida 15
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.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd 40 2 Life is a Highway Tom Cochrane 38 3 Free Fallin’ Tom Petty 31 4 Mr Brightside The Killers 27 5 I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) The Proclaimers 27 6 Hotel California – 2013 Remaster Eagles 25 7 American Pie Don McLean 25 8 Life is a Highway Rascal Flatts 25 9 Summer of ’69 Bryan Adams 25 10 Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey 24
The most popular songs for road trips in Australia
An Aussie ‘80s classic unsurprisingly hits the number 1 spot for Australia. Down Under by the rock band Men at Work was a worldwide phenomenon for years after its release in 1980. Down Under is followed by American classics American Pie and Sweet Home Alabama.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 Down Under Men at Work 35 2 American Pie Don McLean 28 3 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd 27 3 You Shook Me All Night Long AC/DC 27 5 Highway to Hell AC/DC 24 5 The Horses Daryl Braithwaite 24 5 Riptide Vance Joy 24 8 How to Fly Sticky Fingers 23 9 Africa TOTO 21 10 Hotel California – 2013 Remaster Eagles 20
The most popular songs for road trips in Spain
Latin tracks prove to be very popular in the top 10 road trip songs in Spain. Artists such as Juanes, with his track La Camisa Negra in first place, are joined by artists such as Shakira and Marc Anthony. Anthony’s Vivir Mi Vida comes in second place, followed by Caraluna by Bacilos.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 La Camisa Negra Juanes 18 2 Vivir Mi Vida Marc Anthony 17 3 Caraluna Bacilos 14 4 Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey 12 4 Hips Don’t Lie (feat. Wyclef Jean) Shakira 12 4 Pepas Farruko 12 4 Oye Mi Amor Maná 12 4 Colgando en Tus Manos (con Marta Sánchez) Carlos Baute 12 9 Africa TOTO 11 9 Mientes Camila 11
The most popular songs for road trips in New Zealand
The list for New Zealand is largely made up of local artists, with Auckland’s Dave Dobbyn taking the top spot.
His song Slice of Heaven appears in 17 different playlists. While it’s not as well known outside Australasia, it’s considered one of New Zealand’s most popular songs after appearing in tourism ads in the 80s and 90s.
Two more songs by Kiwi artists are in joint second: Bliss by Th’ Dudes and April Sun in Cuba by Dragon.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 Slice of Heaven Dave Dobbyn 17 2 Bliss Th’ Dudes 16 2 April Sun in Cuba Dragon 16 4 Always on My Mind Tiki Taane 13 4 Weather with You Crowded House 13 4 Why Does Love Do This to Me The Exponents 13 7 In the Air L.A.B. 12 7 Gutter Black Hello Sailor 12 9 Go Your Own Way – 2004 Remaster Fleetwood Mac 11 9 Misty Frequencies Ché-Fu 11 9 Sitting Inside My Head Supergroove 11
The most popular songs for road trips in France
France enjoys some classic road trip songs that are popular across the world. France’s top track is Mr Brightside by The Killers, which features on 38 French road trip playlists. Harry Styles’ As It Was ranks second with Elton John’s global hit Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time) taking third spot.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 Mr Brightside The Killers 38 2 As It Was Harry Styles 35 3 Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time) Elton John 33 4 Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey 31 5 Shotgun George Ezra 30 6 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd 29 6 Africa TOTO 29 8 Watermelon Sugar Harry Styles 27 8 Here Comes the Sun – Remastered 2009 The Beatles 27 10 Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God) Kate Bush 25
The most popular songs for road trips in Portugal
Portugal’s road trip playlists favour some old school American rock tracks. American Pie, Sweet Home Alabama, and Dreams – 2004 Remaster make up the top 3 most featured road trip tracks in Portugal.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 American Pie Don McLean 13 2 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd 12 3 Dreams – 2004 Remaster Fleetwood Mac 11 3 Beggin’ Måneskin 11 5 Hotel California – 2013 Remaster Eagles 9 5 Don’t Stop Me Now – Remastered 2011 Queen 9 7 Riptide Vance Joy 8 7 good 4 u Olivia Rodrigo 8 7 Escape (The Pina Colada Song) Rupert Holmes 8 10 Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God) Kate Bush 7 10 Cold Heart – PNAU Remix Elton John 7 10 Californication Red Hot Chili Peppers 7 10 Mrs. Robinson – From “The Graduate” Soundtrack Simon & Garfunkel 7 10 Mr Brightside The Killers 7 10 Do I Wanna Know? Arctic Monkeys 7 10 Do You No Wrong – Single Version Richie Campbell 7
The most popular songs for road trips in India
India’s favourite road trip track is Dil Dhadakne Do by Joi Barua, in a list dominated by Indian artists.
Notably, many of these songs appear in the soundtracks of Bollywood films, including each of the top 3.
Dil Dhadakne Do appeared in the film of the same name, while Masakali was in Delhi-6 and Ik Junoon was written for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 Dil Dhadakne Do Joi Barua 26 2 Masakali Mohit Chauhan 20 3 Ik Junoon (Paint It Red) Vishal Dadlani 18 3 Kabhi Kabhi Aditi Rashid Ali 18 3 Kal Ho Naa Ho Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy 18 6 Dil Chahta Hai Shankar Mahadevan 17 6 Naina Da Kya Kasoor Amit Trivedi 17 6 Senorita Farhan Akhtar 17 6 Chand Sifarish Jatin-Lalit 17 10 Buddhu Sa Mann Amaal Mallik 16 10 Ilahi Pritam 16 10 Tere Bina A.R. Rahman 16 10 Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai Roop Kumar Rathod 16
The most popular songs for road trips in Germany
Top tracks in Germany road trip playlists are feel-good rock and pop tracks. Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts is top, featuring on 16 playlists. Blinding Lights from The Weekend and Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ come in joint second, both featuring on 12 playlists.
I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE and Beggin’ by Måneskin occupy 2 spots in Germany’s top 10 tracks. Måneskin formed in Rome in 2016 and went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021 for Italy with their track Zitti e buoni.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 Life is a Highway Rascal Flatts 16 2 Blinding Lights The Weeknd 12 2 Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey 12 4 I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE Måneskin 10 4 Beggin’ Måneskin 10 4 Green Green Grass George Ezra 10 7 Shivers Ed Sheeran 8 7 One Kiss (with Dua Lipa) Calvin Harris 8 7 Wake Me Up Avicii 8 7 On Top of the World Imagine Dragons 8 7 Bam Bam (feat. Ed Sheeran) Camila Cabello 8
The most popular songs for road trips in South Africa
Africa by Toto is the most common track in South African road trip playlists. Since its release in 1980, Africa by Toto has been certified 8 times platinum. Tracks SETE (feat. Young Stunna & Blxckie) by K.O and Nomakanjani by Brenda Fassie follow in second and third place. South Africa’s top 10 tracks are less rock-heavy when compared with other countries, featuring modern rap and pop tracks.
Rank Track Artist No. Playlists 1 Africa TOTO 15 2 SETE (feat. Young Stunna & Blxckie) K.O 12 3 Nomakanjani Brenda Fassie 11 4 You’re the One Elaine 10 4 Banyana DJ Maphorisa 10 6 Ngud’ (feat. Cassper Nyovest) Kwesta 9 6 Drive – Radio Edit Black Coffee 9 6 Another Universe Arno Carstens 9 9 Driven to Drink Shotgun Tori 8 9 In My Feelings Drake 8 9 Youngblood 5 Seconds of Summer 8 9 Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes Paul Simon 8 9 Risky Elaine 8 9 Sponono Kabza De Small 8 9 Silver Foyer Sold Ash 8 9 Jack Nasty C 8 9 Give Me Something (feat. Rowlene) Sha Sha 8 9 3 in the Morning Prince Kaybee 8 9 Eazy Nasty C 8
Louise Thomas, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:
“Ever since the invention of the car radio, music and driving have been inextricably linked, and today creating the ultimate playlist is a huge part of the road trip experience. Similarly, having your own playlist ready for a long drive means you won’t get distracted whilst driving, keeping you safer on the road.
“A road trip is recognised as one of the most popular bucket list experiences. However, those who don’t own a car or want to share the driving might be put off by the insurance details. If you’re thinking of borrowing or hiring a car for your road trip there is no need to worry as temporary car insurance is there for these situations! With the right insurance, you will be protected if anything were to happen whilst on the road, enabling you to have a worry-free trip!”
An initial list of 15 countries where road trips are most popular was created using Google Keywords data. Countries searching for road trips the most were where road trips were considered to be the most popular. From this list, 2 sets of playlist data were analysed and combined using Spotify’s Playlist Miner.
These 2 sets were used to reveal the most common songs and artists that appear on playlists that include “[country] road trip” in their title and those with “[nationality] road trip” in their title. For example, “US road trip” and “American road trip”. Countries without at least 50 road trip playlists were removed from the list.
The top tracks for the world were revealed by searching road trip playlists (not country-specific). Playlist miner reveals a maximum of 999 playlists for each search. These are the top 999 playlists on Spotify that include “road trip”. Using these playlists we can identify the top 10 songs for road trips worldwide.
All data was recorded on the 30th of August 2022.
In total 4,560 playlists and 630,000 tracks across 15 countries were analysed to reveal the top 10 for each country. 302,271 tracks from 999 playlists were analysed for global data.