Music is the gateway to the soul.
It could be the lyrics or the rhythm, but whatever the reason is that gets you singing along or tapping your foot, music makes every situation better.
And here are 10 songs you’ll want to add to your travel playlist.
Music is generational as much as it is regional. Older generations listen to different genres and artists than what younger generations listen to. Australians listen to different music than South Koreans.
But nevertheless, music is still universal.
Have you ever met anybody that didn’t like Bob Marley? Seriously, have you? He is the most played – or overplayed – musician of any tropical destination. His music has transcended cultures all over the world for decades.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Who, Queen, and other bands from the UK gained just as much global impact.
But there’s no better time to listen to music than when you’re traveling. Who knows? You might even have a travel playlist.
And if that’s the case, you’ll want to add these ten songs to your list.
10. Bob Marley “Could You Be Loved”
As previously noted, Bob Marley is the GOAT when it comes to vacation music. No musician gets people to chill out like Bob Marley does, and this song in particular might be his most universally beloved.
9. Led Zeppelin “Going to California”
The Beatles’ George Harrison was once asked what he thought of Led Zeppelin and his response was that their music was too “hard” all the time. Led Zeppelin I was arguably the first hard rock album ever made, but the band’s response to Harrison’s criticism was “Rain Song” – or so the legend goes.
However as Led Zeppelin matured, the band slowed things down a bit with “Going to California” – a slow, instrumental piece perfect for any journey.
8. Johnny Cash “I’ve Been Everywhere”
Who would dare make a playlist and not add Johnny Cash? He was one of America’s most prolific songwriters and this song is about his experience traveling “everywhere, man.”
In the song, he lists all the places he’s traveled to in the United States. And it’s a lot.
7. The Allman Brothers “Ramblin’ Man”
The Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts wrote this song, taking the title from the 1951 Hank Williams song “Ramblin’ Man.” Betts also sang lead on the single, which he said was mostly autobiographical, telling the story of a guy whose travel takes him many places and just takes life as it comes.
It’s a perfect rhythm for a long, long trip to your vacation destination.
6. Willie Nelson “City of New Orleans”
When it comes to legendary American singers, Willie Nelson is high on the list.
It was written by songwriter Steve Goodman in 1970 who had just gotten married and was traveling with his new bride to meet her grandmother. They rode the train on the Illinois Central Line to the city of New Orleans, and as his wife Nancy slept, Steve jotted down notes about the passing scenery. It’s a traveling song that was literally written while traveling.
The song was a major pop hit for Arlo Guthrie in 1972, but Willie did a remake in 1984 and took it to number one on the Billboards chart. And to top it off, his version earned a Grammy for Country Song of The Year.
5. Willie Nelson “On the Road Again”
Yes, Willie Nelson already made the list, but this song might be his most quintessential traveling song. This shouldn’t even be up for debate; you have to add this song.
. Lynyrd Skynyrd “Travelin Man”
Lynyrd Skynyrd is often considered the most overplayed band in the history of music – and for that reason, people tend to sweep them under the rug. “Sweet Home Alabama” is as overplayed as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.”
But “Travelin Man” isn’t played near much, so you won’t be disappointed.
3. King Cole Trio “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66”
Nat King Cole is a music legend. You might not know this about “Route 66,” but the arrangement is twelve-bar blues and the lyrics literally follow Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. Originally written in 1946, it has been covered by Bing Crosby, Chuck Berry, Depeche Mode and The Rolling Stones.
It’s a literal traveling monologue and perfect for your next trip.
2. The Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil”
“Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste,” is the perfect starter for your next vacation.
“Sympathy for the Devil” was born within this context – a ballad inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita.” Frontman Mick Jagger read the novel and it led him to write a song that was Bob Dylan-esque.
It’s one of The Rolling Stones’ most difficult songs due to the various techniques. The beauty in this song has more to due with its rhythm than the controversial lyrics. Still it’s one of the greatest songs by one of the world’s greatest bands.
1. John Denver “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
It’s not just the legendary John Denver’s signature song, it’s considered to be the best country music song of all time. It’s actually so good that it’s West Virginia’s state anthem.
Shockingly however, it wasn’t even inspired by West Virginia, but from an old winding road in Montgomery County, Maryland. Songwriters Bill Danoff and his wife Taffy Nivert, spontaneously sang about the road during their drive.
They originally wanted to sell the song to Johnny Cash, but after attending a club in DC with Denver, the three of them changed the lyrics to cater to him. And the rest is history.
So basically, a song that’s the anthem for West Virginia, sung by a man named John Denver, was actually inspired by a road in Maryland.
Nevertheless, this is the most important song to add to your playlist.
There are likely other songs you’d like to add, but this is a great start for you travel playlist.
(h/t Proud American Traveler)