Motoring Melodies – our top ten driving tunes
Opening up on the freeway, pedal down and stereo blaring may be one of life’s great pleasures. The sense of freedom and power that it brings are unparalleled. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next cruise, here are our top ten favourite driving songs for 2018.
10. You Know My Name – Chris Cornell
As lead singer of Soundgarden, Chris Cornell was responsible for some of the nineties’ greatest grunge hits like ‘Black Hole Sun’ and ‘Spoonman’ – may he rest in peace. For ours, one of his greatest accomplishments was the theme to the 2005 James Bond film, ‘Casino Royale’. Soulful vocals, chugging guitars and a full orchestra make this a dramatic start to the top ten.
9. Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
More cowbell! Blue Oyster Cult’s 1976 paeon to death himself is now more known from a Saturday Night Live sketch than its powerful debut back in the seventies, but driving along, it still packs a powerful punch. Just keep your hands on the wheel and resist the temptation to air-cowbell. You don’t want to join the big fella in the black cloak just yet.
8. Bad Girls – M.I.A.
One for the ladies. This banger from M.I.A’s 2013 album ‘Matangi’ features a languid, hypnotic hook and catchy lyrics – ‘live fast, die young, bad girls do it well’ – that will have you drifting around car parks without thinking. Do make sure to watch the video – filmed in Morocco, it features local women stunt drivers pulling off some crazy stunts.
7. Apply Some Pressure – Mark Ronson ft. Paul Smith
Maximo Park’s original is a nice slice of angular indie pop, but whizzkid producer Mark Ronson transforms it into a triumphant anthem. We think it’s perfect for peeling out of work on a friday night, without a care in the world. The album this is taken from, ‘Versus’, is full of similar delights, but you can’t beat this one for sheer joy.
6. River Deep, Mountain High – Tina & Ike Turner
We couldn’t make this list without adding a little Motown. They call Phil Spector’s production technique the ‘wall of sound’ and it’s no more evident than here. Tina’s lyrics soar over what seems to be thousands of horns and massed choirs, belting out one of the greatest performances of all time. We dare you to keep yourself from hitting the accelerator. A much better choice than the weird baby singing ‘Proud Mary’ on the AA ad.
5. Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones
Every Vietnam War film ever made seems to use this on their soundtrack, but despite its overuse, it still packs a punch. Mick Jagger’s ruminations on turning to the dark side are accompanied by driving guitars and twanging sitars that will inspire nostalgia and a desire to behave like back in the day.
4. Inhaler – The Foals
Something of a rather more recent vintage, this barnstormer from The Foals builds and builds until a cathartic series of bass-driven choruses, that will have you taking corners like a rally car driver. These guys are favourites of the extreme sports and snowboarding crowds – if you’re chasing the powder across the UK and Europe, we can’t think of a better track for those mountain roads.
3. Where The Streets Have No Name – U2
One for heading out of town into the open countryside and really letting rip. With an intro that transitions from deep, sustained church organ to The Edge’s iconic jangling guitars, there’s the very real sensation of casting off the cares of the world and breaking free. Bono’s lyrics – ‘I wanna run, I want to hide, I wanna tear down the walls, That hold me inside’ – only reinforce this.
2. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
We dare you to play this track without howling along with Jimmy. The Zep’s hymn to all things Viking has had a good run lately with ‘Thor Ragnarok’, but we’ve been rocking out to it for years. A great one for air-drumming, but yet again, make sure you keep your hands on the wheel and drive safely – Valhalla ain’t calling just yet.
1. Ace of Spades – Motorhead
Anything else would seem out of place on the top spot of this list. Lemmy and co created a driving rock behemoth with this song that spent months on the British charts – a rarity for a heavy metal track. It is the quintessential soundtrack for planting your foot on the accelerator and peeling out in a cloud of smoke. Sheer perfection.
There’s ours, what are your favourite driving tracks? We’ll feature some of your choices over coming weeks on our social media feeds.
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