“Driving Melodies: Songs About Cars”

Songs About Cars

Cars have played a significant role in popular culture since their invention in the late 19th century. With their sleek designs and ability to take us anywhere, it’s no wonder that cars have captured the hearts of not only drivers but also musicians. Throughout music history, there have been countless songs dedicated to cars, whether it’s singing about the freedom they provide or the memories made in them. Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic songs about cars.

“Drive My Car” by The Beatles

Released in 1965 on their album “Rubber Soul”, “Drive My Car” by The Beatles tells the story of a woman offering the narrator a job as her chauffeur. The song’s catchy tune and cheeky lyrics make it a fan favorite, landing it a spot on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. While it may not specifically be about a car, the idea of being driven around and the mention of a Cadillac in the lyrics make it a classic car song.

“Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett

Written by Mack Rice in 1965, “Mustang Sally” became a hit when Wilson Pickett released his version in 1966. The song’s titular vehicle, the Ford Mustang, was a symbol of the American dream and ultimate freedom in the 1960s. With its upbeat rhythm and lyrics about a woman who loves to drive her Mustang, “Mustang Sally” became a staple at car shows and cruising events.

“Low Rider” by War

Featured in the popular movie “Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke”, “Low Rider” by War is a funky tune about cruising in a lowrider car. The song’s heavy use of horns and catchy chorus made it a hit upon its release in 1975. The term “low rider” refers to a car that has been customized to have a lowered suspension, allowing it to ride close to the ground. This popular style in the car community has been featured in many music videos and car shows, cementing “Low Rider” as a song about cars.

“Pink Cadillac” by Bruce Springsteen

Inspired by Elvis Presley’s love for pink Cadillacs, Bruce Springsteen released “Pink Cadillac” in 1984. The song’s lyrics tell the story of a man who is envious of his girlfriend’s affection for her pink Cadillac, dreaming of racing in it and showing it off. The song’s popularity led to a cover by Natalie Cole in 1988, making it a duet between a man and a woman, adding another layer to the car’s symbolism.

“Ridin’ in My Car” by She & Him

In 2013, indie duo She & Him released “Ridin’ in My Car” on their album “Volume 3”. The song’s simple melody and nostalgic lyrics about driving with the windows down and feeling free instantly resonated with listeners. The music video, featuring Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward driving along the California coast in a vintage blue car, adds to the song’s carefree vibes. “Ridin’ in My Car” is a modern-day ode to the freedom and joy cars can bring to our lives.

“Drive” by The Cars

In 1984, rock band The Cars released “Drive”, a powerful ballad about the regrets and longing for someone who can no longer be with us. While the song doesn’t directly mention cars, it uses driving as a metaphor for moving on and leaving the past behind. The powerful chorus and emotional lyrics have made “Drive” a timeless classic and a staple in the band’s discography.

“Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane

Written by Tom Cochrane in 1991, “Life is a Highway” became a hit when it was covered by Rascal Flatts for the Disney-Pixar movie “Cars” in 2006. The song’s infectious beat and uplifting lyrics about the journey of life make it a popular choice for road trips and car commercials. With its iconic chorus and mention of driving down the highway, “Life is a Highway” is a timeless anthem for anyone who loves to hit the open road.

“Cars” by Gary Numan

Considered a pioneer in electronic music, Gary Numan released “Cars” in 1979, an iconic song about the love-hate relationship between humans and the machines that define modern society. The catchy synth-driven beat and distorted vocals have made this song a staple in the new wave music genre. Its popularity has also led to many covers, including ones by Fear Factory, Nine Inch Nails, and Foo Fighters.

“I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar

Released in 1984, “I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar became an instant hit with its catchy guitar riffs and defiant lyrics about breaking the speed limit. The song’s popularity led to its use in the movie “Back to the Future Part II”, where Marty McFly uses a Mattel hoverboard to escape bullies while this song plays in the background. “I Can’t Drive 55” is a classic rock song that continues to be a favorite among drivers who refuse to abide by the speed limit.

“Drive” by Incubus

Released in 2000, “Drive” by Incubus is a powerful song about the struggles of staying true to oneself in a world where everyone is driven by material possessions. The song’s message of staying true to your beliefs, and a haunting melody, struck a chord with listeners, making it one of the band’s most successful songs. The title’s double meaning, referring to both driving a car and having the drive to succeed, adds depth to the song’s lyrics.


From rock to pop to country, songs about cars have spanned across different genres and generations. Cars have become a symbol of freedom, aspiration, and even nostalgia, making them a popular subject in music. Whether you’re cruising down the highway or stuck in traffic, these songs continue to remind us of the power and impact cars have had on our culture and our lives.

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