Valentine’s Day is a time when we honor those near and dear to us, those we depend on the most and take care of when they need it.
We’re talking about our cars, of course.
To celebrate the occasion, we asked some of our friends who spend a lot of time on the road, under the hood and covering motorsports their favorite car songs. Here are the results – a mixtape dedicated to your dream ride, and why each of these guys picked their jam.
T. Rex – “Jeepster”
Matt Bean, The Drive
“When you turn it up loud, it’s the perfect backing track for a trip to the beach in an open-top Jeep Wrangler.”
Bruce Springsteen – “Cadillac Ranch”
Kenny Bruce, NASCAR Digital Media
“James Dean, Junior Johnson, and Burt Reynolds mentions in the lyrics? A longtime, turn-it-up favorite to get you down the road.”
The Doobie Brothers – “Rockin’ Down The Highway”
Tony DiZinno, Motorsports Talk
“The one that immediately sticks out to me - and this will probably measure high on the random scale – is "Rockin' down the Highway" by the Doobie Brothers. It's a good high energy song and always reminds me of road trips growing up. I would usually get at least one or two in the summer, usually with my dad. "Can't stop or I'll lose my mind," one of the lyrics, is also a good way I'd describe my work ethic. I try to work pretty hard and sometimes it's hard to take breaks.”
Tracy Chapman – “Fast Car”
Jenna Fryer, Associated Press
“This song reminds me of when I was in high school, a brand new driver with a crummy radio and windows you had to manually roll down. But it was a song that you’d turn up really loud and know all the words and sing as loud as you could. To this day, if it comes on the radio (satellite radio now, of course), I still crank it and still know all the words.”
Steely Dan – “Home At Last”
Andrew Lawrence, Sports Illustrated
“Not about cars per se, but I can remember driving home from college in my beat-up aquamarine VW Passat and hearing this song hitting with maybe a quarter mile left in a 400-mile trip. It sorta became my arrival anthem, my way of telling myself the long journey is over, now comes the part where you're welcomed back with open arms.”
Ike Turner – “Rocket 88”
Ryan McGee, ESPN The Magazine
“I'm old school. Officially it's by Jackie Brentson and his Delta Cats, but it was really recorded by Ike Turner at Sun Studios in Memphis. Some consider it the first real rock and roll song. My first car was a '79 Old Delta 88 and I used to blast this tune as I drove it…on an 8-track player! I visited Memphis on spring break last year and I made my family take a selfie with the piano used to record the song.”
Tom Cochrane – “Life Is A Highway”
Larry McReynolds, Crew Chief for Dale Earnhardt & Davey Allison
“Brings me back to the 70s and 80s when we would travel all across the country. My life really was a highway back in those days.”
The Magnetic Fields – “Two Characters In Search Of A Country Song”
Jason Torchinsky, Jalopnik
“I listen to a lot of stuff when I drive, usually ping-ponging between music I bring with me to trying to hear alien messages in the static between stations. But when I think about driving—really driving, in that been-on-the-road-for-days, looming Road Madness sort of way—this song has the sort of languid-yet-determined pacing and progress that feels like a long, slightly unhinged road trip. Plus, it references both Daniel Webster and crashing through a Jersey barrier, both probably useful to consider while driving.”
Saint Asonia – “Let Me Live My Life”
Steven Wilson, Speedway Digest
“As an up-and-coming band in the music scene, they set out with the single absolutely to make a splash. It's one of those songs that you can get in your car no matter the time of day, crank it up, and just drive. Lyrically it may not speak to you personally, but musically it’s one of those songs you can jam out to while cruising down the interstate or a back country road somewhere.”
Bon Jovi – “Wanted Dead Or Alive”
Jordan Bianchi, SBNation.com
“I’m on the road for 22 races a year, so this is my song.”
Son Volt – “Driving The View”
Nate Ryan, NBC Sports
“Because it sounds like it was written for the open road. I feel like 30% of Son Volt songs are like that.”
Bruce Springsteen -- "My Hometown"
Marty Smith, ESPN
"There's something so haunting about the mysterious drive of that song, and the beauty of our youthful ignorance from yesteryear juxtaposed with the soiling of that innocence by the realist context of adulthood. Life ain't easy, but when you're immersed in the bliss of being perched atop your daddy's lap and steering the wheel on the stroll through town, none of that hardship matters. You're experiencing the freedom of the moment. And the freedom of the moment is exhilarating. What is a car to a kid? Freedom. There is no better feeling."