When it comes to road trip music, we all have different tastes, and one size certainly doesn’t fit all. If classical is your thing, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” may be perfect for driving at first light on a spring morning, but it’s way too relaxing for a midnight to three a.m. hammer-down turn at the wheel. Rammstein’s “Sehnsucht” may be just the ticket for late night listening while Five-Hour-Energy works its magic on your brain cells, but I sure as hell don’t want to hear that before my first morning cup of coffee. In case you can’t tell, I’ve got eclectic taste in music, and you’re equally likely to find punk, classic rock, jazz, blues or classical on one of my playlists. You won’t find opera and you won’t find country, because both styles of music grate on my nerves like a fiberglass splinter.
You also won’t find any of the 10 songs below on one of my playlists, simply because they’ve been played to death. Seriously, I never need to hear any of these songs again, thanks to massive overexposure from friends, relatives and format-radio DJs who simply reorder existing playlists day after day after day. If you ever have a chance to take a road trip with me, I think you’ll find that I’m good company (just ask Mike). Unless, of course, you try to play one of these songs, in which case your phone, MP3 player, CD or media card is going right out the window.
I Can’t Drive 55 (Sammy Hagar)
Yeah, I can’t either but the novelty value of this song wore off when Ronald Reagan was still in the White House. Why radio stations still feel compelled to play this song, I’ll never know.
On The Road Again (Canned Heat)
Canned Heat was a favorite of the Hells Angels back in the 1960s; somehow, like a cursed relic from the past, this song keeps cropping up. Sprinkle it with holy water, drive a stake through its heart, or burn it at the state; whatever you do, don’t put it on a playlist.
Rockin’ Down The Highway (Doobie Brothers)
Let me be clear about this: I never liked the Doobie Brothers, and I like this over-played nugget by the band even less.
Highway Star (Deep Purple)
No music collection is complete without some of Richie Blackmore’s early stuff, but I’ll pass on “Machine Head”. Not only is it bogged down with Highway Star, but it’s also got Space Truckin’, perhaps the most annoying song ever written.
Freebird (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Living in Skynyd’s home town of Jacksonville, FL, I can probably get shot for putting their epic anthem to leaving home on the list. I’ll take my chances, because this song has been played to death all over the country.
Once Bitten, Twice Shy (the Great White Version)
Why one of the worst covers from one of the worst ‘80s hair bands still gets airplay is beyond me. Do yourself a favor and download the original Ian Hunter version.
Anything by Boston
As a buddy of mine puts it, “I like that one song from Boston.” Every single Boston song sounds alike, and the band has been overplayed for the past 20 years. Yes, they were innovative and yes, there was nothing like their sound in the 1980s. There was nothing like the Rubik’s Cube or Pac Man back then, either. ‘Nuff said.
The Load-Out / Stay (Jackson Browne)
Running on Empty was an epic collection from the height of Jackson Browne’s career, and the bulk of the album would make it on my “desert island playlist”. This song, which gets played at least three times daily by every classic rock station in the country, would be omitted. Why it still gets airplay is a complete mystery to me.
I’ve Been Everywhere (Johnny Cash)
Johnny Cash wrote some epic roadtrip music, and I’ve got a bunch of his stuff on various playlists. This song doesn’t make the cut, even if I have been to most of the places he mentions.
Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
The bathroom song, as it’s commonly referred to by DJs, was played out back in the ‘80s. Yes, Zeppelin were rock gods and pioneers, but their Hobbit-embracing, good versus evil lyrics are laughable in the era of corporate greed and 20 percent unemployment. No playlist needs this song, as ten minutes of surfing will find it on some FM station or satellite channel.
What songs make your “do not play” list?