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Ten Road Trip Songs I Never Need To Hear Again

Posted in Lists, Road Trips by Kurt Ernst | June 8th, 2011 | 11 Responses |

Image: Bruce Berrien, Creative Commons 2.0

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?

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11 Responses

  1. higgins says:

    “Life is a Highway” – Tom Cochrane.

  2. Doug says:

    Higher by Creed or anything at all by Nickelback

  3. 68SportFury says:

    Back in 1990 or so, the station I listened to at the time morphed from 70% classics/30% new stuff to roughly the opposite ratio. At the time, Aerosmith’s album “Pump” was on its third or fourth single, “What It Takes.”
    The station was also playing a lot of parody tunes, including “Ozzy Fudd: The Wabbit Slayer.” There was a two-week period where I could be certain of hearing one or both of these nuggets on each of my 20-minute drives each day, which, since my commutes took place during commercial-heavy parts of the day, meant that I was hearing each of these songs ten to fifteen times a week and not much of anything else. So, one day, I called the station and said, “I’m a twelve-year listener and here’s my situation: I’m on the road from roughly 8:20 AM to 8:45 each morning and from roughly 6:00 to 6:30 PM each night. Can I please NOT hear ‘What It Takes’ or ‘Ozzy Fudd’ for a couple of weeks? Right now I’m hearing them every day, sometimes twice!”
    Amazingly enough, someone must have listened, because I didn’t hear either song during my commute for the next couple of weeks.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      If you tried to call and complain about a playlist today, your call would be routed through Mumbai before being told, “Sorry, but we compile our playlists based on scientific surveys of our target demographic. Your input is worthless, and resistance is futile.”

  4. I haven’t heard of any of the songs on your list. I grew up during the 80’s but I only listened to pop so I only now artist like Debbie Gibson, Pet Shop Boys, Madonna, New Kids On The Block and Milli Vanilli. I like to listen to 80’s when cruising, top 40, sometimes even rap and anything from the Glee Cast. I also love to blast old school Euro Pop like Sandra, Modern Talking and Bad Boys Blue.

  5. inthebuff says:

    Yeah. I do like that one Boston song.

    My sister and I were driving from Nashville to FLA. In Nashville you can only hear both kinds of music – Country AND Western. My sister detests C&W and I only like it a bit more than she. I did buy a souvenir disk of 40 C&W classics which I made her listen to. Oh it defo hurt my ears a lot. And I dumped the CD onto one of her friends as soon as I could.

    When it got to be her turn to pick the music, she found an easy listening station and the first song on was Hello by Lionel Ritchie. Holy jeebus. The only reason why that was a good driving song at the time is because my sister and I couldn’t stop giggling/laughing while she was posting as me on my facebook page. One of my FB friends actually thought I liked the songs my sister was posting about on my status. My true friends knew better.

    So for me, I’ll go with anything easy listening – Lionel Ritchie, Ride like the Wind by Christopher Cross, Carefree Highway by Gordon Lightfoot, etc.

    Also, I’m sick to death of Radar Love.

  6. crispy says:

    “Crazy Train”, ANYTHING by Tom Petty, Neil Young or Bob Dylan – all on the list of never want to hear again.

    Best all time road trip song, however; and one you won’t hear on the radio (probably not even XM) – Rush: “Red Barchetta”. Not saying listen to it over and over again, but if there’s a windy road on your trip – this song will add 20mph to your speed. Be forewarned.

    • Kurt Ernst says:

      crispy, Red Barchetta gets a fair amount of airtime on XM. I agree with your Neil Young comment, with the possible exception of “Rockin’ in the Free World”. His line, “don’t feel like Satan, but I am to them” has to be one of the best in rock and roll.

      • crispy says:

        I (type) corrected…as I don’t get XM. Good to hear Red Barchetta gets played, I think I heard it once on commercial radio about 20 years ago and was surprised. Of course, anything to excess is not good; so if they’re over-playing it on XM, then even a great song can become bothersome – some on your list fit that bill – great songs, just over-played. Thanks!