Before heading into this list, let me just mention that if you haven’t had the chance to listen to the second episode of our weekly LA Music Blog podcast yet, do so now! The reason I inquire is because this post just so happens to be directed from one of our episodes, in which I am prompted to come up with a list of the top five bands to listen to in a car by our writer Jay Chirinos. While I could wait and reveal the list during our next podcast, I’d rather you see why I chose these bands in a format where I can probably elaborate better than through my own voice.
So without further ado, here is a list of what I think are the top five bands to listen to in the car, be it on a road trip with friends, by yourself in midday traffic, or rolling through the city at night.
5. Van Halen
Don’t label me as a fanboy, but I do love me some Van Halen every once in a while, especially when driving in the car, windows down and speakers on full blast. We’re talking “Panama” here, which is pretty much my go-to song when I’m driving down PCH. But whether you’re listening to the David Lee Roth or the Sammy Hagar era, Van Halen never lets you down with other classic hits like “Hot for Teacher,” “Jamie’s Cryin’,” and “Why Can’t This Be Love.” They’re alright sitting there with your headphones on, but cranking up the volume and moving along in your roadster is the way Van Halen deserves to be listened to.
4. Deep Purple
Sure, sure, “Smoke On The Water.” But while the song whose chords everyone knows how to play on guitar is a single anyone can drive around to, Deep Purple also has additional tracks that are the epitome of driving music in their discography. While driving the long roads to Vegas or on a road trip across the country, you can’t go wrong with a song like “Highway Star” or the epic “Child In Time,” which lingers on and on to make your trip feel twice as long. Deep Purple will make your car rides all that more fulfilling with awesome grooves and dynamo hooks, and they’ll satisfy your cravings for road trip music ten-fold.
3. Led Zeppelin
Leave it to Led Zeppelin and their catalog of blues-inspired rock and roll to make your car rides all the more sweet. Seriously though, these guys are the ultimate rock-out-in-your-car-until-you-embarrass-yourself band — the kind of band you either sing to, air guitar to, or bang your hands on the steering wheel to. “Black Dog,” “Communication Breakdown,” “Immigrant Song,” or just any of the openers from their studio albums work like a charm, and their live album The Song Remains The Same is the textbook example of what you need to listen to when you’re driving. Zeppelin will be there when you need them most.
2. The Beatles
There really is no list you can make without inclusion of The Beatles. That is unless you’re talking about the greatest hip-hop/rap or metal songs of all time, to which I could probably find some way to sneak a Beatles track or two in there anyways. But the mass appeal of the dynamic writing duo Paul McCartney and John Lennon is all too much for a music fan to ask for. You’ll always find yourself singing along to one of their hundreds of hits, which is why The Beatles — a settling and overall fun band with hits like “Come Together” and “Back In The USSR” — is perfect for a car ride. Include McCartney’s groovy bass and Lennon’s vocal stylings on “The Ballad of John and Yoko” and you’ve got yourself a car frolic.
All hail the Queen! Specifically, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which is by and large the greatest song with the most bizarre lyrics and song construction for everyone and their dogs to sing along to. But Queen is no one hit wonder. Their greatest hits collection contains all of the band’s classics, like “Fat-Bottomed Girls” and “Under Pressure,” which are timeless due to their likability and replayable nature. Queen is the quintessential band to put on during a car ride, with or without your friends, and spend the day screaming as loud as Freddy Mercury would probably want you to. Roll down the windows on these guys!
Sure, any of these bands can be listened to in your bedroom, on a scaffolding, or anywhere around the world, but they’re a tad better when listened to in the car. That’s my list, and be on the lookout for more lists like these from our writers every Friday. Don’t forget to listen to our weekly podcast as well!