Music for Driving

Music is perfect company while driving. Whether in busy city street traffic or on the wide, open highway, music makes the driving experience much more enjoyable. It helps time go by faster while sitting at red lights. It makes the miles disappear while taking a long journey. It can “soothe the savage beast” of stress that sometimes comes with driving in traffic. It buffers the noise of car engines and traffic. Music can move the soul, shape the spirit, and adjust the attitude. And music always entertains.

Most people like a variety of music styles, artists, and genres, and everybody has favorites. While favorites are based on personal preference, popular music is made popular by the simple reason of fan adoration. Music lovers drive the industry, talented entertainment artists work hard to supply to demand, and record companies and concert promoters thrive in the spending glory of it all. The music industry is wide and large, made powerful by the sheer numbers of performing artists and the varieties of music available. Despite having different tastes in music, most music lovers of all ages agree on one thing–having music while driving a car is essential to the process.

For driving music, superstars like Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen should already be on everyone’s list. Classic rock, folk, soul, and blues musicians who should also be in everyone’s car include such great artists as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez, The Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, The Steve Miller Band, Pete Seeger, Santana, Fleetwood Mac, The Kingston Trio, Al Green, Led Zeppelin, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Genesis, Traffic, Journey, Chicago, Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart, and Frank Zappa.

For long-distance driving, it helps to have listenable music with lively, upbeat tempos to help keep the mind alert. In addition to most of the artists and bands already listed, classic energetic rock bands such as Queen, Pat Benatar, The Allman Brothers, Blondie, Tears for Fears, Jethro Tull, Aerosmith, Van Halen, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, and Yes are all good choices while driving. More recent rock bands to drive by are The National, Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons, Green Day, Nirvana, U2, Death Cab for Cutie, Gorillaz, Portishead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, Coldplay, Rusted Root, Linkin Park, The Black Keys, Counting Crows, The Flaming Lips, The Pixies, Radiohead, and Sublime.

For those times when driving in heavy traffic, it often helps to listen to more soothing sounds. Classical music and instrumental music are both calming influences. Even Kamal Nath, Member of the Indian National Congress, likes to listen to classical music while driving, with Wagner, Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and Vivaldi being some of his favorites. Other great classical musicians include Aaron Copeland, Erik Satie, Bela Bartok, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Franz Joseph Haydn, and Igor Stravinsky. Of course, Beethoven, Brahms, and Bach are the masters who top the classical list. Modern instrumental music artists to carry in the car should include Weather Report, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Michael Hedges, The Brecker Brothers, Leo Kottke, George Winston, Dick Dale, Paul Winter, Kitaro, Liz Story, Acoustic Alchemy, Shadowfax, Alex de Grassi, Dave Brubeck, Stanley Clark, Steve Winwood, Tortoise, and James Galway.

Many talented solo music artists are perfect to have in the car for the stereo. A few of the best include Ani DiFranco, DJ Shadow, Annie Lennox, Rickie Lee Jones, Gemma Hayes, Ella Fitzgerald, Jill Scott, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Jamie Cullum, David Gray, Imogen Heap, Joss Stone, Oren Lavie, Scott Matthews, Shawn Colvin, k.d. lang, Peter Gabriel, Erykah Badu, Joan Armatrading, Michelle Shocked, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Damien Rice, Corinne Bailey Rae, Björk, Seal, Simply Red, Drake, Michael McDonald, Elton John, Jay-Z, Sting, and Keith Urban. All of these artists have amazing voices and great lyrics to listen to while driving anywhere.