The Ultimate End-of-Summer Road Trip Playlist, According to WSJ Readers

Summer is synonymous with travel, but as airlines struggle to manage increased demand, more Americans are choosing to drive. Whether you’re getting behind the wheel just to reach a destination or heading out on an adventure to make the most of the season’s last long days, no road trip would be complete without great tunes. To craft the ideal lineup, we asked readers of The Wall Street Journal to share the songs, across generations and genres, that get them fired up and ready to roll. Read the stories behind some of their selections below, then listen to the full playlist on Spotify.

  1. Chris Stapleton, ‘Traveller’
    An anthem for anyone looking to explore new places, this modern country classic celebrates the thrills of the open road.

“We leave today for our seventh trip this year, after having curtailed our travels the last two years because of Covid-19. Now that travel has reopened and the ‘sunrise is creeping in,’ we are grateful to be on the road again—and play Stapleton’s ‘Traveler’ before embarking on each trip. [The lyrics] ‘I don’t know where I’m going, but I got to go // Cause every turn reveals some other road,’ not only captures our predicament during the last two years, but also depicts some of our best experiences during our travels. –Jim Niewald, Grapevine, Texas

  1. Deee-Lite, “Groove Is in the Heart”
    After two years of pandemic complications, summer 2022 has been all about reconnecting with old friends.

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“This song makes me wanna slip, slide, dance, drive with my windows down, and eat a popsicle all at once. It’s like hip-hop, disco, and funk had a baby. For me, this is a quintessential summer jam–a perfect fit for dance parties, sunny hangouts, BBQs, windows-down drives, all of it.” –Adam Del Rio, Redwood City, Calif.

A bittersweet, folk-rock ballad, American Pie has been a staple of classic rock stations for generations; This summer, a new era of fans discovered what millions of Gen X-ers already knew: The 1985 album Hounds of Love, by Kate Bush, is a modern-day masterpiece.

  1. Kate Bush, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)”
    Kate Bush’s 1985 song was a surprise hit this summer thanks to an appearance in the latest season of ‘Stranger Things’. Fans say the song’s hypnotic bridge makes them feel like the main character in their own saving-the-world story.

“I’m grateful to the producers for reminding us old-timers what a powerful song it remains, and also introducing a new generation of listeners to its magical synth line.” —Curt Cooper, Powell, Ohio

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