Best and Worst Riding Songs

By David Owens

The+Godz album cover

A recent survey by asked about 2000 drivers to choose the best and worst songs to listen to while driving.
So what came in at number one? Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.” What is the worst driving song? “Who Let the Dogs Out” by The Baja Men according to the survey. I wouldn’t disagree with the worst choice, but I wouldn’t put Journey very high on my list of road music either. In fact, I’d rank both of them pretty near the bottom on the list of things I want to listen to ever, but your mileage may vary. If you want to see the entire list, click here.
That got me to thinking about riding music - either songs you like to listen to while riding (if you listen to music while riding), or songs that make you just want to get on your bike and go for a long ride whenever you hear them.
So here is my unofficial Top 5. Now you may feel the same way about my choices as I do about Journey, so send us your picks and we’ll put together our own list and share them in a post here on the site.
Cross Country - The Godz
“Got the sun in my face and the wind at my back
Don’t know where I’m going, don’t even know where I’m at”
This is my all time fave bike anthem. The Godz were four big hairy Harley riding dudes out of Ohio in the 1970s who flirted with mainstream success, but never quite made it. Like any 70s hard rock band, they wrote lots of songs about partying (LOTS of songs about partying). Cross Country is heavy, with a great hook and chorus, and I can listen to it over and over. It perfectly captures the spirit of taking off on your bike and not caring where you’re going.
When Moonlight and Dynamite Collide - Jackyl
“Lord knows I’ve done my share of good, Lord knows I’ve sinned
Kick ‘em if you’ve got ‘em, let’s put ‘em in the wind”
When it comes to Jackyl, people either pretty much love ‘em or hate ‘em. You either get the whole Jesse James Dupree chainsaw thing or not. Me I get it, but either way you’ve got to give credit where it’s due. The band recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and is still going strong, playing their brand of music regardless of what’s in vogue at any given time. And now Jesse’s a TV star and whiskey magnate to boot. They’ve paid their dues, they ride, and this song nails it.

Iron Horse/Born to Lose - Motorhead
“He rides a road, that don't have no end
An open highway, without any bends”
Motorhead - what more do you need to say? This is Lemmy’s tribute to his friend Terry, former president of the London chapter of a certain one percenter motorcycle club you may have heard of. Iron Horse is actually a slower song - at least for Motorhead - unless you are lucky enough to hear them play it live. Slow or not, like all their songs, Iron Horse perfectly lives up to Motorhead’s motto of “everything louder than everything else.”
Motorcycle Ride - Rancid
“Sarah ceased existing long before she died
A fifth of Bourbon and a motorcycle ride”
What’s this song about? I think it might be about suicide by motorcycle, but man, I really couldn’t tell you. But what I can tell you is that it’s one minute, twenty seconds of flat out hypercharged punk/rockabilly that will never fail to get you going over the speed limit.
SonofaBitch - Isabelle’s Gift
“Tell your lawyer I’m a sonofabitch
I’d like to see him try to find me”
I have to put in a plug for band you’ve probably never heard of. Isabelle’s Gift, from Columbia, SC, is going on twenty years together and they still bring it big time. By all rights these guys should be megastars by now. Over the years, they’ve consistently put out some of the best hard rock in the entire nation. Album titles like “Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms” and “Whole Can a’ Whupass” tell you pretty much what you need to know. The closest this particular song gets to bikes is a lone mention of “v-twin engines,” but it gets me amped up to ride every time I hear it. Do yourself a favor and look it up on iTunes.



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