Yesterday's blog post – “Road Trip: Radio's Changing Holiday Season” – stirred up all of us with cabin fever (and it hasn't even started snowing yet in most parts of the U.S.).
The idea that a majority of us will not be heading out to airports for vacations this holiday season is a stunner. And of those who are planning on personal travel during these next couple months, most of it will take place in the safety and security of our four-wheeled vehicles.
Even pre-COVID, the car was that last bastion of solitude where we could be alone, collect our thoughts, sing-along, or simply think about things. And since the pandemic, cars are now one of our safe places.
But what do we listen to in cars? It turns out we have our favorites – the ones we crank up, sing-along to, play drummer on the dashboard, and simply let it all out.
Maybe it's ironic, that In radio, we tend to research pretty much every aspect of the music our stations play. But when it comes to the best driving songs of all time, it's not something that is usually studied. That despite the fact the majority of all radio listening takes place when we're in cars.
Until now, that is.
Insurance.com (go figure, right?) has just completed a 1,000 person survey among drivers in the States that investigates these key issues – favorite songs, bands, and genre while in vehicles. Even those “guilty pleasures” – the songs we sing-along to we'd just as soon others didn't know about.
Apparently, it's been six years in between these “Best Music For Driving” studies. And back in 2014, it was Journey's “Don't Stop Believin'” that took in-car top honors.
This year, we have a new champion – rock anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Of course, the movie bio pic of the same name vaulted that song back on the airwaves.
But singing along with Freddie Mercury's operatic was something popularized in Wayne's World way back in 1992. Life imitating art.
Here's the Top 12, according to Insurance.com:
- Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”
- Journey – “Don't Stop Believin'”
- AC/DC – “Highway to Hell”
- Tom Cochrane – “Life is a Highway”
- ABBA – “Dancing Queen”
- Michael Jackson – “Don't Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”
- Sammy Hagar – “I Can't Drive 55”
- AC/DC – “You Shook Me All Night Long”
- Journey – “Any Way You Want It”
- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – “American Girl”
- Bruce Springsteen – “Born to Run”
- CCR – “Fortunate Son”
- Golden Earring – “Radar Love”
Demographically, “Bohemian Rhapsody” took top honors among women, all geographies, and every age demo – except 25-34s (who opted for “Highway to Hell”).
And because of all those upcoming road trips, it's interesting to note the genres of music drivers prefer: Country and Classic Rock are tied for first, followed by Hip-Hop, Rock, and Pop Hits.
- Women sing much more than men while driving
- Men are more apt to play “air” instruments in the car (dashboards make great snare drums)
- Drivers usually control the in-car soundtracks (not passengers)
- But parents frequently give in to the listening options of children
- Favorite “stuck in traffic” genres: Classic Rock, Country, and Hip-Hop
And that leads to the always fascinating topic of our top “guilty pleasure” artists – the ones we hope no one knows about.
Here are the top embarrassing choices in the Insurance.com study:
- Justin Bieber
- Taylor Swift
- Miley Cyrus
- Lady Gaga
That brings to mind a commercial that Ford ran for their “new” SYNC system way back in 2007:
But here's the biggie: What are the top platform listening options with drivers? According to the study:
- Regular radio – 43%
- Downloaded music on mobile phones – 21%
- Streaming – 19%
- Satellite radio – 15%
Women, more than men, opt for regular radio (48%).
As Insurance.com's managing editor, Les Masterson, concludes:
“Two decades ago, drivers didn't have many listening choices in the car. Back then, you might have a handful of go-to radio stations on AM and FM. Now, people have countless options. However, we found many still love their radio.”
So, what's your go-to driving song – the one that unleashes your inner-James Corden, that you belt out every chance you get no matter who's watching in the next lane?
And for the record, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' “Runnin' Down A Dream.” Watch you speed.
You can check out the Insurance.com research study here.