Roadtrippin’ Rock Oldies Playlist

I’m a firm believer in the power of a playlist. While the trusty shuffle button can be fun during a leisurely weekend in the city – long drives, weekends and journeys require a thematic collection of songs. Last weekend, for instance, I stayed at a B&B in the rolling autumn hills outside of Montreal. I assembled myself some Edith Piaf, Andre Gagnon and Arielle Dombasle – and it was croissant and coffee-filled bliss.

This weekend, I can guarantee any of you hitting the highway will experience the bold-coloured countryside I sampled last weekend – and let me tell you, it’s something else. Whether you’re taking to the road, sharing earbuds on a train trip or choosing the family cooking tunes – I think this little classic, pop and folk-rock collection of oldies might be the ticket to everyone getting along just fine. Happy travels!


Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes – Paul Simon: It’s my strong belief that this Graceland classic is universally likeable. The South African choir opening, which flows into that recognizably sunny melody and Paul Simon’s soothing vocal, are some of the happiest things to have happened to music.

Touch of Grey – Grateful Dead: This equally bouncy roadtrip staple, from one of my favourite bands, has the sweetest keyboard and guitar concoction that, when paired with those memorable chorus lyrics, will keep your chin up all weekend long.

Young Americans – David Bowie: In light of Bowie’s return to the spotlight – thanks to this year’s release, AGO exhibit and Arcade Fire collaboration – it’s only right to have the legend as part of this list. In fact, his eclectic bag of hits could probably populate the list. This sexy, horn-heavy number will keep you swaying start to finish and add nicely to any of the weekend’s living room gatherings.

Thunder Road  – Bruce Springsteen: Cue the car ride sing-along – my main squeeze is on the radio. If you know me, you know that Springsteen will forever be the number one man in my life.  I’m merciless to this uplifting piano rock anthem and the Boss’ growling vocals. When he says, “Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair,” I say, “OK, Bruce. OK.”

Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison: George! What an artist. Whether in his Beatles days, prolific All Things Must Pass solo work or this uppity pop-rock cover released in 1987 – George is the definition of timeless talent and fun for the whole family.

Walk of Life – Bhi Bhiman: Now, this isn’t exactly an oldie; it’s recorded by contemporary Sri-Lankan-American folk artist Bhi Bhiman, but is a cover of the delectable ditty made famous by Dire Straits. This subdued cover maintains the adorable melody, but replaces the keyboard loop with pretty whistling and adds Bhiman’s guitar plucking and charming voice to the mix.

Hold Me – Fleetwood Mac: One of the most accessible Mac radio hits, “Hold Me” is unequivocally catchy and made for layers of back and front seat harmonies and clap-a-longs. If we have a sunny weekend in store, I suggest rolling the car windows down and giving this classic some air.

Just Dropped In – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition: Pull right into your local watering hole upon arrival to your destination, request this song and hit the dance floor. No better way to rev up your weekend than a little Kenny groove.

Voodoo Child – Jimi Hendrix: If you’re feeling the need for speed, toss on this rock God and let that guitar rip through your speakers.

Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones: Nothing gets my engine going like hollering those high gospel notes alongside Mick. This scorching rock masterpiece can actually never get old – and any passenger of yours will be elated it’s made the list.

Back on the Chain Gang – The Pretenders: I would love to be some variation of Chrissie Hynde in my next life. Her throaty pipes and ability to pen infectious rock hits are some of the major highlights of female-fronted bands in decades past. This sugary pop-rock hit should lighten up the broodiness post-Hendrix and Stones.

Reelin’ In The Years – Steely Dan:  This feel-good favourite is bound to get you on your parents’ good sides and encourage some serious shakin’ in the household while the bird (or veggies, in my case) is roasting.

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