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Driving pleasure: British pick favorite car tunes


“Who hasn’t sung ‘Mamaaaa, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh…’ at the top of their lungs while driving?” asks the news release announcing the results of a poll of British drivers who were asked by Spanish automaker to select their favorite songs for listening in their cars.

After all, the report continues, “Any fragment of Bohemian Rhapsody is good for letting it all out, releasing stress and happy motoring.”

According to the survey, of 2,000 drivers aged 18 to 84, fully 90 percent of drivers said that listening to music in the car gave them a feeling of happiness. Indeed, 84 percent said they always or very often listen to their favorite songs while driving.

“These findings are backed by research published in Nature magazine which shows that listening to music releases dopamine, the happiness hormone,” SEAT added. 

“Furthermore, enjoyment increases when listening to a song we especially like. In this sense, SEAT is the world’s first carmaker to integrate Shazam in its vehicles. According to Nielsen Consulting, 70 percent of users consult this app while on the go in a car, at over 30 km/h (18.6 mph).

According to the survey, 64 percent of drivers said that listening to different kinds of music changed their mood while at the wheel. Different kinds of music certainly was reflected in the survey results. Here are the respondents’ top-20 choices for music to hear while driving:

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
  2. Dancing Queen, ABBA
  3. Livin’ on a Prayer, Bon Jovi
  4. I’m Gonna Be (500 miles), The Proclaimers
  5. Eye of the Tiger, Survivor
  6. Walking on Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves
  7. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Wham!
  8. Happy, Pharrell
  9. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cindy Lauper
  10. I Gotta Feeling, Black Eyed Peas
  11. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
  12. Don’t Stop Believing, Journey
  13. Wonderwall, Oasis
  14. This Is Me, The Greatest Showman
  15. Roar, Katy Perry
  16. Hey Ya!, Outkast
  17. I Believe in a Thing Called Love, The Darkness
  18. Three Little Birds, Bob Marley
  19. One Kiss, Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa
  20. Hey Baby!, DJ Otzi

PS: If you’re writing a song and want drivers to listen, musician, producer and composer suggests you keep five things in mind:

  • Rhythm. 2/4 or 4/4 beats are easy to identify and dance to; they are as familiar as our own heartbeat.
  • Harmonics. Major keys (C major, D major…) bring a sense of “vitality and joy”. Furthermore, the idea that less is more also applies to music: “Many hit songs only have 3 or 4 chords.”
  •  Structure. It must be logical so that people listening can anticipate which part is coming up depending on the style of the song.
  • Lyrics. They are generally uncomplicated, “so that anyone can understand the message and identify with it.” The goal is to generate empathy.
  • Chorus. “It has to have a simple melody that is easy to sing.. It is what the listener is going to remember, so making it repetitive is very important.
Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. That’s a nice list, but it’s missing two of the greatest driving songs – perhaps they never gained widespread popularity in Britain: "I Can’t Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar, and "Red Barchetta" by Rush.


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