02/19/2014 12:47 pm ET Updated Apr 21, 2014

10 Best Road Trip Songs

Life imitates art, which imitates life...

As a young drummer-dude I played in rock bands (still do, as a slightly older drummer-dude) and went on tours in ratty vans overly-packed with sweaty musicians (uh, not so much anymore, thank you). Besides being a wonderful life experience, the interesting group dynamics of young men and women living in each other's pockets for months on end is an absolute treasure trove for an author, and I put that experience to good use in writing my debut YA novel Road Rash, a "band-on-the-road" story about growing up--and growing into yourself.

So in conjunction with the book's release, my wife (Wendelin Van Draanen--a well-known children's author) and I are embarking on a two-month road trip of our very own this spring, on what we're calling the "He Said/She Said" author tour. We'll be visiting dozens of book stores, schools, and festivals as we drive across most of the U.S., talking about books and writing. (And about how we share an office and remain married. Our tag line for the tour is "Expect arguments!")

As anyone who's driven cross-country knows, good road tunes are as important as good road food. For chow we've got Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to guide us to the greatest grease-buckets along the way. For road tunes, we're building a huge playlist, starting with songs referenced in Road Rash (which seems only fitting for this tour). There are probably 70 tunes referenced in one way or another in the book, but not all good songs are good road songs, fit for blasting out of the speakers as you sing along, cruising down the interstate. A proper road tune is defined by forward motion, either in the lyric, the groove, or the theme behind the music.

Here, then, are the top 10 road trip songs from Road Rash. Some are new, some are timeless, but all are about going somewhere...

Best Road Trip Songs

So there you have it. As we break a champagne bottle over the hood of our tour van and set sail on our next road trip adventure, we promise to faithfully keep the wheels turning, the windows down, and the tunes cranked...