Updated on 6/28/17 from an article originally published on 4/26/13.
Are you planning a big move this year? Before you buy moving boxes and hire movers, get in the right frame of mind by listening to some music. Not just any music. We’ve spent weeks developing this inspired playlist with the best songs about moving away.
Even though most checklists won’t mention this, music is such an important part of moving. Packing up your home and relocating can be expensive and stressful. Moving can also be an exhilarating transition period. With such a wide range of emotions involved, it’s important to magnify the positive feelings. If you’ve ever made a big move before, you know how easy it is to crack under pressure. The right music will help lighten the mood and take some of the edge off.
Did we forget your favorite moving song? Tell us!
Our Top 10 Moving Songs
10. Learning to Fly – Tom Petty
If you want to add some mellow to your move, Tom Petty is your answer. The song details how you never know what’s coming next and you pretty much have to adapt as you go: “So I’ve started out / for God knows where / I guess I’ll know when I get there.” Petty’s tune is tailor-made for opening a new chapter in your life.
9. Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Yes, it’s the song everyone yells for at concerts, and there’s a reason for that. This southern rock classic opens with “If I leave here tomorrow /would you still remember me / for I must be travelin’ on now / there’s too many places I got to see” and keeps you moving & toe tapping for about 10 minutes. Have a broom nearby when the guitar solo hits around 4:55. There’s no way you can avoid air guitaring to what some consider the greatest southern rock anthem ever.
8. Truckin – The Grateful Dead
Considering all the emotional songs available, and the mixed emotions from your relocation, you’ll need some songs just to help you relax and recharge for a minute. Who better for that than Jerry and crew? “Just keep on truckin” is a solid mantra to take on when going through a time of transition. Did you know the line: “What a long strange trip it’s been” that appeared on countless t-shirts, posters, and bumper stickers came from a verse in this song? Also, oddly fitting for a move.
7. Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen
In Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs (2003) Chuck Klosterman noted that WMMS 100.7 FM in Cleveland, one of the most influential rock stations in the U.S., played Born To Run for about ten years straight at exactly 5:55 pm every Friday for those driving home from work. It’s not hard to see why – few can capture the blue collar, human experience quite like The Boss. There aren’t many songs that will get your fist pumping the way this ode to escaping and moving onward can. Fire it up on the way to your new destination and try to not get into it.
6. On The Road Again – Willie Nelson
This Willie Nelson tune was named one of the best songs of all time by Rolling Stone and appears in the Grammy Hall of Fame, and with good reason. It’s catchy, fun and you can’t help but tap your foot. If you’re the type of person who frets change, just let Willie tell you about “going places that you’ve never been.” His folksy tone turns what could be a daunting experience into something endearing.
5. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers
Forget planes, trains, and automobiles, this 1988 Celtic rock hit is all about taking the shoe leather express to be with the one you love. Our panel couldn’t help but sing along when they heard the refrain: “But I would walk 500 miles / And I would walk 500 more / Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles / To fall down at your door.” You may wonder: “Why 500 miles?” It’s the approximate walking distance from Auchtermuchty to London, UK.
4. Life is a Highway – Tom Cochrane
This heartland rock anthem wasn’t meant to be an ode to Route 66. Instead, it was inspired by Cochrane’s trip to West Africa with World Vision in 1990, where he witnessed hunger and poverty in countries like Ethiopia and Mozambique. According to Cochrane, after being mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted, he wanted to write a song that would pull him up out of that funk and make him feel good. In 2006, Rascal Flatts covered the song for the Disney/Pixar animated film “Cars” and sold over 2 million copies.
3. I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
In 1996, the “Man in Black” put his stamp on this notorious road trip song first popularized by Australian singer Lucky Starr (1962). This catchy tune mentions around 90 places that cover roughly 113,000 miles of travel in North America. In Nov 2012, at Music Hack Day, Iain Mullan unveiled his “Johnny Cash Has Been Everywhere (Man)!” web application (for Chrome & Safari browsers) that pin points each location on a map in real-time as the song plays. The app was named one of “Ten Amazing Hacks” by Wired (UK).
2. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song) – Billy Joel
Recorded in 1977, Joel said his famous single represents every Irish, Italian, and Polish kid working long hours to afford the luxuries of having “made it.” In the song, he mentions working overtime just to trade a Chevy for a Cadillac and moving out of NYC for a house in Hackensack, New Jersey. Rumor has it that Joel wrote this song as a soft ballad identical to Neil Sadaka’s “Laughter in the Rain”, but later recomposed it as a faster rock song.
1. Movin’ On Up – The Jefferson’s Theme Song
From 1975 to 1985, nobody moved on up to the Upper East Side better than the Jeffersons. George and Weezie were Archie and Edith Bunker’s next-door neighbors from All in the Family who upgraded their place in Astoria for a “deluxe apartment in the sky.” Written by Ja’net Dubois and Jeff Barry, this soulful classic was performed by Dubois and a gospel choir. Some consider it the best TV theme song of all-time and a must for any moving playlist.
Listen to Our Moving Playlist on Spotify
So, what do you think? Are these the best moving songs of all-time? Share your favorites in the comments below!