45 Songs About Motorcycles and Bikers
Fall in Love with the Freedom of the Road
Ask a biker what they value about their two-wheeled mode of transportation and you'll hear much more than the practical benefits of owning a motorcycle. Sure, motorcycles generally cost less to own and maintain than cars. They also take up less space, parking spots are easier to come by, and they are associated with lower fuel emissions. But bikers fall in love with motorcycles for the way they make them feel—like liberated, brave adventure seekers who are connected to like-minded others.
If you're a motorcyclist (or you know someone who is), make a playlist of pop, rock, and country songs. Then ride off into the wind.
1."Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf
Of course, this is song top of mind! An anthem that celebrated the freedom of the open road, this hard rock song from 1968 was named one of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" by Rolling Stone magazine. It was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
"Born to Be Wild" was famously featured on the soundtrack for the classic film Easy Rider although it was not Peter Fonda's first choice. The song encourages unplanned adventured seeking:
Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way ... .
2. "Midnight Rider" by Gregg Allman
The guy in this lonesome rock song from 1970 is just a man on the run with only his motorcycle and one silver dollar to his name. He's on a long desperate highway road that goes on forever, and he's determined not to be caught.
3. "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi
This 1987 glam metal song gives a nod to the outlaws of the Old West. It draws parallels between the lifestyles of touring rock stars and a band of thieves who swoop into town, drain all the booze, and steal both the money and the local broads.
Bon Jovi compares himself to a cowboy atop a steel horse (i.e., a motorcycle) with his electric guitar is his weapon. In real life, Jon Bon Jovi is a motorcycle devotee who is particularly fond of Harley-Davidsons.
4. "Bat Out of Hell" by Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf's phenomenal vocals grace this loud and lengthy 1979 rock classic that depicts a catastrophic motorcycle crash scene. In the valley below, sirens scream and flames blaze out of control.
A young man, desperate to escape and hit the highway, has left his sweet lover. Now there's nothing left of him. Riding a silver-black phantom bike, he was driving far too fast for conditions and plummeted to his death after losing control on a sudden curve. The song describes the man's body laying under the motorcycle wreckage. His body opened up and his heart flew away like a bat out of hell.
5. "Ride the Wind" by Poison
The lyrics of this popular 1990 glam metal ditty contain some real poetry. Considered one of Poison's best-written songs, the tune upholds bikers as brave and rebellious "modern warriors" who dare to "ride the wind" atop their "saddle iron horses of chrome." Poison's frontman Brett Michaels and drummer Rikki Rockett are both bikers.
6. "Born Free" by Kid Rock
Kid Rock takes the back roads fast on his motorcycle in this 2010 country/rock crossover hit. He wanders the great unknown, climbs mountains, and twists and turns along the roads that stretch ever further from his home. Atop his bike, he chases dreams and embraces freedom.
"Born Free" has used been used in many patriotic contexts to pay tribute to the American military. It was also adopted by Mitt Romney as the theme song in his 2012 bid for the Presidency. Kid Rock is a motorcycle enthusiast who looks the part. Harley-Davidson was a title sponsor for his 2013 Rebel Soul tour.
7. "Ride Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross
A man convicted of multiple murders is fleeing his death-by-hanging sentence in this 1980 soft rock song. He's booking it for the Mexican border, where he presumes he will be safe from harm. While he rides like the wind through the night, the law is not far behind him.
8. "Panheads Forever" by David Allan Coe
For all the controversy that David Allan Coe is known for, he manages to play it straight in this 1982 country song, an ode to his favorite type of motorcycle, the Harley-Davidson with a panhead engine. Coe describes his beloved bike as if it were his loyal sweetheart of many years. Although she's lost her original luster, she's reliable, and they have a history together. He plans to keep her.
9. “Ride” by Joe Satriani
The narrator in this 1989 rock song is a biker whose priorities are straightforward: he just wants to ride. Life is too short to stay at home and take it easy. As the road opens up before him, the narrator is just a man on his bike looking for the next adventure.
10. "Need for Speed" by Saxon
It's just you, your bike and the road ahead. You can feel the excitement and acceleration of this 2007 thrash metal song as you open it up on that long stretch of empty highway. Feel the surge of danger and fear mixed with sheer adrenaline as you hold on tight and go full throttle:
I need the rush
Can't get enough
I got the need for speed.
11. "The Leader of the Pack" by The Shangri-Las
The girls can't believe that All-American Betty in this 1964 teen tragedy tune is going out with Jimmy, the leader of an adolescent motorcycle gang. Between his leather jacket and his bike's roaring engine, she's smitten for this bad boy from the wrong side of town.
Of course, her father doesn't approve, and her parents force her to break off their romance. That's the beginning of the end. With a heart fresh from rejection, Jimmy speeds away into the rain and dies. The revving engine and crash sounds add to the dramatic telling of this story.
12. "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
From the day this troublemaker entered this world people around him knew that he was bad to the bone. Throughout his life, he broke hearts, making old women blush and young women squeal. Although the 1982 rock ditty doesn't specify what this bad boy uses to get around, what else could it be than a motorcycle?
Which are you?
13. "Fox" by Millencolin
Clever with the double entendre, this 2000 rock tune features a man who describes his beloved bike as if it were the cross between a pricey hooker and a beloved sweetheart. He treasures his motorcycle so much that he calls it a "she" and demonstrates chivalry to protect her:
She's secondhand, so what? She's true, she's by my side
For all I care, she's hot, she's a real good ride
When we go out, people stop and stare with jealous minds
It's OK for me, as long as they let her be...
To prevent something like a theft I got her locked around a tree.
14. "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
So technically this 1973 Southern rock song—which many would claim contains one of the most iconic guitar solos in music history—isn't about motorcycles. It's about a guy breaking up with his girl and explaining why they can't be together. But seriously. As he leaves behind his sweet lover and eagerly seeks all the places he has yet to travel ... you can bet he's not in a Ford.
15. "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC
In this 1979 hard rock song, they're givin' the finger to da man as they ride off down the highway. Of course, the song is specifically about the drudgeries of touring as a rock band, but it's totally consistent with the biker theme. At the time of its release, some listeners misinterpreted the song as promoting devil worship, leading some radio stations to ban the song (or AC/DC's music altogether). Rolling Stone ranked it as one of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
16. "Motorcycle" by Colter Wall
Colter Wall is a novel country artist whose music reminds me of Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings back in their heydays. In this 2017 country ditty, the singer-songwriter channels the angst of a life-weary narrator. Using no-nonsense language and vivid imagery, he entertains ending it all:
Well, I figure I'll buy me a motorcycle
Wrap her pretty little frame around a telephone pole
Ride her off a mountain like old Arlo
Figure I'll buy me a motorcycle ... .
17. "Break" by Three Days Grace
Feel the surge of energy in this 2009 rock song that depicts bursting free from the bad situation bringing you down—one that's clearly not in your best interests. Perhaps it's drugs, a toxic love relationship, or a dead end job. Can't you picture yourself getting on your bike and riding into the distance as this blares in the background?
Away from everybody
Away from everything
If you can't stand the way this place is
Take, yourself to higher places.
18. "This Life" by Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers
This 2008 rock song was the theme song for Sons of Anarchy, a cable television crime series that followed the lives of a fictional motorcycle club. The song describes a biker who feels all alone in the world. With no afterlife to believe in, he seeks to maximize his sense of adventure before they put him six feet under.
19."Ride to Live, Live to Ride" by Twisted Sister
According to this 1983 rock song, the world is yours when you ride a motorcycle. You take in the hard roads and endless lines before you, feel the cold steel and the heat of the roaring engine, and the speed hits you like a fever. You are hyper-aware, becoming one with the marvelous machine you're riding.
Twisted Sister's lead singer, Dee Snider, is well-known a motorcycle enthusiast. Since 2002, he has organized a charity bike ride on Long Island to raise money for the March of Dimes, a local food bank, and other worthy causes.
20. "Ballad of the Easy Rider" by The Byrds
This folk rock song appeared on the Easy Rider motion picture soundtrack in 1969. It likens the wanderlust of a biker to a river that meanders down to the sea. Originally, the movie's central character and scriptwriter, Peter Fonda, sought to have Bob Dylan write and record a theme song. Dylan declined, however, and quickly wrote a lyric on a napkin. He told Fonda to give it to Roger McGuinn, frontman for The Byrds, as he would know what to do with it.
Even More Songs About Motorcycles and Bikers
21. Freewheel Burning
22. Bad Motor Scooter
23. The Harley Song
24. 1952 Vincent Black Lightining
25. She's Got a Motorcycle
26. Ghost Rider
27. The Other Kind
28. Motorcycle Man
29. Slow Ride
30. Roll Me Away
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
31. Ezy Rider
32. Little Honda
The Beach Boys
33. Summer Running
34. Hell Bent for Leather
35. Jeans On
36. Motorcycle Cowboy
37. New Sensations
38. Iron Horse/Born To Lose
39. Motorcycle Drive By
Third Eye Blind
40. Motorcycle Mama
The Front Bottoms
42. Desert Plains
Lana Del Rey
Diane and The Gentle Men
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