“Get your motor running, head out on the highway…” These words are some of the most inspiring words to get you out and on your motorcycle, but there are many more songs that both encourage and describe the motorcycle riding experience. There are countless musical creations, from a half century of artists, that have circulated globally and become hits for music lovers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike. What are some of these riding-inspired masterpieces?
“Little Honda” The Beach Boys.
When you think of riding a motorcycle, you most likely hear the deafening sounds of heavy metal running through your hypothetical ears. While there are riders that may only be described musically by the screams of a metal artist, there are other riders that can be summed up perfectly by this feel-good classic. Little Honda, recorded by the Beach Boys in 1964, is a catchy classic all about riding a, you guessed it, little Honda. Specifically, this song is referring to the easy-to-handle and breezy feel of the Honda 50. This fun and beachy tune clearly shows how diverse and welcoming the motorcycle world can be. If you just want to ride and wear a ‘ragged sweatshirt’ while you are out on the road, this song describes you completely.
“The Motorcycle Song” Arlo Guthrie
Often referred to, even by the artist himself, as ‘a dumb song,’ “The Motorcycle Song” is a folk classic all about the desire to ride a motorcycle. Although there are many different versions out there, all with the same chorus but differing stories, overall this song is a simplistic view on what the hearts of many of us feel. There are some viewpoints, from those who like to analyze the psychological details of a song, that say the song has a far deeper meaning. Whether the song is simply discussing the plight between ‘eating a pickle and riding a motorsickle’ or about the value of life in the 1960s, this song still highlights what we want to spend the majority our free time doing.
“1952 Vincent Black Lightning” Richard Thompson.
This song is another motorcycle folk song, telling the story of two young riders and their love for their machine and each other. This English-acoustic ballad, is a great depiction of what many motorcycle riders imagine, when they are out on the romantic ride of the open road. In fact, with the actual 1952 Vincent Black Lightning only being manufactured for a brief time, and yet still revered for its speed and power, the song encapsulates everything that a song about a motorcycle should include. This homage to a beloved bike and tragic tale of a young love can only be defined as inspirational.
“Ezy Ryder” Jimi Hendrix
Produced, sung, and played by the legendary guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, “Ezy Ryder” absolutely needed to land on our list. Supposedly a song inspired by the movie Easy Rider, this thrilling jam picks up were the folk and lighthearted motorcycle songs leave off. Although everyone should familiarize themselves with nearly all of Hendrix’s performances, for any motorcycle and music fans out there, this song should be on every rider’s playlist. If you get to see or hear this performance, visualize the bike and highway you would like to be cruising on, and this song’s chords might just carry you there.
“Born to Be Wild” Steppenwolf
The obvious final song for our list, “Born to Be Wild” might have singlehandedly created an entire motorcycle franchise, if not for the fact that riding bikes had already been a beloved lifestyle. This song has solidified itself within the motorcycle culture, as it overwhelms your inner rocker, no matter where you are at or what you are doing. This song can make you burst out singing in a crowded elevator, go no-handed at 70 mph on the freeway, and buy a dozen Harley-Davidson cruisers to ride with your family at the next reunion. Clearly, “Born to Be Wild” is almost too dangerous to listen to, especially if you are already a rock-loving motorcycle enthusiast. All we’re going to say is, listen with care, and go wild!
There are so many wonderful songs about motorcycles out there, like “Motorcycle Mama,” by Neil Young, “Midnight Rider,” by the Allman Brothers, even “Bad Motor Scooter,” by Montrose, and plenty more! All of them do a fantastic job of speaking to the rider within. Whether it’s Rock, Metal, Folk, or just plain fun songs about motorcycles, they are a sensational addition to an already amazing lifestyle.