The Honda Civic is celebrating its 50th anniversary – and makers of the iconic car have teamed up with a DJ to compile the ultimate driving playlist featuring a track from every year since 1972.
From Alice Cooper’s rousing anthem ‘School’s Out’, classic 80s and 90s hits, through to this year’s number one hit ‘Starlight’ by Dave, the list – compiled by Magic Radio’s Home Run presenter Simon Phillips – reflects the changes in motoring music over the last half-century.
The motor company commissioned Simon to compile the list of stand-out songs after conducting a survey of 2,000 UK drivers about their attitudes to in-car entertainment.
Rebecca Adamson, head of automobile said: “Since we launched the Honda Civic, the analogue radios and tape decks may have evolved into touch screens, but the principle remains the same. There are few better pairings than a road trip with a brilliant playlist.”
A quarter of people have built their own motoring playlist, and almost half of respondents said they experience a lift in mood when they listen to music in the car (48 per cent), with four in 10 saying they feel more relaxed at the wheel.
Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) said they feel more focused with music on in the car, and 22 per cent said they found playing tunes made them feel more energised when driving.
Simon’s choices mirror the musical journey since the first Honda Civic hit the roads. Since its launch in 1972, more than 27.5 million Civics have been sold across 170 countries.
He chose Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’ for the car’s launch year, moving through the decades to include top hits from Oasis with ‘Wonderwall’ as well as contemporary smashes from Calvin Harris, Rag’n’Bone Man and The Weeknd.
Simon – who also celebrated his own 50th birthday this month – said: “I think first and foremost, a perfect driving track makes you, the car and the road one.
“It makes the traffic go away and complements the driving experience, when that song plays, it draws you in, and for that moment, it's the ultimate connection you, your car and music.
“Driving for me is one of the most personal spaces, and the driving environment can really influence our mood. A great driving song helps to mentally prepare you for the journey ahead, and to savour a moment.”
The power of music and tailoring your soundtrack is rooted in science, as confirmed by cognitive neuroscientist, Dr Diana Omigie.
Dr Omigie said: “Research shows that being able to listen to favourite artists, and being able to listen to music in general, may increase the perception of situational control and in turn extend music’s effect on stress reduction.
“Previous studies into how individually selected music can induce and maintain positive moods during a simulated driving experiment have produced interesting results. Subjective mood ratings have showed that music can successfully maintain a positive mood in high traffic density and during the negotiation of narrow lanes.”
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Indeed, 42 per cent of Brits say they tailor their driving playlist to the type of road they’re on.
When asked about curating driving songs, nostalgia emerged among the top requirements for a strong playlist, as 48 per cent of those surveyed said that they include tracks which evoke memories.
A good variety of songs (70 per cent) and enough tracks for a long journey (56 per cent) made up some of the top asks.
The radio remains one of the most popular devices in the car for 80 per cent of British motorists, while a surprising 35 per cent of those surveyed said they still listen to CDs, and for one in 10 the retro appeal of a cassette deck endures.
The research, conducted via OnePoll, showed a third of motorists use streaming to listen to their favourite media, while aux and USB inputs are used by 24 per cent.
Rebecca Adamson said: “In a time where we’re surrounded by noise, hitting the open road with your favourite tracks playing, or hearing a new song for the first time on the radio is a timeless luxury.
“With the all-new Honda Civic e:HEV which is launching later this year, careful attention has been paid to the hybrid drivetrain and noise management to create a refined cabin.
“As people prepare for their bank holiday travels, we wanted to share some of our top tracks, as compiled by Simon. Of course, it’s a personal choice and everyone will have their own favourites.”
A previous survey of parent drivers by Honda revealed that 2,496 songs are played every year in the typical family car. The automobile company also did a poll of its own audience, who nominated songs to be added to the list.
The 50 years of magic playlist is available to listen to on Spotify.
50 Years of Civic magic – Top driving songs as compiled by Magic Home Run Presenter Simon Philips:
1972 Alice Cooper – School’s Out
1973 The Jackson 5 – Dancing Machine
1974 Queen – Killer Queen
1975 Average White Band – Pick Up The Pieces
1976 Chicago – If You Leave Me Now
1977 Earth, Wind & Fire – Fantasy
1978 Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
1979 The Specials – A Message To You Rudy
1980 Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall
1981 Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime
1982 Imagination – Just an Illusion
1983 Herbie Hancock – Rockit
1984 Wham! Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
1985 Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule The World
1986 Bruce Hornsby – The Way It Is
1987 Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full – Seven Minutes Of Madness – The Coldcut Remix
1988 Inner City – Big Fun
1989 Soul II Soul – Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)
1990 Oleta Adams – Get Here
1991 Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy
1992 Arrested Development – People Everyday
1993 Jamiroquai – Blow Your Mind
1994 Youssou N'Dour Feat Nen eh Cherry – 7 Seconds
1995 Oasis – Wonderwall
1996 Faithless – Insomnia
1997 Ultra Naté – Free
1998 Brandy & Monica – The Boy Is Mine
1999 Moloko – Sing It back
2000 Coldplay – Trouble
2001 David Gray – Sail Away
2002 Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You
2003 Beyonce – Crazy In Love
2004 Keane – Somewhere Only We Know
2005 Jennifer Lopez – Get Right
2006 Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
2007 Timbaland Feat Keri Hilson & D.O.E – The Way I Are
2008 Madonna Feat Justin Timberlake & Timbaland – 4 Minutes
2009 Black Eyed Peas – Boom Boom Pow
2010 Lady A – Need You Now
2011 Bruno Mars – Grenade
2012 Emeli Sandé – Next To Me
2013 Daft Punk – Get Lucky
2014 James Bay – Hold Back The River
2015 Hozier – Take Me To Church
2016 Drake Feat Wizkid & Kyla – One Dance
2017 Sam Smith – Too Good At Goodbyes
2018 Rag’n’Bone Man – Human
2019 Calvin Harris and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Giant
2020 The Weeknd – Blinding Lights
2021 Silk Sonic Feat Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak – Leave The Door Open
2022 Dave – Starlight
Top Driving Songs as nominated by public social media vote
1972 Stevie Wonder – Superstition
1985 Prince – Raspberry Beret
1992 House of Pain – Jump Around
2002 Justin Timberlake – Cry Me a River
2011 Adele – Rolling In The Deep
2021 Elton John & Dua Lipa – Cold Heart
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