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50 Years Of Civic Magic: Honda Reveals The Top Driving Music Tracks Of The Last 50 Years

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The Honda Civic is celebrating its 50th anniversary – and the manufacturer has teamed up with a DJ to compile the ultimate driving playlist with a track from every year since 1972. (Jon Mills/Zenger)



By Darko Manevski

The Honda Civic is celebrating its 50th anniversary – and the manufacturer has teamed up with a DJ to compile the ultimate driving playlist with 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 British drivers about their attitudes to in-car entertainment.

Rebecca Adamson, head of automobile, said: “Since we launched the Honda Civic, the analog 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 the mood when they listen to music in the car (48 percent), with four in 10 saying they feel more relaxed at the wheel.

The Honda Civic is celebrating its 50th anniversary – and the manufacturer has teamed up with a DJ to compile the ultimate driving playlist with a track from every year since 1972. (Jon Mills/Zenger)

Nearly a quarter (24 percent) said they feel more focused with music on in the car, and 22 percent said they found playing tunes made them feel more energized 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.

The Honda Civic is celebrating its 50th anniversary – and the manufacturer has teamed up with a DJ to compile the ultimate driving playlist with a track from every year since 1972. (Jon Mills/Zenger)

“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 savor 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 favorite 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.”

Indeed, 42 percent 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 percent of those surveyed said that they include tracks which evoke memories.

A good variety of songs (70 percent) and enough tracks for a long journey (56 percent) made up some of the top asks.

The radio remains one of the most popular devices in the car for 80 percent of British motorists, while a surprising 35 percent 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 favorite media, while aux and USB inputs are used by 24 percent.

The Honda Civic is celebrating its 50th anniversary – and the manufacturer has teamed up with a DJ to compile the ultimate driving playlist with a track from every year since 1972. (Jon Mills/Zenger)

Rebecca Adamson said: “In a time where we’re surrounded by noise, hitting the open road with your favorite 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 favorites.”

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 [https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2xZ2ds1MeElpC3vHY5i8ra]

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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