Take A Hike Day is Nov. 17, and every hike is made better by some music to complement the scenery. AXS has put together a playlist of the 11 best songs to listen to while on your next hike. They'll keep music fans entertained from the first step to the last. Click the titles below to listen to each song, then click the names of each artist to get tickets to see them live through AXS.
Hopefully, no one's hike lasts 500 miles, but this hit by The Pretenders is all about walking. The narrator is willing to walk as far as he has to, in order to get back to the woman he loves. So when starting off on a hike, wanting to hike as far as possible out into the great outdoors, this song is pretty much a requirement. That's before the catchy chorus kicks in with the quirky vocalizations that sound almost like yodeling.
Many hikes involve mountains, and hiking up mountains can be hard. That's the perfect time to play this classic duet between Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. They're singing about how no mountain is high enough to keep them apart, and for the listener, no mountain is too high to get past. This is also a great song to sing along with while hiking, especially if you're hiking with someone else because everyone knows the words.
No one is literally walking on sunshine, but hopefully, you're hiking out on a sunny day with some gorgeous views of nature. Katrina & The Waves were on point with this bouncy 80's pop tune that puts everyone who hears it in a good mood. It works for hikers who are out in the afternoon, working on their tan, and it also works for hikers who were unexpectedly caught in the rain and need to be cheered up.
Music fans know "Africa" by Toto very well by now; it's one of those songs that's seemingly immortal. The song is also about taking a journey, as lovers are reunited when one of them comes to Africa to meet the other. This song is a no-brainer if you're hiking in Africa, but even if you're not, you can relate to the idea of traveling to reach your destination. Plus, try hearing it and not wanting to sing along with the chorus. It's impossible.
Vanessa Carlton outdid The Pretenders by wanting to travel a thousand miles in her hit love song. That's not a good distance for a hike, either, but again this is another song that's more about the journey than the destination. Carlton's piano playing is impressive on the track, too, creating a twinkling melody that will inspire anyone who needs to get their second wind before finishing their hike.
It's possible that while hiking, someone will come across a river. Thus there ought to be at least one song about rivers here, and there's no better choice than this tune by Garth Brooks. Brooks specifically wrote the song to inspire listeners, according to the liner notes from his 1994 album The Hits, on which it was included. Not only will it inspire hikers, but it's also likely to prompt you to stand in front of that river and reflect on how far you've come.
Speaking of reflecting and also about nature, there's John Denver crooning about the Rocky Mountains in this song. Denver was almost more of a poet than a singer, and he had a wonderful way of describing things in his songs. He never painted a better picture than he did with "Rocky Mountain High" with its lines about "shadow from the starlight" and "the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake."
After a couple of slow songs, this playlist needs something to perk it up for the hike back home. Enter Smash Mouth, the 90's punk rockers who came up with "Walkin' On The Sun" not about a literal walk, but the crazy things that happen in life. The song is funky, a whole lot of fun, and upbeat enough to keep hikers moving. And when they sing about how "tomorrow's gonna hurt," consider it a reminder not to overdo the hiking so you don't end up sore the next day.
This U2 song is technically correct for hiking because where hikers go there aren't street names. There aren't even streets. There might be some trail names, but that's not always a given. So listening to a song about wandering on an adventure, particularly in places that aren't easily identified, is a perfect fit for any hike. Like those nameless streets, where you're going isn't easily put into a box or figured out.
Nancy Sinatra wasn't wearing hiking boots when she wrote this song about walking all over an ex. However, boots are an important part of any hike, and walking is exactly what listeners are going to do with them. This classic breakup track seems like it never gets old anyway; you can hear Sinatra's self-confidence and almost a certain level of glee that she's going to get her revenge. While your hike will not be that interesting, this song will at least keep you entertained.
Last but not least, Deana Carter covered "Free Fallin" in the 90's for the television show "King of the Hill." It's just as good as the original Tom Petty song, but because Carter is a female vocalist, she gives the song a certain lightness. She's able to make it sound more pop than rock, and that makes it a very sweet song to wind one's hike down with. Just try not to fall on the way down.
For more on any of the artists featured on this playlist, including tickets to their upcoming concerts, click their names above to visit their artist pages at AXS.