To mark the 70th anniversary of the album, the AA asked more than 20,000 motorists: “Which classic album would you choose to listen to when driving alone?”
The top ten were:
1. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
2. The Beatles – Sgt Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band
3. Ed Sheeran – Divide
4. Paul Simon – Graceland
5. Adele – 21
6. David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust
7. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
8. Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
9. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
10. U2 – The Joshua Tree
There were some variations within the age groups, but Rumours made the top two across all age groups. The top three for 18-34 year olds were Divide (19%), Rumours (9%) and the Greatest Showman Soundtrack (also 9%); for 35-54 year olds it was Rumours (12%), Divide (8%) and The Joshua Tree (7%); and for over 55s it was Rumours (15%), Sgt. Pepper and Graceland (8%).
Interestingly, older drivers were more likely not to listen to an album while driving than younger drivers – perhaps counter-intuitive in the age of streaming.
“Playing an album can help reduce boredom on long journeys, but is there an ideal type of music to drive to?” asked AA President Edmund King. “Some academics warn that up-tempo loud music may not be as safe as slower, quieter tracks. We are told that if music is above 60 beats per minute, listeners experience a faster heart rate and increased blood pressure which could lead to them taking more risks. Classical music may not be as fast as dance music, but the number of notes, combined with the repetitive crescendo and diminuendo can have the same effect.”
A spokesperson for National Album Day claimed that “over a fifth of all music listening takes place in the car.”