Life Is a Highway

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"Life Is a Highway"
Single by Tom Cochrane
from the album Mad Mad World
Released September 20, 1991[1]
Recorded 1990
Genre Rock, heartland rock
Length 4:24
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Tom Cochrane
Producer(s) Tom Cochrane, Joe Hardy
Certification Gold (CRIA)[2]
Tom Cochrane singles chronology
"White Hot" (Live)
"Life Is a Highway"
"No Regrets"

"Life Is a Highway" is a song written by Tom Cochrane, from his 1991 album Mad Mad World. The song was Cochrane's most famous song, as it was a number one hit in his native Canada. The song also peaked at number six on the Billboard charts in the United States in 1992. The song has been covered by Rascal Flatts for the Cars soundtrack, as well as by Chris LeDoux, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Home Free.

Song information[edit]

In the 1990s Cochrane took his family to West Africa, where he helped to raise awareness and money for the World Vision famine relief organization. That experience shaped his next album Mad Mad World which contained "Life Is a Highway". Places mentioned in the song are Mozambique, Memphis, Khyber Pass, and Vancouver.

The song was Cochrane's only Top 40 hit in the United States.


Music video[edit]

The original video for "Life Is a Highway" was produced by Albert Botha who went on to line produce two films for Saturday Night Live, Superstar starring Molly Shannon and The Ladies Man starring Tim Meadows. The video was shot in Alberta's Badlands, near the city of Drumheller. Many of the shots are in familiar locations along the Dinosaur Trail, including Cochrane playing guitar amid the Hoodoos and the couple (Brennan Elliot)running around the car while it rides the Bleriot Ferry across the Red Deer River. It also has an older man (gas station attendant), a couple (tall man, short wife), and two women from a religious order. The car which features in the music video is a 1965 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport.

The plot for the video is a pastiche of the 1991 Canadian dark comedy, Highway 61. The song was originally offered by Capitol Records to the film's director, Bruce McDonald, to use in the film. McDonald declined the offer, citing that the song was "too poppy".

Rascal Flatts version[edit]

"Life Is a Highway"
Single by Rascal Flatts
from the album Cars: The Soundtrack and Me and My Gang
Released June 6, 2006
Format Digital download
Recorded 2006
Genre Country rock
Length 4:37
Label Lyric Street, Walt Disney
Writer(s) Tom Cochrane
Producer(s) Dann Huff
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
Rascal Flatts singles chronology
"Me and My Gang"
"Life Is a Highway"
"My Wish"

In 2006 American country band Rascal Flatts recorded a cover of this song for the DisneyPixar animated film Cars. The movie was released on June 9, 2006. The song sold a large quantity of digital downloads, leading to a top ten peak on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, the cover was placed as a bonus track on later versions of the album Me and My Gang, and also was included on their Greatest Hits Volume 1. This version also won the "Favorite Song from a Movie" award at the 33rd People's Choice Awards. The instrumental of the Rascal Flatts' cover version was prominently featured in the Top Gear American special aired February 11, 2007. The song is included on the soundtrack for Lego Rock Band. It topped the 2 million mark in paid downloads as of the chart dated March 28, 2009.[5] As of March 2013, the song has sold over 3 million copies in the US.[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video portrays the three band members pulling into a drive-in theater driving three vintage vehicles. The cars allude to three characters from the movie: Lightning McQueen, Doc Hudson and Mater. As the projector rolls, scenes from the Disney/Pixar movie Cars are shown as the band plays through the number. It was directed by Shaun Silva.


The Rascal Flatts version subsequently became a hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it peaked at number #7. Even though it was not officially released to country radio, many country stations played the song as an album cut, overlapping with their then-current country single "My Wish". The unsolicited country airplay brought "Life Is a Highway" to number #18 on the US Country Song chart.

Chart (2006) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[7] 18
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 7
US Billboard Pop 100 9

Other covers[edit]


External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Just Came Back" by Colin James
Juno Award for Single of the Year
Succeeded by
"Beauty and the Beast" by Celine Dion/Peabo Bryson