"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 famously covered by Rascal Flatts for the Cars soundtrack, as well as by Chris LeDoux and Jerry Jeff Walker.
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.
End of year charts
|End of year chart (1992)||Position|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||18|
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 Tom playing guitar amid the 'Hoodoos' and the couple running around the car while it rides the Bleriot Ferry across the Red Deer River. The car which features in the music video is a 1965 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport.
The song was used in 1998 TV advertisements by Cleveland, Ohio-based bank National City Corp.
In 1994 the song was used for promotional purposes for the NBC TV series VIPER as a background track.
In the episode, "Employee Transfer" which aired in the fifth season of The Office, three of the characters sing the song while driving a character from Scranton to Nashua.
This song was in Cheaper by the Dozen
Rascal Flatts version
In 2006, American country band Rascal Flatts recorded an autotuned cover of this song for the Disney/Pixar 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! As of the chart dated July 21, 2012, the song has sold 2.887 million in the US.
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 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 country chart.
In 1998, Chris LeDoux released a cover of "Life Is a Highway" on the album One Road Man. Changes include the timing of vocal entrances on the chorus, and location names between the first and second chorus. The locations in his version are Tennessee, L.A. (Los Angeles), San Antone (San Antonio) and (Las) Vegas. This version reached number 64 on the country music charts.
In 2007, the Rascal Flatts version was covered by Alvin and the Chipmunks for their 2007 video game of the same name.
In 2012, Jennifer Nettles and John Glosson performed the song on Duets.
In 2012, November 13, Team Blake in NBC's The Voice performed the song on the Live Shows