Drivers at ease with middle-of-the-road melodies

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When it comes to drive-time music, Britain's motorists are relentlessly middle-aged and middle-of-the-road in their tastes, it seems. A survey of the songs listened to behind the wheel shows most drivers reject life in the musical fast lane, and prefer safe - some might say bland - easy- listening music of the Seventies over more cutting-edge melodies.

There is, for example, no Sex Pistols, Stranglers or even David Bowie to wake the driver up during long boring trips.

Instead, top of the list is John Denver's 1973 hit, Country Road, whose blend of banal lyrics and droning tune appear to be the perfect accompaniment for motorists to drum their fingers on the steering wheel and while away traffic jams.

Another favourite is the well-worn classic Hotel California, by the Eagles, while Don MacLean's American Pie is yet one more comfort tune used by drivers to reduce the stress of their driving. Coming second behind John Denver in the survey of 700 drivers by Autoglass is Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

One theory is that these well-known, mellow songs - whose words are instantly recognisable and have unthreatening melodies - may be chosen as deliberate protection against road rage. The findings also suggest that motorway service station managers who fill shelves with the least challenging music they can find have got their market spot-on. The only 1990s sound to make a showing was the Oasis track, Roll With It, which came seventh.

The survey asked drivers whether music in the car made them better or worse motorists. Nearly two-thirds said music calmed them down, while one in five said it made them more considerate. But one in 10 said they drove more than 10 miles an hour faster when loud music was on the stereo.

The Top Ten choices are:

1. John Denver - Country Road.

2. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody.

3. Frank Sinatra - New York, New York.

4. Eagles - Hotel California.

5. Don MacLean - American Pie.

6. Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl.

7. Oasis - Roll With It.

8. Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run.

9. Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven.

10. Aretha Franklin - Respect.