I was listening to some good old Willie Nelson tunes recently when I got the idea for a post on the best songs about drinkin'. So with some consideration and consultation with Rick Koster—The Day's music writer and a former musician who flew the flag proudly for party people everywhere—I came up with this list.
You may notice some well-known songs about boozin' missing. But this list is the best songs about drinkin'. No room for overplayed Billy Joel songs and that annoying Chumbawamba song.
So here we go:
-"Gin & Juice"- This Snoop Dogg song is certainly one of the catchiest songs on the list. If you're not careful, it's the kind of tune you'll find yourself humming under your breath at work: "Rollin' down the street...sippin' on gin and juice."
-"Red Red Wine"- When I was younger, the only version of this song I was aware of was the UB40 one. It was a great day when I discovered the Neil Diamond version. Neil Diamond is one of those guilty pleasure musicians. But it seems, as of late, people outside of his diehard cult following are becoming a lot more open about loving his music.
-"Sunday morning coming down"- This Kris Kristofferson song has been covered by several good ole boys but I think the Willie Nelson version is the one that truly captures the essence of the song. It's a sort of cautionary tale, with the opening line, "Well I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt. And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert."
-"1st of tha month"- I've always loved Bone Thugs n Harmony, and it's actually one of my long term goals as a journalist to interview Bizzy Bone (he seems like a fascinating figure). My favorite tune by Bone Thugs is probably Thuggish Ruggish Bone but "1st of the month" is definitely up there. Anyone who has had to go pay rent on the first of the month when they'd rather be "sippin' on 40 ounces, thuggin'" can relate.
-"Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)"- I think this Loretta Lynn tune is a must listen. I came across a live version of it that's quite charming too. There's something about female country musicians that I've always loved. They're so sassy. It's great. One time I couldn't stop listening over and over to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers perform "Islands in the stream." It got to be problematic, but I haven't listened to that song in a while.
-"Tequila sunrise"- I've always been slightly embarrassed by the fact that I really like the Eagles. It got worse after that scene in The Big Lebowski when The Dude says he hates the Eagles. After that it became like cool for people to hate on the Eagles. Whatever. This is still and undeniably good song about drinkin'.
-"Out of gas" and "Polar opposites" – I've lumped these two Modest Mouse songs together because a lot of people may not have heard of them and I don't want to be the guy who goes on about some obscure songs he likes that other people don't know. But if you get a chance, give them a listen. Quite good.
-"I Think I'll Just Stay Here & Drink"- Merle Haggard certainly has a few good drinkin' songs. I like this one, but for further reading see "Tonight the bottle let me down" and "Swingin' Doors."
-"I Gotta Get Drunk"- After consulting Day music writer Rick Koster, I realized this list could easily be known as "Songs by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard." Here's another one from Willie and George Jones.
-"Drinkin' & Dreamin'"- I think Waylon Jennings was the coolest guy ever. It's a shame I never got to be the fifth member of The Highwaymen. I could just see myself up there on stage with Waylon, Willie, Kris and Johnny. I don't know how to play a musical instrument but I'm sure I could pick up the triangle pretty quickly. Anyway, I've gotten a little off topic. But this one by Waylon fits the category and it's a worthy listen.
-Margaritaville- I'm not a big Jimmy Buffett fan. But this one certainly is a classic drinkin' song. And I have to admit every time it comes on the radio I find myself singing along out loud.