Our 11 Favorite Drinking Songs. Cheers!

Categories: Pop Life

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Just two of the tasty libations that lie within.
Many drinkers have a dialogue in their heads that also plays out in great drinking songs throughout the ages. "Why do you drink?" asks the great prophet Bocephus. "It's five o'clock somewhere," reply the equally sage Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett.

Rocks Off wanted to know our writers' favorite drinking songs, so we asked them. Simple as that. Some of you may notice that the number in this headline is a little irregular compared to most of our other listicles. Of course, we had to tie one on.

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"Borracho Sin Cantina," Vicente Fernandez
I'm not saying there's a jug o' beer in our family crest or anything, but I come from a long, storied line of Mexican/Chicano drinkers. I'm neither making a racial statement (calm down, kids) nor a proud proclamation here, and neither was Vicente Fernandez in "Borracho Sin Cantina."

This song about a drunk without a bar sounds like the one you'd play if you were drinking in an Aguascalientes dive . It's one of the best drinking songs because of Fernandez's spine-chilling gritos and sorrowful delivery; because of its blaring horns; and, because of the lyrics, which describe a man "lost in the vice," with no love, money or even a place to sleep, all because of the hooch. He begs the high priest of his pantheon (the bartender) to let him in for just one more taste. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.


"Driving Nails In My Coffin," Jerry Irby
One would probably be hard-pressed to find a single person of a certain age who doesn't know the words to this honky-tonk masterpiece. Written by Houston's own Jerry Irby, who was not only a writer and performer but also owned several joints around town, "Driving Nails" was a huge hit for both Ernest Tubb and (to a lesser degree) for locally based singer Floyd Tillman in 1946.

Hank Thompson hit with it again in 1957. Asleep at the Wheel revived it when they moved to Austin in the '70s; it remains a part of their repertoire. It's a quintessential tale of man spurned by a woman turning to drink to salve his pride, but knowing that each bottle is a step closer to oblivion. Now that's honky-tonk existentialism. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH


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"Family Tradition," Hank Williams, Jr
Look, I know this song is the epitome of clichéd drinking songs, which is precisely why I chose it. I don't think I went to one single college party out in the woods near Nacogdoches (aka Naconowhere) where this song wasn't blasted out of the speakers of some beat-up old pickup truck.

It's the quintessential drinking song for a reason: people throwing back some Natty Light out of a keg in East Texas don't give a damn what you think about their drinking habits, and who else to tell that tale than Hank Jr? Oh, and the fiddle you hear is none other than Charlie Daniels, only adding to this song's country street cred. ANGELICA LEICHT


Have another round on the next page.

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3 comments
MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Um, The Pogues? Hello? I see a lot of songs and "characters" and an AWFUL lot of imitators but Shane MacGowan lived every drop of every song he sang. 

There's nothing ever gained by a wet thing called a tear, when the world is too dark, and I need the light inside of me, I'll walk into a bar and drink 15 pints of beer

"Streams of Whiskey."

WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning

@MadMac Lend me ten pounds and I'll buy you a beer / And, mother, wake me early in the morning.

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