Our 11 Favorite Drinking Songs. Cheers!

Categories: Pop Life

Photo by Groovehouse
Dropkick Murphys at House of Blues in February
Long Island Iced Teas
As far as drinking songs go, for my money, there's no better one for those nights when you can only sit around, drinking, lamenting being such an irredeemable fuckup than "Mama Tried" by Merle Haggard. Even if you didn't turn 21 in prison, you can somehow identify. The Old 97s' version is great, too, but they have their own classic drinking song, and that's "W-I-F-E."

The Dropkick Murphys are good for a bunch of them, the most obvious being "Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced," but my favorite has to be "Bastards On Parade" which goes surprisingly smoothly from tragic lamentation to rousing rallying call, and then joyously salutes the end of the Pogues' "Turkish Song of the Damned" with a similar stompworthy breakdown. Speaking of the Pogues, their "The Sickbed of Cuchulainn" has to rank among the all-time greats.

One of the great tragedies of the late '90s is that Austin's Prescott Curlywolf never achieved the national success that they should have. If they had, America might have made more use of a fantastic little overlooked gem of a drinking song, "Thanks, Mean Joe!" Finally, the best closing -time song ever written isn't that overwrought piece of shit by Semisonic. In fact, it doesn't even have words. It's the Reverend Horton Heat's version of "The Entertainer."

Unless your misery is so deep it's actually driving you a little crazy, and you're having such a genuinely horrible time that there's no chance whatsoever of drinking enough whiskey to make your own sadness funny (but you're still going to try), in which case: all of Tom Waits' "Rain Dogs." JOHN SEABORN GRAY

Last Call
Drinking songs are subjective, but I've always thought that the best ones walk a thin line between being brutally honest and somehow sounding upbeat. Sublime's "40 Oz. to Freedom" and Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places" come to mind. If nothing else, I surely can't be the only one who cringes watching that guy at the bar, who's sulking so low he might as well place his face into the bottle he's drinking from as Hinder croons sappy lyrics overhead.

Give me a fun beat and keep the lyrics that are lighthearted and fun. We've all been there, but the answer's always waiting at the liquor store alongside our surly, seasoned companions. Or, when in doubt, spin some old-school hip-hop, like Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice" or Bun B's "Get Throwed." MATTHEW KEEVER


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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."


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

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