One of my wife’s best friends, Nancy, passed away a couple of years ago from cancer. It was a very sad time for both my wife, me and everyone who knew Nancy. She was one of my favorite people on the planet. I like to think, even though she was my wife’s friend, that Nancy was my friend too. It was an honor to have known her. Usually you meet your wife’s friends and its a polite if distant relationship at best. That was not the case for Nancy and I. The thing that clicked for Nancy and I was her love of rock ‘n’ roll. She and I were total iPod junkies (we’ll set aside the arguments about sound quality for now, nothing sounds as good as vinyl). Well, in all honesty, we clicked over music and the fact that she loved to drink. Every time she came over to the house for a bout of drinking wine or exotic vodka cocktails, she would always have a new song to play for me. Nevermind the fact that all the songs were usually a woman singing a sad song over a piano, it was just great that she wanted to share her music with me. She came to the house one time with a tiny book crammed with suggestions for different, themed playlists. There were hundreds of them in this book. I miss her dearly, and her photograph, taken with my wife, remains on my bar to this day.
I am terrible at putting together playlists, my wife is the expert on that one. For all I know about music, my tastes vary way too much to put together a coherent playlist. I like old, new, obscure, popular, loud, quiet, party and cerebral music. I like it all. Every time we have a party my wife puts on a play list and without fail someone leans close to the speaker, shushes me and then asks, “Who is this singing, this is awesome?” When I put on a play list at a party, inevitably someone says, “Can we put on that music your wife played at the last party.” Oh, well.
However, when you start a blog entitled “Bourbon and Vinyl” it’s probably inevitable that eventually you’re going to put together a playlist of songs about drinking to listen to, well, while you’re drinking. Most rock songs about drinking fall into two categories: sad laments about the evils of drinking or angry denunciations and warnings about the evils of drinking. However, if you’ve spent as much time listening to music as I have you will eventually find those rare rock songs that celebrate the joys of having a nice cocktail. I’m talking about upbeat songs that celebrate having a good time. So, without further adieu, here is my Drinking Playlist. This one’s for you Nancy, salute!
These songs were chosen in no particular order. I list them in the order I thought of them. I like to put the iPod settings on ‘shuffle songs’ so the songs play in a different order each time I play them. Pour something strong, make sure you’ve got a designated driver and enjoy! Again, don’t drink and drive, people.
- AC/DC – Have a Drink On Me, “with a glass I’m pretty handy”, indeed I am.
- The Doors – Roadhouse Blues, “I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer…” I have to admit this song totally reminds me of college.
- Cream – Strange Brew. This song was recorded in the 60s so I’m not even sure it’s actually about “brew”, but it’s Cream, turn it up loud.
- The Rolling Stones – Pass the Wine (Sophia Loren), “Pass the wine and let’s make some love”. That Mick Jagger just knows how to live.
- Eric Clapton – Bottle of Red Wine. This is a great, obscure track from Eric’s first solo album produced by Delaney Bramlett. Great guitar, as you’d expect.
- The Eagles – Chug All Night. This nugget is off the Eagles’ first album. It’s obscure but has a great dueling guitar solos at the end.
- ZZ Top – Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers. We’ve got wine and liquor on the list, we needed a lusty beer drinking song. Billy Gibbons’ guitar is amazing on this song.
- Lynyrd Skynyrd – Whiskey Rock-a-Roller, “women, whiskey and rock ‘n’ roll is all I understand.” Oh, Ronnie Van Zant, as the Greeks used to say, “those who the Gods love die young.”
- Elton John – Elderberry Wine, “drunk all the time, feeling fine on elderberry wine”. I don’t even know what an elderberry is, but Elton makes it sounds great.
- Thin Lizzy – Whiskey in a Jar, there’s also a great version of this song by Metallica, but I went with the original.
- Kiss – Cold Gin. Luckily I didn’t get into music until well after the Kiss craze was over. I had friends who were in the Kiss Army and I’m pretty sure they’ve all hidden those photographs, if not out right burned them. I was never crazy about Kiss but they have a handful of songs that I do enjoy and this is one of them. Its gin and its cold. Let’s have some.
- Van Halen – Romeo Delight, “I’m taking whiskey to the party tonight and I’m looking for somebody to squeeze”. This describes every Saturday night I had in college. Diamond Dave at his best.
- AC/DC – Carry Me Home. This may be the funniest song on this list. There does seem to be a preponderance of drinking songs in the AC/DC lexicon. This one is from the old Bon Scott (RIP) days in which the protagonist is pleading with a lady at the bar to give him a place to crash. I think we’ve all been there.
- Foreigner – Double Vision. Title track from their second album. Great riff.
- Boston – Party. OK, I’ll admit this song has nothing to do with drinking, per se. But any song with lyrics like, “there’s a party and nobody cares what we’re doing there” at least has the spirit. And every good playlist should have some Boston on it.
- Van Halen – Bottoms Up. I think Diamond Dave is talking about a glass, but he might just be talking about a woman…either way, it just works.
- Scorpions – Blackout, “I had to blackout…” Not something I would advise anybody who isn’t a German rock star with a cadre of handlers, drivers and lawyers to manage this situation. But it is a monster riff.
- Guns n Roses – Nighttrain, “take your credit card to the liquor store”. Ah Axl, what went wrong?
- Green Day – Hitchin’ a Ride. Again, I’m not sure the protagonist is falling off the alcohol wagon or something more sinister. You never know with punk rock. Great song, though.
- AC/DC – Whiskey on the Rocks, “a double or a shot”. I prefer mine neat.
- Rod Stewart – Cigarettes and Alcohol. I know this is an Oasis song but Rod seems like he’d be a lot more fun to drink with. I saw Oasis and frankly the lead singer, Liam seems like a dick.
- Airbourne – Cheap Wine & Cheaper Woman. These guys are a poor man’s AC/DC from Australia. Something about this song just appealed to me.
- Rod Stewart – Legless, “I’m in the mood, I’m in the mood to get shit-faced tonight”. Now there’s something you don’t hear in a rock song every day. I am so delighted Rod started writing songs again.
- Sammy Hagar – Mas Tequila. Well you knew this guy was going to be on the drinking playlist. He started a tequila company.
- Hell Yeah – Alcohol and Ass, a song I’m proud to tell you my wife turned me onto. I laugh every time I hear this song.
- The Rolling Stones & Buddy Guy – Champagne and Reefer (Live), “give me champagne when I’m thirsty…” This was originally done by Muddy Waters and I was tempted to put his version on this playlist, but Buddy Guy’s guitar will melt your face off on this live version done with the Stones.
- Lou Reed, “The Power Of Positive Drinking” – A late discovery for me… love it.
Well, there you have it, my Drinking Songs Playlist. Turn it up loud and as always, Enjoy!