The 50 best drinking songs

Raise a toast to the greatest pop, punk, rap, country and Irish drinking songs ever recorded about beer, whiskey, wine and white lightning

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40
“Bound 2” by Kanye West

“Hold My Liquor” by Kanye West

This Yeezus cut has little to do with drinking and just as much to say about pussy and Deepak Chopra. But we love hearing backwoods soft-rock star Justin Vernon and delinquent drill rapper Chief Keef playing two little devils on Kanye’s shoulders. The Bon Iver bro proclaims, “I can hold my liquor”; the Chicago kid retorts, “I can’t handle no liquor”; and Yeezy delivers the punch line: “Slightly scratch your Corolla… Okay, I smashed your Corolla.” It's 2013’s best addict tragicomedy, next to the Lemmon quaaludes scene in The Wolf of Wall Street.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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39

“Have a Drink on Me” by AC/DC

Some might find it morose to include artists like Janis Joplin and Elliott Smith—who died young after wrestling with their demons—on a list about booze. Then there’s AC/DC. Frontman Bon Scott attended his final recording session with the group in February 1980, working with Malcolm and Angus on this track. Days later, he was dead from alcohol poisoning. What did the band do? Mope? No, it hired a new singer and threw this cut on Back in Black.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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38

“Bank Holiday” by Blur

As an American, the closest thing I have to a bank holiday is Presidents' Day, which is hardly a rousing cause for shouting "Prost!" (Note: If Abe Lincoln is an excuse for you to drink, you are a raging alcoholic.) But this 1994 Britpop punker gave me a snapshot of U.K. binge culture in 1 minute and 42 seconds. “Bank holiday comes with six-pack of beer! Then it’s back to work! Ay! Ay! Ay!” Albarn barks in a hops-soaked slur. Funny how Blur and Oasis fans fought. They all wanted a drink.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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37

“Irish Drinking Song” by Buck-O-Nine

It would have been an unconscionable oversight to not include a Celtic punk track. Personally, I stomach bands like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys (who often get credit for this 1994 skanker) as well as I do a Jäger bong. This sort of steroid jock-ska is like having a bro in a Bruins hat projectile-vomit in your ear. Still, you gotta have one of these songs.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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36

“Milk and Alcohol” by Dr. Feelgood

The Big Lebowski may have cornered the market on White Russian references in pop culture, but this (rhythmically) chugging delight from bluesy Brits Dr. Feelgood gives dairy its sonic due. Written by Nick Lowe (after a night spent drinking Kahlúa and watching John Lee Hooker perform), its seedy stomp and heavy riffing positively ooze the illicit joys of a night on the town. Warning: may not be suitable for the lactose intolerant.—Oliver Keens

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35

“Beer” by People Under the Stairs

This L.A. rap duo is hardly a household name. That seems to be somewhat intentional, as Thes One and Double K never had greater aspirations than to throw a ridonkulous house party, and no desire to take hip-hop beyond the scratch heyday of two turntables and a microphone. God bless ’em. “To my liver and kidneys, your time is near / You like hangin’ on Twitter, and we like beer,” proclaims K. The 2009 video is an homage to Laverne & Shirley. These dudes would make a great sitcom, too.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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34

“I Like Beer” by Tom T. Hall

Gee, this stein-swinging sing-along from 1975 makes drunks seem quaint and adorable. Like commercials with horses falling in love with puppies. Not like raging douchebags who get into fights about football and fall in the street.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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33

“More Beer” by Fear

How hard did these OG L.A. punks party? John Belushi, a goliath of excess, pushed to book them on SNL. Fun fact about that 1981 appearance, in which Lee Ving and his snotty band performed “Beef Baloney”: Straight-edge godfather Ian MacKaye can be seen slam-dancing on the stage. We’re guessing he ditched the Fear bandwagon before the release of “More Beer,” the title track from the group's 1985 album, which also features “Have a Beer with Fear.”—Brent DiCrescenzo

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32

“Cold Gin” by Kiss

When I think of gin, I think of British gentlemen wearing bowlers and monocles, sipping Bombay or Hendrick’s with their pinkies raised until they get sloshed enough to roll up their cuffed sleeves and box with their fists curled inward. I certainly don’t think of horny dudes from Queens dressed like space clowns. But, whaddaya know, Kiss dropped the gin anthem in 1974.—Brent DiCrescenzo

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31

“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” by George Thorogood and the Destroyers

This drinkin’ blues song was first recorded in 1953, becoming one of several of its kind to reach the Top Ten on the Billboard R&B chart. John Lee Hooker popularized the tune with his 1966 cover, but Thorogood took it to a whole new level of bitching and moaning in his 1977 version, borrowing another of Hooker’s songs, "House Rent Boogie," to serve as a backstory to explain the sorry singer’s situation. Someone please give the man his drinks and shut him up already.—Kate Wertheimer

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2 comments
DEBORAH F
DEBORAH F

I didn't see Ein Kleiner Jagermeister, which SHOULD be #1 on that list.