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The best Oktoberfest songs of all time

For the best Oktoberfest songs, look no further than these folk songs, rock anthems, oompah faves and singalong classics

Written by
Tolly Wright

If you can’t get out to Munich this year for Oktoberfest, don’t fret. New York has some of the best Oktoberfest events this side of the Atlantic and plenty of the best beer in NYC to celebrate it with. Before you head out to one of the city’s best beer halls and beer gardens, get acquainted with this playlist of the best Oktoberfest songs of all time, the tunes that are sure to be echoing through festival tents this fall.

RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do for Oktoberfest NYC

Listen to the best Oktoberfest songs

Best Oktoberfest songs ranked

1. Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit

A staple of German beer halls and Oktoberfest tents, this short ditty falls into a quick crescendo. When the marching drums start, everyone stands, claps their hands and sings along—then chugs at the very end of the song (it’s rude not to). This song plays on a pretty constant rotation, partially to keep those mugs keep full and the good cheer plentiful.

2. Fürstenfeld

Austrian rock band STS, a group that’s frequently compared to Crosby, Stills & Nash, is behind this massive hit from the ‘80s. Nearly everyone in Germany can sing all the words, so best to brush up.


3. Sierra Madre

Don’t let the Spanish name fool you, this emotional German song was popularized by Austrian volksmusik (folk music) band Zillertaler Schürzenjäger in the late ‘80s. The ballad is saved for near closing time, when the lighters come out, everyone starts swaying and it’s perfectly acceptable to shed a tear into your beer.

4. Das Esellied (Iha Iha Iha oh)

Another folk song that is hard to escape while in Germany, this one is also regularly played by oompah bands stateside due to the prominence of the accordion and its catchy chorus that translates to any language: “Iha, iha, iha, oh.”


5. Die Hände zum Himmel

The songs name “Hands to Heaven” is not a reference to Christian rock, but instead a demand that you wave those damn mitts in the air, which is just what everyone in Germany does to this vaguely Abba-sounding song.

6. In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus

This tune is about as authentic a folk song as you’ll find. The 1935 radio favorite has a lot in common with other Oktobeerfest songs in that it encourages synchronized bier drinking: The repeated phrase “Eins, Zwei, G’suffa” is a countdown to taking a swig, and when you hear “G’suffa” drink down your lager.


7. Hey Baby!

Sure, everyone loves when Bruce Channel’s 1961 hit comes on the oldies station or at some family-friendly beach bar, but Germany fell in love with it all over again in the early aughts with DJ Ötzi’s remix. In recent years it just hasn’t been Oktoberfest if the crowd doesn’t shout in unison “Hey baby! Ooh! Ah! I wanna know if you’ll be my girl.”

8. 99 Luftballons

As perhaps Germany’s greatest pop export, Nena’s most famous song is a shoe-in wherever German music is being celebrated.


9. Skandal im Sperrbezirk

Spider Murphy Gang’s ‘80s rock anthem “Skandal im Sperrbezirk” (which charmingly translates to “Scandal in the Prostitute-Free Zone”) is a continued favorite in the Oktoberfest tents, perfect.

10. Country Roads

Nevermind the fact that, presumably, a very small percentage of Munich revelers have ever visited West Virginia—they still know all the English words to John Denver’s anthem to the state’s natural beauty. Expect to hear it multiple times daily at any Oktoberfest celebration.


11. Cowboy und Indianer

A very peppy, child-friendly techno song, “Cowboys and Indians” might seem like a weird subject for a drinking song, but it has a rather ridiculous dance featuring lassoing, finger guns and invisible horseriding that only gets wilder as the night goes on.

12. Anton aus Triol

After the song became the number one hit in Austria and Germany in 2000, it was quickly adapted to fit the brass-heavy oompah-style bands of Oktoberfest.


13. Fliegerlied

Another song that can easily credit much of its success to its ridiculous choreographed dance, the lyrics to this one encourage listeners to spread their arms like they’re flying, swim through the air, flex their muscles and sing “la la la la la.”

14. Bayern Des San Ma Mia

This song loosely translates to “Bavarian that’s what we are,” which is as good a motto as any for going all out during Oktoberfest. The chant “Bayern Des San Ma Mia” is repeated throughout, so blending in like a local is not so tough.


15. Marmor Stein und Eisen Bricht

A peppy oldies song by German chart-topper Drafi Deutscher, the 1965 song was so massively popular it even got an English translation that was played on the radio in America (the mostly forgotten “Marble breaks and iron bends”).

16. Viva Colonia

A rousing volksmusik-style anthem that declares “Long live Cologne,” its lyrics are sometimes changed to “Viva Bavaria” (Oktoberfest’s home in Munich is pretty far from Cologne). Just watch out for the beer-spilling kick line that forms.


17. Rock Mi

This clap-heavy ditty by One Direction–style boy band Voxxclub was the “wein hit” of 2013 (the Oktoberfest equivalent of a “song of the summer”). Its accompanying video—which features the lads wearing lederhosen, sporting some spectacular coiffure and doing an ankle-slapping dance—does everything to explain its popularity.

18. Atemlos durch die Nacht

One of the most popular dance hits of the past five years, this number by schlager queen (that’s a pop star) Helene Fischer got the oompah treatment upon overwhelming request by the crowds in Munich.


19. Tage Wie Diesen

Though quite a bit slower and more rock-heavy than a lot of the other songs on this list, this tune was the wein hit of 2012, popularized during that summer’s European Cup and bumped all the way into September.

20. YMCA

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the Village Peoples’ endlessly adaptable sing-along tune sounds great played on a tuba and belted out by a beer-swigging crowd.

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