Demonized by some, idolized by others: without alcohol, many a work of art would not exist, and many a super hit would never have come about when sober. The topic “boozing” may not be socially acceptable, but its musical realization certainly is, as the following ranking proves.
In this article, you will find, among other things, German booze songs and songs about alcohol in general, which will be presented in more detail below.
(You can find a Spotify playlist at the end of the article.)
The best German party booze songs:
The best songs about alcohol:
1st place: Whiskey in the Jar – Thin Lizzy
The Irish Rock band Thin Lizzy was founded in 1969 in Dublin. An Irish folk song from the 17. or 18.
Century was also the one that made the band famous beyond the Country’s borders practically overnight. “Whiskey in the Jar” deals with the usual ingredients of interpersonal drama: Love, deceit, and betrayal. The first-person narrator goes from being a robber to being robbed and urges his fellow sex workers not to follow a woman named Molly (or Jenny) into the room. The band created a monument for the musical eternity with distinctive guitar solos.
Numerous Cover versions pay tribute to the Irish, above all worth listening to and especially successful: the one by Metallica, which probably captures the spirit of the original best.
2nd place: A Glass of Champagne – Sailor
Sailor”, on the other hand, serves their counterpart an elegant invitation to a glass of champagne, at least musically. The album “Trouble,” released in 1976, helped the British pop band with Scandinavian roots to the international breakthrough. However, in the age of political correctness, the lyrics would probably no longer succeed.
Defining your female counterpart by her figure and face would get you maximum negative headlines these days.
3rd place: Too drunk to F*CK – Dead Kennedys
To bring another negative effect of too much alcohol closer to the masses. Whether it is suitable as a warning for young people and the undecided remains to be seen due to its clear choice of words.
American radio stations didn’t exactly play the 1981 release “Too drunk to F*ck” on the powerplay, but that didn’t detract from the band’s cult status. The punk rockers from San Francisco existed as a band from 1978 to 1986 but are still regarded as legendary representatives of punk in its purest form. Like other artists of this music genre, such as The Ramones, The Clash, or the Sex Pistols, their lyrics do not shy away from system criticism or sharp shots against the establishment.
4th place: Eisgekühlter Bommerlunder – Die Toten Hosen
When the German flagship punkers gave the world this step-by-step guide to successful coma drinking in 1983, probably no one, least of all the “Hosen” themselves, had any idea that decades later they would be filling concert halls around the world and thrilling audiences in their millions. “Bommerlunder” was the band’s third single and was released on the album “Bis zum bitteren Ende.” The ode to the Kümmelschnaps founded in a certain way the genre of the modern drinking song in the German-speaking world. Most important feature: Few lyrics, easy to remember, but relatively meaningless and can therefore be successfully sung along even at a very late hour under any table or bar.
Anyone who has the pleasure of seeing the Toten Hosen live today will notice that (commercial) success over the decades has one main ingredient: the unbridled, immoderate, childlike, and excessive joy of playing.
5th place: Summer Wine – Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood
Nancy Sinatra offers a drink of a different kind with “Summer Wine” Lee Hazlewood. The mixture reminds in its effect of modern K.-o.-drops, which give the male part a severe headache and make him wake up from his unconscious sleep relieved of his wallet and silver spurs (the song is set in the country milieu). The successful and very catchy crossover of hippie sound and Country appeared in 1966 on the album “The Very Special World Of Lee Hazlewood.”
However, the song became commercially successful only thanks to Nancy Sinatra, a previously recorded duet with another singer who could not inspire the masses.
6th place: Red, Red Wine – UB40
Even representatives of reggae sometimes indulge in the stylish enjoyment of red wine. This classic UB40 song also serves to overcome heartbreak and forget about heartache.
Released on the 1983 hit album “Labour of Love,” their love of red wine gave UB40 a number one hit in the UK. However, the lyrics and music were penned by Neil Diamond, who was able to land a hesitant hit with it in 1968; it pales next to the success of the cover version of UB40 about 20 years later.
7th place: Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) – The Doors
The third of the Club 27 members ask here to the next drinking hall. Jim Morrison, charismatic frontman of the Doors, created a monument with the “Alabama Song” during his lifetime.
After his untimely death – his grave at the Paris cemetery Père Lachaise – is still his fans’ cult place and pilgrimage site. The song appeared on the debut album “The Doors” in 1967 and has achieved cult status over the years and decades and prominent godfathers. The text comes from none other than Bertolt Brecht.
The “Alabama Song” was part of his 1927 poetry collection and was set to music by Brecht’s congenial alter ego Kurt Weill, who also composed the Threepenny Opera.
8th place: Rehab – Amy Winehouse
The Cub 27 line-up is the “genius of excess” – Amy Winehouse. “Rehab” impressively describes her consistent refusal to undergo rehab, including her parents’ approval. The song appeared in 2006 on the successful album “Back to Black” and was the first single release.
In addition to weeks of chart success, “Rehab” brought Amy Winehouse 3 Grammys. Whether the message of the song was the right one? We say: No, no, №
9th place: What good can drinkin’ do – Janis Joplin
Another one who should know is Janis Joplin. In her far too short life, drugs and alcohol were constant companions, which is why she belongs to the sad but legendary Club 27 – singers who celebrate their 27th birthday.
To have not survived her 50th birthday. In this ranking, Janis is not the only one. The song is not one of her superhits; nevertheless, it is worth hearing.
The theme is the briefly positive effect on the mood, followed by the disillusionment of the next day: Everything is just as wrong as before. “What good can drinkin’ do” was ironically the first song ever recorded by Janis Joplin. It was part of the 1975 album “Janis” and showed a hunch like how Janis’s short, intense life will take in further consequence.
10th place: Walk the Line – Johnny Cash
Only known to later generations through the film of the same name, “Walk the Line” is one of the most personal songs of old master Johnny Cash. His struggle to stay clean and sober is the subject of the song, a drama Cash himself faced for years and decades of his life. Released in 1956, the song became Cash’s first hit to break the million-selling barrier.
I walk the Line” received its accolade in 2004: It landed at number 30 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. Especially touching: the chorus’s lyrics: Because you’re mine, I walk the line. Who knows his life and love story with June Carter, knows about her meaning for Johnny Cash and his finally successful exit from drug and alcohol consumption.
Number 11: One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer – John Lee Hooker
A simple order at a trusted bar can bring international fame to a musically gifted bar patron. The cover versions of this classic are numerous, the song is one of the most versatile blues-rock hits ever.
The founder of the “Delta Blues” was actively successful in the music business for almost five decades; besides his performances, he worked for numerous artists as a composer and lyricist. This song appeared in 1966 on the album of the same name and is considered his musical signature. In addition to his extensive musical output, Hooker was also known for performing songs by other artists in modified form. Its finesse, to scrape hard past plagiarism, went down in the music world as “Adaptation à la Hooker.”
Another characteristic of his songs: the refusal to rhyme when a rhyme actually seemed inevitable.
12th place: Cold Gin – Kiss
“Cold Gin” is from Kiss’ first album of the same name, released in 1974. The style of the song reminds demanding ears strongly of AC/DC, but this is probably simply due to the zeitgeist of the early hard rockers of the 70s. Kiss also swear by the healing power of high-proof alcohol for heartbreak and lovesickness. Since the band is still active after decades on the stages of this world and lives worth seeing and hearing, a glass of gin now and then does not seem to be detrimental to health.
However, an end to the masquerade in black and white is in sight: since 2019, Kiss has been on their farewell tour. Motto: “End of the Road.
13th place: Gin House Blues – Nina Simone
The best people to sing about alcohol and its effects are always those artists who have dedicated half their lives and careers to intoxication. This is also what happened with the great Nina Simone.
In “Gin House Blues,” she brings out all the facets of addiction, including the ambiguous offer to be nice to her male counterpart in exchange for alcohol. The recording with her at the piano from the album “Forbidden Fruit” from 1961 is regarded as a milestone of the Blues. From today’s perspective, the song is a frighteningly honest self-testimony, which testifies not only to addiction but also to the creativity that can be released under the influence of drugs and alcohol. However, her dance on the double-edged sword brought her not only commercial success.
In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine listed it as number 29 of the 100 best singers of all-time best female singers of all time.
14th place: Alcohol – The Kinks
As in most typical Kinks songs, a story is also told here. The demon alcohol as a universal destroyer, which enslaves its consumers and erases memories, is skillfully wrapped in lush blues and comes across as a pleasing crowd pleaser. The song appeared in 1971 on the 9. studio album “Muswell Hillbillies,” which disappointed commercially but is still treated as an insider tip among music critics today.
In addition, the “Lola” released the year before, which was an event in several respects, still cast a shadow.
15th place: Alcohol – Herbert Grönemeyer
Grönemeyer turned night into day with the album “4630 Bochum” in 1984. The single “Alcohol” is about addiction and delirium and describes the widespread consumption in the different social classes and their grip on drugs, medicines, and just the 40-percent balance.
In a nutshell, alcohol is the tightrope you stand on and the ship you go down with. Which actually says it all.
#16: Escape (The Piña Colada Song) – Rupert Holmes
When a singer/songwriter uses a personal ad to find a female acquaintance who likes piña coladas and walks in the rain, the result can be a super hit. This is what happened with “Escape,” a lovely song that has been known almost exclusively as the “Piña Colada Song” since its release in 1976. The proverbial end of the song was, by the way, that his partner got in touch with him after reading the personal ad.
She was open to new things, and besides Piña Coladas also for champagne and Sex on the Beach, which in the song does not mean the cocktail of the same name.
#17: Happy Hour – The Housemartins
The “Housemartins” dedicated this song to the hour of cheap cocktails and fleeting flirtations. The British indie-pop band only existed for a short time, but today, their hits are still played with pleasure.
Happy Hour” couldn’t match the worldwide success of “Caravan of Love,” but the song, which appeared on the 1986 album “London 0 Hull 4,” marked the band’s brilliant end. The happy hour remained in the Top 3 for 13 weeks.
18th place: Have a Drink on Me – AC/DC
AC/DC has undoubtedly had a drink on themselves a few times in their decades-long career. And rightly so: Their music is a fixed star among the most popular bands Rock legends of the late 70s and 80s. “Have a Drink on Me” has always been a bit of a stepchild, even though the song – starting with Angus Young’s distinctive guitar intro and ending with Brian Johnson’s signature vocals – is typical of the hard rockers from Australia.
The single from the album “Back in Black” was released in 1980, but could not win the charts for itself.
19th place: Drunk in Love – Beyoncé
The great Beyoncé Knowles is not only known for guaranteed hits, but she is also legendary for her strict diet and fitness program. So it’s no wonder that she’s drunk with love at most times, not high-proofs. “Drunk in Love” was released in 2013 as the second single from the album “Beyoncé” in cooperation with Jay-Z, Beyoncé’s husband and pleasant partner in crime.
The slow rap ballad reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
№ 20: Warm Beer and Cold Women – Tom Waits
With this hymn to the typical barstool lifestyle, the master of dark tones has set a monument to all bar philosophers worldwide. The song appeared on the 1975 album “Nighthawks at the Diner” and is about the singer’s alcohol-soaked attempt to forget a woman.
The sailor at the barstool next to him, who tells him he’s better off without her, acknowledges Waits by showing off his tattoo and ordering another round of drinks.
Places 21-78 songs about alcohol:
High-octane music history(s)
Whether autobiographically influenced or just for fun: out of a wine mood, musically and artistically, truly great things can arise. The ranking shows the pulsating creativity that the intoxication of the legal drug number one can provide to a creative process and its protagonists. But it also shows how easily the fine line between genius and madness can be crossed toward the abyss with each glass too many.