Serious drinking isn't compulsory, of course – not everyone enjoys waking up next to a stranger with their mouth tasting of stale vomit and head pounding like a pneumatic drill – but it's still a very popular hobby.
Like all hobbies, drinking needs a soundtrack. Songs to party to, songs to lift the soul, songs to stir the blood.
So we've compiled 20 absolute bangers to ensure that your next liaison with alcohol is as upbeat as the hangover almost certainly won't be. Cheers.
Please drink responsibly. For further information please visit Drinkaware.
Judas Priest - Livin’ After Midnight
Chainsaw riffs and a throbbing motorcycle beat propel this, our favorite outlaw metal anthem. Pure chest-thumping, hair-raising, spirit-glugging machismo. People who can’t handle the manly musk of used leather and burnt chrome may want to check out The Donnas’ version of this timeless classic.
Ozzy Osbourne - Flying High Again
There really isn’t an Ozzy Osbourne song you can’t pound booze and raise hell to – including the ones written specifically as a warning against raising hell and pounding booze. This one was written way before Ozzy started apologising for being so awesome, which is why we love it. Swallowing colours, all that kinda bullshit.
Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild
No explanation necessary. Drink beer, smoke dope, ride motorcycles, fuck the establishment. If you’re too cool for 60s biker rock, then you might want to try The Cult’s version. If you’re too cool for The Cult, then you could try the Zodiac Mindwarp version. That one sorta sucks, though.
Kiss - Rock And Roll All Nite
This is, after all, the Rock N’ Roll National Anthem, and therefore must be included in any list of songs about drinking and/or hell raising. Yes, it was mostly written by Gene Simmons, a dude who never drank a drop in his life, but he spits fire and had sex with Cher, so let’s call it even.
Guns N' Roses - Nightrain
Has there ever been a song that sounded so much like its subject? As Axl barks orders to his girlfriend to ‘Take your credit card to the liquor store’, Slash and Izzy Stradlin trade woozy licks like two cock-eyed drunks slipping on the ice. Just listening to this song can earn you a DUI in several US states.
ZZ Top - Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers
Texan power-boogie champs ZZ Top take the classic honky-tonk drinkin’ song ingredients – twang, self-pity, Dutch courage – and mess ‘em up good with dirty metal riffs and a wicked snake-stomping beat Those among us with an aversion to beards or cowboy hats may want to stick with the Motorhead version.
Scorpions - Blackout
We have to hand it to the Germanic riff kings, they have created the ultimate ode to the terrors of third-stage alcoholism with this one, from the loss of memory to the skull-splattering hangovers. Of course, they make it sound too cool to actually quit drinking, but still, nice try.
Billy Idol - Mony Mony
Originally recorded by Tommy James And The Shondells in 1968, Billy Idol turned this fairly benign R&B rave-up into a profanity-laden ode to sex & booze that remains the highlight of his live set. Sing it with us, now: ‘Hey motherfucker, get drunk, get fucked!’
Andrew WK - Party Hard
This list is starting to look like we quit drinking in 1981, so here’s a slightly more recent entry in the party-till-you-puke genre. Sweaty almost-man Andrew WK piled 17 layers of thrash metal guitars onto a psychotic football chant and the result was this, a nearly perfect ode to cheap beer and teenage stupidity.
Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town
There isn’t a band out there that sounds better pouring out of a jukebox at your favourite watering hole surrounded by your favourite people than Thin Lizzy. This quintessential booze-guzzler is the ultimate feel-good anthem, especially when the pints are flowing freely.
Tank - Blood Guts And Beer
We would be remiss if we did not include at least one band from the NWOBHM days, perhaps the most boozy rock movement ever. We picked Tank because they drank a lot, and we picked this song because it answers the often-asked question: what, exactly, is inside your average Classic Rock reader?
The Kingsmen - Louie Louie
There are many reasons why this possibly profane garage-skronker makes this hallowed list. For one, you can make up the words as you go along, which is handy when you’re too buzzed to remember the real ones. More importantly, it doesn’t matter how hammered you are, you can still play it on the guitar.
Motley Crue - Dr Feelgood
If any of those seemingly too-far-fetched-tobe-true blood-curdling tales of terror in Motley Crüe’s tell-all bios The Dirt and The Heroin Diaries are even half-true, than drinking yourself blind is actually the least dangerous thing you can do to this song. So knock yourself out.
AC/DC - Big Balls
Two reasons why this sleaze bump’n’grind number made the list: Bon slurs his way through the lyrics, which makes it easier to sing along to when you’re half in the bag; and, let’s face it, balls are really funny when you’re drunk.
The Pogues - take your pick, really
We would love to tell you what our favourite drinkalongs by Shane and the fellas are, but every time we put ‘em on we lose a good week and a half, so we just can’t risk it. Suffice to say Pogues songs are like church hymns to drunks. Worship accordingly.
Van Halen - Panama
Okay, so this song isn’t actually about drinking, it’s about power steering or some bullshit, but something about it makes us want to drink a river and then go surfing. Some songs just encourage reckless self-abuse, and this is one of them. Panama doesn’t care about your parole officer. Panama defies sobriety.
Electric Angels - The Drinking Song
Woefully obscure Poison/Hanoi Rocks coulda-beens from New York who squeak onto our list for this, a raunchy bar-room rocker complete with smashing glass and hiccups, and contains what is perhaps the greatest punchline ever uttered by a regretful drunkard: ‘I never really loved you, I just drank too much.’ Amen.
Alice Cooper - Public Animal #9
Years later, ol’ Alice Cooper would clean up his act and write whole albums about rehab. Then he started playing golf. Ah, but when he was young and mean and drank gallons daily, he cranked out crackling odes to liquor and trouble like this. Bring this one to your next crime spree.
Dead Kennedys - Too Drunk To Fuck
It is quite likely that this thrashy, assed-out punk anthem from legendary hardcore upstarts the Dead Kennedys is actually some ironic statement of some kind – probably a condemnation of rock’n’roll dirtbags like ourselves. Whatever. We just like it because, well, it’s so fuckin’ true, ain’t it?
Def Leppard - High N' Dry (Saturday Night)
Before they discovered the top-shelf pleasures of pyromania and hysteria, our still-spotty Union Jack-sporters loved supping hairyeyeball whiskey and terrifying the ladies, as this classic ode to Bad Fun so ably illustrates. ‘Got my whiskey, got my wine, got my woman, and this time, the lights are going out!’ Drinking is awesome, ain’t it?