For my fourth Top 10 list I’m tackling — as promised — my first non-beer topic, though it’s beer-related. As far as I’m concerned, music and beer are as interconnected as two things can be. They certainly enhance one another. I’m a failed musician —saxophone and clarinet — and in fact was originally a music theory/composition when I started college. I wanted to write classical music, but quickly discovered it was highly unlikely one could make much of a living at it, and I was not interested in teaching. So I switched majors to communications, although my love for music, of course, never left me. I listen to a fairly wide range of music, from classical to jazz to that newfangled rock and roll, but songs about beer tend more often to be country, traditional rock or, oddly, punk. Without really intending to, I’ve managed to collect over 500 songs that have to do specifically with beer and maybe 100 more that are about alcohol or drinking more generally. Anyway, here’s List #4:
Top 10 Favorite Beer Songs
Give Me a Red Hot Mama and An Ice Cold Beer by Smiley Maxedon [YouTube]
John Barleycorn Must Die by Traffic (there are many, many versions of this old English folk song, but I like Traffic’s best, though Jethro Tull has a great live version.) [Traffic] [Jetro Tull Live]
Beer by the Asylum Street Spankers [YouTube]
Beer Is Good by PsychoStick [YouTube]
Lager Delirium by Bad Manners (they also have another kick-ass beer song, Special Brew.) [Lager Delirium] [Special Brew]
One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer by John Lee Hooker (though George Thorogood’s version ain’t half bad either.) [John Lee Hooker] [George Thorogood]
Beer by Reel Big Fish [YouTube]
Beer by The Reverend Horton Heat (his “Beer 30” is great, too.) [Beer] [Beer 30]
Beer Bottle Boogie by Koko Taylor [YouTube]
Drinking Beer by Jimmy Witherspoon [YouTube]
Some of the other songs that almost made the list were the Ballad of Pilsner Beer by Agriculture Club, Beer by Cory Morrow, another song titled simply Beer by Secret Agent 8, Beer Drinkers by Drive By Truckers, Beer Drinkin’ Woman by Memphis Slim, Brew’s Blues by Cal Tjader, Hair of the Dog by the Morrells (might have been higher, but it’s unclear that it’s beer), the Philosopher’s Song by Monty Python (a true gem, but it’s not strictly beer, but includes all alcohol), There Stands the Glass by Webb Pierce (and Van Morrison just recorded a cool version of this song), Titties & Beer by Frank Zappa, and Warm Beer and Cold Women by Tom Waits.
And while I can’t say I often give it a listen, The Beer Barrel Polka (a.k.a. Roll Out the Barrel) can’t be completely ignored. But I do love a good polka, I must confess, especially something like the Drink Beer Polka, by the Leningrad Cowboys.
Also, if you have any ideas for future Top 10 lists you’d like to see, drop me a line.
Jim Ford’s “Happy Songs Sell Records, Sad Songs Sell Beer”?
The Blazers’ “Glorious Beer”?
And my favorite, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain’s cover of “Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps”?
So, so many choices…
Rob, great choices. You’re right, there is an awful lot to choose from.
Thomas Cizauskas says
I nominate Todd Snider’s “Beer Run”, although it’s hard to beat Koko Taylor or Jimmy Witherspoon.
Check out “Restorative Beer” by the Fiery Furnaces. Good stuff.
How could one forget the immortal Tom T. Hall hit “I Like Beer”?
That’s the one I was looking for! Has to be at least top 10 if not top 5!
Brendan Moylan says
Tom T Hall is the man!
Rory, that’s a good one, too, but – I confess – not one of my personal favorites. Ditto Beer Run, Thomas.
Stephen Beaumont says
Buford O’Sullivan’s great ska tune “I Can’t Decide” describes one man’s difficulty in choosing a beer from a wide selection. Line of the song is “What the hell is Zima?!”
hmmm, No reference to ”the Beer Barrel polka” of the 1930s.
Hmmm, indeed. I guess you didn’t read the last paragraph where I do indeed reference the Beer Barrel Polka and Roll Out the Barrel.
Stephen, I just found a a free download of a live version of “I Can’t Decide” on Buford O’Sullivan’s website. Nice! Here’s a link, if anyone else wants to listen to it:
Where can I find “Beer Drinkers” by the Drive-by Truckers? I’ve been listening to lots of DBT and that’s something I don’t have.
Fun list J. Thanks!
FYI – I found a new beer song recently. “Restorative Beer” by the Fiery Furnaces. They are weird, but the song rocks.
Wow, two people recommended “Restorative Beer,” so I found it and gave it a listen. It is quite odd, as Brad says, I thought somewhat similar to The Dresden Dolls. A fun song for sure.
Michael Kiesling says
Frank Zappa, Titties and Beer- About an encounter where he loses his girlfriend and beer to the Devil. Contains the immortal lines:
Well I want my Chrissy, ‘n I want my beer
So you just barf it back up now, devil,
Do you hear?
Mario (Brewed For Thought) says
I’m loving “I Can’t Decide.”
Zappa gets extra points for the Lagunitas line of beers. Sadly we’re 14 years from a “Baby Snakes” beer.
What about Garth Brooks and “Long Neck Bottle” or the great old one by Roger Miller – “Chug a Lug”?
Here is a good site for beer songs or those that mention beer.
Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer — Johnny Russell and The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous (Made a Loser Out of Me) – Jerry Lee Lewis.
Beer on the Table???
“What a Way To Die” by The Pleasure Seekers (featuring Suzie Quatro and her sisters) is the best beer song ever imho.
also “Drunken Maria” by Monks
I like beer tom t. Hall?
Bill Collins says
Check out the University of Wisconsin Marching Band’s version of the Beer Barrel Polka.