While there may be some controversy over how loud the best bar songs should be played, lists like VH1's top bar songs and AskMen.com's ten top drinking songs provide proven favorites. Listeners make their opinions known and vote for the music they love to hear when spending time in their favorite pub. One thing all the songs have in common is that at one time they made it to the top of the music charts.
1. "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC
Number one among the top ten songs at VH1, this is the first single AC/DC cut with Brian Johnson as their new lead singer after Bon Scott died in February of 1980 of acute alcohol poisoning. The song was a huge success and the guitar work of brothers Angus and Malcolm Young probably had something to do with it, as this song is often ranked within the top 100 guitar solos of all time.
2. "Cold Gin" by KISS
This favorite was released on Kiss' debut album in 1973. Written by guitarist Ace Frehley, AskMen.com lists this song's popular drinking lyrics as number one. The words talk about it being time to leave to get another quart at the liquor store. It's ironic that Gene Simmons who sings this song doesn't drink.
3. "American Pie" by Don McLean
Don McLean acknowledges that his folksy lyrics to "American Pie" are about Buddy Holly, but he never divulged the intended meaning of the lyrics. Instead, he preferred to let listeners interpret them. McLean admits in several interviews that the song represents the turn from the innocence of the 50s to the darker, more volatile times of the 60s in both music and politics. This song stayed at the number one spot on song charts for four weeks in 1972 and today is at #3 at VH1.
4. "Why Don't We Get Drunk (And Screw)" by Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett wrote this song as a satire when he recorded his first album in Nashville. Inspired by the bombardment of suggestive country song lyrics like those in Conway Twitty's "Let's Go All the Way", Buffett decided to write a song that left nothing to the imagination. It's definitely not a love song, in fact he never thought it would actually become a song, but everyone loved it.
5. "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" by George Thorogood
Recorded in 1977, this bluesy tune talks about things people down on their luck can relate too, like telling the landlady he lost his job and that he doesn't have the rent money. It was Thorogood's first big hit which became known as one of the best songs in the early 1980s, due in large part to his loud, simple, and direct blues-rock guitar licks.
6. "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf
Steppenwolf's 1968 release sits at the number one spot for drinking songs at Mediaknows.com. The lyrics of this song introduced the phrase "heavy metal" which went on to become an expression for hard rock. This song was actually the second single released off Steppenwolf's first album. The first single called "Sookie Sookie" turned out to be a bomb.
7. "Friends In Low Places" by Garth Brooks
Released in 1990 on Garth Brooks' album No Fences, this song is listed as number one at Drinking Songs for Drunken Sailors. In an interview, Garth tells fans that "Friends in Low Places" was the last demo session he ever did as a singer. After the session, the chorus kept running through his head for the next two weeks. He asked for permission to hold on to the song because his first album was just being released. The producers had the faith in him to say yes and the rest is history.
8. Red, Red Wine by UB40
UB40 was a pop-reggae band that formed in a welfare line in 1978 and took its name from a British unemployment benefit form. In 1983, the Labour of Love album was the first of the group's releases to reach American charts and this song hit number one in the U.K.
9. "We Will Rock You" by Queen
This song is well-known across diverse demographics as it is often played at sporting events with fans stamping their feet and making lots of noise. In the late 70s and early 80s, Queen regularly opened their shows with this popular song which hit the top of the charts in 1978.
10. "I Love Rock N' Roll" by Joan Jett
The only female artist to make the ten best bar songs, Joan Jett played rock and roll without making an issue of her gender but capitalized on staying true to her artistic soul. In 1982, this song reached the top of the charts in the U.S. and stayed there for weeks.