Throwing an epic house party is without a doubt a big task on your shoulder but trying to satisfy every guest’s musical taste is another story. Well, you don’t have to worry, as we’ve rounded up some of the best drinking songs ever recorded for the love of beer, wine, whiskey, or whatever your favorite beverage is.
1. “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks
When songwriters Bud Lee and Dewayne Blackwell realized they had no money to pay the bill for lunch at Tavern on the Row, Lee reassured Blackwell not to worry because “I have friends in low places.” That’s when the idea of the song was born!
The ballad tells the tale of a cowboy who turns up at the wedding party of his old flame – and nobody could bring such emotion than Garth Brooks. The song was released in 1990 as the lead single off Brooks’ album No Fences. It went on, spending four weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs. It also took home the 1990 Single of the Year award both on the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards.
The song is absolutely memorable to Brooks, especially that it was the last demo session he ever did as a singer.
2. “Drunk on a Plane” by Dierks Bentley
Dierks Bentley co-wrote “Drunk on a Plane,” which tells the tale of a man who is left standing alone at the altar but finds the strength to take a trip to Cancún by himself after he was not able to get a refund for the airplane tickets he had bought for a honeymoon. The man starts drinking on the plane, and before he knew it, a party had already erupted.
Bentley said he always wanted to write the song; after all, he’s obsessed with planes – well, it makes sense because the singer is a licensed pilot. But when he was asked if he was encouraging flying an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol, he assured fans saying, “No, it’s more of a Southwest situation.”
3. “Drink a Beer” by Luke Bryan
Though Luke Bryan did not write “Drink a Beer,” nor did the songwriters write it specifically for him, the mournful ballad fit him perfectly. The country singer recorded the song for his friend who died too young.
“I just thought it was an amazingly written song,” Bryan said, who described the song as the coolest sad song he ever heard. ” It was something that everybody can connect with because so many people out there have lost somebody. And their connection with them was that they used to have a beer in a bar or have a beer anywhere with them. Drinking a beer with a friend is a huge connection, and that song bridges all those emotions together.”
4. “Alcohol” by Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley personifies the beverage in his song “Alcohol.” Released in 2005 as the first single off his album Time Well Wasted, the song describes the different influences alcohol has on certain people. This includes helping bar owners earn money, giving white people the courage to dance, and even creating new babies.
As expected, it became one of the most frequently played songs in bars and other establishments serving alcohol. It also achieved commercial and critical success, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and earning two Grammy Awards nominations: Best Country Song and Best Country Male Vocal.
5. “All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)” by Hank Williams Jr.
Hank Williams Jr. found himself lamenting the fact that all his longtime friends are now getting older and starting to straighten out. With Johnny Cash beginning to mellow out, George Jones is sobering up, and Kris Kristofferson is now one of the hottest movie stars in Los Angeles – poor Hank Jr. no longer has someone to hang out and raise hell with.
Perhaps, most of us are familiar with the song being the Monday Night Football theme music. Since 1989, “All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)” has appeared in the opening, tailored to the matchup.
6. “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett
Alan Jackson joined forces with singer Jimmy Buffett to produce one of the best drinking anthems ever recorded. “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” was released in 2003 as the lead single off Jackson’s Greatest Hits II album.
The song went on spending eight non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and peaking at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 – making it Jackson’s biggest pop hit and Buffet’s first top forty hit since the 1970s.
It also took home Vocal Event of the Year during the Country Music Association Award, becoming Buffett’s first award in his career that spans to three decades.
7. “White Lightning” by George Jones
Country legend George Jones made a handful of No. 1 country hits, and he got the first of them when he released “White Lightning” in 1959.
In Jones’ 1997 autobiography, I Lived To Tell It All, the singer remembered coming to the recording session under the influence of a fair amount of alcohol. As a result, it took him and the whole team about 80 takes to record the song successfully. Buddy Killen, who played the upright bass for the song, was said to suffer from seriously blistered fingers after playing his bass part 80 times.
Ultimately, they’ve just decided to use the first take of the song, despite Jones flubbing the word “slug.” “We tried doing the song again, but it never was as good as it was that first time. So, we just released it that way,” then-Starday president Don Pierce later explained.
8. “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)” by Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn got her first No. 1 country hit, thanks to “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind).” The song tells the tale of an angry wife who is sick and tired of her husband who gets drunk with his friends, comes home late every night, and expects to get frisky with his neglected wife.
And perhaps no one could relate to the song than Lynn herself as almost all of her marriage troubles resulted from her husband’s alcoholism. However, Lynn revealed that it was actually her sister and co-writer, Peggy Sue Wright, who came up with the idea after she struggled with the same problems in her first marriage.
9. “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” by Johnny Cash
In 1970, country legend Johnny Cash took the Kris Kristofferson-written song “Sunday Morning Coming Down” to the top spot of Billboard US Hot Country Songs and helped Kristofferson earn a CMA Song of the Year award.
Kristofferson penned the song during the time when he was still living in one of Nashville’s run-down apartments; at the same time, he worked as Columbia Records’s janitor. It tells the tale of a man making it through his hangover as he heads out to face a lonesome day.
10. “You and Tequila” by Kenny Chesney (feat. Grace Potter)
Kenny Chesney’s “You and Tequila” is nothing but pure country poetry. With Grace Potter as his muse, the two talented singers’ collaboration is absolutely intoxicating.
Released in 2011 as the fourth single off Chesney’s Hemingway’s Whiskey, the song reached No. 3 on the Billboard US Hot Country Songs. It also received two nominations during the 54th Grammy Awards: Best Country Song and Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
Singer-songwriter Deana Carter wrote the song with Matraca Berg after Berg had a late night out of town.
“I can’t remember if it was margaritas the night before or what [laughs], but she was just kind of hurting that day,” Carter said. “I said, ‘Yeah, it’s just like men … they get in your blood! I can’t drink tequila hardly because it will just get in my blood, and it won’t go away. It’s like a guy,’ or something like that. We just started talking about it and writing it organically like that.”
11. “If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me” by George Jones
By 1981, George Jones’ career went on to thrive. However, the upturn in his professional life took a huge chunk of peace to his personal one – especially with his about three decades drinking problem.
He then released “If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will)” as the third single from his album I Am What I Am, where Jones sang about his whole neighborhood who can tell that he’s home, drunk again.
In Jones’ memoir I Lived to Tell It All, he recalled, “Knowing what people thought about Tammy and me, I often changed the words of ‘If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me’ when I sang it publicly, particularly on national television: If drinkin’ don’t kill me, Tammy’s memory will,” the singer wrote. “If folks bought my records because they thought I was breaking down, which I happened to be, so be it.”
12. “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams, Jr.
When Hank Williams Jr. released “Family Tradition” in 1979 as the final single and title track from his album of the same name, the singer is actually making a statement of rebellion. He expressed his eagerness to forge his own musical style – southern rock fused with honky-tonk – at the same time proclaim how proud he is to be a part of his legendary father’s musical legacy.
Since then, the song became a favorite at parties, wherein its chorus became a call-and-response part. One classic example is the song’s question, “Why do you drink?” – which is answered with “To get drunk!”
13. “Whiskey River” by Willie Nelson
In this melancholic ballad, Willie Nelson finds himself at the mercy of whiskey obsession. He asks for the river of liquor to never run dry as it’s the only thing that can numb the pain of a breakup.
Nelson recorded the song for his 1973 album Shotgun Willie, where his wife Jessi Colter provided backing vocals. It peaked at No. 12 on the country chart and helped Nelson earn a Grammy nomination for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male.
14. “Drinking Alone” by Carrie Underwood
A dumped Carrie Underwood finds herself sitting alone in a bar having a whisky in “Drinking Alone.” She saw a man across the room who seems like in the same situation as her. Underwood invites him to join her, and the two end up sharing the night together as drinking buddies.
“‘I’m here at the bar drinking my pain away. You and me can hang out. Why should we both be lamenting over lost love separately? We’re both here doing the same thing. Let’s just do that together,’” Underwood explained. “I didn’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, we’re going to get drunk and go home together,’ because that’s not something that I would do.”
15. “Bartender” by Lady A
A bartender helping Lady A to forget that past love has been a massive hit for the country music trio. Released as the lead single off their studio album, 747, the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard US Country Airplay.
“We’ve all been through that. We’ve broken up with people and had to try to get over it. And everybody gets over things in a different way,” Rodney Clawson, one of the songwriters, said. “Some people lock themselves in the house, and some people go out to a bar and just want to be around other people and have a good time.”
16. “Rain Is a Good Thing” by Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan put an encouraging twist on rain. “It was fun to take a subject that’s typically got a negative connotation and make it a positive thing. Rain is very important and kind of kicks off the whole process of life,” the singer said.
“Rain Is a Good Thing” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart – his first country No. 1 hit – and snagged the second spot on Billboard’s year-end Country Songs chart.
17. “Pretty Good at Drinking Beer” by Billy Currington
Billy Currington claims that he’s no good when it comes to tasks men are usually known for, such as burrowing holes, repairing cars, paving roads, or working hard – but he’s somewhat “pretty good at drinking beer.”
The song became another No. 1 country hit for Currington.
18. “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” by Hank Williams Jr.
While hanging out with The Allman Brothers Band, founding member Dickey Betts asked Hank Williams Jr. how he writes a country song, to which the country legend answered, “Well, I got a good woman at home.”
It became the opening line for “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound,” and the rest was said to be written in just ten minutes.
19. “I Love This Bar” by Toby Keith
When Toby Keith released “I Love This Bar” as the first single off his 2003 album Shock’n Y’all and reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, he’s likely had no clue just how much the drinking ballad would one day change his life.
The song set off a whole new business for the country singer, who opened his own restaurant chain, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in 2005 – with the first one being opened in Keith’s home state of Oklahoma.
20. “Tennessee Whiskey” by George Jones
David Allan Coe originally released “Tennessee Whiskey” in 1981, but George Jones’ 1983 version of the song had the most success, reaching No. 2 on the Hot Country Singles chart.
Through the years, the song was covered by quite a few artists. This includes Chris Stapleton, who had a breakout performance of the song with Justin Timberlake during the Country Music Association Awards. The song reached another level of popularity at that time.
21. “Two Pina Coladas” by Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks sings about a man with “the heartaches that love often brings” and went down to the beach to drown his blues with “Two Pina Coladas” in this drinking song.
“We had written a bunch of songs before we wrote that one, and we got together on this one day, for another writing session. It was a really cold, gloomy day,” Benita Hill, one of the songwriters, said. “It was February, and it was just really yucky. We just fantasized about how nice it would be to be at the beach and have a piña colada, or maybe two, one in each hand.”
Piña Colada, which is a tropical blend of Rum, rich coconut cream, and a dash of freshly pressed and twisted Pineapple Juice, is actually the national drink of Puerto Rico.
22. “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin” by Travis Tritt, Marty Stuart
Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart teamed up for “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin,” released in 1991 as the third single off Tritt’s album It’s All About to Change. The song peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard country music chart in the United States while No. 4 in Canada.
It also helped the two artists win Best Country Collaboration with Vocals during the 35th Grammy Awards in 1992.
23. “Red Solo Cup” by Toby Keith
“The song is basically a bunch of frat party people getting hammered, drinking out of a red Solo cup and all the stupid stuff they do,” Toby Keith explained about the song’s meaning. “They actually praise the red Solo cup for all the important things and usages that it has. You’re going to find it really stupid, but you’ll be singing it the next day when you wake up.”
In case you don’t know, Solo is actually a brand of disposable cups that can often be seen scattered all over the place after a party.
24. “Beer for My Horses” by Toby Keith and Willie Nelson
Two of the biggest names teamed up in “Beer for My Horses,” which sings about a group of men talking of how one used to catch criminals many ages ago, including a clear depiction of a lynching.
The song was released in 2003 as the final single off Keith’s studio album, Unleashed, and it peaked at No. 1 Billboard US Hot Country Songs for six weeks.
25. “Drink in My Hand” by Eric Church
Eric Church is all pumped up singing, “To fill it up or throw it down. I got a 40-hour week worth of trouble to drown—no need to complicate it. I’m a simple man. All you got to do is put a drink in my hand.”
Church wrote “Drink in My Hand” with Luke Laird and Michael P. Heeney, who said that the song wasn’t actually inspired by drinking.
In fact, Heeney barely drinks, while Laird does not drink at all. They wrote the song during Church’s tour with Miranda Lambert in 2011. “Eric was just pumped up from the shows he had that week. His fans inspired the song,” Heeney said.
Other Drinking Songs You Should Check Out
- “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” by Merle Haggard
- “You Never Even Called Me by My Name” by David Allan Coe
- “There’s a Tear in My Beer” by Hank Williams Sr.
- “Gin and Juice” by The Gourds
- “Jack Daniels, If You Please?” by David Allen Coe
- “Drunk on You” by Luke Bryan
- “Chug-a-Lug” by Roger Miller
- “Straight Tequila Night” by John Anderson
- “Pop a Top” by Alan Jackson
- “Tonight the Heartache’s on Me” by Dixie Chicks
- “The Bottle Let Me Down” by Merle Haggard
- “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time?” by Mickey Gilley
- “Whiskey, If You Were a Woman” by Highway 101
- “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye” by Charlie Daniels
- “Hey Bartender” by Johnny Lee
- “Jose Cuervo” by Shelly West
- “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)” by Jerry Lee Lewis
- “Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo” by Tracy Byrd
- “Bubba Shot the Jukebox” by Mark Chesnutt
- “Beer Thirty” by Brooks & Dunn
- “Here for the Party” by Gretchen Wilson
- “Domestic, Light and Cold” by Derks Bentley
- “Drinkin’ Beer and Wastin Bullets” by Luke Bryan
- “The More I Drink” by Blake Shelton
Let’s raise a toast to the greatest drinking songs the country music ever released.
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