Drinking is among the biggest themes in country music. What are your five favorite drinking songs?
Here’s my list:
- John Anderson, “Straight Tequila Night”
- Merle Haggard, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”
- Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, “Whiskey Lullaby”
- Martina McBride, “Cheap Whiskey”
- Clint Black, “Killin’ Time”
1. George Strait, “Drinkin’ Man”
2. Alan Jackson, “Pop A Top”
3. Collin Raye, “Little Rock”
4. Eagles, “Tequila Sunrise”
5. Lee Ann Womack, “Last Call”
BONUS: Loretta Lynn, “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)”
“I Miss My Mary” – Hal Ketchum (Hal Ketchum) It’s about an alcoholic who abandons wife and child as his disease progresses. “I draw my pay down on the docks, I send it off to Mary, I might hold back a dollar and wash this pain out of my back, but the pain keeps getting clearer, and Mary your face just keeps on fading”.
“Time Machine” – Collin Raye (Gary Burr) The chorus: “To the casual eye it’s a barstool, but it’s really much more than it seems, a few drinks and then she’ll be with him again, as he sits on the time machine.”
“Things To Do In Wichita” – Mark Chesnutt (Bob Regan & Jimmy Ritchey) Another guy trying to win back his girl by giving up the bottle. “Cause there’s a happy hour in the bar downstairs, she’d be proud to know I ain’t set foot in there”.
“The One You Love” – Terri Clark (Gary Burr & Terri Clark) The song begins:
“He says it’s none of my damn business, how much he drinks.
And he doesn’t have a problem, no matter what the whole town thinks.
At his baby’s birthday party, there was whiskey on his breath,
Everybody wants to save him, but he’s not ready yet.”
“Tonight the Heartache’s On Me” – Dixie Chicks (Mary W. Francis, Johnny MacRae & Bob Morrison) “Bartender pour the wine, cause the hurtin’s all mine, tonight the heartache’s on me”.
1. Ray Scott- Aint Always Thirsty
2. Kenny Chesney_ That’s Thy I’m Here
3. Garth Brooks- Longneck Bottle
4. Brad Paisley- Alcohol
5. Ashton Shepherd- Whiskey Won The Battle
1. Drinkin’ Man – Strait
2. Goddamn Lonely Love – Isbell/DBT
3. Drinkin’ – Holly Williams
4. Jack Daniels – Eric Church
5. I Like Girls That Drink Beer – Toby Keith
If ILGTDB doesn’t count as a drinking song, then Tonight The Heartache’s On Me is my alternate.
Honorable mention! Joe Nichols’ Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.
1) The World Needs A Drink – Terri Clark
2) Pretty Good At Drinking Beer – Billy Currington
3) Beer Run – Garth & George Jones
4) Who Needs The Whiskey – Chris Cagle
5) You & Tequila – Kenny Chesney / Deana Carter (like both versions)
PS Jonathan – excellent mention “Little Rock” by Collin Raye…great song. What a life that guy has had…worth reading his book.
1. Gary Allan- It Aint The Whiskey
2.Lonestar – Tequila Talkin
3. Jeremy McComb- This Town Needs A Bar
4. Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town- Smokin & Drinkin
5.Hank Williams- There’s A Tear In My Beer
1. “Here I Am” – Patty Loveless
2. “Hemingway’s Whiskey” – Kenny Chesney/Guy Clark
3. “Sometimes a Man Takes a Drink” – Trace Adkins
4. “Drinking My Baby Goodbye” – Charlie Daniels Band
5. “Set Em’ Up Joe” – Vern Gosdin
1. WHAT’S MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS (HAS MADE A LOSER OUT OF ME)–Jerry Lee Lewis
2. DRINKIN’ IN MY SUNDAY DRESS–Maria McKee
3. C.C. WATERBACK–George Jones and Merle Haggard
4. DRINKIN’ MY BABY (OFF OF MY MIND)–Eddie Rabbitt
5. MISERY AND GIN–Merle Haggard
1. Bobby Bare – Tequila Sheila
2. Lacy J. Dalton – Wild Turkey
3. Eddie Rabbitt – Drinkin My Baby Off of My Mind
4. George Jones – Tennessee Whiskey
5. T Graham Brown – Wine Into Water (which is the next step beyond)
Since Erik typed my Eddie Rabbitt song correctly while I was writing, I will add a bonus song:
3. (B-Side) Drinkin’ Wine (Spo-Dee-Oh-Dee) Jerry Lee Lewis
which is my all-time craziest Jerry key-pounding-tune.
1. Drinkin’ Man: George Strait
2. Cover Me Up: Jason Isbell
3. Family Tradition: Hank Williams Jr.
4. Neon Moon: Brooks & Dunn
5. Don’t Tell Mama: Gary Allan
Several of the songs on my list are really more a song about the darker, demonic effects that drinking has on your life and how it ruins your life. Some also speak to sobriety and how it can bring light to all your inner demons and the daily struggle of drinking. They are more reflective drinking songs than those that typically find a guy, sitting at a bar and having a drink. Neon Moon and Family Tradition are songs that I would say and fit the stereotypical, country music drinking song. In the case of Family Tradition by Hank Jr., it’s just a damn fun song to sing along too when you have been drinking.
Honorable mention also goes to Roger Miller’s Chug-a-lug. That’s another song that gets more fun after a few adult beverages have been consumed.
1. John Anderson – Straight Tequila Night
2. Waylon Jennings – Drinkin’ and Dreamin’
3. Merle Haggard – Swinging Doors
4. Tim McGraw/Chris Stapleton – Whiskey and You
5. Travis Tritt – Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof
Patty Loveless – Here I am
John Anderson – Straight Tequila Night
Reba – She got drunk last night
carrie Underwood – Wine After Whiskey
Keith Urban – Nobody Drinks Alone
She’s Acting Single (I’m Drinking Double)- Gary Stewart
There Stands The Glass- Webb Pierce
In no particular order…
— “If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will),” George Jones
— “Designated Drinker,” Alan Jackson and George Strait
— “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down,” Merle Haggard
— “Little Ole Winedrinker Me,” Lefty Frizzell
— “Pop A Top,” Jim Ed Brown
“Here I Am”–Patty Loveless
“Whiskey Lullaby”– Brad Paisley/Allison Krauss
“Drinkin’ Man”–George Strait
“Drinkin My Baby Goodbye”–Charlie Daniels Band
“thats why I’m Here”—Kenny Chesney
The all Garth entry:
Under the Table
American Honky Tonk Bar Association
Friends n Low Places
Obviously there have been some outstanding songs about drinking in country music’s past. I’ll limit my list to the past 20 years.
That’s Why I’m Here – Kenny Chesney
Bourbon Borderline – Gary Allan
Drinkin’ Man – George Strait
Drinkin’ Me Lonely – Chris Young
Drinkin’ Bone – Tracy Byrd
This might be the hardest daily top five to narrow down yet. Here goes:
1. Living for the Night – George Strait
2. Tonight I Wanna Cry – Keith Urban
3. Straight Tequila Night – John Anderson
4. Designated Drinker – Alan Jackson & George Strait
5. Hemingway’s Whiskey – Kenny Chesney
Bonus that’s more of a story song than a drinking song: Whiskey Lullaby – Brad Paisley
Crystal Sands – He never held me.
Joe Nichols – Tequila makes her clothes fall off.
Webb Pierce – “There Stands The Glass”
Bob Wills (Tommy Duncan, vocal) “The Bubbles In My Beer”
Gary Stewart – “Drinkin’ Thing”
Mel Tillis – “Stomp Them Grapes”
Ernest Tubb – “(Set Up)Two Glasses Joe”
Ernest Tubb – “Pass The Booze”