10 great moments when music met alcohol
Published: December 19, 2012
It's easy to pick the top booze-fueled moment in music history: all of them (there's a reason live shows take place in bars instead of libraries). But drunks and music fans have something else in common: they love to argue about trivia. So here's our votes for the 10 crucial drunken musical moments.
Patron Saint of Drunken Musicians: Shane MacGowan
There may have been worse drunks than the former lead singer of the Pogues in the history of rock 'n' roll, but none as vivid. There is no other performer whose name elicits more responses of "I thought he was already dead," perfectly understandable for a guy who had his first glass of stout at age four and never turned back. His greatest feat may have been throwing up on the front row of an audience in 2002 — from the wheelchair he was confined to after drunkenly falling off the stage and breaking his leg several weeks earlier.
Patron Saint of Drunken Musicians, American League: Hank Williams
Long before Shane MacGowan took his first sip of beer as a toddler in Dublin, Hank Williams was setting the standard for musicians more or less on a permanent bender. As befitted country stars of the era, he sang more about matters of the heart (and the soul) than he did about the bottle, but he still managed to get fired from the Grand Ole Opry for drinking too much, which is like being fired from the NBA for being too tall.
Greatest Alcohol Anthem: "D-R-I-N-K," The Jazz Butcher
The multifarious Pat Fish, aka the Jazz Butcher, penned the ultimate ode to inebriation in 1986 with the uncharacteristically slick "D-R-I-N-K." Over a slick small-band arrangement, he croons, "It's only heavy drinking that keeps us on our feet." The song makes drinking seem both romantic and destructive, wittily capturing the good and the bad about booze.
Greatest Alcohol Anthem, Hip-Hop Division: "8 Ball," DJ Quik
Rap music has never been shy about celebrating overconsumption, but leave it to Compton's smoothest criminal to drop the greatest of all salutes to its characteristic tipple, the 40-ounce malt liquor bottle. With an unforgettable chorus, a litany of favorite brand names, and an emphasis on cost-effectiveness, Quik makes a convincing case: "If I can't get it, then I get discouraged/I gotta get a bottle of that liquid courage."