You’ve had a few beers with your friends and you’re feeling very merry. Then you suddenly feel the urge to sing something. But what do you sing? What are the best sing along songs when drunk?
Any Best of list is of course going to be subjective. Your musical tastes won’t be the same as mine. But after years of listening to friends belting out the hits after a few drinks, I’ve noticed 3 things about the songs that get chosen.
Firstly, the best songs tend to lift people up, be that in the lyrics, the mood of the song, or the vocals. And secondly, the less words in the song, the more likely it’s going to be sung. That’s not to say singing drunkenly to hip hop is out of the question, I’ve just never heard anyone do it.
Lastly, the best sing along songs when drunk are also ones where anyone can join in at any time. This means the songs picked should be well-known hits.
Best sing along songs when drunk: rock
If you want to make drunk friends cry, or lift them out of a sour mood, a rock song is the perfect vehicle. The singers in bands like Oasis and Queen are forced to sing loud and high or risk losing themselves amongst the guitars and drums.
‘Wonderwall’ was released in 1995 by British band Oasis. Oasis was a band formed with 2 brothers, Liam and Noel Gallagher. It’s Liam who sings on this track and it’s the way he sort of yells out the song is what makes it so satisfying to sing. The sentiment of the song – that the object of affection is Liam’s ‘Wonderwall’ – also sends chills.
‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ The Beatles
I love the Beatles and this is the track I’ve heard on many a drunk night. The way the song starts with the title before going into a repetitive structure lures the singer in right away. The track was released in 1964, from the album also called ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’
‘We Are The Champions,’ Queen
The empowering lyrics, the soaring vocals and the way the song reaches into your gut is why I’ve included it on this list. Released in 1977, ‘We Are The Champions’ has since become an anthem for victories at sporting events
The last time I sang this song in drunken company was in Lviv, Ukraine in late 2017. There were 5 of us in a friend’s kitchen at 11pm and following along to the karaoke on YouTube. Crazy times.
‘Livin’ On A Prayer,’ Bon Jovi
Released in 1986, ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ has since gone to become Bon Jovi’s signature song. The power in Jon Bon Jovi’s voice is a joy to behold. The original 45 RPM single release sold 800,000 copies in the United States alone.
‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ Simon And Garfunkel
Like Bon Jovi, this track is also considered a signature song for the band in question. It spent 6 weeks at number 1 in the US and has been covered by artists including Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley. There’s a solemnness about the song which makes it perfect fodder when you’re drunk and feeling a bit sorry for yourself.
‘Unchained Melody,’ The Righteous Brothers
This song has a storied history, in that there are more than 1,500 recordings of ‘Unchained Melody’ made by more than 670 artists! But it was the version by the Righteous Brothers that has become the version we know today.
Released in 1965, their version soon became the jukebox version we know and love. Like the previous track, there’s something melancholy in the song that makes it great to sing.
Best sing along songs when drunk: pop
Not everyone loves pop music. Some see it as frivolous and empty, and compared to rock it isn’t seen as deep. But I disagree.
I think pop is much harder to create than rock. Pop performers have just 3 minutes or less to tell a story and get across the emotion at the time as well. Pop music is also short for ‘popular music’, which makes it perfect singalongs when you’re drunk.
The part of a pop song that usually gets drunk friends wailing in delight is the chorus. People usually know the chorus of a song if they don’t know the rest. Bear that in mind when making your own selections.
‘Wannabe,’ Spice Girls
The debut single of British girl power band, the Spice Girls, this catchy song sold more than seven million copies by the end of 1997. The song structure switches from singing to rap and contains lyrics centered around empowerment. The song was written and recorded in 30 minutes.
‘Don’t You Want Me,’ The Human League
The Human League is a British pop-synth band from Sheffield and this song is considered as the track that got them into the US market. The lyrics were inspired by a photo-story the lead singer Phil Oakley had found in a teen magazine. It was the UK Christmas number one single after its release in late November 1981.
‘Y.M.C.A,’ The Village People
If you love dance routines, then ‘Y.M.C.A’ is the one for you. Released in 1978 by the American disco group, The Village Group, each letter in the title is its own dance move, which I think is genius. Like the Queen track above, this song is also played at sporting events.
Written by the production group Xenomania, ‘Believe’ was considered a huge departure for Cher, who’d been known for a rock sound. The lyrics describe the feeling of being able to carry on with life after a breakup. Great to sing when you’re missing your ex. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording.
‘Dancing Queen,’ ABBA
Originally conceived with the working title ’Boogaloo’, this 1970s hit is great to sing for its motivating lyrics. This is a song for all our unfulfilled dreams that could come true. The song has a soaring chorus and contains plenty of ooohs – and ooohs are the perfect things to sing after a few beers.
‘I Will Survive,’ Gloria Gaynor
This Gloria Gaynor is such a powerhouse of a song! Just the name itself can get people into tears or hoedowns. Gloria Gaynor herself sees the song as one of survival no matter what you have to overcome. The song won the 1979 Grammy for Best Disco Recording,
‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head,’ Kylie Minogue
This famous cut from 2001 opens with the instant hook, “la la la”, that continues throughout the song. Kylie Minogue is an Australian singer-songwriter who has been in the music business more than 30 years now and is still coming up with fresh tunes. This track went to number 1 in 40 countries.
‘Holding Out For A Hero,’ Bonnie Tyler
This Bonnie Tyler song is full of drama and to me it feels so overproduced that the sound adds more to the drama. The song featured in the movie ‘Footloose’ about a young man arriving in a small town where dancing in public is not allowed.
After you’ve learned the lyrics, you might find dancing shamelessly in public to this song is not allowed.
Best sing along songs when drunk: life
Although some of the other songs on this list are just as empowering in their lyrics, the songs here I feel are more life-affirming. The vocalists in these songs really shine in how they project their emotion and so when you’re singing them, you always want to try the same.
You don’t always manage, though. But that’s the fun of it all. The best sing along songs when drunk don’t have to be perfect.
‘I Will Always Love You,’ Whitney Houston
The first time this song was released, in 1974, was by Dolly Parton on her album, ‘Jolene’. Dolly Parton is the writer of this song.
The 1992 version of the song, by Whitney Houston, from the soundtrack to ‘The Bodyguard’, came about by accident. She was meant to sing another song for the soundtrack only for the producers to discover it’d featured in another movie. And so history made itself.
I love this Whitney Houston version – emotionally sung, heart-breaking vocals and just a song that fills you up. Perfect for broken hearts everywhere.
‘Stayin’ Alive,’ Bee Gees
If you love disco from the 1970s, then ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is one of the songs that best represents that era. The high falsetto in the vocals are remarkable. The song went to number 1 in 1978 and stayed there for 4 weeks. This is a track that will get you up on your feet in no time.
‘Eye Of The Tiger,’ Survivor
You might know this song from the movie, ‘Rocky III’, a song requested by its director, star and writer, Sylvester Stallone. I love this song because it’s one of resilience. “It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight, risin’ up to the challenge of our rival.’ It’s a rousing song for those of us knocked down every now and then by the world.
‘Take On Me,’ A-ha
I still don’t know how they shot the video for this 1984 hit, that uses pencil-sketching animation. A-ha is a Norwegian synth-pop band who are still going strong to this day.
‘Imagine,’ John Lennon
This song, without a doubt, contains lyrics we all wish the world was designed by, one without division or barriers. This song ranks as one of the 100 most-performed songs in the 20th century. It was released in 1971. It’s a thoughtful song and when it’s sung by guitar, and everyone’s relaxed, it makes you all feel closer.
‘Don’t Speak,’ No Doubt
Written by Gwen Stefani shortly after the end of a 7-year relationship, this 1995 song is a tale of anger and bitterness. I’m always moved by the pain that comes through from the vocal and lyrics. That’s also why it makes it a good tune to sing, for its relatability.
‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,’ U2
The gospel elements of this song is why I’ve included it in this list of best sing along songs when drunk. If you’re with friends, everyone gets to contribute to the song.
Released in 1987, the song describes a spiritual yearning. Like some of the other songs featured here, a sense of searching or wanting empowerment makes this a great tune for singing when tipsy.
‘Sweet Child O’ Mine,’ Guns N’ Roses
And this last song totally blows my last paragraph out of the water, by not being spiritual at at all! This song went to number one in 1988, and comes from Guns N’ Roses debut album, ‘Appetite For Destruction’, I love that name and album. Sometimes you just want to rage at the world, right? I think doing it through a song, from how you sing it, can offer a better release.
So what do you think of our list of the best sing along songs when drunk with friends? Hopefully there’s at least one track here you can turn to, after the sun has gone down and the last sip drunk. I wish you happy, rowdy, noisy and fun singing!