There’s nothing that makes a good tailgate great quite like playing the right music. Now, your audio choices carry heavy consequences. Much like Indiana Jones movies, the wrong choice will melt your face off like pre-surgery Joan Rivers. Whereas the right choice will help you become bros with Sean Connery and John Rhys-Davies. So, if you want your weekends full of classic quotes like “And my axe!” and “You’re the man now, dog!” simply include these 10 guaranteed hits.
I was originally going to put this in my “worst tailgating songs” article, since I thought it was about the bubonic plague (it’s not). Instead, it’s a bunch of people screaming dramatic things in Latin, so I’m pretty sure if you listen on a Sunday, it counts as going to church. Especially at a Saints game.
Toby Keith (Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
8. “Red Solo Cup” by Toby Keith
Look man, I’m not a big country fan, and I’m pretty tepid on Toby Keith as well. But I cannot resist this song. Not to be confused with Andy Dalton’s lonely jock strap, this song is an obvious tribute to your favorite weekend beverage receptacle, but it meanders along at such a simple, dopey pace that it’s hard not to fall in love with it. It’s especially potent at healing wounds after a bad loss.
7. “Panama” by Van Halen
Okay, so, are you going to have beers at your tailgate? Do you cheer for Florida, the Dolphins, or any other warm-weather team? Yeah, go ahead and play this song. See, nobody – nobody – knows the verse of this song. But toss this on after a W and watch fawning lushes scream the chorus. The best part is the pissed-off looks you’ll get from everyone that doesn’t know how much fun you’re having.
6. “Give it Up” by LCD Soundsystem
This song sounds like level one in a video game starring you, whereby the objective is to defeat your responsibilities and ignore your significant other. You win!… until Monday.
Beastie Boys (Photo Credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
5. Any Beastie Boys Song besides “Fight For Your Right to Party”
Why? Because 1) Literally everyone likes at least one Beastie Boys song, and 2) Adam Yauch passed away this year, and he and the rest of the Beasties hated “Fight for your Right to Party.” So show some respect and put on “Hey Ladies” instead.
4. “Achilles Last Stand” by Led Zeppelin
Do not listen to anyone that tells you that the best Led Zeppelin song is “Stairway to Heaven” or some other such horse feathers. The real answer is this song, which sounds exactly like an army of dino-vikings (or, vikosaurs) playing beer pong on a mountain of laser-powered bass guitars. And it’s 10 minutes long! You can rock out and annoy your neighbors in one swoop! The Minnesota faithful may want to pay special attention here.
3. The “Cheers” Theme Song
No. No. Don’t you doubt me. Do not doubt me for one second. Wait until everyone is properly lubricated, and then toss this puppy on. Suddenly your six good friends will turn into your 20 best friends. Save this gem for after a win, in the waning hours of the after-gate.
2. “America, F*** Yeah”
You know how you can make any food better by adding the word “sandwich” to the end of it? That’s what this song does to every situation. So, it’s kind of a cheat. But, it’s so universal that this will make any tailgate better, regardless of team, location, win, loss, whatever. See, everyone (reading this article) loves America. Everyone loves swears. This song is the best of both worlds.
AC/DC (Photo Credit: Joerg Koch/AFP/Getty Images)
1. “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC
I tried to keep songs like this off this list. It would be so, so easy to just turn this into a list of Jock Jams. But I can’t resist this song, if for no other reason that my brother some guy I once knew used to try to shotgun six beers before the lyrics of the song started. That’s six beers in 64 seconds. I’d like to think his passion was inspired by the power of this song, rather than, you know, being a dumb-ass.
I defy you to not be ready to roll after listening to these tunes. Just remember, after getting yourself all hyped up, you’ll want to cool yourself down too. College tailgaters — throw on your alma mater at the end of the day for a nice, fan-friendly way to wind down the day. Pro fans? Hell, I don’t know. Toss on “Call Me Maybe.” Don’t pretend like you’re too good for it.