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Songs about drinking whisky?
March 7, 2008 7:08 PM   Subscribe

Name good songs about drinking whisky. The sadder the better.
posted by xmutex to Media & Arts (74 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
Whiskey in the Jar... it's a standard. Check the Pogues version.
posted by kimdog at 7:13 PM on March 7, 2008


"Here Comes a Regular" by the Replacements is one of the saddest drinking songs ever. Not specifically all about whiskey, but it is mentioned.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 7:14 PM on March 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Whiskey Lullaby - Brad Paisley. With lyrics like "He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger/ And finally drank away her memory" it's not sad so much as flat out depressing.
posted by kitkatcathy at 7:16 PM on March 7, 2008


Pretty much any of Tom Waits early work.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 7:21 PM on March 7, 2008


The Pogues, "Streams of Whiskey"
The Pogues, "Whiskey You're the Devil"
Don McLean, "American Pie" ("Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye/And singin', 'this'll be the day that I die.'")
Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Whiskey Rock-a-Rolla"
(Part of an AskMetaFilter trifecta.)
posted by kirkaracha at 7:30 PM on March 7, 2008


The Doors: Alabama Song
posted by beetsuits at 7:34 PM on March 7, 2008


A preachment, dear friends, you're about to receive, on John Barleycorn, nicotine, and the temptations of Eve.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:37 PM on March 7, 2008


Uncle Tupelo: Whiskey Bottle
posted by jbickers at 7:38 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Steely Dan's Deacon Blues.
posted by astruc at 7:39 PM on March 7, 2008


W-I-F-E by the Old 97's: "I've got my wife, the other women, and the whiskey killing me"
posted by gingerbeer at 7:40 PM on March 7, 2008


Fountains of Wayne: "Hung Up On You"

"It may be the whiskey talkin', but the whiskey says I love you any way."
posted by PhatLobley at 7:42 PM on March 7, 2008


"Miss Misery" by Elliott Smith has a line or two about drinking Johnnie Walker. And it is so sad.
posted by foxinthesnow at 7:43 PM on March 7, 2008


Absolutely, 100%, the song called "Jug of this", a traditional English drinking song.

Shoot me an email if you like, and I'll help you find it.
posted by OrangeDrink at 7:49 PM on March 7, 2008


Liars Bar by the Beautiful South is a horribly depressing song about drinking whiskey. I love it. Here's a link to someone's YouTube video set to the song. The video's an amateur creation by someone I don't know and is in no way affiliated with the band; it's just the only way I could find to link to audio of the song. It's got to be heard instead of just reading the lyrics to really appreciate it.

Uncle Tupelo's Whiskey Bottle (another YouTube video, this one of the band itself performing the song) is pretty awesome too.
posted by jesourie at 7:49 PM on March 7, 2008


Star Room Boys "Whiskey and You"
posted by sourwookie at 7:50 PM on March 7, 2008


Asleep At The Wheel: "The Letter Than Johnny Walker Read".
posted by tommasz at 7:51 PM on March 7, 2008


"Don't Sell Daddy Any More Whiskey", Matty O'Neill

"Nancy Whiskey", Roger McGuinn

and the great Travis Tritt with "The Whiskey Ain't Working Any More".
posted by nicwolff at 7:53 PM on March 7, 2008


Mekons, "Chivalry" from Fear and Whiskey

I was out late the other night
Fear and whiskey kept me going
I swore somebody held me tight
But now there's just no way of knowing
posted by ethel at 7:55 PM on March 7, 2008


Sorry to be a nit-picker, PhatLobley, but you've got the name of the Fountains of Wayne song wrong, as well as the wrong lyrics.

The tune is "No Better Place," and the lyrics are:

"And it may be the whiskey talking,
But the whiskey says I miss you every day"

The song you referenced, "Hung Up on You", is also way-good, and references whisky:

"While I down Kentucky bourbon, I am waiting for a call;
And the moon and stars tonight, Are playing shadows on the wall"

Actually, more than half of FOW's songs mention bourbon or whisky as I come to think of it. Love those guys.
posted by Ike_Arumba at 7:59 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whisky Oh! Johnny Oh!

Whisky is the life of man
Whisky Oh! Johnny Oh!
And it always was since time began
Whisky for me Johnny!

You can find more lyrics for Whisky Oh! Johnny Oh! at Mudcat. Check the sea chantey genre, there are tons of songs about drinking whisky.
posted by Cordelya at 8:02 PM on March 7, 2008


Chris Thomas King's John Law Burned Down the Liquor Store is awesome, but not particularly sad (expect for the fact that John Law did, in fact burn down the store from which the whiskey was purchased. That asshole).

My favorite verse:

He turned water to whiskey - That's what the preacher say
Lord I need a miracle - To get me thru the day
Muddy water come and wash my blues away
posted by mostlymartha at 8:06 PM on March 7, 2008


Yabba Dabba Do (The King is Gone)

Sorry for the wonky youtube link, but, damn, it's George Jones,.
posted by suki at 8:09 PM on March 7, 2008


Dwight Yoakam, "It Won't Hurt (When I Fall Off of This Barstool)", "This Drinkin' Will Kill Me"

Drive-By Truckers, "Women Without Whiskey", "Daddy Needs A Drink", "Dead Drunk and Naked", "Why Henry Drinks"

Dale Watson, "Whiskey or God", "Tequila and Teardrops", "Sit and Drink and Cry"

Willie Dixon, "If the Sea Was Whiskey"

John Lee Hooker, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer"

Hank Williams III, "Whiskey, Weed, and Women", "I'm Drunk Again", "Five Shots of Whiskey", "My Drinking Problem"

Drag the River, "Booze and Pills"

The Meat Purveyors, "Thinking About Drinking"

Lucero, "Drink Til We're Gone"

Huh. I detect a theme running through my iPod.....
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:12 PM on March 7, 2008


"Rye Whiskey" which I guess is a fairly traditional tune but I have a version by Last Train Home in my collection. The Google tells me Nick Cave also has a version as well.
posted by vagabond at 8:12 PM on March 7, 2008


Kris Delmhorst, "Honeyed Out" and "Juice & June."
posted by bassjump at 8:14 PM on March 7, 2008


Not specifically whiskey but great song anyway: Jazz Butcher, "Drink"
posted by jockc at 8:18 PM on March 7, 2008


He Brings Out the Whiskey in Me - Amy Millan
posted by wilky at 8:21 PM on March 7, 2008


"One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)" by Frank Sinatra. The best version is probably from Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 8:35 PM on March 7, 2008


Shane MacGowan and the Popes did Nancy Whiskey, too.

"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" mentions whiskey.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:36 PM on March 7, 2008


Highway 101, Whiskey, If You Were a Woman (I'd fight you and I'd win, Lord knows I would).
posted by not that girl at 8:41 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cracker- Take Me Down to the Infirmary
posted by Wayman Tisdale at 8:47 PM on March 7, 2008


Most pathetic song concerning whisky-drinking: "It's cool, We Can Still Be Friends" - Bright Eyes

Two somewhat more invigorating but still kind of sad depending on how you look at them songs from the Mountain Goats: Commandante and You're In Maya (and I wouldn't be surprised if they had others).
posted by bubukaba at 8:54 PM on March 7, 2008


The Drinking Song by Moxy Fruvous. It refers to bourbons and scotches, not the word whiskey...but it makes me cry whenever I listen to it.
posted by cabingirl at 8:57 PM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf by The Killers. (Part of what has become to be known as "The Murder Trilogy", which includes Jenny was a Friend of Mine and Midnight Show, this one is the first and is the contemplation of the murder).
posted by cholly at 8:58 PM on March 7, 2008


Moonshiner, sung by Cat Power, Dylan, and many others.
posted by pwb503 at 9:01 PM on March 7, 2008


Laura Cantrell - The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter
posted by SansPoint at 9:09 PM on March 7, 2008


I've always found Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's "Country Girl" suite (which includes Whiskey Boot Hill) to be really sad. But it's not the type of sad that necessarily blends in well with other sad songs.
posted by klangklangston at 9:13 PM on March 7, 2008


You can't do sadder than the white liquor drunk of Under Sad Stars by Crooked Fingers
posted by extrabox at 9:16 PM on March 7, 2008


Palace Brothers - (I Was Drunk At The) Pulpit
Roy Acuff - Wreck on the Highway --Here's an earlier version by Dorsey Dixon
Handsome Family - My Sister's Tiny Hands --parts of which you can listen to in this clip
posted by hydrophonic at 9:30 PM on March 7, 2008


Gillian Welch, Whiskey Girl
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:42 PM on March 7, 2008


Sadly Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners ask for a little bartenderness in "Whisky for Supper".
posted by okbye at 9:48 PM on March 7, 2008


I don't see "Bad Bad Whiskey" mentioned. Here's a version by Amos Milburn.

For that country sad feeling, there's always Dwight Yoakum's "It Won't Hurt."

Big Bill Broonzy sang the "Whiskey Good Time Blues."

Also, while the old standard "Rye Whiskey" probably inspired it, "If the Sea Was Whiskey" is a whole other song. I generally think of the Willie Dixon/Big Three Trio version, but there are others.

Also, while it's not about whiskey specifically, it's hard to get better than Richard Thompson's "God Loves a Drunk".

I need to go pour myself something...
posted by j-dawg at 9:48 PM on March 7, 2008


Also not specifically about whiskey, but "There Stands the Glass."
posted by key_of_z at 10:10 PM on March 7, 2008


Also not specifically about whiskey, but

Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down by Merle Haggard

Well each night I leave the bar-room when it's over
Not feeling any pain at closing time
But tonight your memory found me much too sober
I couldn't drink enough to keep you off my mind

Tonight the bottle let me down
And let your memory come around
The one true friend I thought I'd found
But tonight the bottle let me down

Well I've always had a bottle I could turn to
And lately I've been turning every day
But tonight the wine don't take effect the way it used to
And now I'm hurting in an old familiar way

Tonight the bottle let me down
And let your memory come around
The one true friend I thought I'd found
But tonight the bottle let me down
posted by wsg at 10:16 PM on March 7, 2008


Second Moonshiner. The Bill Hilly Band do a nice job on that -- sad. sad sad sad. Dylan cover of it.
posted by Rumple at 10:20 PM on March 7, 2008


Whiskey for Breakfast

Early in the morning the sun wouldn't shine
I was walking down the road not feeling too fine
Saw two men with a bottle between 'em
This is the song that they were singing

Lord preserve us and protect us
We been drinking whiskey for breakfast
Lord preserve us and protect us
We been drinking whiskey for breakfast

I stopped by the steps where they were sitting
I couldn't believe how drunk they were getting
They passed that bottle and I took a little sip
Took a little more and I just couldn't quit

Chorus

One by one the people of the town
Heard our ruckus and they all came town
Pretty soon all the streets were ringing
With the sound of the whole town laughing and singing
posted by wsg at 10:24 PM on March 7, 2008


I don't know if Nick Cave's O'Malley's Bar is sad or hilarious, but it certainly covers drinking. And killing.
posted by Rumple at 10:31 PM on March 7, 2008


Women Drinking Whiskey by Miko!
posted by ODiV at 10:39 PM on March 7, 2008


Seconding Lucero, "Drink Til We're Gone". You can listen to it here. It's about drinking, but not specifically whiskey. Man...it always makes me so sad, but in a good way.
posted by hooray at 10:44 PM on March 7, 2008


Bonnie Raitt, Guilty
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:50 PM on March 7, 2008


Lovin' Whiskey, by Rory Block
posted by knystress at 11:00 PM on March 7, 2008


You can get two thirds of the Metafilter trifecta kirkaracha mentions covered in a single song if you use "Incredibly Drunk On Whiskey" by the band Memphis (side project of the guy from Stars).
posted by roombythelake at 11:14 PM on March 7, 2008


If you can believe it, my grandfather used to sing me this song when I was a young(!) boy. Maybe not sad, but kinda bleak from a certain perspective.

Faster horses
Younger women
Older whiskey
More money.


And an enthusiastic seconding of BitterOldPunk and j-dawg's recommendation of Dwight Yoakam's "It Won't Hurt":

Chorus:
It won't hurt when I fall down from this bar stool
And it won't hurt when I stumble in the street
It won't hurt 'cause this whiskey eases misery
But even whiskey cannot ease your hurting me

Today I had another bout with sorrow
You know this time I almost won
If this bottle would just hold out 'til tomorrow
I know that I'd have sorrow on the run

Chorus:
It won't hurt when I fall down from this bar stool
And it won't hurt when I stumble in the street
It won't hurt 'cause this whiskey eases misery
But even whiskey cannot ease your hurting me

Your memory comes back up with each sunrise
I reach out for the bottle and find it's gone
Yeah, Lord, somewhere every night the whiskey leaves me
To face this cold, cold world on my own

Chorus:
It won't hurt when I fall down from this bar stool
And it won't hurt when I stumble in the street
It won't hurt 'cause this whiskey eases misery
But even whiskey cannot ease your hurting me

Even whiskey cannot ease your hurting me...

posted by donpedro at 11:14 PM on March 7, 2008


As an addendum, recommend you grab the slower, acoustic version from the dwightyoakamacoustic.net album for the saddest.
posted by donpedro at 11:20 PM on March 7, 2008


"What's the Use of Getting Sober (When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again)" [Louis Jordan, Joe Jackson and others] mentions whiskey. (lyrics).

...

Oh Sam done something fine
When he bought that good whiskey, beer and wine
I love my whiskey and I love my gin
Every time you see me I'm in my sin
So what's the use of getting sober
When you're gonna get drunk again


...


Also, Nina Simone's Moon Over Alabama (lyrics)

Show us the way to the next whiskey bar
Don't ask why
For we must find the next whiskey bar
Or if we don't find the next whiskey bar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you
I tell you
I tell you we must die


...

posted by taz at 12:42 AM on March 8, 2008


Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wild Wild Women by Jim Croce.
posted by Solomon at 1:39 AM on March 8, 2008


Bob Evans - Sadness & Whiskey Bad youtube version
posted by bystander at 3:09 AM on March 8, 2008


Kind of surprised suki mentioned The Possum without pointing out his classic "Tennessee Whiskey:"

You're as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey
You're as sweet as strawberry wine
You're as warm as a glass of brandy
And I'll stay stoned on your love all the time

posted by Doofus Magoo at 3:59 AM on March 8, 2008


Whiskey in Your Shoes - Frank Black.
posted by misteraitch at 4:58 AM on March 8, 2008


George Thorogood- I Drink Alone

It's not only about whiskey, but the man knows how to capture a certain mood flawlessly.
posted by yoz420 at 5:13 AM on March 8, 2008


Whiskey and Women-John Lee Hooker (awesome version on Hooker and Heat)
Whisky River-Willie Nelson
The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter-Laura Cantrell
Tenessee Whiskey-George Jones


There are a million traditional Irish and Scottish songs about whiskey, and a billion traditional Irish, Scottish and Appalaichain instrumental fiddle tunes with whiskey in the name. Humors of Whiskey, etc.
posted by sully75 at 5:53 AM on March 8, 2008


Solomon mentioned:
"Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wild Wild Women by Jim Croce"

For a real treat, here is a clip with Peter Sellers and the Muppets singing this song, complete with a puppet pig with a cig in his mouth.

They could never get away with that today.
posted by yclipse at 6:20 AM on March 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


And one of the saddest has to be "I Think I'll Just Sit Here and Drink" by Merle Haggard.

It does not specify whiskey, but I don't think the singer is sipping Merlot.
posted by yclipse at 6:23 AM on March 8, 2008


Another Bonnie Raitt tune, The Glow, from the album of the same name. Sorry, no one's youtubed it yet but you can hear a sample on Amazon. (Oh, and it doesn't specifically mention whiskey but the song certainly has the sad and drinkin' vibe.)
posted by fuse theorem at 6:43 AM on March 8, 2008


Dear Doctor, the Rolling Stones
posted by Afroblanco at 6:49 AM on March 8, 2008


Never been clear on this; is bourbon whiskey? Anyway, from Mexican Home by John Prine:

My father died on the porch outside
On an august afternoon
I sipped bourbon and cried
With a friend by the light of the moon
posted by qldaddy at 7:20 AM on March 8, 2008


Whiskey Girl, Toby Keith
She ain't into wine and roses
Beer just makes her turn up her nose
And, she can't stand the thought of sippin' champagne
No Cuervo Gold Margaritas
Just ain't enough good burn in tequila
She needs somethin' with a little more edge and a little more pain
She's my little whiskey Girl


Snorting Whiskey (Drinking Cocaine), Pat Travers

Whiskey in the Morning, Buckcherry
Wasted youth and mad as hell
My friends keep asking me
Are you ok, man, you're eyes are glazin'

I cant get over it
This shit is killing me
My body's achin', hands are shakin'

I'm cutting down you heard the line
Whiskey in the morning one more time
Hit that cigarette Colt 45
Whiskey in the morning
Cant stop drinkin' gonna die.

posted by ewiar at 8:44 AM on March 8, 2008


The Piano has Been Drinking by Tom Waites

The piano has been drinking
My necktie's asleep
The combo went back to New York, and left me all alone
The jukebox has to take a leak
Have you noticed that the carpet needs a haircut?
And the spotlight looks just like a prison break
And the telephone's out of cigarettes
As usual the balcony's on the make
And the piano has been drinking, heavily
The piano has been drinking
And he's on the hard stuff tonight

The piano has been drinking
And you can't find your waitress
Even with the Geiger counter
And I guarantee you that she will hate you
From the bottom of her glass
And all of your friends remind you
That you just can't get served without her
The piano has been drinking

The piano has been drinking
And the lightman's blind in one eye
And he can't see out of the other
And the piano-tuner's got a hearing aid
And he showed up with his mother
And the piano has been drinking
Without fear of contradiction I say
The piano has been drinking

Our Father who art in ?
Hallowed by thy glass
Thy kindom come, thy will be done
On Earth as it is in the lounges
Give us this day our daily splash
Forgive us our hangovers
As we forgive all those who continue to hangover against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver from evil and someone you must all ride home

Because the piano has been drinking
And he's your friend not mine
Because the piano has been drinking
And he's not my responsibility

The bouncer is this Sumo wrestler
Kinda cream puff casper milk toast
And the owner is just a mental midget
With the I.Q. of a fencepost
I'm going down, hang onto me, I'm going down
Watch me skate across an acre of linoleum
I know I can do it, I'm in total control
And the piano has been drinking
And he's embarrassing me
The piano has been drinking, he raided his mini bar

The piano has been drinking
And the bar stools are all on fire
And all the newspapers were just fooling
And the ash-trays have retired
And I've got a feeling that the piano has been drinking
It's just a hunch
The piano has been drinking and he's going to lose his lunch
And the piano has been drinking
Not me, not me, The piano has been drinking not me
posted by wsg at 9:45 AM on March 8, 2008


Mark Lanegan (old Screaming Trees frontman) - "Whiskey for the Holy Ghost" - This is a GREAT disc.
"Well I’m dressed in white, send roses to me/I drank so much sour whisky I can hardly see"
posted by vito90 at 11:27 AM on March 8, 2008


Nina Simone's Next Whisky Bar is actually the Alabama Song from Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill's opera Mahagonny, the original sung by Lotte Lenya. It's been covered by loads of people.
posted by londongeezer at 4:10 PM on March 8, 2008


Derailers - Bar Exam

Drink by drink I'm taking the bar exam.
I know beer, wine whiskey and gin
I studied every glass and bottle they come in
I pass with flying colors, so high above the others
So set 'em up I'm ready to begin

posted by Wavelet at 6:09 PM on March 8, 2008


Finishing out an Old 97's set, there's also Bel Air ("you poured whiskey in my Slurpee"), Doreen, with both whiskey sours and Old Crow, and Niteclub ("whiskey makes the strangers all look good").
posted by gingerbeer at 9:44 PM on March 8, 2008


What's The Use Of Getting Sober (When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again) (Louis Jordan)

Boy, you listen to your old Pappy
Yeah, Pappy
And stop drinking so much
I'm-I'm ain't been doing so much drinking, Pappy
Shut up, boy! You drink all day and you drink all night and you know, son, that that ain't right
Oh Pappy, you just give me a chance. I, I can, I . . .
Shut up, boy! Boy, you're lookin' thin as a twig
I know that . . . Look likes your dear old Pappy - about to blow your wig
Oh I'm gonna blow my wig, Pappy

What's the use of getting sober
When you're gonna get drunk again
Oh Sam done something fine
When he bought that good whiskey, beer and wine
I love my whiskey and I love my gin
Every time you see me I'm in my sin
So what's the use of getting sober
When you're gonna get drunk again

I went out last night about half past one
Thought I'd whoop it up a little and have some fun
I got me a half pint about half past two
Mmm, mmm, the way I was feeling you know what I wanna do
Got me a pint about half past four
Felt so good, went out and got me some more
Got me a quart about half past five
Boy, that was so nice didn't know if I was dead or alive

So what's the use of getting sober If you're gonna get drunk again
Oh Sam done something fine
When he bought that good whiskey, beer and wine
I love my whiskey and I love my gin
Every time you see me I'm in my sin
So what's the use of getting sober
When you're gonna get drunk again

Well I've been thinking
But I keep drinking
I guess I'm 'bout lose my mind
posted by wsg at 9:16 AM on March 9, 2008


"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" mentions whiskey.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:36 PM on March 7

Never been clear on this; is bourbon whiskey?
posted by qldaddy at 10:20 AM on March 8
Bourbon and Scotch are both varieties of whiskey.


As for songs... others have already beaten me to most of the ones I've got in my itunes, but here's a couple more:

Jockey Full of Bourbon, Tom Waits
Whiskey Headed Blues, Devil In A Woodpile

Gaelic Storm have also done Nancy Whiskey, though neither that nor Johnny Tarr (about a man who cleans every bar in town out of all their liquor, I think including whiskey, before dying of dehydration) are especially sad songs.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 4:09 PM on March 9, 2008


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