Throughout history people have been singing songs praising the magnificence of alcohol. It is evident in all walks of life and every social stratum. For some, singing songs wasn’t enough, so they wrote them…or stole them. This practice spawned the most beautiful music and lyrics ever heard. Or so it seems when you’re on a binge.
The earliest song of praise I could find dates back to the year 1210. The melody was taken from a nativity song, “Or Hi Parra”, and the lyrics, originally praising the baby Jesus, were changed to glorify the wonders of beer:
Let it be seen – The ale will sing to us
Whoever drinks some – May he be as he should
Thing of wonder!
It doesn’t sound like much, but it got a lot of play on the jukebox.
This was the start of a new trend in songs of praise. People figured the baby Jesus had been praised enough and that alcohol should be the focus for the rest of the millennium.
Skipping ahead six hundred years, you could hear sailors singing drinking songs across the ocean blue. One of the most popular was Yo Ho Ho (and a bottle of rum):
Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest – Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
It’s a pretty jolly song for a bunch of guys who loved to rape and murder.
Not too many people know that “The Star Spangled Banner” was taken from an old English drinking song. The original lyrics went like this:
Oh, say over here – can you pass me a beer Hey check out that girl – Oh, sorry that’s your wife
Come to think of it, maybe we should have kept the original.
Then of course there’s “99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall.” Most people sing this during long car rides. It’s also used as a form of torture in POW camps. Legend has that this song was based on a true story.
Other songs of praise are:
Red, Red Wine – praises wine. Tiny Bubbles – praises champagne. Tequila – praises tequila. The latter being the most direct about its subject matter, because the only lyric in the song is “tequila.” I wrote a similar song called “Whiskey.” Actually it wasn’t so much a song as it was me shouting “whiskey” at a bartender.
One of the most recent drinking songs is “Blame It”. Blame it on the alcohol, that is. From what I can decipher from the lyrics, if the guy drinks enough, the girl looks better to him. If the girl drinks enough, he looks better to her. If they both drink enough, they get laid. Not a bad formula.
So go out and get a bottle of wine, or champagne, or tequila, or beer, and sing a song in praise of alcohol. Or better yet, write one. After all, we could still use a song about moonshine.