So there you are, out at a bar with some friends, significant other, or hopefully a potential significant other. The next thing you notice, some song comes on the jukebox that has no business being played in the privacy of one’s home, let alone a public forum.
You, being the music connoisseur you are, decide to make a move to the jukebox and rectify this assault on the bar patron’s eardrums. Once you get to the jukebox, you freeze, as you have no idea what to play. Well, let me help you figure out what to play.
Whether you are out drinking beer, mixed drinks, or wine coolers (Seriously, I had no idea they still made those until I was at an adult beverage store and the young girl in front of me at the cash register had two six-packs of them in her hands. I don’t have a joke for that. I was just amazed wine coolers are still in production) people want to go out to a bar to have fun. Whether they are just hanging out with friends, hitting on girls, or just trying to escape their mundane lives, they go out to enjoy themselves, so without further interruption, here are some jukebox tips.
Don’t play slow sappy songs – When I was bartending in college, a good buddy of mine would often come in, grab his drink, then head over to the jukebox to play ‘How’s it Going to Be’ by Third Eye Blind every time he came in. Every. Time. While I sympathized with him, I didn’t necessarily agree with his taste in bar music, especially when he was killing the mood of my paying customers. Listen, I know it’s tough getting over being hurt, but that’s no excuse to play anything by Sinead O’Connor, the theme song from the Titanic, or ‘It’s Been Awhile’ by Staind, so let’s steer clear from those, shall we? Look on the bright side: There are more fish in the sea. Fish that probably don’t want to hear the above songs on the jukebox at a bar.
Some booze inspired songs are good – One particular tune that should always be played is ‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer’ by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. It’s a great tune that tells a story and it mentions beer, so naturally I’m a fan. Similarly, ‘Glory Days’ by Bruce Springsteen is a great story telling song and should also be played on the jukebox at any time, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the Boss? One sleeper pick I always go to is ‘Beer’ by Reel Big Fish. Great tune. Give it a shot. You’re welcome. Also, if you can find ‘Frolic Room’ by 311, use it. On the flip side, ‘Cold Beverage’ by G. Love & the Special Sauce was a great tune until Coors Light overplayed it in their commercials.
Cover bands play the same damn songs for a reason – because they work on the ladies. Seriously, if you ever go out, when do you hear a cover band playing Slayer or Sevendust? While those two bands are fantastic, chicks aren’t digging their music while hanging out at a bar. Stick with the basics: “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, ‘Come on Eileen’ by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, or even ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ by Def Leppard always seem to do the trick. Cover bands were good for one thing at least!
Play lots of U2 – This rule applies even more if you are at an Irish Pub. If not, it’s always good to throw one of their songs in every now and then. Maybe try ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ or ‘Mysterious Ways’. But be careful…If you’re on a date and you go over and play ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, odds are you might be sending the wrong signal with that one. Unless that’s your way of giving a hint. In that case, that’s pretty mean, but I’ll admit, pretty funny. If you follow that up with Ugly Kid Joe’s ‘Everything About You”, well then that’s just damn hilarious.
Don’t, under any circumstance, play anything by Nickelback – Seriously, don’t do it.
Toby Keith might actually write his songs in bars – While you might want to give ‘Red Solo Cup’ a rest for now, there’s always ‘I Ain’t as Good as I Once Was’ as well as ‘I Love This bar’. Great tunes to throw on the jukebox.
Choose your 80’s tunes carefully – While the aforementioned Def Leppard and Journey tunes always go over well, don’t bust out ‘Celebration’ by Kool and the Gang. There’s nothing “kool” about that song unless you’re at a wedding retroactive to 20 years ago. Don’t do it. Also, don’t play ‘Caribbean Queen’ by Billy Ocean. One might think that’s a no brainer, but I have actually heard that played at a bar. I’m just looking out for my readers. Both of you.
Don’t play ‘Return to Innocence’ by Enigma – …unless you plan on shooting a porn in the bathroom. Hey, it happens! If you get that far, it must have been to your jukebox skills. You’re welcome…again.
Other tunes to keep in mind –
- ‘Friends in Low Places’ by Garth Brooks
- ‘What I Got’ by Sublime
- ‘Give it Away’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
- ‘Float On’ by Modest Mouse
- ‘Centerfield’ by John Fogerty
- ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley
These jukebox tips should definitely help you out next time you throw some tunes on the jukebox. Trust me, my favorite band is Alice in Chains. I know what I’m talking about!
What are some of your favorite tunes to play on the jukebox? List them below in the comments section.