Ah, New Year’s Eve: the ultimate excuse to get up and party down. Tonight, people the world over will be celebrating New Year’s Eve in a variety of settings, in a variety of ways, and of course, with a variety of drinks. But if there’s one New Year’s Eve constant, it’s music. Yes, no party, New Year’s or otherwise, is complete without it. So, in honour of tonight’s impending festivities, I present to you my top ten party songs of all time. I’m not stranger to creating top ten lists, but this was one of the hardest I’ve ever come up with. Party music is a tough one. There’s music that’s clearly great party music (some hip-hop and electronic music for example). Then there’s the music that’s great party music only because you and your mates used to party to it (Alabama’s ‘Song of the South’ comes immediately to mind). For the purposes of this list I’ve tried to stick to the former category, but alas, man can ne’er erase the mark of experience. Enjoy, and have a happy and healthy (and music-filled) New Year!
1. C’Mon Everybody by Eddie Cochran – Opening with the immortal line, ‘come on everybody, let’s get together tonight’, not only is it one of the greatest party tunes of all time, but it’s also one of the greatest rock songs of all time. If you’re in the mood for something a little heavier, try Humble Pie or Zeppelin’s live covers of this classic.
2. Here I Go Again by Whitesnake – This is one of those anthems that seem to be tailor made for parties. The subdued beginning of the song means you can get more than a minute into the song before anyone even realizes what’s playing, but once they do, you can be sure fists will be in the air, and everyone who knows the words will be belting the chorus.
3. ________ by Andrew W. K. – How could I pick just one Andrew W. K. song? The undisputed king (and inventor?) of party rock, Andrew W. K. is partying personified. Highlights include his entire first album, I Get Wet, and the first two tracks of The Wolf (Victory Strikes Again/I Wanna Have a Party, a Jersey-rock style epic)
4. Psycho by The Sonics – U.S. garage band The Sonics are easily one of the treasures of 1960s American music. These guys were punk before punk, metal before metal, heavy before heavy. The song Psycho is a high-energy rocker that grabs you from the first second and doesn’t let go until your mind is sufficiently blown and face sufficiently melted. It’s even more amazing to think it was recorded in the mid-60s.
5. Party and Bullshit by Notorious B.I.G. – Possibly the ultimate hip-hop party song, something about it just puts a smile on your face. People who aren’t 100% hip-hop fans might find the Ratatat remix of the song more appealing.
6. La Grange by ZZ Top – Nothing quite says ‘time to party’ like a song about a small brothel outside a small Texas town. Well, maybe that’s not true, but there are few things better to hear at parties than the blistering guitar work of Mr. Billy Gibbons.
7. Come Sail Away by Styx – Another party sing-along, Come Sail Away is a tune of which at least 70% of guests will know at least 70% of the words. Though it’s definitely not for everyone. I’ve seen this song greeted at parties with everything from cheers and applause to empty (or not-so-empty) cans being thrown at the stereo. Judge your partygoers accordingly.
8. KC Accidental by Broken Social Scene – The most indie of the songs on this list, KC Accidental might not be objectively the greatest party song in the world (or even a good one), but it has personal meaning to me and will forever be an excellent party song as far as I’m concerned. Centred on the juxtaposition of airy, dream-like sounds and frantic, driving energetic rock, KC Accidental is actually a pretty good sonic representation of what goes on in most people’s brains at a party.
9. Salty Dog by Flogging Molly – Punk rock is great party music. So is Celtic folk music. So of course I had to include a Celtic punk band on the list. Salty Dog is little more than a cover of the Kesh Jig with modern lyrics, but it is guaranteed to get you jumping (or possibly growing a handlebar moustache and entering an old-timey bout of fisticuffs)
10. Rock And Roll All Nite by Kiss – ‘nuff said.