Have A Drink On Us! - 20 Songs About Booze & Gangsters

Have A Drink On Us! - 20 Songs About Booze & Gangsters

Posted 17 Jan 2020
prohibition
Circa 1925. Photo by Kirn Vintage Stock/Corbis via Getty Images.

January 17 1920 was the day that prohibition took effect. What the American President Herbert Hoover called "a great social and economic experiment,” was a ban on booze that lasted for 13 years. A failed social and economic experiment, more like it! The ban actually precipitated  the rise of organised crime and gangsters and in turn mass corruption and wholesale murder. All the while people kept drinking anyway; some 200,000 illegal drinking dens – speakeasies – had opened across the US by the end of the Twenties. As newly-elected President Franklin D Roosevelt said in 1932,  in the midst of the Great Depression and just months before the amendment to end Prohibition was passed: “What America needs now is a drink.”

We don’t want to wait another 13 years to celebrate the end of it, although that is clearly the anniversary more worthy of celebration! Today, we’re celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Prohibition with 20 songs about booze and gangsters. Let’s kick off with Paper Lace’s 1974 Australian #1 ode to gangster Al Capone...

Paper Lace | “The Night Chicago Died” 

George Thorogood & The Destroyers | “One Bourbon, One Scotch & One Beer” 

Cold Chisel | “Cheap Wine” 

Johnny “Guitar” Watson  | “The Gangster of Love”

ZZ Top | “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” 

The Pogues | “Streams of Whiskey” 

Mental As Anything | “The Nips Are Getting Bigger” 

Thin Lizzy | “Whiskey In The Jar” 

Dr. Feelgood | “Milk & Alcohol” 

Sailor | “Glass of Champagne”

Emmylou Harris | “Two More Bottles of Wine” 

Rory Gallagher | “Too Much Alcohol” 

Kiss | “Cold Gin” 

Nick Cave | “Rye Whiskey” 

Jeff Beck & Rod Stewart | “I’ve Been Drinking”  

Oasis | “Cigarettes & Alcohol” 

Boney M | “Ma Baker” 

Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs | “Cigarettes & Whiskey”  

The Replacements | “Beer For Breakfast” 

AC/DC | “Have A Drink On Me” 

You'll find plenty more drinking anthems on our Glory Days Of Aussie Pub Rock playlist on Spotify:

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