Category Archives: Alcohol in Music

Tom Foolery

Growing up, my dad would say to me, “I don’t want any tomfoolery”.  I always assumed this meant he didn’t want me to misbehave.  Technically, it refers to foolish behavior or nonsense (also good advice, I suppose). 

Its first recorded use was in 1812 and it stems from the Middle English Thom Foole, personification of a mentally deficient person.    Tom Foolery also happens to be the name of a musical revue based on the songs of Tom Lehrer that opened in London in the 1950s.   Lehrer, in addition to being a thirsty spirit, is a mathematician, teacher, composer, singer-songwriter, pianist and satirist who graduated from Harvard at the age of 18.  I’ve read that his favorite drink is a gin martini and he’s the self-proclaimed inventor of the Jell-O shot. 

One of the songs in the first act is titled, “Bright College Days” and Lehrer muses about college drinking:

Hearts full of youth, hearts full of truth
Six parts gin to one part vermouth

That sounds like tomfoolery to me.

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Thirsty heavy metal hitmakers

I came across something that shows even bad boys with big hair enjoy wine from time to time. “Me and My Wine” was on Def Leppard’s second album, High N’ Dry, which was released in the U.S. in 1984. Seems like an oversight that this song never made it on either of their best-of collections. I can’t decide which is my favorite part of the video – Joe Elliot simultaneously singing and brushing his teeth or Rick Savage playing his bass in the bathtub – but, here’s my favorite snippet of lyrics:

Oh me and the boys have been drinking
Feeling like this is the wrong time for thinking
All I can say is I’m doing fine with just me and my wine

Now listen
My hair’s a real mess, I feel and look like a joke
And there’s a hole in my jeans, I just ran right out of smokes
You know I’d like to get to know you
But I ain’t got the time
I’m finding it harder and harder
To make this damn thing rhyme

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Lyrical liquor

Singing and drinking go hand in hand and that’s probably why there’s a lot of songs out there that mention some form of alcohol; the Eagles’ “pink Champagne on ice”, Billy Joel’s “bottle of red, bottle of white” or more my parents’ speed, Garth Brooks’ “two piña coladas, one for each hand”.  From time to time, I’ll share some of my favorites with you. 

Beastie Boys

Flame on, I’m gone
I’m so sweet like a nice bon bon
Came out rapping when I was born
Mom said rock it ’til the break of dawn
Puttin bodies in motion ’cause I got the notion
Well like Roy Cormier with the coconut lotion
The sound of the music makin’ you insane

You can’t explain to people this type of mind frame
And like a bottle of Chateau Neuf Du Pap
I’m fine like wine when I start to rap
We need body rockin’ not perfection
Let me get some action from the back section
-Beastie Boys
“Body Movin'”
Hello Nasty1998

When the Beastie Boys released their Hello Nasty LP in 1998, I had no clue what Châteauneuf-du-Pape (shat-toe-NOOF-duh-pop, often shortened to CDP) was.  I’m happy to say that’s no longer the case.  Continue reading

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Filed under Alcohol in Music, Wine