Sunday, March 9, 2008

Top 10 Songs That Poor People Like to Sing Along to in Bars

One thing you can be sure of when working in a big room of cubicles, is that there is always at least 5 people who play horrible music that no person in their right mind should listen to voluntarily. I’m talking about songs that come on at a bar when no one has put any money in the jukebox (not before 10 drinks, anyway); songs that are playing in CVS while you’re picking out a card for your Mother’s birthday; songs that were played at that Bat Mitzvah you went to in 1997 when the MC asked that everyone “find that special someone and make your way to the dance floor.” I’m not kidding. I’m far from kidding. You can hear these songs on a daily basis in any office, usually playing at an obnoxiously loud volume with no regard for the people that don’t want to hear them ever again.

These are songs that poor people like.

The first installment in an endless series of Songs That Poor People Like Top 10’s covers the songs that Poor People Like to Sing Along to in Bars. As the Mindless Media Sensitivity trainer once told me, “Poor people like to sing; like in church and on American Idol.” As you read down this list, you may think that this is a Top 10 Songs That Poor People Like to Sing Along to in Bars in 1986. Butitisn’t. You can hear these songs sung gloriously RIGHT NOW at any bar where poor people like you and me go to drown themselves in their miseries and forget that they, in fact, work here.

Good luck...

The Top 10 Songs That Poor People Like to Sing Along to in Bars

10. “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen

Ah, a classic. A staple in rugged, blue collar, hard-working Americana. Though this is actually the most bold and unabashed musical expression of Anti-American sentiments ever made (Got in a little hometown jam/So they put a rifle in my hand/Sent me off to a foreign land/To go and kill the yellow man), people still love to embrace this as a flag-wavin’, football lovin’, campaign rockin’ American Bar Song. Expect this to pop on the jukebox relatively early in the night (let’s say, 10:35PM on a Saturday/8:45PM on a weekday). No one knows any lyrics besides the actual line “Born in the U.S.A.,” so it’s not as much of a drunken sing-a-long as you would expect (but still deserves a place on the list). Poor people love Bruce!

9. “American Pie” Don McLean

Even if you think this song is a bit dated and really doesn’t fit on this list anymore, you’re absolutely wrong. I’ve sung along to this song at a bar within the last year, and let me tell you – it was fun. Why? Because I’m poor. What’s fun about singing along to this song is the fact that there are so many lyrics (arguably 14 verses). It’s impossible to A) Actually remember all of these lyrics even if you’re an avid fan of the song, and B) Remember more than half of the lyrics after a couple of drinks. Poor people like to sing along at bars and prove to their friends that they know all of the words. The combination of drunk poor people and a song with a lot of lyrics (ie: “Rapper’s Delight,” any Eminem song) always makes for a good time.

8. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

I know. You think this song is dated too, but again; you’d be wrong. I also have a pretty successful sing-a-long to this classic bar song in recent memory. Poor people love to sing about Alabama. The song is actually a pretty complex political statement, but absolutely no one actually cares, or pays any attention to the lyrics as they sing them. This and “Born in the U.S.A.” will definitely be on my “Top 10 Political Songs That Poor People Like to Misinterpret”…

7. “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty

What do you get if you make a rock song about a good girl who’s crazy about Elvis, loves Jesus (and her boyfriend too)? A song that poor people like to listen to in bars! Not only do poor people like to get drunk and rip through this first verse with impeccable vocal precision, but poor people also love to cover this song in a bar with their band! Every poor person who owns a guitar (it’s probably one of those $400 Fender Strats from guitar center, isn’t it?) knows how to strum that D chord opener and get all of their poor friends to sing along. ‘Cause I’m freeeeee-eee-ee.

6. “I Love Rock ‘n' Roll” by Joan Jett

Contrary to popular belief (thanks to Brit-Brit), “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” was not written by Pat Benatar (In fact, it wasn’t even written by Joan Jett. The original version of the song was written in the 70’s by British band, The Arrows). What makes this such a great Bar Song for Poor People? Well, any song you can pound your fist to is an automatic bar hit (one hand pumping, one hand holding beer). Any song with that “We Will Rock You” drum beat and loud, distorted, crunchy hard rock guitars is also a winner. Of course, the line “Put a another dime in the jukebox, baby,” is the real breaker. Poor People Love To Remember When Things Were Less Expensive. Dime? Man, those were the days.

5. “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond

Probably would also be on the Top 10 List of Songs Poor People Like to Listen to at Baseball Games (coming soon), “Sweet Caroline” has become the underdog champion of drunken sing-a-longs (as far as Neil Diamond songs are concerned). Did you know this song was written about a photograph of Caroline Kennedy? When she was, like, 10? When you hear the line “good times never seem so good,” be sure to shout, “SO GOOD, SO GOOD, SO GOOD.” Blame Boston for this one. Thanks.

4. “Poor Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard

If Def Leppard didn’t sit around the studio while recording Hysteria saying, “We really need a song that poor people can sing along to in bars,” I’ll be really, really shocked. I mean, if you could get royalties for jukebox plays in bars where poor people drink, Def Leppard’s Great, Great Grandchildren would be set on this track alone. If this song does not come on at your bar, you’re probably at a bar where poor people go to pretend they are rich and cool. FYI: Indie = Poor.

3. “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC

I have pretty much the same sentiments for this as above. Just replace “Def Leppard” with “AC/DC,” “Hysteria” with “Back in Black,” etc. There isn’t a poor soul on Earth who doesn’t love to sing the words, “She was a fast machine/she kept her motor clean” at the top of their lungs while drunk. Not one.

2. “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey

I can’t not sing this song. Just the mere mention of it makes me want to youtube it, plug my headphones in to the computer (no one else needs to know), and imagine that moment in the night when everything becomes clear, you just started your "one more drink" drink, and you decide that you “can't leave until this song is over.” For many poor people, this song has obtained even more sentimental value from its usage in the last scene of the Sopranos finale, despite the fact that many poor people do not have HBO (see #8 of the Top 10 Things Your Employee Would Prefer Over a Raise). This is the song for the climax of the night. Whether you’re playing pool, watching the last inning of the Yankees game, making out in the bathroom, or licking the wing sauce off of your fingers, you will DROP EVERYTHING to sing along to this song. EVERYTHING.

Some will win, some will lose. Some were born to sing the blues. The movie never ends. It goes on and on and on and on.
Don't stop believing.
Hold on to that feeling.

Christ, that’s good shit. And I’m not even drunk.

1. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

It was extremely hard to decide on the #1 for this list. After consulting Mindless Media’s Sensitivity Trainer and Corporate Surviver, it was unanimously decided that this is the #1 song for this list, any list…or frankly, anything. I don’t really see how anyone can argue with this. #1 Song Poor People Like To Do ANYTHING To. I’m at a loss for words.

This is…the ultimate fist-pumping, beer drinking, sing-a-long drunken anthem for absolutely anything; Sporting events big and small, bars, parties, concerts that aren’t even Bon Jovi’s, late night drives on the Garden State, etc. Even if you don’t like Bon Jovi at all, it doesn’t fucking matter. You will shout every word to this at the top of your lungs, and you’ll like it! This song is so monumental and extraordinary, that not only do poor people sing it and inject the phrase “Livin’ on a prayer” into regular conversation on a daily basis, but even Jon Bon Jovi himself references this song in about 87 of his other songs.

What makes this song so important to poor people is that the song itself represents the very struggle of being poor. Tommy and Gina have become the two most significant fictional poor people in the history of poor people. When the union’s on strike, you’ve been working the diner all day, and you cry in the night, baby it's OK 'cause we’ve got each other and that’s a lot.

For love, we’ll give it a shot….

Elizabeth Stolfi
Corporate Cog
Mindless Media
A Genericorp Company

1 comment:

StMaryContrary said...

You seem to have forgotten "Friends in Low Places." Not just for bars, either. I once witnessed a sing along to this one in the college dining hall at lunch sung by several hundred poor people with food in their mouths.