I attend Wellesley College, where I am earning my degree in Studio Art and English with a concentration in Creative Writing.
Country Fans Love Tequila
Whether it’s Cinco De Mayo or you just want to add a little south-of-the-boarder flavor to your night out, tequila can be a great choice . . . or an extremely poor one. Sure it’ll loosen you up, but just be careful because going from zero to sixty is bound to cause a few crashes and poor decisions.
Countless country artists have sung the praises and mourned the corrupting qualities tequila can have. Some use it to drown their sorrows, others use it to add a little spice to their night. The next time you dare to indulge in a round with your friends be sure to add these top 10 songs to your playlist.
10. Bobby Bare, “Tequila Sheila”
Bobby Bare, an Ironton, Ohio, native, found it difficult to break into the music business as a young man in the 1950s attempting to sell his songs. Finally, he was signed to Capitol Records where he recorded a number of unsuccessful rock ‘n’ roll records. However, before being drafted to the Army, he recorded “The All American Boy,” the song that would propel his country music career forward. By the time he released “Tequila Sheila” as a single through Columbia Records in 1980 he was a well-established country singer. The song follows the story of a man taking drunken refuge with a could-be prostitute Sheila, from an angry drug dealer in Mexico.
9. Darryl Worley, “Tequila on Ice”
While Darryl Worley and his studio album Sounds Like Life (2009) have been scathingly criticized by the LA Times for being overly commercial as well as falling short of the relatability the title promises, the smooth melody and romantic tone of the song "Tequila on Ice" is hard to resist. The song features a narrator who has always struggled to find love, wanting a kind of woman he just couldn’t seem to find. In his world, his ideal woman is all “sugar and spice” and everything nice, and “tequila on ice.” In other words, he wants a woman with a heart of gold, but also a wild side to pique his interest. The song begins with their first barroom encounter and ends with a picturesque image of the narrator picking rice from their wedding ceremony out of his bride’s hair on their honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico.
8. Brooks & Dunn, “Tequila Town”
Like many heartbroken men, the narrator of Brooks & Dunn’s “Tequila Town” finds himself trying to drown his sorrows with bottles of booze. The repentant narrator woefully describes in the second verse how he curses the day that he confessed his infidelity to his wife, the moment that prompted her to slip his ring off her hand and leave him for good. Although he hopes that one day he’ll find his way back to her again, but for now he wanders the western roads, losing himself in another “Tequila Town.” The song was included on Brooks & Dunn’s album Borderline (1996).
7. Steve Goodman, “How Much Tequila Did I Drink Last Night”
The late Steve Goodman, a talented Chicago-born song writer, released his recording of “How Much Tequila Did I Drink Last Night” as a part of his 1983 album Affordable Art, the last studio albums he produced in his short but prolific career as a songwriter and musician before his death in 1984 of leukemia. He is the author of songs such as “City of New Orleans” and “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” in which he is mentioned by David Allen Coe as having written “the perfect country and western song.” For this tune he teamed up with John Prine, an artist whose witty lyrical tendencies sense of humor aligned well with Goodman’s. With that kind of lyrical witticism at their disposal, it’s no wonder these two songwriting legends came up with a song full of hilarious one-liners about a guy who has absolutely no idea how much tequila he drank last night.
6. Tracy Byrd, “Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo”
From the moment this song was released country fans all over the nation loved it, raising their own glasses of tequila in tribute to Tracy Byrd’s fun-loving story of a man on a mission to drown the memory of his ex-lover. The song reached No. 1 on the US country chart and even made it to No. 26 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart.
Given the long history of truly outrageous drinking songs in the history of country music, it’s no wonder the song experienced such success. And besides, who wouldn’t want to cheer and laugh along as the tequila encourages the narrator to loosen up and forget his worries. After only one round with Jose Cuervo the band that the sober narrator thought “couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket” was making him tap along. After three sounds the narrator with “two left feet” is out on the dance floor “showing off moves never seen before.” By seven and eight the narrator can’t exactly remember what number he is on, but he’s having such a good time that he buys a round for the whole place. At some point the poor guy has completely lost track, but the party isn’t over, so he starts counting again. Just another classic story where everything seems better with alcohol. I’m sure he’ll feel that headache in the morning, not to mention his tab.
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5. John Anderson, “Straight Tequila Night”
“Straight Tequila Night” was the first chart topping song John Anderson had produced since “Black Sheep” reached No. 1 in 1983, bringing some much-needed billboard success to the artist. The song has the tone of a conversation one would imagine between and a regular at the bar and a newcomer who has spotted a very pretty lady sipping white wine at the bar. The narrator warns us, the newcomer, that while she is “friendly and fun-lovin’ most of the time” she isn’t as happy or as light hearted as she seems. He tells us that on a “straight tequila night, she’ll start thinking about him, and she’s ready to fight.” There’s no point in talking to her on those nights because she blames her fragile broke heart on “every man in sight.” While the song was written by Debbie Hupp and Kent Robbins, John Anderson in a phenomenal songwriter in his own right and was inducted into the Nashville songwriters Hall of Fame on October 5, 2014.
4. Randy Rogers Band, “Tequila Eyes”
“Tequila Eyes” was released in 2016 as the third single from the Randy Rogers Band’s eighth studio album, Nothing Shines Like Neon. The tune was an immediate hit within the southwest and Texas as seen by its No. 1 appearance on the Texas Regional Radio Report.
While the song follows a well-worn tradition of booze-fueled ballads attempting to drown broken hearts, it’s Springsteen-inspired rock n’ roll influences and its female protagonist make it stand out among the crowd. That, combined with the sympathetically melancholy fiddle melody and Rogers’ heartfelt gravely vocals make this song truly memorable.
The idea for the song came from a conversation Rogers had with an old friend just before a show in Houston. “He said something about a girl he had seen the night before, and that he could see the tequila in her eyes.” Rogers immediately felt drawn to the line telling interviewers, “of course lights went off in my head; I jotted it down in my phone. I told him, 'I'm gonna write that song.” Despite their strong regional following, like many groups based in Texas and the Southwest, the Randy Rogers band has had trouble breaking into the national charts, however, this song has the potential to bring some much-deserved attention to the progressive country music being made there.
3. Joe Nichols, “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”
This playful song, recorded in 2005 as a part of Joe Nichols’ album III, reminds us that different kinds of alcohol affect people in drastically different ways. The woman songwriters Gary Hannon and John Wiggins describe seems to unexplainably shed clothing while under the influence of tequila only. As the narrator puts it, “She can handle any champagne brunch, a bridal shower with Bacardi punch, jello shooters full of Smirnoff, but tequila makes her clothes fall off.” If only listening to the song, one might assume that Nichols is singing about a lover, but the makers of the video decided to take an unexpected twist. In their rendition of the song, the woman in question is . . . Grandma? Although the video is truly outrageous, it only adds to the song’s hilarity. “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” was the second No. 1 hit of Nichols’s career.
2. The Eagles “Tequila Sunrise”
Although some country music purists will scoff at the inclusion of the Eagles on this list, there is no way to deny their country influences, instrumentation and impact on modern country music, which hovers somewhere in-between country, pop, and rock. In fact, the Eagles have had such a noticeable impact that a group of major country artists including Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Trisha Yearwood, John Anderson, and Alan Jackson who covered “Tequila Sunrise,” created a tribute album in 1993, 13 years following the group's breakup.
“Tequila Sunrise,” along with the entirety of Desperado, the Eagles’ second studio album, explores distinctively western themes through country-rock melodies. “Tequila Sunrise” was co-written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey and was released in 1973 as their first single from Desperado. The song includes the story of a triangle love affair between a cowboy, a musician (the narrator), and a beautiful woman who has bamboozled them both, set to the background of a “tequila sunrise.” This beautifully memorable double entendre could suggest that the narrator has been up all night drinking tequila until sunrise, or that he poured himself another cocktail at the break of dawn. Either way, the feeling is the same.
1. Kenny Chesney & Grace Potter, “You and Tequila”
The story of “You and Tequila” begins with Deana Carter and Matricia Berg, two long-time friends and songwriters living on the coast of California at the time. The fateful morning that the two would end up writing “You and Tequila,” Matricia was nursing a substantial hangover after a night out on the town. After joking about her current state Deana said something akin to “Yeah, it’s just like men … they get in your blood! I can’t drink tequila hardly because it will just get in my blood and it won’t go away. It’s like a guy.”This prompted the main theme of the song, which discusses the way that the vices we love, whether they be lovers or tequila, are the very things that can destroy us.
Kenny Chesney fell in love with the song in 2003 while touring with Carter and watching her perform it every night. However, it wasn’t until 2010, after Kenny Chesney experienced his own painful breakup, that he really decided to do a cover of the song for his album Hemmingway’s Whiskey. To record the song, he enlisted the help of Grace Potter, the lead singer of a Vermont-based group called Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Although Potter and Chesney had not known each other well before the recording, Chesney had fallen in love with the melancholy lilt of Potter’s voice so he told his manager to make it happen. And make it happen they did; the song peaked at No. 3 on US Hot Country Songs.
More Great Songs That Didn't Quite Make the Cut
- Kenny Chesney, “Tequila Loves Me”
- Terri Clark, “Not Enough Tequila”
- Mark David Manders, “Three Fingers Tequila”
- Eric Stone, “Till All the Tequila Is Gone”
- Trini Triggs, “Straight Tequila”
- Sammy Kershaw & Lorrie Morgan, “He Drinks Tequila (And She Talks Dirty in Spanish)”
- Brooks & Dunn, “Tequila”
- Jim Reeves, “Drinking Tequila”
- Lonestar, “Tequila Talkin’”
- Shelly West, “Jose Cuervo”