The Top 20 Karaoke Songs

Updated on June 23, 2019
Chris Tyler profile image

Chris is a music junkie and former host of a Karaoke show in Orlando Florida.

Great list of Karaoke songs!
Great list of Karaoke songs! | Source

Every night, all across the country (and the world), people make their way to their favorite local bar or nightclub and join drunken businessmen and tourists in that time-honored tradition known as karaoke.

Having worked in a Karaoke bar for years while I was in college, I have a special place in my heart for a bunch of drunk girls grouped together on a tiny stage singing (and I use this term generously) "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" as loud as they can. Then you have the guy who, "forced" by his friends, gets up, does his best John Bon Jovi stare and belts out "Wanted Dead Or Alive."

Night after night (to borrow a line from Mr. Bon Jovi), "it's all the same, only the names will change." For years I called their names, popped the disc into the machine, handed them the microphone and stood back and watched as they entertained the crowd. It is from those years of experience that I bring you this list.

The Top 20 Karaoke Songs of All Time

  1. "The Rose" by Bette Midler
  2. "The Greatest Love Of All" by Whitney Houston
  3. "Summer Nights" by the cast of Grease
  4. "My heart will go on" by Celine Dion
  5. "Friends in low places" by Garth Brooks
  6. "Mack The Knife" by Bobby Darin
  7. "We Will Rock You" by Queen
  8. "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard
  9. "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley
  10. "Living La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin
  11. "Wannabe" by Spice Girls
  12. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper
  13. "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper
  14. "Baby One More Time" by Brittney Spears
  15. "Reflections" by Christina Aguilera
  16. "Fly Me To The Moon" by Frank Sinatra
  17. "I Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley
  18. "Hey Jude" by The Beatles
  19. "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton/Whitney Houston
  20. "Wanted Dead Or Alive" by Bon Jovi

This list was compiled based upon the number of requests to sing it per night, the cringe factor of watching people sing it, and the amount of liquor required before people will sing it. So sit back, grab a dose of your favorite "liquid courage," and get ready to sign up. Here we go.

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1. "The Rose"—Bette Midler

Album: The Rose

Release date: March 1980

Genre: Pop, adult contemporary

The title track from Bette's Academy Award-nominated debut is without a doubt the most signed-up-for song in Karaoke history. Women (and quite a few men) love this soulful ballad. Night after night it was one of the first five songs someone would sign up for. It was so popular that I glued its CD case to the side of the cabinet that held our sound system, just so I'd have it "on deck."

Interesting facts:

  • Bette Midler was born on December 1, 1945, in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii.
  • Bette Midler is a running topic of conversation on Seinfeld.
  • She's married to the contemporary artist Martin von Haselberg

2. "The Greatest Love Of All"—Whitney Houston

Album: Whitney Houston

Release date: February 14, 1985

Genre: R&B, soul

This song comes in a close second. For years has been the bane of my existence. Few people realize the vocal range required to sing this song, and nine times out of 10 they would get to the first chorus and stare at me with panic-stricken eyes when they'd realize just what was about to happen. So I'd have to scramble to fix the levels so that our rockstar didn't sound like a young boy whose voice was changing. Ahh, good times.

As the company that distributes the karaoke version of this song will not allow their content to appear on other sites. You can find the karaoke version on streaming sites. I have also included a version of the original with lyrics below.

Interesting facts:

  • Houston was Born on August 9, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
  • She was married to Bobby Brown from 1992-2007.
  • "The Greatest Love of All" was originally written by composers Michael Masser (music) and Linda Creed (lyrics).

3. "Summer Nights"—Grease Cast

Album: Grease

Release date: August 25, 1978

Genre: Pop, musical theatre

Without a doubt the most popular duet ever. This bubbly classic usually ends up with the guys and the girls in the bar trying to out-shout each other. "Summer Nights" is the go-to song for a couple on a date. Summer lovin' has led to (that I know of) five long-term relationships, two marriages, and one child. Use with caution.

As the company that distributes the karaoke version of this song will not allow their content to appear on this site. You can find the karaoke version on streaming sites. I have also included a version of the original with lyrics below.

Interesting facts:

  • Although it's an American Classic, Grease is an international hit and has been adapted into multiple languages and reinvented by multiple cultures.
  • Grease played a big role in launching John Travolta into stardom.
  • The song was written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

4. "My Heart Will Go On"—Celine Dion

Album: Let's Talk About Love and Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture

Release date: 8 December 1997

Genre: Pop

When Kate and Leo sprang onto the big screen with Titanic, they brought with them this hit. I like to call it "musical crazy glue," because one little touch and it'll be stuck on you for days. Time after time I would find myself in class, absentmindedly humming this song. Needless to say, I drew some looks. This is another song that was sure to send me scrambling for the dials to try to control the levels. Able to go 0 to 60 in two notes, Celine Dion is rarely a good idea for karaoke.

As the company that distributes the karaoke version of this song will not allow their content to appear on this site. You can find the karaoke version on streaming sites. I have also included a version of the original with lyrics below.

Interesting facts:

  • Celine Dion was born on 30 March 1968, in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada.
  • Titanic was one of the highest grossing films of all time.
  • This is still Celine Dion's most recognizable and most purchased song.

5. "Friends in Low Places"—Garth Brooks

Album: No Fences

Release date: August 6, 1990

Genre: Country pop

This song is brought to you by Jim Beam. I don't think I've ever heard anyone sing this song while sober. That being said, few songs inspire a bar-wide singalong like Garth's anthem for jilted lovers. This song holds a personal record for me, as it has caused more bar fights than any other song in the library. Well done Garth... well done.

Interesting facts:

  • Garth Brooks was born on February 7, 1962, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
  • His real first name is Troyal.
  • Brooks is currently married to country singer Trisha Yearwood.

Most Covered Songs of All Time

The Beatles
"Eleanor Rigby"
The Beatles
Julie London
"Cry Me a River"
The Beatles
"And I Love Her"
The Rolling Stones
"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
John Lennon
Abbie Mitchell
The Beatles
Judy Garland
"Over the Rainbow"
Dusty Springfield
"The Look of Love"

6. "Mack The Knife"—Bobby Darin

Album: Music drama Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera)

Release date: 31 August 1928

Genre: Moritat, musical drama

Written for a German musical in the 20's Mack the Knife has become a standard. Popular with businessmen and the, hmm how can I put this delicately... "chronologically gifted" crowd, this song makes an appearance almost nightly. Best performed with an open bowtie around your neck and a glass of scotch in hand, this classic really gets the whole bar going.

As the company that distributes the karaoke version of this song will not allow their content to appear on this site. You can find the karaoke version on streaming sites. I have also included a version of the original with lyrics below.

Interesting facts:

  • Bobby Darin was born on May 14, 1936, in The Bronx, New York City.
  • Mack the Knife is one of the most covered songs of all time.
  • Darin died tragically at just 37-years-old.

7. "We Will Rock You"— Queen

Album: News of the World

Release date: 7 October 1977

Genre: Arena rock

This song was officially banned in my bar on the nights that I worked because of excessive table pounding resulting in spilled drinks. I will tolerate lots of things in life, but wasting perfectly good alcohol is not one of them. In its heyday (usually every year during March Madness) this song was always followed by a run on the bar for shots.

As the company that distributes the karaoke version of this song will not allow their content to appear on this site. You can find the karaoke version on streaming sites. I have also included a version of the original with lyrics below.

Interesting facts:

  • News of the World went 4x platinum in the United States.
  • The album sold over 10 million copies worldwide and was the band's highest selling album.
  • Lead singer, Freddie Mercury, died in 1991 at just 45-years-old. He is a legend in the LGBTQ community.

Fun Karaoke Duets

Brandy and Monica
"The Boy Is Mine"
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
"Islands in the Stream"
Jennifer Lopez & LL Cool J
"All I Have"
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
"Empire State of Mind"
Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow
Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
"Ebony and Ivory"
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
"Dream a Little Dream of Me"
Michael Jackson With Siedah Garrett
"I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
Peter Cetera with Amy Grant
"The Next Time I Fall"
Sonny & Cher
"I Got You Babe"
Barbra Streisand / Donna Summer
"No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)"
Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney
"The Girl Is Mine"

8. "Pour Some Sugar On Me"—Def Leppard

Album: Hysteria

Release date: 8 September 1987

Genre: Glam metal

I can't even begin to describe some of the misquoted lyrical versions of this song I've heard over the years. Even with the lyrics appearing on the screen all around the place, I don't think any two people ever sang the same words at the same time. Guys, if you ever wanted a song that's sure to get the ladies dancing (and drinking) this is it.

Interesting facts:

  • "Pour Some Sugar on Me" was ranked #2 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s."
  • Drummer Richard John Cyril Allen only has one arm.
  • Def Leppard have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

9. "Never Gonna Give You Up"—Rick Astley

Album: Whenever You Need Somebody

Release date: 27 July 1987

Genre: Dance-pop, blue-eyed soul

Long before the "Rickroll", this 80s pop hit was tearing up the Karaoke bars. Popular because of it's simplistic lyrics and Rick Astley's almost monotone vocal range (seriously, he should be at the front of the class calling for "Bueller" over and over) this is one of the most requested songs ever.

Interesting facts:

  • Astley was born on 6 February 1966, in Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, England.
  • Ironically, "getting Rickrolled" (tricked into hearing "Never Gonna Give You Up") worked wonders for Astley's wallet and career.
  • "Never Gonna Give You Up" was voted number 28 in 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs... Ever by VH1.

10. "Living La Vida Loca"—Ricky Martin

Album: Ricky Martin

Release date: March 23, 1999

Genre: Latin pop, dance-pop

Every night there is always one drunk tourist who thinks, because he's been doing shots of Jose Cuervo since lunch, that he's Ricardo Montalban. They sing, they spaz... I mean dance, and, inevitably, pass out. Pro Tip: If you come to Florida, we don't call it the "Sunshine State" just because it needed a clever nickname. It gets hot here, and downing massive amounts of tequila in the heat will make you sick.

As the company that distributes the karaoke version of this song will not allow their content to appear on this site. You can find the karaoke version on streaming sites. I have also included a version of the original with lyrics below.

Interesting facts:

  • Ricky Martin was born on December 24, 1971, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • The was Martin's first album in English.
  • He married Jwan Yosef in 2017.

Funny and Quirky Songs to Sing at Karaoke

"Rock Lobster"
Biz Markie
"Just a Friend"
Eddie Murphy
"Party All the Time"
"Whip It"
Jimmy Buffet
"If You Like Piña Coladas"
The Human League
"Don't You Want Me?"
"Bohemian Rhapsody"
Duran Duran
Hall & Oates
"Rich Girl"
Sir Mix-a-lot
"Baby Got Back"
Spandau Ballet
"The Final Countdown"
Kenny Loggins
"Danger Zone"
Lipps Inc.
"Funk Town"
Soft Cell
"Tainted Love"
"Take on Me"
Smash Mouth
"Walkin' On The Sun"

11. "Wannabe"—Spice Girls

Album: Spice

Release date: 8 July 1996

Genre: Dance-pop

This one is a big hit with the cougar crowd. Pay attention, guys. Avoid the temptation to hit on the girls right after they get done singing this song. They get all "girl-powered" up and you have about as much chance with them as I do of becoming the next Justin Beiber. Cheer from afar, but do not approach until someone has sung some Phil Collins.

As the company that distributes the karaoke version of this song will not allow their content to appear on this site. I have also included a version of the original with lyrics below.

Interesting facts:

  • "Wannabe" was the Spice Girls' debut single.
  • The Spice Girls were assembled by Heart Management.
  • The track's tempo is meant to resemble "You're the One That I Want" from Grease.

12. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"—Cyndi Lauper

Album: She's So Unusual

Release date: September 6, 1983

Genre: Dance-pop

This is the theme song for every bachelorette party ever. Like locusts for schnapps and chardonnay, this is another museum situation (look, enjoy, but never touch). Even I would avoid these at all costs, favoring instead to simply hand them the mic and run away. Ladies, this is all yours. Crank up the volume and have a blast, you deserve it.

Interesting facts:

  • Cyndi Lauper was born June 22, 1953, in Queens, New York, U.S.
  • The song was originally written by and first recorded in 1979 by American musician Robert Hazard.
  • The song received Grammy Award nominations for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

13. "True Colors"—Cyndi Lauper

Album: True Colors

Release date: August 28, 1986

Genre: Pop

The bartenders and I would have a bet going almost every night as to who would be the one to sing this song. While I will avoid going into such things here, I will just say that stereotypes exist for a reason, and never is this more true than with the people who usually (there are always exception... but not often) sing this song.

Interesting facts:

  • Lauper is considered a hero in the LGBTQ community for her activism.
  • Lauper was known for her excellent music videos, which often rank amongst the top on music video lists.
  • Lauper is often viewed as a feminist icon.

Best Oldies to Sign With Friends

Neil Diamond
"Sweet Caroline"
"Don't Stop Believin"
Bon Jovi
"Living on a Prayer"
Lynyrd Skynyrd
"Sweet Home Alabama"
Michael Jackson
"Beat It"
"Dancing Queen"
"What is Love"
Gloria Gaynor
"I Will Survive"
Michael Jackson
"Love Shack"
The Clash
"Rock the Casbah"
Billy Joel
"Piano Man"
Don McLean
"American Pie"

14. "Baby One More Time"—Brittney Spears

Album: ...Baby One More Time

Release date: September 30, 1998

Genre: Pop

This is another song to which there is a stereotypical "type" to sing this pop hit. My advise ladies, unless you want every drunk a$$hole in the place (and I do mean every) to start hitting on you relentlessly, avoid this song. No good will come of it.

As the company that distributes the karaoke version of this song will not allow their content to appear on this site. You can find the karaoke version on streaming sites. I have also included a version of the original with lyrics below.

Interesting facts:

  • Brittney Spears was born on December 2, in 1981 McComb, Mississippi.
  • Brittney Spears was once a Mouseketeer.
  • The song is one of the best-selling singles of all time, with over ten million copies sold.

15. "Reflections"—Christina Aguilera

Album: Mulan: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack

Release date: June 2, 1998

Genre: Pop

This song usually signals the time of the night when I would find some excuse to not be in the room. Say what you will about her behavior, Christina has an amazing voice with an incredible vocal range. Throw in the fact that there has never been a "good" Karaoke arrangement of this song, and the result is four minutes of Gitmo worthy torture.

Interesting facts:

  • Christina Aguillera was born on December 18, 1980, in New York City, New York.
  • She has 2 children.
  • The song earned her several nominations and a Grammy Award.

16. "Fly Me To The Moon"—Frank Sinatra

Album: N/A

Release date: April 1954

Genre: Jazz

Ok guys, listen up. You want to be the talk of the bar, learn to sing this song even halfway decent and the results will pay dividends. I have seen men of all ages leave with women way out of there league after knocking it out of the park with this one. Proof once and for all that Ol' Blue Eyes is the coolest man ever to walk the Earth.

Interesting facts:

  • Frank Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915, in an upstairs tenement at 415 Monroe Street in Hoboken, New Jersey.
  • In 1938, Sinatra was a singing waiter at a roadhouse called "The Rustic Cabin" in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, for which he was paid $15 a week.
  • Sinatra is one of the most covered artists of all time.

17. "I Can't Help Falling in Love"—Elvis Presley

Album: Blue Hawaii

Release date: October 1, 1961

Genre: Pop

Like the Beatles, Elvis really doesn't translate well to Karaoke. Never the less, this ballad is usually a favorite of older couples celebrating an anniversary or just a night out. If you feel the need to sing this (or any Elvis song for that matter), avoid the urge to curl your lip and do an Elvis impersonation (you will only look like a jackass), and just sing.

As the company that distributes the karaoke version of this song will not allow their content to appear on this site. You can find the karaoke version on streaming sites. I have also included a version of the original with lyrics below.

Interesting facts:

  • Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, U.S.
  • The song reached No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
  • Elvis's first recordings were intended as a gift for his mother. He never expected to become famous.

18. "Hey Jude"—The Beatles

Album: The Beatles

Release date: 26 August 1968

Genre: Rock, pop rock

The Fab Four really were not meant for Karaoke. They were icons who had such an original and hard to duplicate vocal style that it's almost impossible for someone to sound good doing them solo. A group is best if you want to sing anything by The Beatles.

Interesting facts:

  • The ballad began as "Hey Jules," a song McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon's son, Julian, during his parents' divorce.
  • In 2013, Billboard named it the 10th "biggest" song of all time.
  • "Hey Jude" tied the "all-time" record, at the time, for the longest run at the top of the US charts.

19. "I Will Always Love You"—Dolly Parton/Whitney Houston

Album: Jolene

Release date: June 6, 1974

Genre: Country

Some singers have a "once-in-a-generation" voice, a voice that transcends anything you've heard up until then. Whitney Houston was such a singer. Her 1992 cover of the Dolly Parton classic "I Will Always Love You" is a showcase of her unmatched vocal abilities.

That said, the only thing the Whitney Houston version and the Dolly Parton original have in common are the words, and anyone signing up to sing Whitney's version needs to be prepared for the longest four minutes and forty-six seconds of their life.

Interesting facts:

  • It reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart twice.
  • Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" re-entered the charts in 2012 after her death. It is only the second single ever to reach the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 in separate chart runs.
  • This is one of the most covered songs of all time.

20. "Wanted Dead Or Alive"—Bon Jovi

Album: Slippery When Wet

Release date: March 3, 1987

Genre: Hard rock

In the leadoff spot is this Bon Jovi classic. Popular with guys who have had way too much to drink, this song usually ends up with several guys screaming into the mic, doing their best Axel Rose impersonation. Oddly enough, this is one of the easiest Bon Jovi songs to sing (at least musically), the problem is that it's usually sponsored by (lots and lots of) Jack Daniels.

Interesting facts:

  • Bon Jovi was born on March 2, 1962, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, U.S.
  • The song peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • Bon Jovi was a founder of the Arena Football League team, the Philadelphia Soul.

It's Confession Time...

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Bohemian Rhapsody?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      You're taking it way too seriously man. Some good ideas here, but all this talk about "stereotypes" for certain songs misses the whole point. Karaoke is about having fun, putting on a good show. Often breaking stereotypes is precisely what people love.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Interesting cultural or geographical variations in my experience. I'm hosting in Lanzarote for mostly UK and Irish clientele and very few of your choices figure. "Son of a Preacher Man", Valerie á la Marc Ronson ft Amy Winehouse R.I.P., "Sweet Caroline", "Angels" by Robbie Williams, "Wonderwall" by Oasis are really popular. "Crazy" is one in common for sure. As a singer I tend to stay safe singing Elvis rock´n´roll like Teddy Bear and Don't be Cruel and easy rock and pop. I'm always baffled why non-singers think they can take on "If I can dream" and "American Trilogy" or Whitney or Celine.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      What do you mean by Christina Aguilera's behavior? Are you serious. That's like a slap in the face, her music has changed my life and so many others. Her behavior is empowering if anything.

    • Chris Tyler profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Tyler 

      3 years ago from Orlando, Florida.

      I've never seen a crowd that hasn't gone completely wild for Joan Jett's version of "Do You Wanna Touch". Definitely a solid choice.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      My go-to karaoke songs are usually Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer and Journey's Don't Stop Believing. They're fun, catchy, relatively easy, and good to do in a pair with my friend.

      If I'm flying solo, I usually go for something I can knock out of the park. Pat Benatar's Hit Me With Your Best Shot is upbeat and catchy (and also easy) and gets the whole bar singing. The Cardigans' Lovefool is also a nice easy one that people like. I've done well with Fiona Apple's Criminal, Alanis Morisette's Ironic, Head Over Feet and Hand in my Pocket. I'm really good with Jewel, but her stuff tends to bring the crowd down so I avoid it. I think next time I go I'll try and tackle some Joan Jett.

    • profile image

      Ashlee (a.k.a Ashleigh) 

      4 years ago

      Love da article :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      really helped thanks

    • Mahmudur29 profile image


      5 years ago

      Its very nice ! Thank you :)

    • Christian813 profile image

      Christian Álvarez 

      5 years ago from Tamaulipas, México

      Haha, oh god, when I'm killing Bon Jovi's song, it's like a poor pig been murdered...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Whitney Houston has most of the best karaoke songs. I read a blog that is youketube.blogspot it sounds Like a pretty good idea on karaoke online

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      @madvyking: I totally agree. I do a great is my signature song and always packs the dance floor.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      There are some songs that are simply over done to the point where you cringe when you hear them start out. If I never hear Picture by Kid Rock again it will be too soon... lol.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      As a karaoke host must say, and it be a regional thing, but i found"Crazy" by patsy cline out weighs them all. I even call it the karaoke national anthem.

      As for what i sing varies on the night. Though a lot of people get a giggle and have a good time whena midle age guy sing flo ida low and LMFAO sexy and i know it

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      There's a family friendly wing place that has karaoke 5 nights a week. My daughter (13) has been singing in choirs and on stage for since she was allowed. She purposefully picks songs by Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and other top female vocalists just to get vocal and stage practice.. and to turn heads. It builds confidence and I get to drink beer and eat wings! Win win!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      piano mans a great one also livin on a prayer

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image


      7 years ago

      Classics! This is a great lens, thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      That's a good taste of music ;)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Superman by five for fighting or black horse and a cherry tree by kt tuns tall.

      All depends on the crowd...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine, never understood a single word he said, but I helped him drink his wine...(he always had some mighty fine wine...)

    • Craig O profile image

      Craig O 

      8 years ago from Las Vegas

      excellent lens, very smart.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great choice of costumes and I like the fact of costumes based on the original.


      liquor cabinet

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice list! Possum Kingdom by the Toadies is my favorite. If you get a second, check out my lens on my favorite karaoke iPhone apps:

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Sang Fat Lip by Sum 41 first time I karaoked...oh it did not go well. Enjoyed your lens.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Tough call. It's a toss up between Lady Marmalade, by Patti LaBelle, and Stardust by ? My 3rd rum and coke usually makes the decision.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Love karaoke, just don't get to get out and do it as much as I like. Love the lens and all your comment intros to each song. Great Job!!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      i have i am into the originals...

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 

      9 years ago

      I have been known to sing Summer Loving when I had a bit too much wine. Just glad no-one recorded it !

    • Paul Ward profile image


      9 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Lil ole wine drimker, Dean Martin. If I drank. If i abused substances. If the room was otherwise empty.


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