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Tailgating season is right around the corner, so why not start gearing up? And why not start with the music? After all, cranking some feel-good tailgate tuneage is one of the best ways to prepare for parking lot parties, BBQpaloozas, and all things football related. And a fun playlist is the key ingredient most people forget when they’re ironing out details for their pre-game bash.
The trick to creating the best tailgate mix tape? Consider nostalgia. A healthy dose of ear worms from football seasons past is sure to make anyone and everyone get ready and get set to go root for their favorite team.
Some football fans tend to pack their playlists heavy — including Sportz Jamz with lots of zs, Eyes of the Tigers, and a samey-samey song list from popular metal bands such as AC/DC, Van Halen, and Led Zepplin. While these are fine, I say one is enough. Go for variety instead and plan to please the masses by simply resurfacing some forgotten gems from the past three or four decades — songs everyone will love and be quick to recognize.
In other words, to prepare you for football season pre-game tunes, here are 5 key ingredients for the perfect tailgating playlist. Here’s what I suggest:
1. The Crowd Pleasers
This is the overall key to a great soundtrack. All of the songs should be upbeat crowd pleasers that feature a healthy dose of nostalgia. Some overall winners include: any song by Queen, Stevie Wonder, SRV, Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, or the Black Eyed Peas. And, of course, “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. Even if people say they do not like these artists, they’re such well-known hits, they won’t be able not to sing along with the group!
2. Hits from the ’80s
These should be upbeat as well — and, of course, make the group just feel good. I recommend the following: “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oats, “Your Love” by The Outfield, “Rock of Ages” by Def Leppard, “Jump” by Van Halen, “Working for the Weekend” by Loverboy, “Caught Up in You” by .38 Special, “Centerfold” by the J. Giles Band, and “Separate Ways” by Journey. Again, even if people don’t think they like these songs, they totally do. Here’s why: (1) They’ve forgotten about them and are pleasantly surprised when one is played, (2) They have specific memories associated with almost every one, and (3) They know every word and will sing along.
3. ’90s Tunes
These can include but are not limited to: “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC, “Jump Around” by House of Pain, “Jumpin’ Jumpin'” by Destiny’s Child, “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer, “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix A Lot, “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, “Praise You” by Fat Boy Slim, and “Santeria” by Sublime.
4. Top 40 Songs
For the 2013 season, add a touch of what’s current to refresh your playlist. I recommend “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, and just in case anyone is sick of those, I’d throw in “Sweet Disposition” by Temper Trap, which is a few years older but makes everyone happy.
5. Any Favorite Mixes and Mashups
I always love anything that DJ Earworm does. Check out his Summer 2013 mashup. Awesome, right? Some other fun mixes: Get This Party Started (On New Year’s Day), U2 vs Pink and Seven Nation Prayer, and Bon Jovi vs. White Stripes. Mixes like this, well, literally mix up any playlist and keep people on the edges of their seats! Really, keeping your guests guessing and excited for the big game underway is the trick to throwing the best tailgating bash ever.
And here’s my tailgate mix tape for the 2013 football season:
You can purchase the songs for your own playlist here:
Let’s Get It Started (Spike Mix), The Black Eyed Peas
Get The Party Started, P!nk
You Make My Dreams Come True, John Oates
Your Love, The Outfield
Pride And Joy, Double Trouble
Sweet Disposition, The Temper Trap
I Gotta Feeling (Album Version), The Black Eyed Peas
Jump, Van Halen
Jump Around [Clean], House of Pain
Get Lucky (Radio Edit), Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
U Can’t Touch This, MC Hammer
It’s Tricky, RUN-DMC
Jumpin’, Jumpin’, Destiny’s Child
Rock Of Ages, Def Leppard
Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
Praise You, Fatboy Slim
Safe and Sound, Capital Cities
Boom Boom Pow, The Black Eyed Peas
Ring Of Fire, Johnny Cash
Caught Up In You, 38 Special
Three Little Birds, Bob Marley
Superstition, Stevie Wonder
Mirrors, Justin Timberlake
Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
Lose Yourself, Eminem
Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Journey
Working For The Weekend, Loverboy
Baby Got Back, Sir Mix-A-Lot
Seven Nation Army, The White Stripes
Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke [feat. T.I., Pharrell]