Whether you are hanging before a Buffett concert or gearing up to cheer on your college team, there’s nothing that can make your party on the lot stand out like great music. Along with mouthwatering food, cold LandShark and great company, tailgating success depends on the mood you set with sound.
The key to drawing tailgaters into your spot is to offer an upbeat mix and a wide range of genres. Select songs not only with the college crowd in mind, but also for those who are “growing older but not up.” Throwing in a few classics can get the party started…and keep it going right up until show time. Add a few local tunes to this list and you will have your personal, ultimate tailgate mix.
20. “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers
The fundamental millennial-humor song, you will hear this modern day classic at bars, parties, and around all university campuses. In spite of its sarcastic message, it brings out a definitive jam
19. “Fight For Your Right” – Beastie Boys
This 1987 frat boy anthem plays as well with today’s crowd as it did when it debuted. Crank it up and watch the party get rowdy.
18. “Parking Lot Party” – Lee Brice
A musical step-by-step guide, this is how your tailgate should be run. From firing up the grill to sipping on the suds, ain’t no party without this tune.
17. “This Is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line
Here’s one for the back road lovin’ country folks. When Luke Bryan joins in, those boots will be scootin’ all over the parking lot.
16. “We Are The Champions” – Queen
There’s nothing like showing up with confidence. Let them know you’re in it to win it.
15. “Wagon Wheel” – Old Crow Medicine Show
Co-written by Bob Dylan, this two-stepping tune has been a fan favorite for many years.
14. “Knee Deep” – Zac Brown Band
With its combination of country and beach-themes this song makes you want to jump right in and have a good time. With the influx of Jimmy Buffett, tailgaters can’t help but be transported to the water’s edge.
13. “Cheeseburger In Paradise” – Jimmy Buffett
This classic will make you crave a burger quicker than the aroma coming from the grill. Everyone will want their burger with lettuce and tomato. And be sure you have plenty of the cold draft beer.
12. “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor
If it was good enough to rally Rocky on to victory, it’s good enough for your team. Used as a theme song for high school and college teams, political campaigns, and champion fighters, this will let the other team know you’re coming for them.
11. “Chicken Fried” – Zac Brown Band
Guaranteed to put a lump in the throat of partygoers with its patriotic theme mixed with country cuisine, before you know it everyone on the lot will be a good ol’ boy.
10. “In My Feelings” – Drake
Feel free to speculate who inspired this tune. However, there is no question that when you bump this song many will “DoTheShiggy.”
9. “Brown Eyed Girl” – Jimmy Buffett
Just a warning, every brown-eyed girl on the lot will think this song is about her. Crank up Jimmy singing this Van Morrison number and no matter what her eye color is she will feel happy.
8. “No Brainer” – DJ Khalid
Prior to its release, DJ Khalad declared this song, “would be on of the biggest anthems.” With a collaboration of stars like this, it does not disappoint. It was the song of the summer of 2018. However, look for this to be a classic for years to come.
7. “Thunderstruck” – AC/DC
What can I say… no tailgate would be complete without some AC/ DC. If you plan to be the life of the tailgate, this song is a must have.
6. “It’s 5 o’Clock Somewhere” – Alan Jackson/Jimmy Buffett
Just in case you need a reminder that it’s ok to start the party a little early, this song is here to remind you it is perfectly acceptable to celebrate happy hour in another time zone or for that 12 p.m. kickoff.
5. “Red Solo Cup” – Toby Keith
No party is complete without this convenient drinking vessel. Likewise, no tailgate mix should ever be without this ode to one of a classic tailgate’s most popular products.
4. “God’s Plan” – Drake
Using his million-dollar budget for people in need, Drake uses this song to inspire generosity. You may struggle to hear the actual song though when your crowd takes over the chorus.
3. “Fins” – Jimmy Buffett
As soon as this song begins to play, everyone becomes a shark. Arms will be moving from the left to the right and not necessarily in unison. But, that okay as long as your Fins are Up!
2. “Sweet Caroline” – Neil Diamond
North, south, east, or west you are going to hear this longtime fan favorite at almost any tailgate so add it to your list ahead of time and get ready for some crowd karaoke.
1. “Margaritaville” – Jimmy Buffett
The song that inspired an empire and a lifestyle, leave this ultimate good-time tune off your list and you may as well not unpack the grill at all.
Andrew is Margaritaville University ambassador studying government at the University of Texas at Austin.