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Jukebox Hero

When Styx and Stones mean broken bones . . .

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The Rolling Stones need to be evicted from your local jukebox.
  • The Rolling Stones need to be evicted from your local jukebox.

We've seen men lose their lives for playing the wrong Styx tune at the wrong time. And frankly, they deserved it.

When you're out at a bar, sliding a buck into a jukebox comes with great responsibility. For a few minutes, you will have a direct effect on the mood of everyone in the room. Pick a bad song or string together an ill-advised set list, and you screw up the whole night for everybody.

Lucky for you, we're here to help. Jukebox etiquette is highly important, and this crash course will get you up to speed in no time. Follow these simple rules, and you too will be a jukebox hero.

1. Absolutely no sad songs.
Look, no one goes to the bar to share your pain. Your dog died? You lost your job? Someone just said you look like Terry Bradshaw -- and you're a chick? These are all legitimate reasons to get loaded. But remember, we go to the bar to forget our problems, to drink away the bad times. We're not there to get ensnared in another loser's crappy day. If you want to shed a tear while listening to weepy Patsy Cline tunes after catching your girlfriend going down on her parole officer, do everyone a favor and stay home. No one needs you killing their buzz. That's what last call is for.

2. No more than one song by a given artist per hour.
The bar is not the place where you pay tribute to Bob Seger. Hell is where you do that. So there's no need to blast a couple dozen of the dude's tunes. Even great bands quickly become annoying when some superfan bombards you with their entire back catalog. When you limit the number of songs by a specific act, everyone wins. If someone's playing a band you dig, it leaves you wanting more. If someone's cranking a group you hate, the suffering is over soon. Besides, there's only so much Axl Rose an eardrum can take.

3. Never play the same song twice in one night.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know that AC/DC's "Back in Black" totally kicks ass. So it's not necessary for you to jam that tune -- or any other song -- more than once in a night. The thrill of the jukebox is that you never know what's coming next. And with such a huge pool of songs to select from, there's no need for reruns. Everyone at some point has been out at a bar, enjoying themselves, only to have some a-hole with an Eddie Money fixation ruin the evening by playing "Take Me Home Tonight" 17 times because it reminds him of the first time he got laid. Good for you, buddy; now get on with your life. And let us do the same.

4. Avoid these must-retire tunes at all costs.

· Bob Marley, "No Woman No Cry": This song is pretty much covered by rule #1, but it deserves an added warning, 'cause it's hands-down the most overplayed tune in the history of the jukebox. Seriously, if we hear this song one more time, we'll be the one who's crying.

· Jimmy Buffett, "Cheeseburger in Paradise": This ultra-played-out tune hasn't evoked images of paradise since, oh, 1983. We humbly suggest a title change, something more fitting, like "Cheeseburger in the Burning Depths of Hades While Satan Makes Love to Your Corpse."

· Van Morrison, "Brown Eyed Girl": Give your lady a dollar for the juke, and 9 out of 10 times this song will be among her selections. Seriously, try it. Better yet, don't.

· Rolling Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil": Show a little sympathy for your fellow drinkers and resist the urge to play this song.

· Dave Matthews Band, "What Would You Say": We'd say it's about time to fit this tune with some concrete boots and head for the nearest body of water.

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