Summer is officially here, which means it’s time to head outdoors and break out the grills and the beers. Whether you’re partying at a concert or at the beach, there’s no better way to get in the right mood than by listening to some country hits. Here are 10 fun country songs perfect for summer tailgating:
1. “Toes,” Zac Brown Band
The third single from the band’s 2008 debut album off a major label, “The Foundation” was also their second track to ever hit number one on the Billboard’s Hot Country songs chart — and for good reason. While it may not be quite as well-known as their main huge hit Chicken Fried, the upbeat beach song, which critics called reminiscent of Jimmy Buffet, is sure to get any listener in a feel-good mood.
2. “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” Hank Williams Jr.
Before any of today’s country beer-drinking bros, there was Hank Williams Jr. This song, released in 1984 as the second single off the album Major Moves, became the legendary artist’s 26th top 10 single and one of the most beloved tracks of his entire career. A reworked version of the song, entitled “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night,” helped get thousands of sports fans pumped for Monday Night Football and there’s no question the fun song will do the same for your tailgating party as well.
3. “Parking Lot Party,” Lee Brice
It’s hard to think of a more appropriate tune designed specifically for tailgating. After all, doesn’t the title of this song just say it all? The track marked the fourth single off Brice’s 2012 album Hard 2 Love and his fifth to be certified Gold or higher. Brice wrote it with fellow country artists, Rhett Akins, Thomas Rhett, and Luke Laird, and with the loud production (complete with crowd sound effects) it’s pretty obvious they meant the song to played loudly with your windows down.
4. “Smoke a Little Smoke,” Eric Church
Keeping with the whole bad-boy, outlaw theme that runs through the majority of Church’s songs, this 2010 track is meant to make listeners “light it up, break out that old rock and roll,” and start a rebellion … Or at least get a little wild for a night. The third single from the album Carolina and his eighth single overall, the track reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and has since been certified Platinum.
5. “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” Shania Twain
This 1998 song is one of Twain’s biggest hits of her career, probably because it’s impossible not to sing along or dance to it once it’s been turned on. The sixth single from her third album Come On Over, the song also became Twain’s third biggest single ever on the Billboard Hot 100 and caused critics to call her “the crossover queen” of the decade.
6. “All About Tonight,” Blake Shelton
Shelton was churning out country hits long before he became a household name with his stint as a coach on NBC’s reality TV show The Voice. The song, all about living in the moment, seems like an obvious hit — and it was. As the first single off his 2010 EP of the same name, it eventually went on to become his seventh number one single on the Hot Country Songs chart. The video, which premiered on CMT in June of 2010, also marked Shelton’s first live performance video.
7. “Am I The Only One,” Dierks Bentley
Bentley co-wrote this single, the first off his album Home and the sixteenth overall of his career. Though the song talks about a man who can’t find friends to party with (even naming some of Bentley’s actual friends in the first verse), the fun and lighthearted track, which reached number one of the Hot Country Songs chart in September 2011, is actually the perfect anthem to get your tailgate up and running.
8. “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” George Strait
You pretty much can’t go wrong with any songs from the King of Country Music, but this classic hit in particular — about the all the former lovers the singer left behind in the Lonestar State — is a favorite of everyone’s. Released in 1987 as the second single off Strait’s CD Ocean Front Property, the song became one of the artist’s 60 number one hits and is considered one of the trademark singles of his career. Need further proof of its influence? Drake rapped about it in his 2012 Grammy-nominated song “HYFR!”
9. “Good Time,” Alan Jackson
The title track and second album from his 2008 album of the same name, this up-tempo song marked Jackson’s 48th Top Ten hit and 24th number one hit on the Hot Country Songs chart. Jackson, who wrote the song himself along with every other track on the album, references Williams Jr’s “All My Rowdy Friends” (see number 2 on this list) in the song, which is meant to get you up and on your feet.
10. “All My Friends Say,” Luke Bryan
No tailgate playlist would be complete without the man who made a name for himself singing about spring break and tan lines. While this song isn’t one of Bryan’s number one hits, reaching a peak of number 5 on the Hot Country Songs charts, the title track off his 2007 album I’ll Stay Me is both a great breakup and drinking song (although the two go arguably hand-in-hand.) It’s relatable lyrics about seeing an ex a bar with a new guy, and happy tempo makes it one of Bryan’s best party songs.