The 7 Best Jukebox Songs

Okay, let’s set the scene: you’re in your favorite bar having a great time, surrounded by friends. The energy is lively. People are pouring pitchers. It’s rowdy and rollicking. So, what do you do? That’s right, you get up and head to the jukebox to slip in some change to provide a great soundtrack for the moment.

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But what to play? That is the question we address here. These are seven of the best songs to put on the jukebox at your favorite watering hole. The songs pool players will look up from their green felt tables and applaud and sing along.

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1. “Born in the U.S.A,” Bruce Springsteen

“Born in the U.S.A.” is one of the greatest rock songs of all time. But its chorus puts it on an even bigger level for these purposes. While the 1984 song, released on the album of the same name, is ironic in nature, talking about the perils of American-made wars, the chorus is revitalizing, simple and something many can sing along to while swilling suds. While a great song, it also serves as a unifying chant.

2. “You Shook Me All Night Long,” AC/DC

From the Australian rock band’s 1980 album, Back in Black, this song, like so many from AC/DC gets your engines revving and blood pumping. It’s all about having fun with the chance at a little lovemaking later on. What could be better for a bar song? Add that to the electrifying vocals and you’ve got a recipe for jukebox joy.

3. “Foxy Lady,” Jimi Hendrix

One of Jimi Hendrix’s signature songs, this track from his 1967 album, Are You Experienced, showcases the buzzing, amplified sense of lust that tends to appear when people drink and have fun. But more than the amorous subject matter of the lyrics, the song itself rocks. It’s pulsing, propellant and popular. A perfect trifecta for a jukebox jam.

4. “Pinball Wizard,” The Who

Since many local watering holes supply pinball games to their patrons, why not put this pinball-themed song on the jukebox? The song is from The Who’s classic 1969 concept album, Tommy, which itself is about a “deaf, dumb and blind” pinball wizard of the same name. But the song just simply rocks as singer Roger Daltrey rides the music with his crystal clear voice.

5. “Start Me Up,” The Rolling Stones

Released in 1981 on the iconic British-born rock band’s album, Tattoo You, “Start Me Up” immediately gets the hips shaking and the voice singing. It’s impossible not to interact with this track when it comes on, which makes it an ideal number for the bar’s jukebox. If you play it at the right moment, the whole place may get up and start wiggling like Mick Jagger.

6. “Fortunate Son,” Creedence Clearwater Revival

Lead singer John Fogerty has one of the greatest singing voices in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s big, and warm but gravelly as the ocean floor. Released in 1969 on the album, Willy and the Poor Boys, this song is one-part patriotism and one-part underdog. Making it completely great for the juke.

7. “California Love,” 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre

A little deviation from all the classic rock on this list, “California Love” is as big a party jam as any track and it’s one rap fans and rock fans can enjoy together. There is so much energy in this 1995 song that it’s lasted as a sublime offering for bars, parties and backyard gatherings. But throw this on at the right time via the jukebox and just watch the room react. It’s like adding heat to a pot of water.

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for SUFH)

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