8 tracks ► songs for tailgating


►  Autumn is upon us. Which means crisp October days. Red-gold leaves carpeting the ground. Hayrides and bon fires and pumpkin-spiced everything.

It also means football season. And that means tailgating–good friends, good food, good tunes.

Much like a welcoming host, a tailgating mix helps people feel comfortable, with songs that are familiar yet fresh, both chill and lively, with big potential to trigger a break-out sing-along or even a few impromptu dance moves. As opposed to what we’ll call “sports jams” (songs to pump you up), tailgating songs are perfect to bop around to while eating fried chicken and chatting with friends.

Whether you’re enjoying pre-game festivities in a stadium lot or your very own kitchen, may your tailgating experience be good vibes only.

►  Among so many possibilities for a tuneful tailgate, this particular playlist exudes a sort of laid-back, feel-good, retro-soul vibe.

In order of play:

1  •  Blue Sky • Allman Brothers   ►   A rock classic with a sunny melody and a soaring guitar solo get this playlist rolling.

2  •  Brown-Eyed Girl • Van Morrison   ►   Always a crowd-pleaser. I don’t know exactly what it is, but this song has that certain je ne sais quoi that gives it instant impact.

3  •  Funky Nassau, Pt. 1 • The Beginning of the End   ►   Get funky now (with a whole lot of soul).

4  •  Jimi Thing • Dave Matthews Band   ►   Upbeat and mellow, this song keeps you swinging.

5  •  Livin’ on a Prayer • Bon Jovi   ►  A big-hair power ballad that’s a little bit “oh-no-you-didn’t.” But everyone will be glad you did.

6  •  Sweet Home Alabama • Lynyrd Skynyrd   ►   Just go ahead and turn it up.

7  •  Ain’t Too Proud to Beg • The Temptations   ►   A familiar, feel-good favorite. Somehow everyone knows all the words and somebody, somewhere, is sure to break out a few shag steps.

8  •  I Ain’t the Same •  Alabama Shakes   ►   The anchor song of this playlist. In this gal’s humble estimation, this song is the epitome of mid-century modern and, as such, has a little something to offer everybody: Finger-snapping tempo, cymbal-heavy percussion, keyboard-rattling outro, searing vocal stylings. Sure to keep spirits high as kickoff closes in. And you can dance to it.  

►   Bonus Track  [Bro’s Pick]  »  Mustang Sally •  Wilson Pickett   ► 

My brother laid down several quality picks (more than a few related to our UNC-CH, our alma mater–Carolina on My Mind, Sweet Caroline, etc.). With jazzy horns, an electric keyboard, and soulful vocals, this song best fits the fun, swing-y feel of this particular set.  

unless otherwise noted * graphics, photographs, text © 2016 hilary hall

►  Add to the Mix  »  Your spin  • 

Which song would you include as a staple for a proper tailgating playlist?   ►  Leave your pick in the comment box. Thanks! 

►  In the queue  »  Songs for Daylight Savings  • 


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